If I had a thousand lives to live, I’d live them all for Jesus.
This was certainly the testimony of Rex Switzer who died from malaria that he contracted in South Sudan. He and his wife, Ginnie, served together with their son, Jonathan, his wife, Katie, and grandson, Jeremiah. The work in South Sudan was still in the pioneer stage. Rex had gotten legal status to work in the country and had been given property to establish a base there. Recently, the church in Maiwut built Rex and Jonathan two mud huts to live in until they were able to build a house. Because they did not have electricity and running water, Ginnie and Katie Switzer remained in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Rex & Jonathan spent nearly two months (December – January) in South Sudan, and then returned in March. They had been there for three weeks when Rex became ill, and they returned to Addis. Before they were able to evacuate him out of Ethiopia for proper medical treatment, he passed away. He had previously expressed his burden for the people of Ethiopia and South Sudan, and said that “he wanted them to open their hearts to Christ whatever it may take.” My prayer is that God will use His death in a two-fold manner: (1) to reach souls for Christ (2) to serve as a rallying cry for new workers for both Ethiopia and South Sudan.
We first met Rex and Ginnie on 2005. They contacted us concerning moving from South Africa where they had worked for about 17 years, to Ethiopia. We were thrilled as we desperately needed new workers there. In September 2005, they invited us to come down to Cape Town for a mission conference. It was my privilege to be the main speaker in that conference. It was a blessing to see the fruit of their ministry in that country. Eventually, they were able to turn that ministry over to a man that they had won to Christ and trained for the ministry.
In 2006 because of Glenda’s health, we had to return to the States, and the Switzers moved into our house in Addis Ababa. In our last years in Ethiopia, we had begun working with the refugees from South Sudan. This eventually led to making trips to the Refugee Camp near the Sudan border, and also to Gambella, Ethiopia where many of the Sudanese had settled. It was on those trips that I got to really know Rex. He was skilled as a carpenter, but also loved cooking. He was
a great organizer. He always knew exactly how much food to take on those trips, even to the containers of drinking water and extra fuel for the truck. Rex and Ginnie both endured hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2: 3). They made a number of trips into South Sudan living weeks at a time in tents, without even the basic amenities, in temperatures well over 100 F. They have truly been pioneers in a very difficult place, and I can only imagine the welcome that Rex received as he finally made it home.
Ginnie’s amazing attitude is summed up in these words: “Rex & I firmly believed that nothing touches us that doesn’t pass through God’s hands first. I hold that truth close in my heart today.” They will return to the States for a memorial service, and Ginnie has said, “When our business is finished all of us will be returning to Ethiopia. Rex has finished his course….we have not!” Please remember this family in prayer and send any financial support to Rex Switzer P.O. Box 191 Springfield, MO 65801.
Sincerely in Christ,
Eugene & Glenda Worley