Rocky Hartung ’68 and Special Achievement Award
The mind of man plans his way. But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)
Being asked to write a brief biography has caused them to follow a straight, but surprising path back through their lives. These two verses in Proverbs very adequately summarize that journey. Neither Arlene nor Rocky would have thought their lives would have taken the course they have. Not enjoying the unsettled life of a military child, Arlene had vowed never to marry someone in the military or in ministry. They just moved around too much. Rocky was more at home working with cows than with people and never pictured himself as a pastor or missionary.
But having accepted Christ as Savior and Lord at relative young ages, it was their desire to acknowledge Him as Lord, submitting to His leading. God straightened their path through godly parents, Sunday school and youth workers, a pastor’s gentle nudge to go to Bible College for a year and already plans were being modified as God directed their steps.
While attending Western Baptist Bible College, among other things, the exemplary lives of a basketball coach (Jim Huckaby), the Dean of Men (Carl Hills) and the encouragement of other professors, God used to direct their lives. Dr. Fred Brock’s penetrating question upon the death of Germany missionary Max Wiley was not to be forgotten, though at times there was no thought of being missionaries: “Today a warrior has fallen on the field of battle. Could it be that God would have someone here in this chapel service rise up to take his place?”
The year of Bible college stretched into four. Upon graduation they were called to First Baptist Church, San Bernardino, CA, joining two WBBC alumni, Rollin Staats and Jim Godwin, as minister to children and youth. Responsibilities soon expanded to associate pastor, responsible for the entire Christian education ministry of a rapidly growing church.
In July 1975, they were appointed to Germany with Baptist Mid-Missions (BMM). After a brief language study, they co-directed BMM’s year-around camping program at Camp Maranatha. Returning to Germany for a second term they continued at the camp but began to set the groundwork for a church in their community. Then in 1982 it became clear that God was directing their steps back to the States. They again were privileged to team up with Pastor Rollin Staats, now pastoring in their hometown of Ferndale, Washington, to help establish a new church.
After eight years at Bethany Baptist Fellowship, God directed their steps back to Germany with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). Asked to begin their ministry in Germany, they settled in the Kassel area and began the work of planting a new church. After 15 years to the day of their arrival, Rocky preached his last session in the Independent Baptist Fellowship of Vellmar and the ministry was left in the hands of those who had been discipled and trained for the work of the ministry.
On November 3, 2007 they arrived back in Ferndale, WA. God is continuing to direct their steps. Though His direction did not look much like their plans they are at peace and confident that His path is straight. In addition to their responsibilities with their elderly mothers, they are involved in their local church, lead a home Bible study and try to encourage and support their pastor. Both have part-time jobs, Arlene as a secretary/office manager for the school district and Rocky as a para-educator in the Ferndale School District.
Their family is: Stephen married to Stefanie with their children Christine, Andrew, Luke, Jaden and Olivia; Jason married to Mary and their children Megan, Cara, Nicole and Tyler; Petra married to Kevin and their daughter Emma.