On February 2, 2021, a dear friend and faithful servant of God was ushered to his home in heaven, having served faithfully His Lord and Savior both at home and abroad.
Kelvin was born one month before our nation’s 200th birthday, June 4, 1976. Before he was five years old, Kelvin was diagnosed with a cranial tumor that required extensive surgery. His doctor counseled that the operation would quite possibly leave Kelvin seriously handicapped for life, speech and bodily movement wise. His loving parents proceeded in faith, trusting God unquestionably, and moved ahead with plans for the delicate brain surgery.
Kelvin did survive that surgery—and many others—and he did live to walk, talk, and communicate with not only a keen sense of humor but a living and abiding faith in his Lord and Savior. By God’s grace, Kelvin was able to attend college and receive a well-deserved diploma. He cultivated, as much as possible, an independence that would in time allow him to drive and live in his own residence. His tender heart for God, for people, and for world missions would take Kelvin in time to South Africa where, under the auspices Baptist World Mission, and sent out by Thompson Road Baptist Church, Kelvin would realize his lifelong dream of serving God on a foreign field. To be sure, his service was not without steep challenges due to his handicaps that had to daily be reckoned with. But, because of his loving and devoted parents and the prayerful support of a network of hundreds of friends, Kelvin was able to minister, serving in and through the Calvary Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was privileged at that time to be pastor of his sending church, and I can attest that the love and care for him by the people of his home base was with thanksgiving and generosity. We were so proud of what God was doing and had done through Kelvin Krueger—hindered seriously, but never to the point of giving up or giving out. His spirit was indomitable.
But, while serving in South Africa, Kelvin eventually suffered a stroke that necessitated his coming home to the states for medical attention. He never fully recovered from that final blow physically, but his spirit was never crushed, and his love for Christ never diminished as long as he had breath and being. He did, of course, retire as a missionary, and I would like to share with you—in an attempt to keep Kelvin’s memory alive, and with the hope that our God would inspire another would-be missionary to serve—a letter that I wrote to Kelvin upon the fulfillment of his service as a missionary appointee under Baptist World Mission, a fundamental mission board on which I have been privileged to serve for 40 years:
“In the wise and good providences of our great God, He has relieved you, Kelvin, of your assignment there for now; but He has not withdrawn your commission as a missionary; that will stand as long as your heart is right with God and I am confident that you will remain steadfast for Him, a good and faithful servant until He summons you to His beloved side.
Thank you, Kelvin, (and Mr. and Mrs. Krueger, without whose loving care and assistance Kelvin could not have done what he was able to accomplish) for loving Jesus and His gospel so much that you were willing to go alone to South Africa with that saving gospel. Because of your early in life physical trials and subsequent resulting hardships, it would have been easy to excuse yourself and to expect someone else to do the job. But you stepped up and said without hesitation, “Here am I, send me!” And He did, to God be the glory!
You served well and were faithful to your calling. As your pastor, I could not be more proud of anyone. I count you my peer in Christian service, fellow servant, beloved in the Lord and co-laborer. I cherish your friendship and treasure the times of past, and hopefully yet future, fellowship. You have done well, my fellow soldier of the cross. Know that your life has impacted and will continue to impact more people than you can imagine.
So, this is not the end of the road, but a bend in the road. Keep preaching, Kelvin, with or without a voice, with or without a microphone or a pulpit. By your life, labors, and love you are writing a beautiful story and I am anxious to see what the next chapter holds. I am, as always, Your Friend.”
Kelvin, while in South Africa, had a ministry through his church in Johannesburg of visiting weekly a home for handicapped children. They loved to gather in a group, each of them in wheelchairs, maybe 40 or 50 in number, as Kelvin would come to them in his own handicapped way, to share with them the love of God through Christ. Only eternity will tell what this man, who had a lifelong dream of serving Christ as a missionary, accomplished for His kingdom. I hope never to forget Kelvin Krueger, and I hope if you have never heard his story before, this brief reminder of his life and labors will encourage and inspire you. What can you do for Christ with what—and how and when and who—He has made of you?
Kelvin U. Krueger
June 4, 1976-February 2, 2021
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.” (Phil. 4:13)
Note: In the “You and God” archives you will find previous posts about Kelvin Krueger on October 7, 2020 (“The Kelvinator”) and February 8, 2021 (“Here Am I, Send Me”).