(Denver, CO) – WorldVenture announces the bittersweet news that Ray Buker, Jr., missionary to South Asia and well-known leader with WorldVenture, died Friday morning, July 5, 2019. He was 93.
Buker was a celebrated, well-loved leader in WorldVenture and beyond. He was passionate about global missions and recruited workers with the same passion. More importantly, Buker modeled the WorldVenture vision of being compelled by the love of God.
“The joy of the Lord was always on Ray’s face whenever he greeted people” reminisced Dennis Vogan, Vice President of Organizational Solutions for WorldVenture. Buker was known for his joy, his encouragement, and his love.
Born in Massachusetts in 1925, Buker spent much of his childhood in Southeast Asia with his missionary parents. Married in 1950 and appointed to missions work in 1951, Ray and Jean Buker persevered through many obstacles, ultimately founding a ministry in South Asia in 1954, focused on church planting, evangelism, and Bible study development. Buker spent several years learning the Sindhi language and made significant gospel impact through one-on-one conversations and training new believers.
“Decades after Ray left, people in the area still talk about him,” noted Marty Shaw, WorldVenture’s Vice President for International Ministries. “He had a love for the mission.”
In 1971, Buker became the Personnel Secretary for WorldVenture (then known as “CBFMS”). Among his key responsibilities, he regularly spoke and personally recruited new workers at various colleges and seminaries. Many workers credit Buker’s encouragement and friendship as the reason they decided to go into missions with WorldVenture/CBFMS. As a result, Buker built a legacy of engaging the world for gospel impact.
“He mobilized, not just our workers, but thousands of other leaders,” noted Jeff Denlinger, WorldVenture President. “The whole Buker family, and especially Ray, left an indelible mark on WorldVenture.”
Buker was as well-known for his encouragement and prayers as he was for his early morning phone calls to workers. Both Vogan and Shaw chuckled fondly at the memory of Buker’s early morning phone calls to each of them.
Shaw confessed that as a young worker, “those infamous early morning phone calls got me through.”
Buker retired in 1992 but continued to be heavily involved with WorldVenture. Buker never stopped praying for WorldVenture. And he still made phone calls in the early hours of the morning to share his encouragement and love. Vogan shared that “Ray prayed for me weekly, and reminded me [by leaving] voice-mails on Monday mornings before I arrived in the office.”
Ray Buker, Jr.’s memorial service will be held Friday, July 12, 2019 at 11:00am at First Baptist Church Of Golden (1805 Washington Ave, Golden, CO, USA 80401). Video of Buker’s memorial service should be made available soon.
Memorial gifts can be made online in Buker’s honor to WorldVenture’s Mobilization Ministries Event Fund, which supports efforts to recruit new WorldVenture workers to make disciples throughout the world, just like Ray Buker, Jr. did. Gifts can also be made in Buker’s honor to WorldVenture’s Shikarpur Christian Hospital, helping people that Buker served.
Donations may also be made by phone (1-800-487-4224) or by mail (WorldVenture, 20 Inverness Place East, Englewood, CO 80112, make checks to “WorldVenture” and note the fund being chosen in the memo).
The Mobilization Ministries Event Fund (WV-1200-300) was created to provide opportunity for those who are considering serving in missions to see WorldVenture up close and personal. Currently the main event supported by these funds is the Discover WorldVenture Weekend, which happens three or four times each year. This weekend event is held at the WorldVenture home office, in The Buker Training Center, so named for the Buker family who devoted their lives to worldwide missions! The invited guests learn a general overview of the mission, what it is like to apply and serve with WorldVenture, and experience the passion of our staff for global missions. For many people the cost of flying to Denver, Colorado is prohibitive. Funds in this account not only cover the event costs, but also provide scholarship funds to cover airfare of those who desire to come but are currently limited financially. This event has been proven to be very effective in assisting prospective missionaries move forward toward appointment.
Funds directed to the Shikarpur Christian Hospital help subsidize operating expenses by providing charity for needy patients and national salaries of Shikarpur Christian Hospital. They also provide for the purchase of an ultrasound machine, laboratory and other equipment needed to maximize the effectiveness of the hospital. Funds may also be used for capital improvements/major repairs such as solarization of the hospital and the building for staff housing.