Rudy Lack

A tribute from Darlene Cunningham

Loren and I were in ChiangMai, Thailand celebrating YWAM’s 50th anniversary with our missions family when we heard the news that our dear friend and co-worker, Rudi Lack, had gone to be with the Lord on February 3, 2010. I was the first speaker the next morning for the anniversary event, and the subject was “Gratitude.”

I began to share the story of how Loren and I first met Rudi: It was the winter of 1969 in Switzerland, and Loren was having back pains so severe that he could not sit or stand up—he could only lie prone. He had committed to speak at a church in the German part of the country. Human “wisdom” would have said that he should cancel, but Loren had a strong sense of urgency that he was to obey God and go; God would take care of his back. Several of the YWAMers at the Lausanne base propped a board behind Loren as he stood, and then leaned him back until it acted as a “stretcher.” They loaded him, laying on the board, into the back of a bread truck and drove the many winding miles through Swiss countryside to the church. When they unloaded Loren and stood him up to speak, the Lord instantaneously healed his back!

The young man who translated for Loren that day into Swiss-German was named Rudi Lack. Afterwards, he told Loren that a man of God had prophesied over him that an American would come and call him to the nations. When God called, Rudi went…and he never looked back! He was the first Swiss YWAMer and the first European YWAMer. Rudi continued to be the first in many things in YWAM; with only Loren having gone before him, he was the first YWAMer to trailblaze East Africa, South Africa, China and a host of other regions and nations.

I remember one time—I believe it was in the 70s—as we were receiving reports at a leadership conference from various nations around the world, someone commented, “Rudi is like a bumblebee—everywhere he goes, he cross-pollinates, sharing vision that leads to great fruitfulness!” The analogy stuck, and he became known as “the YWAM bumblebee.”

As I shared all of this with our Asian friends in ChiangMai, there were people present from 48 nations, and the session was being translated into five languages. I asked for those who had been personally impacted by Rudi’s life to stand, and many of the leaders who had pioneered the region stood up. Several shared that Rudi was one of the first people who had told them about YWAM.

Rudi was a life-long visionary trailblazer, and another area he faithfully pioneered was the area of books. He saw early-on what a huge impact books could have for the Kingdom. He got a copy of Loren’s first book, Is That Really You, God?, into the home of every pastor in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Throughout his lifetime, this one individual man distributed millions of Christian books! Some that he authored include BREAKTHROUGH Taking the Gospel Across Forbidden Borders (1999) and 101 Leadership Principles (2005). How very fitting that he was still active in this vision up until his homegoing, having published Spiritual Lessons Learned with Julius in 2009.

And now dear Rudi is trailblazing Heaven. A true visionary pioneer has gone home, and I KNOW he has heard the Father’s affirmation “well done, good and faithful servant!” However, here on earth, the impact of his life will continue into many generations of present and future missionaries.