Remembering Global Partner Ruth de la Mata

by Kari Randall August 17, 2016


Longtime global partner Ruth de la Mata passed away August 5 following a short illness. She was 87.

For those of you who didn't know her, Ruth had been a Tenth global partner since Dr. Barnhouse was pastor. In fact, her ministry partner, Maria Bolet, had been supported by Tenth at least since the 1952 annual report (the earliest we have on file), and Ruth was added to the missions budget shortly thereafter. She and Maria enjoyed a cordial friendship with the Barnhouses and Boices, and the Boices visited Ruth in 1974.

Maria had been instrumental in Ruth's confession of faith, and even suggested the change to her first name, since "she'd never met an evangelical named Rosario!" Once Ruth was recruited to Bible Club Movement, then based in Philadelphia, they got connected to Tenth through Maria's brother, who attended while at the Curtis Institute.

Ruth and Maria taught Bible clubs in Spain until the Protestants were exiled by Francisco Franco in 1953. They fled to Morocco, then a haven for tolerance, and returned to Spain when regulations against non-Catholics were relaxed. When they were permitted to return to Spain, they established Centro Biblico Betel, a camp that continues today.

In later life, Ruth cared for Maria (who suffered lung problems as a result of contracting malaria in Morocco) until the latter passed, and served as the administrator at the nearby evangelical hospital. She also was highly active and read Scripture in her church, the only reformed Presbyterian congregation in the province.

I had the great privilege of visiting her in 2013, before she moved to a nursing home in Segovia. She was 84 at that point and having some mobility issues, but insisted on showing me around the hospital and greeting all the personnel.