Bill Hoeben, a registered civil engineer and licensed general contractor, and his wife, Ginger, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in administration, always loved the mission field. Raising a family and maintaining busy professional lives kept them from serving in ministry full time. Upon retirement, however, the couple gradually became more involved with the people they loved in Mexico.
They became prominent servants with Foursquare Mexico, even though they never were licensed ministers, never preached a sermon, and never took a dime of support for themselves from missions organizations or churches.
For eight years, they prayed for the locals in Mexico. They encouraged them to live for Christ, and helped build churches and schools. Bill and Ginger showed people how to give of themselves completely, especially those who traveled to Mexico on short-term missions trips from the U.S. and other countries.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 28, 2011, Bill died in his sleep while visiting family in San Diego. All who knew him say he finished well, and they agree that he is enjoying the presence of his Lord.
Bill and Ginger were married for 45 years and are the parents of Kirk (married to Trinity), Bill (Tanya), Jerilynne (Talbot), and Andy (Alyssa), and also the proud grandparents of nine grandchildren, with a tenth due in August.
Since 2003, “Tio Bill” and “Tia Ginny” have made an indelible mark on the Foursquare Church of Mexico, serving the Lord throughout Baja California, including Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, San Felipe, Valle de la Trinidad, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas.
Foursquare Missions International (FMI) Director Jim Scott likens Bill’s influence to that of Barnabas in the 1st-century church, applying the words of Acts 11:24 to Bill’s life: “For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (NKJV).
“Today, we celebrate Bill’s life and the Hoeben’s ministry in Mexico," affirms Jim, "but we especially celebrate with Bill the fact that he has finished his race and has received his crown of righteousness.”
FMI missionary Mike Carey credits the Hoebens with bearing a significant load of the ministry and allowing him to pursue national and international apostolic ministry.
“They have been such a strong part of our growth for the last eight years,” Mike tells Foursquare.org, “and have grown in the hearts of the many youth and ministry teams that have come to touch Mexico.”
FMI Missionaries Bobby and Joanne Bainbridge have served alongside the Hoebens in Mexico.
“Multiple pastors, churches, Bible college students, business people and missionaries have been encouraged by Bill and Ginger’s ministry,” the couple affirms. “The people of Mexico have a better hope with an eternal future because of Bill and Ginny’s touch.”
One of the visiting pastors whose life was changed by Bill’s influence is Aaron Bull, senior pastor of Westminster Foursquare Church in Westminster, Calif.
“Bill’s desire (and demand), was that everything built for the people of Mexico was done with excellence,” Aaron observes. “Through Bill’s relentless pursuit of service, it was obvious that God used him to bless the people of Mexico and to establish God’s kingdom in the heart of the people.”
Ginger tenderly remembers Bill’s interaction with young leaders who were fascinated by the stories Bill told about life and living for the Lord. Sarah Robinson, a young leader from Kent, Wash., says that her relationship with the Hoebens changed the course of her life, and that the couple has had a significant impact on her as she has prepared to be a full-time missionary.
“Bill had two speeds: go and go with zeal,” Bobby Bainbridge remembers fondly, noting that Bill was a teacher and a servant, always wanting people to know what they were doing and why they were doing it. Foursquare Go Teams Director David Wheeler concurs, and believes Bill ran his race well and that he finished strong.
“Bill and Ginny lived out what it means to go into the world as disciples of Jesus,” Jim Scott observes. “Bill was extraordinarily gifted, and he shared what he had and what he knew for the glory of God. Melinda and I enjoyed our years serving with the Hoebens at Camp Cedar Crest in Southern California, and we will miss our brother greatly.”
Mike Carey says Foursquare Mexico is indebted to the Hoebens for their “constant vigilance, wisdom and expertise that have allowed so many buildings to come about and the expansion of each work” throughout Baja California.
For now, Ginger plans to remain in the couple’s home in Rosarito and continue serving with the people she loves, as well as those visiting teams Bill so ably instructed and supervised in his ministry.
“Ginny is the backbone of our team,” asserts Mike Carey, “and we are indebted to her for her leadership.” Mike believes it is people like the Hoebens that help others grow in Christ and in their ability to serve in Jesus’ name. “I have come to believe that as The Foursquare Church around the world finds more workers like Bill and Ginny Hoeben, we will see Jesus build His church and change lives into His image.”
By: Rod Light, an ordained Foursquare minister and educator in Los Angeles