Last updated: August 23. 2013 10:54AM - 165 Views

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By Rosanne Bowman The year was 1961. As a full-time nurse, wife and mother of two small children, Ruth Turner thought she had enough to keep her busy, but every time she saw the young student nurses going back to their dormitories at Lima Memorial Health System where she worked, the thought would come to her that they needed more knowledge on how to deal with patients who were dying. “I felt like I should do something about that, but I kept putting it off,” Turner said. “Then one day, I was scrubbing the floor at home and I had such a strong feeling that I should do something about this that I got up right then and called the hospital.”After meeting with the chaplain and superintendent of nurses, Turner, now 85 and a nurse herself for more than 50 years, began her weekly Bible study. She taught that weekly study every Wednesday night from 1961 to 1970, when Lima Memorial Health System closed its nursing school. “It was completely voluntary,” she explained, “but I usually had anywhere between a few students up to about 15.”Chris Young was one of those young student nurses. “Some friends invited me, and while I had a church background, it was not very strong,” Young said.Young was pleasantly surprised at Turner's teaching style, and the filled sticks and pop that were offered every week didn't hurt either. “She always had the most wonderful treats,” she said. However, Young, who continued attending until she was done with her schooling, received something far more lasting there than just doughnuts. “The fact was, I needed a Savior and Ruth pointed me to Him. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior as a result of her ministry.”Although Young now lives in Cumberland, she still stays in contact with Turner. “I'll always remember her great sense of humor and her infectious laugh,” she said. “Even more, was her great concern and love for us.”After the nursing school closed, Turner inherited another group of women to teach. “A missionary was home on furlough, and when she went back, I inherited her Bible study group. I had that group for about four or five years,” Turner said.Not one of the six women was from the same denomination as Turner, but that didn't matter. Francie Simrak came to know Turner because a friend invited her to the weekly gathering.The invitation was serendipitous because Simrak had told God that she just didn't know what to believe about Him anymore. “Two weeks later, I got the invitation to Ruth's Bible study,” Simrak said. “The first time I went and heard Ruth, I knew that God had answered my pleas.” The thing that Simrak remembers the most about Turner was her patience. “We really challenged her, especially Eileen and I with our questions,” Sinrak said. “We had been brought up in a different church, but Ruth never said anything negative about our church. She just would point us to God's Word.”Simrak and Turner also still stay in touch even though Simrak has since moved to Missouri.“She wasn't just a Bible study teacher,” she said. “She became a spiritual mother and friend to me.”With the exception of the time when Turner battled breast cancer from 1988 to 1992 and had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy, she has taught one Bible study or another for the past 50 years. She has taught in homes and churches in Shawnee, West Minster, Columbus Grove, in addition to Lima. “I've never really gone looking for classes,” Turner said. “They seem to find me.”Her classes have touched many lives, including Darlene Monroe.“My friend invited me to one of Ruth's Bible studies,” said Monroe, who now lives in Florida. Monroe very clearly remembers the date that she met Turner. “It was Jan. 30, 1969,” she said. “I know that because that was the same day I became a Christian.”When she came to Turner's Bible study, Turner was teaching in Romans. “I heard ‘all have sinned,' and I thought, that's me,” Monroe said.Monroe continued to attend the Bible study for the next decade until she moved away from the area. Despite the distance, she tries to attend one of Turner's classes if she is back in the area. “Ruth is always the same — very heavenly minded,” Monroe said. “The Lord is always on the tip of her tongue, and she was an absolutely wonderful teacher.”Currently, Turner teaches about 25 women twice a month using a room at Cable Road Alliance Church. She does it because that is her calling.“I planted and watered and God gave some increase, but I don't know how much fruit there's been,” she said. “All I'm responsible for is the planting and watering. My main goal is to be faithful. As long as I'm alive and ladies continue to come,” she said, “I'll continue to teach.”

Ever faithful: Woman continues tradition of Bible study
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