Sunday, August 22, 2004

Faith Hunter devoted life to ministry

22-year-old helped Navajos

By Chris Mayhew
Enquirer staff writer

INDEPENDENCE - Through music, teaching and ministerial work, Faith Elizabeth Hunter shared her joy with the world.

Driving home Tuesday evening from a church meeting in Newport, the Northern Kentucky University senior's life was cut short in a head-on collision on Ky. 16 as part of a three-vehicle wreck. She was 22.

Hunter recently returned from her eighth ministerial trip to a Navajo Indian reservation in Gallup, N.M.

"She's always had a tender heart for people and for God," her father Mark Hunter of Independence said.

On her most recent trips, she served as the mission team leader.

"It was going to be a lifetime commitment," her father said. "The Navajo children were just attracted to her. They just hugged her."

Her father said she had a bright future in ministerial music, and she was pursuing a major in elementary music education at Northern Kentucky University. She graduated high school from Calvary Christian School in 2000.

She was recently named the recipient of the Corbett Scholarship in Music and Theatre, and her fall and spring semesters at NKU would have been paid for, her father said.

She originally was studying for a double major that included music performance, he said.

"Just today I was watching a video of her teaching other Northern students on playing the trumpet," he said.

She recorded religious albums with her pastor, Kenny Thacker of Covenant Christian Church in Newport.

"Together, they had a song called "You Are Everywhere," her father said. "It was still in the process of being fine-tuned. It's a beautiful song that I believe will be heard."

On Friday her father said they were expecting a huge turnout for services Friday and Saturday. "We've been flooded with calls from all over the nation and the Navajo nation," he said.

Mr. Hunter said the death of his daughter has left a "huge hole" in the heart of his other daughter, 19-year-old Jenny Hunter of Independence.

"Faith left behind her best friend," he said.

Her pastor was a friend of the family, and Faith traveled around the nation with Thacker and his wife, to sing and minister.

"Her song ... she had a sweet voice that came out of a pure sweet heart," Thacker said. "She was just one million."

She had made eight two-week trips to the Navajo reservation, and was the team's leader in recent years.

"We personally groomed her to lead that trip, and she has done that the last several years," Thacker said. "She trained teams from Oklahoma City in our mission endeavors. She was just the shining star of the whole thing."

Other survivors include her mother, Barbara Hunter of Independence; maternal grandmother, Sylvia Martin of McKenzie, Tenn.; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Burial was in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Taylor Mill. Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Fort Thomas handled arrangements.

Memorials: Faith Hunter Memorial Fund for the Navajo Mission, Covenant Christian Church, 601 E. 2nd St., Newport, KY 41071.



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