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Funeral service Saturday for Rebekah Hoak, Holley woman who inspired many with faith

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 January 2017 at 8:06 pm

“She is such an extraordinary woman. She lived her life to the fullest.” – Pastor John Ebel

Rebekah Hoak is pictured on a church missions trip to Chiapas, Mexico.

HAMLIN – Pastor John Ebel says many tears have been shed this week over the death of Rebekah Hoak, 20, a beloved member of the Hamlin New Testament Church.

Hoak, a Holley resident, was killed in a car accident last Sunday in Kendall while delivering food to friend who was home sick.

Hoak lived a life of service, determined to pray and care for others.

“I’ve been a pastor for 40 years and you want a full congregation of people like her,” Ebel said today. “Her passion, her witness, Rebekah was the whole package.”

Hamlin New Testament has room for 110 people. That isn’t big enough for Rebekah’s funeral service, which will be 11 a.m. Saturday. It will be at a larger church, First Bible Baptist, at 990 Manitou Rd., Hilton.

Hoak often posted Bible verses on Facebook and Instagram. Her final Instagram post on Jan. 20, a day before the car accident, quoted Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.”

Hoak was mature in her faith, Ebel said. She was comfortable praying out loud in church, seeking blessings for others. She kept a journal, and her last entry stated: “Women can splash the world with the love of Christ through kindness, caring, touching, meeting needs and telling of their love for Christ.”

Hoak also was a fun person to be around, Ebel said. She was always up for a challenge, whether competing in soapbox derbies as a kid or conquering the greased pole at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

A group for the Hamlin New Testament Church has competed at the greased pole in recent years. That group calls themselves the “Troll Diggers.” They are led by Ebel’s son, Jeff.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Rebekah Hoak, top, competes in the greased pole competition last July. The all-women’s team, “Trolls Dig Us,” climbed the 20-foot-high pole.

Last summer, Rebekah and some of her female friends at the church wanted to see if they could climb the greased pole. It’s a male-dominated activity, requiring lots of upper body strength, balance and stamina.

Rebekah Hoak

Not too many women’s teams get to the top. But the “Trolls Dig Us” made it to delight of a screaming crowd.

The greased pole was another example of Rebekah bringing joy to the world, the pastor said.

“We’re supposed to have fun and go out into the world and be witnesses for Christ,” Ebel said. “You have to be real and genuine, and she certainly was.”

Hoak earned a degree in Health and Fitness at GCC and was on the Dean’s List. She was working at T.J. Maxx.

She competed in beauty pageants, was a leader in the her church, and wasn’t afraid of the grime on the greased pole.

“She is such an extraordinary woman,” Ebel said. “She lived her life to the fullest.”

Rebekah had a passion for church missions. She went to Chiapas, Mexico, working with children, and wanted to go out more mission trips.

A GoFundMe account has been set up in her name with the funds to be used for church missions. Click here for more information.

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