A 90-year-old woman continues to use her creativity to bless boys and girls through Operation Christmas Child despite her limited eyesight
Ruth Luethy’s vision was already failing when she visited Samaritan’s Purse three years ago. The doctors had told her that macular degeneration would eventually lead to blindness. But thankfully, on the brink of her 90th birthday, Ruth still has some vision in her right eye.
Ruth started packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child during her retirement in Florida. The first year she packed 200 boxes, and the next year she packed 300. Although it was difficult for her to shop for the items herself, neighbors and some of her children helped.
“I was in my condo in Florida, and I wanted something to do,” Ruth said. “I was tired of walking the beach, going swimming, and I had to have something to do. So I said, ‘Lord, give me something that I can do for You.’ And it came out shoe boxes. And I thought, ‘Oh, I could do that.’ So that’s how I started.”
Over the past few years, Ruth has packed hundreds of gift boxes</a> to send to children around the world. This year she visited the Operation Christmas Child warehouse to deliver a different sort of gift. Her new project is necklaces.
“Her eyesight, she’s had trouble with it for the past few years, has lost the vision in her left eye, and her right eye is far from perfect,” said Ruth’s daughter, Judy. “But it just has not stopped her heart’s desire to make these necklaces.”
Ruth walked into the Operation Christmas Child warehouse at the Samaritan’s Purse North Carolina headquarters with 535 necklaces in tow. Each of them is entirely unique. Some are made with buttons, several have a combination of big and small beads, and each is colorful.
“Each one’s different, never one alike, but that’s like God’s children,” she said.
Judy said that Ruth started making necklaces each morning after breakfast and would continue until it was time for bed each night. The task is sometimes difficult for her, but she perseveres.
“I couldn’t see the holes, but I felt them,” Ruth said. “The Lord planned it somehow that I can still see.”
Recently Ruth moved into an assisted living home. She said she hasn’t been there long enough to meet her neighbors, but Judy is confident that Ruth’s ministry will extend to those around her. When Ruth lived in Florida, she told everyone she met about Operation Christmas Child and the excitement it brings.
“She’s not going to quit anytime soon,” Judy said. “She has recently gotten a new home where she’s surrounded by more seniors, and what I see is her just taking this to them and getting them involved and doing it as an activity.”
As she grows older, Ruth can still clearly hear God’s call for her life, and that’s what pushes her to continue her work.
“I just feel for the children that have nothing, and I have so much,” she said. “The Lord has blessed me in many ways. I think that’s why He put us here on the Earth, so that we can help others to come to know Him and their Savior.”