Roy Krauss, aged 95, pictured at work.
Some of the lists of over 3,000 people who received letters from Roy.
Roy and Elizabeth Krauss, now both enjoying their tremendous rewards in Heaven.
A great saint has gone home to a great reward. Great saint? Surely there was nothing ‘great’ about Roy Krauss. Why, he was only an old man, a widower aged 95, sitting in a wheelchair in his kitchen most of the week. He never had a high paying job and was virtually unknown outside his own small country town. What was so great about him? Well, read on, dear friends.
We met Roy and his wife Elizabeth several years ago at a small evangelical church in the country about an hour’s drive from St Louis. Roy died just before Christmas 2008 and now they are both rejoicing in Heaven. Elizabeth preceded him by a few years. It was our privilege to visit Roy at his home in Labadie, Missouri, last September on the last day of our USA trip.
He was, as usual, in his wheelchair in the kitchen, and he was working. Working? What work could a 95-year-old wheelchair-bound man possibly do? The table was spread with the tools of his trade – a telephone book, envelopes, paper, and long lists of people he has written to. For Roy had decided to pray for every person in his locality, and to send each one of them a letter. By the time of our September visit he had mailed out 3,656 letters and prayed for each one of those people.
His letter began: ‘Dear friend,
‘Some people read encyclopedias, some read dictionaries; I read the phone book. Today I read your name. As I did so, I prayed for you. I don’t know your need or situation, but God does. Therefore I asked Him to meet the needs of your life today. Don’t worry, as neither I nor anyone else will ever contact you or follow up this letter in any way. I simply wanted to let you know that I prayed for you today. If, in the future, I can pray for you in a more specific way, please feel free to look me up in the phone book and contact me. May God richly bless you.’
Then, along with that short letter, Roy included an article entitled ‘In Case You Are Left Behind’. The article said that many people who thought they were going to Heaven had been misled, because they had placed their faith in the wrong thing. Some thought they were saved because they were baptized or gave money, because they repeated a special prayer, took communion, or believed in the historical Jesus etc. None of this was ‘saving faith’.
The article explained that real, saving faith involved not just repeating a prayer, but actually praying a prayer of repentance direct to God, as we are told in the book of Romans 10:13, ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ The point is that you cannot just repeat a formula and hope that will be good enough.
Roy told us that he had always assumed he was a Christian because he was born into the Lutheran church, baptized as a baby and had attended church all his life. Then when he married Elizabeth, he was bothered when she and her friends would often talk about the Lord and what Heaven would be like, etc. He made fun of them sometimes, but wondered why they were somehow different. He wanted to know the truth and started reading the Bible for himself. After about two years of that, something happened one Sunday.
He was 33 years old, a Sunday School teacher at his Lutheran church, and he was preparing the lesson. ‘I had been reading my Bible and I told the Lord I loved Him. Just then the Lord spoke to me and said: “You do NOT love Me.”’ Oh, wow, that got me. I said, Lord what’s wrong? Then it seemed like He started dealing with me. I realized that I was a lost sinner. Oh my, I just cried. I was down in the basement, and Elizabeth didn’t know what was going on with me. I wiped my face, went upstairs and took her and the children to their church. On the way to the Lutheran church which I attended …I realized I wasn’t right with the Lord. I didn’t have the Holy Spirit; how could I help anyone else? It was during Lent and the preacher was going on about what all we could do to make God happy. I was sitting in a back seat and I just squirmed.
‘I went downstairs to teach a class of 12 to 14-year-old boys and girls and said, Oh God would you help me? Help me and I won’t ask you another favour until I’m right with You. It seemed like He did help me. The lesson was “Ask God for the truth; don’t listen to man.”’
Later Roy found himself crying and crying and when an altar call was given inviting people to accept Jesus into their hearts, he went forward and tried to put his trust in Christ. ‘Then someone came down to the pulpit area where I was kneeling and said, “Roy, you have to repent.” I had no idea what it meant to repent. I said to the guy, “I want to” and that instant the Lord showed me I was a lost sinner. I hated it. I’ll never forget how I hated that sin. I said out loud, “I hate it” and then it seemed like something happened and I was born again! I was on my knees and I said, “I’ll never sin again”. Then I knew why I wouldn’t drink alcohol; I didn’t want to lead anyone else into it.’
Roy said he was on his knees and was not able to get up. ‘I had no power. I said, “Lord I’m going to depend on you from now on to lift me up and help me.” When I got up, I just told everyone – “I love you.” It got a little embarrassing!’ When he got home and told Elizabeth what had happened, she was so happy. One week later he was baptized at her church.
That was the start of many adventures as Roy and Elizabeth endeavoured to serve the Lord Jesus throughout their marriage. There was much good fruit from their lives, including the founding of First Evangelical Free Church of Franklin County, Villa Ridge, Missouri. The pastor there, B.W. Honeycutt, is married to their granddaughter.
To visit the Krauss home was always a blessing. There was always a genuine welcome, a willingness to give you time, to listen to your problems, and to pray for you. So few families on this planet will really welcome people in; so few couples are prepared to share the love of God with others; so few know God well enough to pray effectively for your needs.
Roy and Elizabeth would not have considered themselves anything special; but they knew God. They had the Holy Spirit within them. And now they are both with the Lord. I look forward to seeing them again one day when my work is done, and, as the Bible puts it: ‘so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ Will you be joining us, dear friend? Roy’s letter referred to above will tell you how you can be sure.
Footnote: In case anyone would like to visit or contact the church Roy and Elizabeth helped to found, details are: First Evangelical Free Church of Franklin County, 480 Highway AT, Villa Ridge, MO 63089
You can write to PO Box 29, Gray Summit, MO, 63039, USA, telephone 636-742-4118