Reverend Frank Rhett Sanders, Jr., 83, of Blythewood passed away on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Born in Columbia, he was the son of the late Francis Rhett and Eula Hart Sanders, Sr.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Virginia T. Sanders; Children Louise Brower (Steve), Christine Mercer (Ric), Ruth Terry (George), Rhett Sanders, Jr. (Ann), John Sanders (Tabitha), David Sanders (Linda), and Paul Sanders, (Suzanne); 39 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren (with 2 more coming in a month).
In addition to his parents, Rhett is predeceased by a daughter, Martha Ernestine Sanders and granddaughter Emerson Ann Nix.
He will be greatly missed by his wife, children, sons and daughters- in- love, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was fondly known as Tita or Mountain Man by his grandchildren. After many years of serving the Lord as a pastor, teacher, and camp director, he and his wife spent many of their retirement years reaching out to and making friends with the Israeli population in Myrtle Beach and all along the SC and NC coasts. Their joy was to give Israelis Bibles and other literature in Hebrew.
But to begin his story ----- In Rhett's senior year of high school his father died in a car accident, and Rhett became very thoughtful about life after death, facing his own mortality. Convicted of sin and with true repentance, he surrendered to God's purpose to become a preacher! After graduating from Mt. Zion Institute in Winnsboro, SC, Rhett entered Davidson College. where a friend invited him to a Bible study and he memorized Scripture, studied the Bible and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Virginia whom he influenced to believe in and follow the Lord Jesus also. Rhett pastored churches in Virginia, Missouri, South and North Carolinas. He established and directed Agape Bible Camp for children and teens in Blythewood, SC. He taught Bible at Columbia Bible College (now CIU). While a PCA pastor, he first discovered and walked the land that the denomination purchased for their new conference center, Ridge Haven. Later he became the Program Coordinator at this conference center.
Rhett loved his Lord, the Word of God, his wife and family, and everyone he knew. His friendliness made him even momentary friends at every opportunity, even at gas stations! He loved to travel and spend time out of doors hunting and fishing. He said the Lord told him to make his wife "the happiest woman in the world", and he did, "laying down his life for his wife," as Jesus commanded. And she adored him as her sweetheart, best friend, beloved co-worker, husband.
In and out of hospitals the last two years of his life, the nurses and techs would say that they came in his room to be encouraged by his smile and thumbs up, even when a tracheotomy would keep him from talking. He always expressed gratefulness to them. As his own abilities waned, Rhett felt totally fulfilled by the activities and accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, especially by their faith in his Lord Jesus. He exemplified clearly the words of Amy Carmichael, about his physical losses, "In acceptance lies peace."
Rhett had an evangelistic heart, always desiring that all know the way to eternal life through faith in Jesus. He taught the Gospel clearly to children and many "asked Jesus into their hearts." He won his wife with one verse, Jesus said, "I Am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, except by ME." (John 14:6) Rhett looked forward to Heaven, having firm faith in the promises of God for eternal life for all who believe in Jesus. He believed God's promises: "absent from the body, present with the Lord," and in the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns. His last evening, he enjoyed listening to Gospel music about Heaven with his wife.
He believed these words spoken by Job in his health trials, "I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!!" (Job 19:25-27) "EVEN SO, COME LORD JESUS."
A family graveside service will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2020 (2:00 p.m.) at Bethel ARP Church cemetery in Winnsboro, SC which will be live streamed from Pope Funeral Home’s website followed by a family memorial service (4:00 p.m.) at Blythewood Presbyterian Church which will be live streamed from the church’s Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial may be made to Blythewood Presbyterian Church. Please send donations to PO Box 789 Blythewood, SC 29016.
Pope Funeral Home is assisting the Sanders family
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