Summer Camp and a second chance proved life-changers…
As a young man, Christian summer camp influenced Ray DeLoe to consider full-time Christian service. His home church minister, Ronnie Poe (BSL’63), made trips each summer with a van full of teens to camp at Warm Lake in Idaho. There they were challenged by Kenny Beckman and Delbert White to consider full-time Christian service. Ray made a commitment to go into the ministry there and then fought with God about it for the next 20 years.
He first attended Boise Bible College in the fall of 1971; however, he was not the best student and was asked to not return for the spring semester. Ray says the best thing that happened that time at BBC was he met Rhonda. Forty-eight years later, Raymond E. DeLoe is married to Rhonda R. (Scott) DeLoe, the daughter of Richard (Dick) (BSL’54) and Dorothy Scott. Ray and Rhonda have 3 daughters, Rashelle, Roxanna, and RayLene; 6 grandsons, and 1 granddaughter.
While living in Vale, Oregon, where Rhonda’s father was preaching, Charles Crane held a revival meeting. He asked Ray why he wasn’t in Bible college. When he heard Ray’s story, he encouraged him to go back to school and suggested Northwest College of the Bible in Portland, where he had graduated from. Ray and Rhonda moved to Portland with their oldest daughter, and he began classes in the fall of 1974. While in Portland, they added two more daughters, and as the family grew, Ray needed to care for them. In 1977 they moved to Enterprise, Oregon, where Ray worked for Safeway for ten years.
In the fall of 1987, he stopped running from his calling and returned to Boise. At 35 years old and married with 3 girls, he knew God could still use him in full-time ministry. Academic Dean Carl Anderson encouraged him, and in 1990 he graduated with a BS degree. It wasn’t easy. Rhonda worked full-time so Ray could be a full-time student, and he took on many parenting duties. He delivered the Idaho Statesman with his youngest helping, and the two older girls had their own routes to help make ends meet.
As an older student, many of the professors were younger than Ray. He remembers turning his first paper into Mr. Faber in Logic class and getting it back with more red ink than black. He was given a D- with the word “grace” following the grade. The next week he was in Mr. Faber’s office to tell him he didn’t think he was cut out to be a student and was thinking of going back to Bay City and looking for work. Chuck Faber talked him into staying. Ray was thankful he cared for him as a student. It showed how much the professors wanted students to succeed.
Gerry Dake had a huge influence on him in the Christian Ed classes, which he begrudgingly took only because they were required. At the end of each class, he was compelled to tell her how much he had learned. Restoration History with Michael Hines and Modern World History with Mike Sanders was inspiring. Mike was the minister at El Dorado Church of Christ, where Ray served as the youth minister. They even paid for the internship enabling Ray to give up the paper routes.
Ray has always enjoyed sports and was able to coach the women’s basketball team. That year they went 14 and 3, losing in the championship game of the city tournament. During his senior year, he was Student Body President.
“…I learned how to both study the Bible and how to think critically. . . I regularly recommend Boise Bible College as the best place for a Biblical education.”
Before graduation, he took a job with the Christian Church in John Day, Oregon. He needed to take Advanced Bible Doctrine from Mr. Faber at 7am Tuesday thru Friday to graduate. Bob and Dora Wecker provided him with a room and breakfast each morning, and the Fabers had him over every Wednesday evening for dinner. It wasn’t the best situation having Rhonda and the girls in John Day while he took an early morning class, but they worked it out. He hauled firewood to Boise to sell, and at the end of his education, he left school debt-free.
In three years, the church in John Day grew from 13 women to averaging 50 in attendance. In 1992 Ray spent a brief time at the Eastside Church of Christ in San Jose, California, and saw the church grow. The leadership was uncomfortable, and they parted ways. While applying at churches in Oregon and Idaho, Ray worked as a courier. Their next stop was Gridley, California, where they spent twelve years at Gridley Christian Church. Ray served on the board of Heavenly Hills Camp and directed junior high camps during this time.
In 2006 Rhonda’s position was eliminated at the hospital she was working at, and she took a job in Hollister, California. They moved closer to her work, and Ray took a position with a company as a courier delivering the isotope used to do PET Scans. He eventually was promoted to supervisor. They attended church in Salinas at Crossroads Christian Church. When the minister resigned, Ray was hired as their minister until June 2016.
After almost 25 years in California, they moved back to Oregon to prepare for retirement. Ray is currently preaching at Heppner Christian Church in Heppner, Oregon. He was encouraged to take this position by Andrew (BA’94) and CJ (AS’90) Johnson, who had ministered at the church before getting their master’s degrees and becoming teachers. Ray came in 2016 with a 5-year plan to help the church grow, hire a younger minister who desired rural ministry and spend a year mentoring him.
The plan is on course. In 2017, Ray started grooming a BBC student who seemed the perfect fit for the church in Heppner. He then began a time of preparation for the congregation. He prayed for clarity and would regularly invite preaching majors and sometimes Dr. Ben Williams to preach at Heppner, helping them get used to others.
Quentin Byers (BS’17) was hired in June 2020, and Ray’s retirement is set for July 4, 2021. The church has grown from an average of 35 to over 50 and is still growing. (Heppner has a population of just over 1,200 people.) Quentin and Ray share the preaching responsibilities, and Quentin is taking over more and more of the ministry tasks. Ray has found the time encouraging and has confidence in handing the full responsibilities over soon and slipping into retirement. Quentin, his wife Ashton, and daughters Kyla and Alba have found a home in Heppner. The girls have won their hearts as they call Ray and Rhonda Gramma and Grandpa.
Ray enjoys the outdoors, spending time hunting, fishing, and officiating high school softball and football. He has umpired girls who went on to play for major colleges. He worked sectional championship games in California and semifinal-state championship games in Oregon. He likes to cook. He says his mom taught the boys to cook and his younger brother helped him become a “grill-master.” Ray has helped cook for our Alumni Gathering meals (at the beginning of Spring Conference week) for several years, and his servant attitude and leadership have helped grow the event. For ten years, he has made trips to Liberia, where he works with the Hope Center, preaching and helping with projects. Ask him to tell this story – and be prepared – it might take a while.
When asked what was most important about his Boise Bible College experience, Ray says,
“…I learned how to both study the Bible and how to think critically. The ability to read commentaries, literature, and Christian books and spot the authors’ preconceived beliefs has helped keep me and thus the churches I have served from falling prey to many of the false teachings that are prevalent in the ‘Christian world’ today. I regularly recommend Boise Bible College as the best place for a Biblical education.”
Ray, Rhonda, and her siblings established a scholarship to honor her father, Dick Scott. Each spring, a preaching major with a passion for small church ministry is awarded $3,500.