A Tribute to Jojo Ruba
By Stephanie Gray
2001 was the year Jojo Ruba and I met. It was also the year we started CCBR. And it just so happened that “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” was released in theatres then too. And as long as I can remember, Jojo was particularly fond of the following exchange between Frodo and Gandalf:
Frodo: “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf: “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
For the past decade, Jojo has sacrificially used the time that has been given to him to save pre-born children from something we all wish had never happened—abortion. As he has recently announced his call to move to a different ministry, a Protestant apologetic organization that will broaden his focus to other moral issues as well as faith-based matters, I, on behalf of our CCBR team, wish to pay tribute to Jojo for all he has done for the babies.
The list of audience member testimonies from people saying that they are pro-life now because they heard one of Jojo’s presentations is long. In fact, we received an e-mail from a woman who was not only personally inspired by one of Jojo’s presentations, but who shared about an audience member’s conversion; she wrote, “[The audience member] was in awe and stated that he has always been pro-choice ‘just because.’ He walked away [from Jojo’s presentation] now wondering how anyone could make an argument in favour of abortion. He thought he was prepared for the images but he could not believe his eyes and stated ‘No words could convey the message in the same way.’”
Minds being changed has led, most importantly, to lives being saved. In fact, one of our team members is a proud uncle because his sister stumbled upon abortion imagery from Jojo, and then chose life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy 1 ½ years later.
Acknowledging the power of pictures and the importance of responding to need, Jojo has allowed himself to be stretched to focus on different areas in order to help get the pro-life message out. When we launched our truck project, Jojo took the lead directing it until we found a truck director. He also put his journalism and media skills to work helping with video creation until we found a multimedia director. All along, of course, he has fulfilled his passion and gift to teach and train, building up new leaders. In fact, a good many of our team credit him for reaching out so warmly and drawing them in.
Of all our speakers, Jojo takes the prize for receiving the most hostility from abortion advocates in his audiences. Whether at St. Mary’s University or McGill, rude and disruptive individuals have chosen to shout Jojo down rather than respectfully engage him. But as Dr. King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
And here is where we see the depth of Jojo’s character—that in the face of that hostility, he didn’t respond in kind. Rather, he lived up to the Ambassador model from Stand to Reason—something we incorporate in our training, thanks to Jojo’s initiation—imparting knowledge, wisdom, and character in the face of such unkind abortion advocates.
Jojo is a big fan of C.S. Lewis, and likes to point out that he said to love is to want the other’s good; it is to be other-focused, not self-focused. Jojo has most certainly demonstrated that in his life, not only giving so much to babies he’s never met, but using his non-CCBR time to give again, through his church (where he’s a youth pastor) and through the ministry, Faith Beyond Belief, he started years ago and is now transitioning to full-time.
Although Jojo is stepping onto a different path, we’re still moving in the same direction. We look forward to his team members joining us at “Choice” Chains, and when we EndtheKilling—in our lifetime—we look forward to celebrating with him in 18 years.
A youth pastor in Surrey once noted, “We need more people like Jojo to speak the truth in love and to be caring enough to confront. For too long, Christians have stood by idly, or worse, ignored the plight of the pre-born.”
As a true “Lord of the Rings” fan, Jojo knows how to wisely use the time that has been given to him. May we do the same.
Thank you, Jojo, for your service and your example.
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