We praise God for the life of Ted Ward. We first met him in the early 1990s when Bulus was studying at TEDS. We reconnected a decade later when Rose came back to earn her PhD at TEDS. We consider ourselves Ted’s “academic grandchildren.” We were both students of Victor Cole at Jos ECWA Evangelical Theological Seminary in Nigeria a decade earlier in 1980s. Victor Cole was one of Ted’s doctoral students at Michigan State.
We have many fond memories of Ted. We remember him as a very friendly, hospitable, compassionate, honest, and direct master teacher, master storyteller, and faithful servant of Christ, among other things.
A Master Teacher and Profound Thinker: Rose remembers him coming to one of her classes as a guest lecturer for several weeks. His vast knowledge and experience in the field of education were both instructive and inspiring. We are sure that many can testify of Ted’s love for students. He and Margaret invited us to their home for lunch just to get to know us better. Their hospitality meant a lot to us as international students far away from our homes.
An Attentive Listener and Skillful Storyteller: Ted had a great influence on the founding of Almanah Rescue Mission, the ministry we started to serve widows and orphans in Nigeria. When we fi rst told him about our ministry plan, he told us a story about one of his many travel experiences. He shared about a people group his party had visited in South America. They had asked the chief, a WWII veteran, what was the greatest need of his people. Ted said the chief stared for a long time at the old, worn army boots on his feet and told them the greatest need of his people was learning how to fi x shoes. Ted then observed that the chief had been the only one wearing shoes.
This poignant story helped us in the founding of Almanah. We realized how easy it can be to focus on our own needs, rather than that of the people we are trying to serve. Leaders must take care to keep the right needs at the forefront of their mission. From Ted, we learned the great value of listening to the people we are serving. We began our work in 1995 and today, it is still going strong under the leadership of very compassionate Nigerians, thanks to Ted’s early influence.
When we heard that Ted was sick, we called him and asked if we could visit him. He and Margaret welcomed us warmly, as is characteristic of them. We were both surprised by how weak he was and moved that he still made time to meet with us. We were eager to leave to allow him time to rest, but he took time to ask about our ministry and rejoiced with us in what God was doing. Even at one of his weakest moments, he taught us about Christian graciousness and deep faith in God.
Ted was very compassionate, and loved the poor and marginalized. He took seriously Jesus’ exhortation in John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (NIV). And now, Ted has completed his work and entered his rest with his Savior.