Rudi Lack – my first taste of YWAM

by Rod Smith

Rudi Lack is one of my heroes...

I had just re-ignited my relationship with a church in the early 1970s, maybe ’73 or ’74, when my pastor (Charles Gordon) announced a visiting preacher was coming to Durban who needed somewhere to stay for about 10 days. With my parents being in Europe, and our house empty, I volunteered.

YWAM’s Rudi Lack (who died this past week) arrived and his faith, determination, charisma, good-humor, and desire to know and love the nations of the world, hit me like a ton of bricks. He was my very first YWAMMER.

Rudi:

1. Watched himself on our TV (very new to South Africa at that time) being interviewed on a show I seem to remember was called Crossroads. This was much to the amusement of our maid who had hardly ever seen TV let alone had she been in the same room as someone who was “on” it.

2. Having just completed a tour from an Asian country, he was lugging the largest “portable” radio/tape/speaker system I had ever seen and gave me the freedom to use it. When the batteries (eight of them) ran down I replaced them. I recall bagging them in a little brown paper sack and putting them in the trash. Then I retrieved them from the trash – and then, I questioned the wisdom of saving old and used and already-replaced batteries and placed them once again in the trash. That night when Rudi returned from his day of activities and the trash was already gone, Rudi asked where the “used” batteries were. Rudi announced that I’d disposed of his 8 rechargeable-cell batteries. “Did God not give you a ‘check’ in your spirit? Did you not hesitate and wonder why?” Rudi asked. I recounted what had occurred and he playfully scolded me for not listening. It took days (and a great deal of my cash) to find replacement rechargeable batteries – the existence of which, prior to Rudi’s visit, I was unaware. I am still trying to hear the “check” in my spirit (about much more than re-chargeable batteries) and think of Rudi every time.

3. While visiting, Rudi wanted prayer cards made for every country in the world. He knew exactly what he wanted and how much God had told him to spend. I drove him all over Durban from printer to printer for at least three days until we found a man who knew exactly what Rudi wanted and quoted the price that was exactly what Rudi had heard from God. I recall my annoynace hearing Rudi reject a printer who wanted to do the same job for less money.

4. Seated for our first breakfast in my home, I decided that since this man of God was at my table, I’d better pray over our meal. Closing my eyes, I invited Rudi to join me: “For what we are about to receive, may The Lord ….” I nervously began, only to feel Rudi looking at me and not participating in my great act of faith. “Brother,” he said interrupting me, “Do you want to pray or not?” Rudi proceeded to take a folded map of the world from his shirt pocket, laid it out on the table, and “prayed up a storm” for the World God so loved. I think this was my first ever occasion to hear someone pray for anything or anyone other than his or her own needs.

5. When Rudi preached at my church I responded to the prayer for my “tent pegs to be enlarged” (whatever that meant to me at the time) for my “boundaries to be enlarged” (again, whatever that meant) – and, when I saw Rudi, when I ran into him quite by chance, several times in subsequent years in Kona, Hawaii and in Mangere, New Zealand, when I myself was on teaching and preaching trips, I’d remind him of those days at my home and how indeed I believed our prayers had been answered.

“Keep telling me about it,” he’d say, “Of course, I remember it all……”

Rest in peace Rudi, or shall I say, do whatever you want in heaven, just allow others to rest, if you can! Thanks for those few treasured days in my boyhood home, where you showed up and showed me what passion for people and for the world really looks like.

One Comment to “Rudi Lack – my first taste of YWAM”

  1. Thanks for sharing this Rod, Rudi has left his mark on many and those who have met him will never forget him. I wonder what he is up to in heaven!!

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