Gordon T. Stuit, long-time missionary to the Navajo people and a man who embodied 1 Corinthians 13, passed away peacefully on October 19. A humble man who never thought himself better than anyone else, he led a quiet, disciplined life. He listened more than he spoke and always found a way to affirm the dignity and worth of the people he encountered. “It is hard to capture the real man,” said Stuit’s daughter Lori. “The words servant, loving, gentle, dedicated, studious, kind, and disciplined student of the Word come to mind.”
Stuit graduated from Calvin College in 1951. Although he had an inkling that God was calling him to the ministry, he went on active duty with the U.S. military in Korea. When he returned, he continued his education and graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1957.
Stuit began his ministry with the Navajo people as field pastor for the Christian Reformed Church’s Rehoboth Mission in New Mexico. The New Testament had just been translated into Navajo, so he learned to read Navajo and had the joy of teaching many people to read Scripture in their own language. Stuit loved the Navajo people and bringing them God’s Word. He reached out to the outlying areas, preaching three or four times every Sunday. He held midweek Bible study and prayer meetings, taught Bible classes to the children at the boarding schools, and visited people in their homes.
Stuit went on to serve the following churches: First Navajo CRC in Tohatchi, N.M.; Tracy (Iowa) CRC; Crownpoint (N.M.) CRC, and Window Rock (Ariz.) CRC. After retiring in 1993, Stuit served as a chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital and the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, until just a few years before his death. He was loved by the people he served.
Stuit is survived by his wife, Sylvia, and their children Gordon Jr., James, Lori, John, and their spouses; by daughter-in-law Judy; and by 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Marcus, in 2008.