John Wagner entered heaven on November 6, 2022 at the age of 88, in Englewood, Colorado. His battle with serious medical issues over the past year showed his courage and faith in Jesus Christ. With determination and strength he resolved to pass away in his own home with his dear wife, Ruthanne, and his son, Reginald, by his side.
"Johnny" was born on April 23, 1934 in Platteville, Colorado to Ed and Susanne Wagner. He was the last of his generation to pass away and was preceded in death by eleven brothers and sisters.
After the Wagners moved to Hudson, Colorado, John attended Hudson High School. He also attended the Hudson Assembly of God church where, at the age of 16, John accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and the baptism in the Holy Ghost. It was at this country church that John heard the preaching of a guest missionary from Bolivia named Everett Hale. It was at this meeting that God called John to become a missionary to Bolivia.
In 1951, John attended The Soul Clinic in Santa Ana, California. This was an intensive discipleship program, focused on street evangelism and prayer. The following year, John enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After completing boot camp at Camp Pendleton, he was stationed in San Diego, California. During his years of active duty, he attended the First Assembly of God Church pastored by Gene Martin. He loved that church and it was his life-line for spiritual growth. It was at this time he decided to attend Bible college upon receiving his honorable discharge in 1954. In 1955, he started his undergraduate studies at Southwestern Assemblies of God Bible College in Waxahachie, Texas and worked at the headquarters of Jack Coe Ministries. in 1957, John transferred to Bethany Bible College, Santa Cruz, California where he graduated in 1959 with a BA in Theology.
It was at Bethany that John met the love of his life, Ruthanne Reed, who was an employee at the registrar's office. In the spring of 1959, they became engaged. That same year, John pastored a small Assembly of God church in Macdoel, California. John and Ruthanne were married September 30, 1960 at the First Assembly of God Church in Santa Cruz, California. Ruthanne's father, Rev. W. Keith Reed, officiated the wedding.
After their honeymoon, John and Ruthanne moved to Paonia, Colorado and began two years of ministry together as pastors of the First Assembly of God Church. It was at this time they started a life-long friendship with Rex and Darlene Herndon who were pastors in Hotchkiss, Colorado. During those two years in Paonia, they had a baby girl who did not make it past her first hours, and a baby boy who was still-born. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him". (Psalms 126:6)
After receiving appointment by the Department of Foreign Missions of the Assemblies of God, John and Ruthanne began their missionary journeys throughout Latin America.
1. Guyana 1965-1966
2. Dutch Guyana (Suriname) 1967-1969 where they had a baby boy, Derek
3. Guadalajara, Mexico for nine months of language school in 1970
4. Bolivia 1971-1975 where the second son, Reginald was born. While living in Tarija, John and Ruthanne buried a still-born child for the third time. Because Bolivia was strictly Catholic, the child was refused burial in the local cemetery. John took the baby and found a place at home to bury him with love and dignity.
5. Ecuador 1975-1980. Before starting their four year term in Ecuador, John and Ruthanne had their last baby. She was a baby girl and was also still-born.
6. Suriname 1981-1985. Once again John returned to Suriname. Here is where he and Ruthanne concluded their 20 years as missionaries in Latin America
In 1986, John left the mission field and retired from the Assemblies of God. John never stopped being a missionary. His calling grew and changed with the times. John's family became his mission field and his grandchildren, his passion.
John's life and testimony will be honored in a memorial service on November 22, 2022 at Mountain View Baptist Church at 3:00 pm. His body will be buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery on November 23, 2022 with his immediate family in attendance.