No Accidents with God
- September 8, 2021
After graduating from high school in 1956, Darlene (Paquet) Rokusek ’59 knew she wanted to be a teacher. But she couldn’t afford the teacher’s college near her home in upper Michigan. When her pastor told her that Moody Bible Institute’s tuition was free because it’s paid by donors, she replied, “I can afford that!”
Little did she know then what an important role Moody would play in her life. She would not only study to become a Christian teacher but would also meet her future husband and develop a strong faith that would sustain her through major challenges.
Darlene and her husband, Ken ’57–’58, have been giving back to Moody Bible Institute for more than 50 years. They met in one of her favorite classes, Personal Evangelism. Darlene was seated alphabetically next to a young man named Ken Rokusek. “My last name started with a P and his started with an R, and there was no Q in between us,” she says.
“He had a kind face,” Darlene recalls. “We sat next to each other, but he was more shy than I was, so I spoke to him first. Then later we met in the library. And our first date, would you believe, was walking down to the Pacific Garden Mission for the evening service.”
Ken became a Christian a year before he joined the U.S. Air Force at age 17. He wanted to learn more about the Bible and a friend from his home church told him about correspondence courses from Moody and he signed up. When he left the Air Force four years later, he enrolled at Moody for one year. His favorite class was Bible Synthesis, which gave him a comprehensive overview of the Scriptures and a deeper understanding of God.
Ken and Darlene married in 1959 and had three children. Ken began working for Eastern Airlines, and Darlene became a teacher for preschool and then kindergarten. The couple didn’t live far from Chicago and often came to Moody for Candlelight Carols and Founder’s Week. Sometimes they would eat in Moody’s dining room and talk with students. They knew they wanted to do more for Moody.
When Ken changed jobs, his new employer, Abbott Laboratories, provided a matching funds program that essentially enabled them to double their giving. “We loved that!” Darlene recalls. They began a regular practice of giving to Moody, participated in campus projects, and sponsored a brick in the Alumni Walkway. They also began working with a Moody stewardship representative to explore ways they could expand their ministry of giving. “We’re especially interested in helping international students at Moody Bible Institute,” Ken says.
Through the years, Ken and Darlene continued to serve the Lord wherever they found a need. Darlene worked at a veterans’ assisted living facility where she began a weekly Bible study that is still continuing 30 years later. After retiring, Ken volunteered as a hospital chaplain andled led prison Bible studies where the gospel was presented. Both have been active for years with The Gideons International.
But their life has not been without trials. In 2017, the couple was involved in a terrible car accident. Driving home from a family reunion with their daughter, son-in-law, and adult granddaughter, they were struck head-on by an intoxicated driver, who was killed instantly. Darlene and her daughter sustained serious injuries that required surgeries. Ken’s injuries were massive. He was extracted from their vehicle and airlifted to a trauma hospital. His prognosis was grim, and he was not expected to live. He spent the next year in rehab and is now confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed on his right side and on a feeding tube. Despite the severity of his injuries, Ken’s faith remains strong. “The Lord allowed that to happen, so I’m not questioning,” he says.
Darlene adds, “We are both thankful that he’s still here with us and that his mind is very sharp.”
Recently the Rokuseks faced another challenge when their daughter, who has been a primary caregiver for Ken, was diagnosed with cancer for a second time. Ken and Darlene are grateful that God is with them during these times of great need.
They want their financial investment to help the next generation of students to train at Moody, serving the Lord with bedrock faith. “We know that whenever we donate, it’s going to be helping these students with their ministry. So that’s what just blesses our hearts—it’s such a good cause,” Darlene says. “We really loved the years that we were at Moody. We have such good memories. And we know that lives are going to be changed for the Lord through Moody Bible Institute.”