John was born and raised in China, the son of missionary parents; Ruby grew up in California. They met as students at Greenville College in Illinois. (John said he worked as a custodian in the administration office at school and looked up Ruby's file before he asked her out!) They married after seminary and pastored a couple of churches, but John's heart was still in China. After language study he set off for China. Ruby, however, was not able to join him because no visas were being granted to women and children due to political unrest. She and their daughter, Lora Jean, had to wait for a year she before could get a passport and find a ship to take them to China where they were reunited with John.
China was a difficult place in the mid- to late-1940s, with Japanese occupation and later the encroachment of the Communists. When they were evacuated from China they spent time in Hong Kong, getting their papers in order to go on to the Philippines. They arrived in the Philippine harbor in the "teeth of a typhoon," as John described it. Seasickness had overtaken the passengers but as everyone else recovered John became sicker. He ended up going straight to the hospital to have his ruptured appendix removed. It was 1949.
Southern Mindanao was their destination but it was unsafe for babies, and by now they also had a one-year-old son. Before they could move there they spent a year in Manila, where John recorded two weekly radio programs at Far East Broadcasting Company -- a study of the Gospel of John in Chinese and an English devotional program.
They spent 25 years in the Philippines. They began a pastoral training center with five students which has since educated hundreds of pastors. Today the Philippine Conference of the Free Methodist Church has 220 churches, over 20,000 members, and its own bishop. While John was supervising a large district, Ruby was privileged to plant and pastor two churches in that district.
More language training, in Cantonese this time, prepared them for five years of service in Hong Kong. They later served another five-year term in the Philippines and retired in 1983.
As for the gift of itchy feet, they gave their children a generous dose of compassion along with it. Jean, a registered nurse, was on her way to midwife school in Kentucky, preparing for overseas missions herself, when she lost her life in a car accident. Their sons have worked with ethnic populations to promote legal and social justice. And most of the Schlosser children and grandchildren have gone to the Philippines to see the people and places of their past.
One of John and Ruby's grandchildren is currently in Japan teaching English. Looks like the gift of itchy feet just keeps getting passed on.