"Ruth has committed her life to God's call of wild generosity," reads the nomination of Ruth Fox ’78, MA ’84 for Eastern University’s 2022 Alumna of the Year. After learning her story and observing the legacy she leaves behind her, it is clear that this generosity more than qualifies her for this honorable award.
Growing up in both Myanmar and India as a child, the international community has always held a special place in Ruth’s heart. Ruth found her way to Eastern and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in ’78, followed by an MA in Religion in ’84 from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary now Palmer Seminary. Soon after, Ruth and her husband Chuck Fox, MDiv ’83, settled into pastoring and parenthood and began raising their three children (two of whom would eventually graduate from Eastern as well). In time, both began sensing a new calling on their lives. Obeying the call, the Fox family uprooted their lives in 1999 and moved overseas to serve as Global Servants in Northern Thailand through International Ministries, ABC/USA.
Serving in Chiang Rai with the Akha Churches of Thailand, Ruth's joy was to equip the Akha women to monetize their beautiful embroidery work to bring income to their homes and villages, also supporting their children’s education – a passion of Ruth’s fostered during her time at Eastern. By welcoming these women into her home and developing the Akha Craft program, Ruth empowered the women to impact approximately 200 families within 15 neighboring villages. This generous hospitality is something that was modeled to Ruth throughout her childhood, and is a legacy she hopes to leave behind as well.
While serving the Akha community, a new need presented itself regarding her children’s education. Ruth helped begin a homeschool co-op with four families that has since multiplied into 200 students from 15 countries. In 2011, this Chiang Rai International Christian School was officially approved and recognized as an educational institution that continues to serve the larger international community, especially missionary families, in Northern Thailand.
Currently, Ruth serves as Global Coordinator of Education for International Ministries, ABC/USA where she develops educational partnerships in countries around the world, helping to establish resources and support the educational needs of others. “God's church and Gospel are being multiplied, even as we speak,” Ruth shares.
It is encouraging to see how God has used every past experience to bring Ruth to this role where she can inspire others to follow the call that she answered so long ago.