July 18, 1923 – June 21, 2016
Rev. Raymond E. Streutker passed away June 21. He had served the Free Methodist Church as a missionary in Asia for more than 30 years. A Celebration of Life will be held on July 30 in Chula Vista, CA.
During Raymond’s late teen years, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington, where his parents faithfully attended the Free Methodist church. Raymond was occasionally asked to use his creative drawing skills to illustrate a Bible story as it was told.
Raymond enrolled in Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington, in the fall of 1944. After one term, he felt the call of God to continue in college and prepare for the ministry. It was during college he met Lorraine Johnson, who became his wife in 1947.
Following college graduation in 1948, Raymond was assigned as pastor of the Free Methodist church in Victoria, British Columbia. During their third year there, the Streutkers felt the urge to seek missionary service after reading a special feature in The Missionary Tidings magazine, the denomination’s missions publication. The feature described the inception, successes and challenges of the work in the remote interior of Mindanao Island in the Philippines. One article in the magazine concluded with a plea from one of the villages that needed a pastor. Raymond and Lorraine contacted Free Methodist World Missions to see if they could fill that need. They were accepted as candidates and appointed to the Philippines in 1951.
Arriving on the field in 1952 with two young daughters, the Streutkers were involved in evangelistic work. A motorboat took them to places inaccessible by road. Raymond filled a variety of roles, including pastor, district superintendent, dean of men and seminary instructor. He was responsible for producing several radio broadcasts. Both Streutkers also taught for several years in the Light and Life Bible College in Butuan City.
In 1975, the Streutkers moved from jungle to the city – Manila, an area that at the time embraced 6 million people. The Streutkers learned the Tagalog language to help them pioneer a church in downtown Manila. Professionals were won to the Lord, and they in turn reached out to their families and neighbors. In addition to his church ministries, Ray was offered the position of guidance counselor to students attending a large technical school. Ray had the opportunity through this avenue to witness to students, faculty and staff. The school allowed the Free Methodist Church to use the facilities for Sunday services.
Following the Streutkers’ sixth term in 1982, they continued on furlough for a time in the U.S. This arrangement allowed them to visit churches as well as to be close to their elderly parents and four daughters as they were completing college and beginning families. When the Streutkers completed their field ministry in 1986, they believed their original goals and vision, including opening John Wesley Bible College in the Luzon area, were being fulfilled by capable Filipino pastors and missionaries. The church in Manila by that time was housed in its own buildings and had 13 satellite churches. After leaving the mission field, the Stretukers served a short time in pastoral ministry in the Pacific Northwest Conference.
Raymond’s Colleagues Write
The Stretukers served alongside Fran Haslam who writes, “Ray was a great man with a wonderful sense of humor. After sharing his ‘funny,’ he laughed uproariously, making it even funnier. He was the ‘fix it’ guy for the mission. His gift for repairing the impossible even included rebuilding kerosene refrigerators that quit working. Ray Streutker, with his low vision, was a talented artist. His beautiful line drawings were of professional quality. Ray’s ultimate passion was soul winning and disciplining new converts in basic Christianity. Heaven is richer with the presence of this godly man.”
Former missionary Jerry Van Kuiken recalls Ray’s sense of humor and his keen enthusiasm for evangelism, “Ray was full of energy and ideas about how to reach people for Jesus. I think he must have dreamed about reaching the lost, as he seemed to constantly have some idea of another way of reaching them. Ray had a great sense of humor and would always enjoy a good story or joke. We often reflected on our similar Dutch heritage and the stories that surrounded that heritage. He was known for his chalk art and used that talent effectively in evangelism.”
“My earliest memories about the work in the Philippines,” writes Rev. Gerry Coates, Asia Regional Assistant/Philippines and local church FM pastor, “was through visits from Ray Struetker in our church when I was a child. He held me spellbound with his chalk drawings that would come to life with black lights. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the moon shimmering off the water with the Philippine huts in the background. In my contact with the Philippine church over the past 14 years I have heard so many people witness to the effective ministry of Ray Streutker.”
FM missionary to South Africa, Phil Capp, knew Ray before they both entered missionary service, since both their families attended the Bremerton FMC. Phil writes, “Ray had a good ear and learned to speak the local language where he and Lorraine were assigned. Ray knew deeply what it was to experience the new birth in Christ. He never lost his deep understanding of his remarkable conversion to Jesus.”
Current Asia Area Director for FMWM Eric Spangler writes, “Many, many people today must live in the joy of Jesus because of the three decades of service Raymond Streutker gave to the Kingdom of God through the Free Methodist Church in the Philippines. That which fades in the memory of humankind never fades from the presence of and memory of the Father when service is rendered for His sake. He uses the work of one generation to build the next and the next. We pause to remember, thank God, and honor Raymond’s life, with full realization that what he gave to Jesus in missionary work has helped to move the Filipino church strongly forward.”
Colleague David Yardy recollects, “Ray and Lorraine Streutker were pioneer missionaries in Mindanao, Philippines, where the Free Methodist ministry was launched. In 1975 in a step of faith they moved to Manila. This was 25 years after the beginning of Philippine ministries and they were able follow up with members who had moved to Manila for education and jobs. A church was quickly launched on the campus of a university and from that base several came to Christ to become pastors of the expanding ministries. Today the Philippines Free Methodist Church has 29,000 members, and they all praise God for the legacy of the faithfulness of Ray Streutker.”