Posted by: theruppels | February 4, 2019

Prayer Letter January 2019

“ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ……..ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:”    Titus 1:5

Dear Praying Friends,

Ordaining men for the work of our Lord Jesus Christ is an exciting and triumphant event, but the ordination service is the easy part.  Finding and training men that live up to the qualifications of Titus 1:6-9 is the hard part!  The world and times in which we live are attacking men from every angle!  The people of Cambodia continue in darkness, and most of the men we know are willingly walking away from the light of Christ.  But we are so thankful for faithful men of God that shine brightly in the darkness, who stay true to their Saviour, and  who lead their families by Biblical principles.  These men are bright lights in a dark culture and examples for all of us (missionaries included) to follow!

On January 7th, 2019, God gave us the privilege of being a part of ordaining a fourth family to the ministry.  This time was extra special for two reasons; first, because I had the privilege of leading both Wang and Srey Oun to Christ when they were just young teens;  second, because, by God’s grace, this young couple will eventually take the reigns of New Hope Baptist Church.

Both Pastor Wang and Srey Oun love the Lord Jesus Christ and the church so much!  It is exciting for us to get a glimpse of what God will do in the future of this church.  The church family is often getting counsel from them instead of Becky and I.  Wonderful!

The picture below shows Wang’s father-in-law, Pastor Sakaun, praying over him  with Pastor Proh and myself in the background.  Pastor Sakaun has been and continues to be one of the key instruments that God is using to mentor these men for Christ’s sake.  It has been my honor to teach these men the Bible as they teach me by example to walk in faith.

Becky and I are still in a mentoring role as this transition continues, and everyone knows that whenever I am away preaching or visiting a mission work in the province, Pastor Wang is in charge of the church.

So I ask you to pray:

  • For God’s help to continue moving to  the background.
  • For God to continue to work in the lives and families of these faithful men of God; Pastor Sakaun, Pastor Proh, Pastor Tho, and Pastor Wang.
  • For God to give Pastor Wang a fruitful ministry.
  • For God to continue to work in the hearts and lives of church members that they might serve, strengthen, and follow God’s leadership in the church.

Rejoicing in Cambodia,

Rodney Ruppel

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Posted by: theruppels | November 3, 2018

Parenting Seminar October 29, 2018

Seven Churches – Eighty Adult Christians – Three National Pastors – One Parenting Seminar

Seven like-minded churches came together on Monday afternoon to be taught, encouraged, and challenged through the Word of God to do all they can to be the parents God wants them to be.

Eighty Adult Christians came from all over Phnom Penh and at least two provinces. Of course many people from these seven churches were not able to come because of work, but many had off because it was a holiday and others took a day or afternoon off work. One family came from about 70 km away.

Three national pastors with great personal testimonies, faithful supportive wives, and wonderful children. All three have children who are proof positive that the Bible way really does work! At least two other national pastors in the crowd that fit this description. I am so proud of these men. They are allowing God to work in their lives, in their families, and through their preaching.

One Parenting Seminar, only three hours long, was full of great teaching and preaching! The Spirit of the meeting was great! Wonderful fellowship and encouragement between Christians from different churches is always a blessing to see!

 

Posted by: theruppels | October 31, 2018

Prayer Letter September/ October 2018

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”  Matthew 9:38

Dear Praying Friends,

It is always exciting to see new missionaries arrive in Cambodia!  It was especially thrilling when Randy and Naomi Shull, along with their two children, arrived on August 23rd .  Why was this arrival so exciting?  Randy is one of our Cambodia MKs.  Missionary Kids hold a very special place in our hearts and to see one of them return to “our” country as a missionary is a great blessing!

Randy’s family first arrived in Cambodia when he was seventeen years old.  He lived here with his parents for just a couple of years before returning to the States for college.  During his years here, Randy jumped right into the new culture and surroundings in the “strange place” to which God had led his family.  He became very close to the teenagers in our Cambodian youth group, and worked hard to learn the language spoken by those around him.  He had a wonderful attitude for a teenager that had been asked to leave his whole life behind in America!  He made a return trip during his college years and began studying the written language of the Cambodian people.

God called Randy’s parents back to the States after nine years of serving the Lord here.  We were sad to see them leave, but understood that God had called them back to a ministry in the States.  God used Randy’s parents to start a church in Cambodia and to be a blessing to so many people here.  However, one of the greatest things that happened in their ministry here was the call of God on Randy’s life.  God placed a special love in Randy’s heart for the Cambodian people and assured him that he would one day return to do God’s work in Cambodia.

God prepared a special wife for Randy – one that is just as excited about this calling as he is.  She is determined to learn the language and has jumped right into this new life.  Randy’s language abilities have been a blessing to Naomi as their family settles into life in Cambodia.  So many of us arrive with an inability to communicate to those around us and to find our own way around town.  They do not have that problem.

Naomi started language classes right away, and Randy is also getting more language training.  It has been a blessing to see both of them out soulwinning with us each Saturday and to see them find ways to serve even as they are learning.  Randy actually taught the children’s Sunday School class just a couple weeks after arriving and did a great job! They are enjoying every opportunity they have to serve and to befriend the people in our church.

The Shulls will be helping in our ministry as they continue their language training, and we are so happy to have them here.  Please pray for them to know the place God has for them to serve after their language training.  There are so many fields in Cambodia that do not yet have laborers, and we know that God has a special place for them.  In the meantime, we are going to enjoy having this family around.  Rodney and I can even pretend we are grandparents to their two sweet girls!   They are so much fun to have around and are preparing us for our own grandchildren someday!

As you pray for us, please also pray for this young family as they begin their ministry here in the country we all love.  Although Randy has not faced much culture shock, I am sure Naomi has faced at least a bit.  She has a sweet and positive spirit.  I have not heard her complain even once, but I know the Devil would love to discourage her as she tries to settle in here.  Please pray that God would continue to give her joy in serving Him no matter what that may be.

As always,  thank you for your prayers and support!  You are a blessing!

His in Cambodia,

Becky Ruppel

 

 

 

Posted by: theruppels | August 16, 2018

Prayer Letter July/August

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 4

Dear Praying Friends,

Becky and I just returned from nine weeks in the States.  The trip was a bit of a “whirlwind!”  We managed to fit in an alumni banquet at our high school, our home church’s teen camp, my dad’s surprise 80th birthday party, meetings with twelve churches, visits with missionary friends, visiting a new Cambodian church plant in Philadelphia, Vacation Bible School, and OUR SON’S WEDDING!

Of course, the main reason for going to the states was Ryan’s wedding on July 7, 2018.  God has given Ryan a very sweet Christian young lady named Katlin.  They were married in Virginia, but they are now back in Michigan where Ryan is serving as the youth pastor at our home church.  Seeing Ryan run his first teen camp, preach to the teens, counsel young people and their parents, and run Vacation Bible School filled my heart with joy.  Seeing him become a husband was awesome!  A slide show of his life flashed in my mind as he took his vows. (Caught me by surprise!)  Ryan loves the Lord, and he loves his wife so much.  I know God has great things in store for them both.

Blake, our second child, has just finished his second year of Bible college and spent this summer working as an intern for our home church.  Seeing him run junior camp for our church and help Ryan run vacation Bible school was cool.  They gave my wife and I opportunity to teach one of the classes.   A really neat twist on our lives happened as we got the chance to serve under our sons as they ran things.  We are also very pleased with the special friend that Blake has chosen.  Cailyn (not to be confused with Katlin, Ryan’s wife!) is a great young lady from our home church.  Blake’s zeal and heart for God gives us great joy.

In order to save money for college, Rhadee spent the summer back in Michigan working hard at a job the Lord provided for her at a zoo.  She put God first and made sure to have every Sunday off and to be at the mid-week service even if she had to work that day.  It gave us great joy to see her serving God every Sunday and jumping into service with her brothers every chance she could get.  Rhadee is growing in the Lord so well.  We are excited to see what God has in store for her.

As serving God takes us away from family, God gives us more family just as he promised.   Some of that “second” family was able to be at Ryan’s wedding.  Theary, her husband, and their two children came up from Georgia.  It gave us great joy to see her with her two young children, teaching them to follow the Lord.

There were also two ladies that came to the wedding from Cambodia!  They are more of our “Cambodian family.”  They sacrificed a lot to be there.

Though there are times that being away from our children makes us very sad, we are overjoyed that they are following the Lord in His will!

 

Rejoicing,

Rodney Ruppel

 

Posted by: theruppels | August 13, 2018

Prayer Letter May/ June 2018

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”    Philippians 3:14

Dear Praying Friends,

The first “Pressing Forward” conference was a success!  170 registered delegates attended the meeting. 20 national pastors, and 13 missionaries were among those in attendance.

One of things that made this conference unique was the cost.  Most conferences in Cambodia are completely paid for with outside money.  We decided to charge a registration fee for this conference.  It was a significant amount for the Cambodia believers, enough that a few missionaries thought we wouldn’t have anyone come.  We invited a limited number of churches, then prayed and planned for 150.  The reluctance and limited enthusiasm coming into the first day quickly changed.  Numerous people changed their plans or asked for another day off to be able to come to the second day of the conference.   The people also gave over $500 in offerings to take care of expenses that were not covered by the registration fee!

As people left the conference, talk of and excitement for next year’s conference was already buzzing.  Pastors and missionaries are already preparing their people to expect a higher fee next year, because we will need a much bigger place!  This year’s venue was the perfect price FREE! Thank you to my long time missionary friends,  Kounaro and Chorvy Keo!

The people of New Hope Baptist Church got excited about this conference and took a bulk of the burden upon themselves from the very beginning.  Pastor Sakaun gave $100 toward the conference before the meeting was even confirmed.  A factory worker in our church gave me $50 for his $7.50 registration fee and told me to keep the change.  $50 is more than a week’s pay for him!   Becky thought I had organized our people to clean up after the conference because of how quickly and thoroughly they worked to clean and organize the property of the host church, but I hadn’t organized any clean-up!  Our people jumped right into the most difficult and dirty jobs. I, on the other hand, was standing around talking to pastors and missionaries about next year. 🙂   I am so proud of our people!

A quote from a missionary friend about the meeting: “We have had several people express their decision to take some steps–some to start witnessing with us…door-to-door.  Some are giving testimonies tomorrow night and Sunday as well.  We covet your prayers and we pray that the decisions will bear fruit for many months to come with the Lord’s help.  To God be the glory!  We will be praying and planning for next year as well.  Looking forward to hearing more details for PFC 2019!”

You can read a blog post by one of the missionary kids who helped play piano for most of the congregational singing at

emmagracebenefield.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your prayers for our ministry!

Rodney Ruppel

Posted by: theruppels | February 12, 2018

Prayer Letter February 2018

“…Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”    1Timothy 4:12

Dear Praying Friends,

We are very thankful for the example and testimony of the Godly men with which God has given us the opportunity to work.  Pastor Wang, Pastor Proh, Pastor Tho, and Pastor Sakaun all have great testimonies in the church, in the world, and with other churches.  God has reminded me time and time again just how special and unique these men are.

A couple of months ago I met with a government official that is crucial to keeping the door open for Baptist missionaries.  During our meeting, I began to talk to him about his own soul and Jesus Christ.  He cut me off and reminded me that he was “dutybound” to be a Buddhist. So I came at him from another angle.  He has had much opportunity to get to know Pastor Wang and Pastor Sakaun over the last few years, so I began to incorporate the Gospel as I shared their testimonies with him.  When he heard that Pastor Wang had studied the Bible with me since he was a young teenager, he immediately became interested.  His mind became engaged, and he started darting questions at me left and right.  He then surprised me with this question, “Could you or Pastor Wang teach my son to have the character that Pastor Wang has? I want my son to have characteristics like Pastor Wang.”  Wow!  What a testimony of Wang’s life before this man!  Of course, I was careful to answer. “Wang is not who he is because of my teaching, but because of Christ in his life. Wang and I can teach your son about the Bible and Jesus Christ, but it is only Jesus that can change his character.”  He clearly did not understand, for the next thing he said was, “I don’t care if he believes in Jesus or not, I just want him to have character like Wang.”

That week, Wang began going to the government official’s house to teach his son.  The son also began coming to church every Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday night.  The son has since accepted Christ, been baptized, and is now working through discipleship with Pastor Wang.     Please pray for growth in the son and for his testimony to have a saving impact on his father and the rest of the family.

Pastor Wang and his wife, Srey Oun, have also been growing into their position at the church.  The members of the church are seeking out their counsel instead of Becky’s  and mine.  They are learning very well what it means to shepherd this flock.

Serving in Cambodia,

Rodney Ruppel

 

Posted by: theruppels | October 28, 2017

Prayer Letter – October 2017

“…Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ”

1 Corinthians 15:58

Dear Praying Friends,

Becky and I are so blessed to be in the work of the Lord!  God has done and continues to do a work in us.  He called us to Cambodia, and He leads us in specific works day by day and moment by moment.  He gives us grace to do the work that He has called  and leads us to do!  He is the one that produces eternal fruit, and we get to be partakers in that Heavenly harvest!  What a blessing to be in the work of the Lord, and especially to be abounding in His work!

We arrived back in Cambodia exactly one month ago.  It is a bit different not having our children with us, but there is much work to keep us busy, and busy we have been.

Becky jumped right back into discipling Phally, whom she led to the Lord last year.  Phally is growing in the Lord and is testifying of Christ to those around her.

Becky also started a new Sunday School class for ladies at New Hope Baptist Church.  She is working alongside of Srey Oun (Pastor Wang’s wife) as she mentors her to eventually take the class.

I have been spending about 16 hours a week translating a book that I believe will greatly help our national pastors.  Translating is painstaking work, but the better the translation, the more effective the material.  Pray for the translation to be quality work.

Missionary Stephen Benefield has allowed me to jump back into a village ministry with him.  I had the privilege of teaching in this village last year while he was on furlough.  We believe that God would have us team up every Saturday to plant more seeds, harvest more fruit, and Lord willing, establish a church in this village.

Pastor Wang and I are working together to grow New Hope Baptist Church.  The Lord is growing him and his wife into leadership.  We can see the church members are seeking them for counsel, and it is knitting their hearts together.  Wang and I spend time soulwinning together, praying together, and strategizing about the next “step” for the church.

God has given me the honor to mentor three other national pastors as well.  We have met a couple of times in the last month.  It is a sweet time to praise God and pray for one another.

Finally, a large amount of my time this last month has been consumed with government work.  Much has changed over the last few months, and getting a visa is not as easy as it used to be.  God has given us grace in the eyes of Religious Affairs.  The Baptists still have a clear road for getting visas without starting businesses or aid organizations.  Our status as religious missionaries is still  secure.  However, the changes have increased the amount of paperwork I have to do.  Once we catch everyone up on their documents, things should slow down, so I can give more time to ministry.

Serving in Cambodia,

Rodney Ruppel

Posted by: theruppels | October 28, 2017

Prayer Letter – August 2017

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”     Ps 116:15

Dear Friends,

On August 10th, 2017, Becky’s mom went to be with the Lord.  It was a precious event in so many ways!  First, we are rejoicing that Mom’s faith has become sight.  She was longing to give “her Jesus” a hug.  Second, God’s timing was perfect.  She celebrated about 3 hours of her 49th wedding anniversary  before passing.  God also arranged for Becky and I to be home at this time, so we could share Mom’s final days with her and the family.   God used the events of this past summer to grow our family and bring us all closer together.

While Becky and I were helping her dad after the funeral, another special lady went home to be with our Savior.  Back in Cambodia, Sum fell from a ladder, hit her head on a cement wall, and went into a coma.  The doctors in Cambodia could not save her, and she went to be with the Lord just five days after the incident.  Her adult daughter, Theary, is living in the Atlanta area, so Becky and I had the opportunity to spend a few days with her.  Theary was saved through our ministry in Cambodia in 2001.  She is very close to our family.  What a blessing it was to be close enough to spend some time with her during this very difficult time!  Becky was able to give much comfort to Theary.  It was also very encouraging to hear Theary counseling her siblings in Cambodia (by phone) to stay faithful to God and to be careful of unsaved relatives casting doubts on their faith in Christ.  Becky’s mom met Ming Sum in Cambodia many times, but they are finally able to communicate clearly without a interpreter.  Precious!

Though the homegoing of these dear ladies is precious to the Lord, it has left a huge hole in the hearts of the bereaving families.  Please continue to pray for Becky’s dad.  He and his wife did everything together. Pray also for Becky and her siblings.  I am so glad to be a part of this family and to be able to witness (close up) just how strong their faith is and how sweet their love is for each other.

Becky and I are now headed back to Cambodia.  We should be arriving in Cambodia on September 27th.   Pray for Becky and I as we get back into active ministry in Cambodia.  There is much to do for the Lord in Cambodia.  Please pray that God will give us wisdom and direction to do all that God would have us to do, and please pray for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit that we would do all to glorify His name!

In our last prayer letter, we asked you to pray for God to be glorified through Becky’s mom’s illness and death, and He was!   We asked you to pray for believers in Cambodia to “step-up,” and they did!  We asked prayer for God to use us where we were, and He gave me the opportunity to preach at summer camp in Tennessee.  We asked you to pray for God to help me finish a discipleship series, and much progress was made.  With God’s help, it will be finished soon.  God also gave me the opportunity to begin translation on a book that will be very helpful to national pastors.

Thank  you for your prayers!  Without God’s help, we can do nothing!  Please continue to pray for God’s grace in our lives!  Wonderful grace!

Heading back to Cambodia,

Rodney Ruppel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: theruppels | October 28, 2017

Prayer Letter – June 2017

Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth Proverbs 27:1

Dear Praying Friends,

During the last month, God has been reminding me that our plans are always in complete subjection to God’s plan, and He asks that we stay surrendered to Him every day and every moment.

Our plan was to arrive in America on May 1st to attend Ryan’s graduation from college, re-connect and serve with our sending church, attend Rhadee’s graduation from high school, help our children adjust to life in America, and then return to Cambodia on June 27th to a very full schedule.  Everything was going as planned until the eve of Rhadee’s high school commencement service.   On that night, Becky’s mom was taken to the emergency room and  we were told that  she had a large brain tumor.  Becky travelled with her mom to Tennessee for a battery of tests, and two weeks after finding the tumor Becky’s family was given the bad news that this tumor was inoperable.  The doctors gave Mom a maximum of  5 months to live.  They also said that her tumor could rupture at any time.

We are so thankful that Becky and I were home for this time.  We are also very thankful that our children were all able to come spend some time with Grandma while she is still coherent.  Grandma’s faith, strength, hope, and joy is a huge encouragement and challenge to our family and to many others.

During the last four weeks, God has continually shown us that He is working in and through this situation first and foremost in our own family but also in the lives of many others.  It has also been very encouraging to see so many people writing notes, making phone calls, and travelling long distances to say thank you.  Becky’s parents have invested in and impacted so many lives!  What a huge encouragement this has been to our whole family!

As I mentioned above, Becky and I were scheduled to leave on June 27th, and I now sit in Tennessee writing this letter on June 30th.  Becky and I have obviously postponed our return, and we are asking for your prayers and patience with us as we seek God’s guidance for decisions we must make regarding our ministry and return to Cambodia.  Just to be clear, we still believe with all our hearts that God has more for us to do in Cambodia.

Since September of 2016, I have been pastoring Good News Baptist Church in Phnom Penh while my friend, Stephen Benefield, has been on furlough.  The Benefields are not returning to Cambodia until September, so for the next couple of months, the care of this ministry was the biggest need we had to fill.  Thank the Lord for missionaries Matt and Nikki Brown!  They are coming down from a province in the northeast to serve in Brother Benefields ministry.  We had the privilege of mentoring Matt and Nikki when they first arrived on the field, and we have the utmost confidence in what God can do through them.  My in-laws also had a great impact on Matt and Nikki  during their college years, so they feel this is something they can do to be a blessing to them as well.

With God’s help, I plan to finish writing a discipleship series that I have been working on for some time.   Most of what is written is already translated into Khmer.  A couple of the national pastors who have been using it are awaiting the rest of the series.

  • Please pray for God to be glorified in every situation regarding Becky’s mom.
  • Pray for God to use our absence from Cambodia to challenge believers there to “step up” and be more involved.
  • Pray for me to finish this discipleship series mentioned above.
  • Pray for God to use us where we are.

Serving Him Where We Are,

Rodney Ruppel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: theruppels | October 28, 2017

Prayer Letter April 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

It is hard to believe that Rodney and I are now empty-nesters.  Ryan will be graduating from college in May, Blake will be finishing up his first year of Bible college, and Rhadee will be graduating from high school in June.  Rhadee left Cambodia the end of March and will be at our home church and school in Michigan for the exciting year-end events such as Junior Senior Banquet, Senior Trip, and Graduation.  We are SO thankful for the wonderful people at our home church who have helped each of our children with their transitions to life in America. Their love and care for our children has made this mother’s heart survive a new phase of life.  Please pray for Rodney and I as we adjust to life with no children in our home.  We miss them, but we are so glad they all have a desire to follow God’s will wherever He may lead.  Rodney tells me not to worry… he will keep me plenty busy even without home schooling! 🙂

Over the past few years, God has given me the opportunity to use my elementary education degree by teaching part-time at an elementary school.  All of  my first graders are Cambodian.  I am so thankful for the opportunities I have to tell them about Jesus Christ. We are given more opportunity to talk about Christ during the Christmas season, so I take advantage of that.  I also have opportunities to share the Gospel with the other teachers in the school.

Teacher Pauly is one of the first grade Khmer teachers.  Over the years, I have tried to share the news of salvation with her, but she has never been interested.  She would just sweetly smile and walk away.  Several months ago, I posted some pictures of Rodney and I ministering to children in a Cambodian village.  Pauly asked me about those pictures and expressed interest in learning more about Jesus Christ!  We immediately started a Bible study each day before I leave school.  She accepted Christ in October and was baptized on Christmas day!  We continue to do Bible study four days a week, and her faith has grown so much.  She has learned to stand up to persecution and to love those who oppose  her for becoming a Christian.  Her family eventually accepted the fact that she no longer worships Buddha, but they have not yet come to the point of accepting her new beliefs. Please pray for her husband and her daughter to see the change in Pauly’s life and to become receptive to the Gospel.  Although, Pauly has grown so much in her faith, she has not yet become a faithful church member.  She does tutoring on Sundays and is afraid to give up that important source of income that pays for her daughter’s college education. (I understand that worry! 🙂 ) We have talked about seeking God first and trusting Him to provide, but she has not yet surrendered this to the Lord.  Please pray for her to trust God completely to take care of her needs.  She has seen God answer so many prayers already, and now she needs to give this to Him as well.

Also, continue to pray for new Christians in Cambodia.  Srey Nait, Minea, and Sooy are all experiencing their first Khmer New Year as Christians.  Pray for them to stay faithful to Jesus Christ and not give into the peer pressure of participating in ceremonies that would betray their faith in Christ.

Thank you SO much for your prayers and support over the years!  We have been blessed!

Serving in Cambodia,

Becky Ruppel

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