A True Vessel of the Lord
If you ever heard Ruth Heflin sing, you know that you were listening to a true worshiper of God. Her voice resonated with beautiful and powerful melodies, ringing with a divine intensity that carried people directly into the presence of God. She led people into spontaneous worship, entreating the Holy Spirit to move in unprecedented ways.
Through her ministry, countless people have experienced God's touch and been awakened to His glory realm. Ruth was indeed a true vessel for the Lord, with a deep and abiding faith in His power to transform the lives of His children. She was a descendant of Jonathan Edwards, one of the most influential revivalists of the 18th century.
As a Christian minister, Ruth Ward Heflin dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to serving God and advancing His message to the masses. During those years, she traveled all over the world, spreading the Gospel and reaching out to those in need. Heflin was also one of the founders of Mount Zion Fellowship, an international prayer ministry based in Jerusalem. There she lived for more than 25 years before returning to the US.
Throughout her ministry, Heflin's passion for Israel and prayer was evident at every turn. When Ruth set out to start the prayer ministry in Jerusalem, she had no idea just how much it would impact the lives of people around the world. Nevertheless, her passion for the nations was clear from the very beginning, as she believed that her heartfelt prayers could do so much more than offer mere words. She had a focus on intercession through praise and worship, and helped to break down barriers between Believers across different religions and cultures, forging new connections while also powerfully reinforcing community bonds.
Over time, Ruth's calling grew even stronger, with a particular emphasis on revival for her homeland in America. She knew that if people could experience the glory realm, it would not only rekindle their faith, but it would inspire others to seek out their own face-to-face encounters with God. With tireless passion and unwavering determination, Ruth poured herself into this vision.
Having lost her brother, Wallace Heflin Jr., in 1996, she returned home and assumed the job as Director of Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle (CPT) in Virginia. With years of experience in ministry, Ruth immediately began working tirelessly to ensure that CPT continued to thrive and serve the Body of Christ. And through it all, Ruth never lost sight of her ultimate goal – to see CPT continue to spread love and hope throughout the land, one person at a time. (Photo of Ruth Heflin via Steve Porter)
The History Behind Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle
At the heart of Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle is a deep faith and abiding love for the Lord. The CPT camp was founded by her parents, Wallace Sr. and Edith, in Ashland, Virginia in the 1950s, and has since become a true oasis for those seeking spiritual renewal. Despite its simple, rustic setting, thousands of people are drawn to this camp, year after year, to attend church services and conferences, and to worship alongside their fellow Believers.
The spirit of devotion that courses through the camp is palpable, filling visitors with a sense of peace and joy as they bask in God's presence. Whether you are a lifelong Believer or someone looking for refreshment, the Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle camp is truly a special place – a refuge where you can rest, reconnect with God and be revitalized for your work in the world.
Over the years, the camp has provided a place of healing and rest for those in need. During this time, the camp has operated on a strictly volunteer basis, with no fees for the food or accommodations offered to those seeking refuge.
During the summer of 1999, Ruth said in an interview, "There is a feeling among the nations to come and dine." She believed Ashland was a "watering hole" where the thirsty could come and drink, and then take home with them.
In one service that summer, 70 nations were represented. Ruth was amazed, and said, "The Jewish people feel that when Moses appointed the 70, it was representative of 70 nations. I feel that all of the states have been represented since camp started. It is the Spirit driving people to come. Some have reported seeing visions and having dreams inviting them. Others have shared that God has shown them supernaturally how to come."
Ruth was skilled at connecting with people from all walks of life, and she quickly became known as a valuable resource for heads of state and other influential leaders around the world. Her powerful Gospel songs, including, "I Ask for the Nations," and "The Wheel Within the Wheel," are still widely sung today, and her best-selling book, "Glory," has been translated into multiple languages.
In addition to her heartfelt devotion to spreading God's Word through music, writing and speaking, Ruth made an impact through her many other publications, including "Revival Glory," "River Glory," "Harvest Glory," "Golden Glory," "Unifying Glory" and "Revelation Glory." Through all of her efforts, Ruth inspired countless people to find deep spiritual growth and revival. Truly, Ruth was a matriarch of Pentecostal faith, and a singer whose songs will continue to uplift and inspire for generations to come. (Photo of Ruth Heflin via Steve Porter)
Ruth Graduates to Heaven
When Ruth Heflin was first diagnosed with cancer, she made a conscious decision to keep her diagnosis private and focus on her recovery while in the hands of God. However, despite Ruth's wishes, it wasn't long before the news spread and many of her supporters heard about her illness. They were determined not to give up hope; instead, they began praying for Ruth's healing. And against all odds, just a little more than two months after undergoing a mastectomy, Ruth stepped back into the pulpit at the opening service of the annual camp meeting. Looking back on that momentous occasion, Ruth said she wanted to preach on opening night in order to give the "old devil a black eye."
Despite facing incredible adversity and intense suffering, she remained steadfast in her faith and refused to let cancer stop her from spreading love and hope to others. Her story serves as an inspiration to us all.
As she sat in a chair next to the hospital bed in her home, Ruth could feel the peace and joy that emanated from her heart in that moment. She had spent the previous day reflecting on God's incredible power and glory, and that sense of wonder seemed to shine through her as she spoke softly about her faith.
During the next few months, Ruth Heflin continued to pour her heart and soul into her preaching at the camp, despite being confined to a wheelchair. She persisted through this setback to be as passionate and driven as ever, and she refused to let it stop her from spreading the Word of God. Attendees were awed by her unwavering faith and dedication, and they began to report supernatural manifestations occurring during her sermons.
One of the most remarkable moments in Ruth's life came about a week before her death, when she received an inspiring vision of Jesus Himself. As she recounted, Jesus spoke to her directly, asking if she was ready to come home. Ruth told Him about the Pentecostal campground and wondered what would become of it after she passed away. To her astonishment, Jesus told her that everything would be taken care of and reassured her that He would come to take her home soon.
As she lay surrounded by her loved ones, Ruth Heflin felt content and at peace. For years, she had been a pillar of strength to those around her, offering the love and support that only a mother could give. But as she felt her body gradually giving way, it seemed like an answer to the question she had posed just the day before: "Do you hear the angels singing?"
Those gathered around her remembered all the ways that Ruth had touched their lives – how she had listened with compassion, encouraged with kindness and guided with wisdom. True to His word, just eight days later, on September 15, 2000, Ruth passed away peacefully at a hospital in Richmond. (Photo of Ruth Heflin via Steve Porter)
For Ruth, words always came easy. Whether she was composing a song or delivering a speech, her expressive voice and keen sense of language always shone through. And in 1994, she opened the House of Representatives, delivering a moving prayer.
One particularly moving tribute was the flying of the flag over the Capitol complex in Washington, D.C. on the day of Heflin's death, which was the same flag that was displayed during the services. This symbol of respect and reverence was signaling to all present just how deeply she had touched and inspired those around her. With a legacy like this, it is clear that Ruth Heflin will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come.
Ruth may not have had children of her own, but she became a spiritual mother to many during her lifetime. She loved the Lord and imparted that love through Scripture to those who were fortunate enough meet her in person or come across her work.
Many books could be written on Ruth Ward Heflin and how God used this mighty woman to change the world with God's glory. I know there are women who carry the torch and are blazing a trail of glory in the world today, and many of those women are reading this tribute right now!
Lord, we are humbled and grateful for the life of Ruth Heflin, who devoted her days to serving You and spreading Your Word. She was an inspiration to all who crossed her path, sharing her faith and encouraging others to draw closer to You, our heavenly Father. Through her words and actions, she showed us the power of living a life of humility and devotion, grounded in deep faith in You.
Lord, let us be inspired by Ruth's example as we seek to follow in her footsteps. May we always be guided by Your will, seeking Your truth with unwavering faith and devotion. We are awed by Your abundance and grace, Lord, knowing that You have blessed us with Ruth as a magnificent guiding light in our lives. Thank You for the gift of this dear servant who touched so many hearts with her humble devotion. Amen.
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Steve and his wife Diane¬†founded Refuge Ministries and a presence-driven publishing company, Deeper Life Press. He has a special anointing to bring forth the deep truths of the Spirit, with a clarity and simplicity that draws one up into a closer walk and deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Steve is a regular contributor to many prophetic publications, including the Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, and the Identity Network. Steve's books, maturity pamphlets, articles, and videos have touched countless lives around the world. The Porters reside near Rochester, NY.
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