I love talking about people. Anybody who knows me well will tell you that. For some time now I’ve gotten to know a couple, Ed and Ros Thomas, and I can’t wait to tell you about them.
Ed and Ros, 59 and 61 respectively, have raised three amazing children who are all happily married. While Ed grew up in an atheistic environment, Ros grew up in a missionary home.
After searching for the meaning to life which led him down many paths, Ed became a believer in Christ when he was in his mid-twenties. Ros saw her parents live by faith and learned to live this way herself at a very young age.
After becoming a Christian, Ed thought it would be a good idea to look for a life partner. After going out with 16 different girls in the space of a year, which he found very draining to say the least, he decided to put the matter into God’s hands.
His hunger to grow in his faith and learn the Bible led him to participate in the Emmaus Bible Correspondence Course which was handled by Terry Dunn, Ros’ father. It was then that Ed met Ros. He heard that she was visiting old people in Hillbrow, so went along to help. As they spent time together, they realized they shared a similar desire to give themselves to help those in need.
It was a whirlwind courtship – they met in July, were engaged in September and got married in the following December. Two very different people from very different backgrounds with very different gifts came together, and for the past 36 years have significantly impacted the lives of thousands of people.
For the past 15 or more years, Ed has visited South African prisons every second weekend, Bible in one hand, myriad pens, musical instruments and books (as requested by the prisoners) in the other. He has seen armed robbers and murderers transformed into law-abiding citizens who run honest businesses outside the prison gates—so much of it because of their own personal study of the Bible.
Ed is passionate about getting as many people as possible to study the Bible. To do this he uses and promotes the Emmaus Bible Correspondence School courses which are FREE. He’s put together a sheet which tells the reader all about it, answering any questions they may have and detailing the course material. Emmaus Bible School is a worldwide Bible correspondence ministry www.emmausbibleschool.co.za which is available to anyone anywhere. Ed has distributed more than 50,000 of these information sheets and has remarkable stories of the effect of the Word of God in the lives of people. It’s truly inspiring to listen to him talk about the power of the Scriptures.
Ros has the most compassionate nature and heart for people that I have ever seen. This has led her to open up and run guest houses. At one time she ran three simultaneously!
It all started when a teenager with problems came to live with them. As word got out that the Thomas’ cared for and loved people, others of all ages came to stay. From 1999 to 2006, they hosted students from language lab where teenagers and adults from all over the world came to learn English. Ros keeps an album with their photos and details.
Then the need for a safe house for drug addicts became apparent. This turned out to be both draining and challenging but at the same time they also saw the power of Christ transform lives. Ros’ love and nurture approach combined with Ed’s support for these broken individuals, make the couple a formidable team. In addition to the safe house, they meet a very real need by providing seven stunning studio apartments for singles.
Ed and Ros rarely come to church together. They make it a habit to invite their tenants to church and they provide the means to get them there. We often watch Ros walk to her favorite place to sit in church with two, four or sometimes even six people following her. Shortly after, Ed arrives with a few more. Many of their ‘guests’ have become Christians as a result of Ros and Ed’s commitment to bringing them to church.
Ed and Ros are nearing retirement but the couple shows no signs of stopping, or even slowing down for that matter. Ed has taken early retirement from his work as an accountant with the City of Johannesburg, they have gotten their affairs in order, are renting out their houses, and will be flying to Thailand at the end of April to take their ministry a step further – taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of this great country.
What an amazing couple! What an amazing story.