Posted by: theruppels | March 26, 2015

February Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

How would you like to have Sunday School classes and Children’s Church meet in your living room every Sunday? “Oh! I hope they don’t touch this or break that!” These are feelings I have had to deal with over the past nineteen years. There was one point in our ministry where Sunday School classes met in every room of our house except for the “master bedroom.” That room was used just for counseling. God had to work in my heart and show me that EVERYTHING belongs to Him, and I should be happy and willing to use everything I own to bring glory to Him. It was a lesson I thought I had learned well.   Over the past several years, we have not used our “personal space” as ministry space, and unfortunately I forgot the lessons I had learned. I just about had a nervous breakdown when my husband took the young teen class into my living room during Christmas time. Most of those young people had never seen a Christmas tree or Christmas decorations like they saw in our living room that day. They were excited! They proceeded to “check everything out” – removing ornaments from the tree, opening the many Christmas story books I had on the coffee table, and just exploring this “wonderland.” Let’s just say… I ended up crying when I heard my Christmas dishes come crashing down in my hutch cabinet.

My parents came to visit one week after this “traumatic” experience. They have served the Lord for many years and are always an encouragement to us. During this visit my dad encouraged us to start a couples’ Sunday School class. I thought, “Great idea, but we have no room for that!” Blake and Rhadee already use our living room for a children’s service during our second hour on Sunday mornings. The children at this service are children who attend church with their parents or grandparents. The rest of the children attend an afternoon service since we cannot fit everyone into the building at the same time. Occasionally, the young teen class meets in the living room during the afternoon service. (story above) So how in the world are we going to have a couples’ class? Of course, our living room was not in use during the Sunday School hour, but I was hoping my husband wouldn’t think of that! After some prayer, we decided to open up our living room for the couples’ class. I am now so ashamed that I was unwilling to share what God gave me. It has been a blessing to see Pastor Wang teaching these couples the importance of having God in their relationships and in following God’s plan for marriage and parenthood. Rodney and I were able to spend a special evening with the couples on Valentine’s Day. We had a “Sweetheart Banquet” at the church. We played games, wrote love notes to our spouses, enjoyed a great meal, and heard a short message from God’s Word. One of the men said, “When I got here this evening, I did not feel close to my wife. I love her so much now!” That was one of our goals for the evening and we were glad to hear it. Pray for Pastor Wang as he teaches these couples that love is not just a feeling that comes and goes, but a decision to put your spouse before yourself.

Also pray for me to remember that EVERYTHING belongs to God… yes, even my living room! Pray that I will remember the many blessings that come from doing His will. “All I have belongs to Jesus!”

His in Cambodia,

Becky Ruppel

 

Posted by: theruppels | February 13, 2015

Prayer Letter December 2014

Dear Friends,

Since 1998, God has given us the privilege of working with six different new missionary families as they learn the language. Missionaries arrive with a great desire to thrive in the ministry right away, but learning to survive in this country comes first. The culture, language, climate, and adjusting to do without “necessities” overwhelm their lives. Little ministry can be done in the first few months on the field.

Matt and Nikki Brown along with Chris and Diana Stivers arrived on the field January 7th, 2014. Both Matt and Chris spent a summer with us in 2007, so they were a little ahead of the curve. Regardless, both of these families entered their full-time jobs of learning the language and figuring out how to survive in Cambodia. We are very thankful for the small part we have in helping these new missionaries get started in this country.

Matt slowly developed a good relationship with his landlord, Neoun. As Matt learned the language, he was better able to communicate and share truths about God’s Word and the Gospel. By the end of July, Neoun had agreed to have a Bible study with Matt and Pastor Wang. Pastor Wang attended the Bible study to help Matt with the language (if he needed it) and to begin his own relationship with Neoun. Matt did amazingly well reading the Bible study and explaining the Gospel to Neoun. Neoun desired more and started coming to church in September. On September 27th, he accepted Christ as his saviour. His first decision as a child of God was, “I am bring my wife to church with me tomorrow.” Sure enough, his whole family was there just like he said.

Neoun was baptized on October 19th, and it was that day that his wife made it clear that she wanted to be a Christian too. Wang’s wife, Srey Oun, dealt with her at length to make sure she understood and to make sure she was not just following her husband but truly making a personal decision to accept Christ. (We have had this problem in the past.) Nai Kiim made her salvation “official” by praying the sinner’s prayer on December 13th. The whole family is now regularly coming to church, and both Neoun and Nai Kiim are being discipled one on one.

We are so thankful for both the Stivers and the Browns giving their lives to serve our Lord in the country of Cambodia. It is not often that a new missionary will see fruit so quickly, but we are certain that God will use both the Stivers and the Browns to reach many more people in this country for His glory!

Please pray for Neoun, Nai Kiim, and both their children, Lady and Tiara.

Watching God Work,

Rodney Ruppel

Neoun's Family with the Browns

Neoun’s Family with the Brown Family

 

 

Posted by: theruppels | February 13, 2015

Prayer Letter October 2014

Dear Friends,

There were only 4 other independent Baptist missionaries in Cambodia when we arrived in 1996. We only knew two of them at the time, and one of them was trying to set up an agreement for Baptist missionaries through a branch of the government called The Ministry of Cults and Religions. (We affectionately refer to them as MOCAR.) The outcome of this man’s work was the creation of an umbrella group (which the government requires) for Baptist missionaries and churches called Baptists for Cambodia (BFC.) Because Cambodia now has nearly 100 independent Baptist missionaries from at least 4 different countries and more than 200 independent Baptist churches, the need and work of BFC has increased.

The BFC umbrella group has enabled Baptist missionaries to have representation to the government; however, official recognition (paperwork) has not been easy to obtain. The law does not really make provision for church planting missionaries who are not doing some sort of aid work. The Ministry of Religion knows that we are here, invites us to their meeting, and often facilitates our legal status in the country. We are not hiding anything.

Many of you know that when we arrived in 1996 the country was at the tail end of a civil war. Cambodia had an “anything goes” feeling to it, which made it both free and dangerous. Though there were many laws, very few of them were enforced.

Things have been slowly changing for about ten years. Cambodia was accepted into the ASEAN group of nations, and the government has been trying to bring Cambodia up to the ASEAN standards. Because of this, all foreigners not working with aid organizations are now required to have work permits. That would be us. However, we do not fit into any category that would allow us to get a work permit. For the time being, missionaries are still being allowed to live and work in this country. But we believe steps need to be taken to preserve open and legal mission work in this country.

Since I (Rodney) have been deeply involved in BFC since its inception in 1996, I feel God would have me to work at resolving this issue facing the Baptist missionaries here. Please pray for legal and open mission work to continue in this country. Here is how you can pray:

  • Pray that I will find grace in the eyes of the officials at the Ministry of Religion.
  • Pray that I would be able to set up a way to get missionaries work permits to do religious work in Cambodia.
  • Pray that the fees for such permits would be minimal.
  • Pray that missionaries will not be required to start businesses nor aid organizations in order to remain in the country.
  • Pray that I will still accomplish everything God would have me do in the ministry despite the many extra hours now required for this issue.

Honored to Serve Him,

Rodney Ruppel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodney Ruppel

 

Posted by: theruppels | February 13, 2015

Prayer Letter August 2014

Dear Friends,

In 1999 Pastor Sakaun, still a new Christian at the time, told me that he had recently made a commitment to serve the Lord with his life. He then admitted that he didn’t know how to serve the Lord. That was the catalyst for starting New Hope Bible Institute.

Over the years, New Hope Bible Institute has grown to include much more than just Sakaun. It has been my privilege to teach many different men and women who have a desire to understand the Word of God and also to know how to study it for themselves.

This year’s “wet season” semester (as we call it) ran from the end of June until the beginning of September. We studied from 1:30-4:30 pm every Wednesday. A new group of students came from 60 km away and another new group of about 15 young people came from a ministry here in Phnom Penh. Altogether nearly forty students registered for the class, and thirty finished.

It was my delight to write, translate, and teach the students through a Socratic study of I Timothy. Those who completed the course read I Timothy through at least 20 times. Teaching students how to find answers from the Bible themselves in a great privilege and to see them learn how to study the Bible for themselves brings me great joy.

There are four men that are really key in the institute;     Sakaun, Proh, Tho, and Wang. I had a meeting with them about the future direction of the institute, and I gained much insight and advice from them. Proh is teaching institute classes to a small group in his own church. Sakaun is scheduled to teach courses in our institute next year, and I am praying that God will use Tho and Wang in the future to teach institute classes as well.

Please pray for another man named Swiss, who is growing very well. He has now finished his third institute course and is growing well.

Please pray for the next Institute class that begins in January of 2015. Lord willing, I will again be writing, translating, and teaching a Socratic study on the book of I Peter.

Please pray that God would give us thirty “mighty men” for the cause of Christ in Cambodia. We do not desire to recruit these men from other ministries but to reach and train them through the ministry of New Hope Baptist Church.

Honored to Serve Him,

Rodney Ruppel

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Swiss, his wife Ron, and their children Naomi & Selah

 

Posted by: theruppels | February 13, 2015

Prayer Letter June 2014

Dear Friends,

Pastor Sakaun and his wife, Samaat, are such an integral part of so many ministries here in Cambodia. Many of you already know of this dear couple, but for those of you who don’t, let me give you a brief biographic sketch.

We first met Sakaun, his wife, and their oldest child when they came to a Christmas program at our church in 1998. Just a few months later, the whole family received Christ, and Sakaun and Samaat began to grow in the Lord by leaps and bounds. God allowed many difficult events in their lives during the first few years they were saved, and the Lord used it all to bring them forth as gold. God led us to lay hands on Sakaun in 2002 to recognize God’s call on his life. God has been doing great things with him ever since.

Twice now I have tried to give New Hope Baptist Church over to Pastor Sakaun, and both times he passed on the offer. Now 63, Sakaun is being used to help multiple ministries around the country.

Pastor Sakaun still pastors the small but strong church that he started in his own village. Most of the members of that church drive one hour to join with our service on Sunday mornings, then they have another service in Sakaun’s village on Sunday evening. On Thursday afternoon, Sakaun runs a children’s service, and in the evening, the church meets for prayer and Bible study.

Every Monday since 2005, Sakaun has travelled a little over an hour south with his two sons-in-law to a somewhat remote village to preach the Gospel in a mission work there. This area is spiritually dark, and Sakaun’s family are the only ones taking the light of the Gospel to these people.

When missionaries go on furlough, Sakaun is often asked to cover for ministries that do not yet have a trained national who can take their place. Presently, he is covering for a missionary’s work on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, while continuing to maintain his ministries above.

Though Sakaun is very busy with a ministry of his own and with helping other missionaries, he still makes time to attend and help us here at New Hope Baptist Church. Sakaun taught the dry season session of our Bible Institute. He often preaches for us here on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. He is such a huge blessing when he is with us!

Sakaun and Samaat are both survivors of the Khmer Rouge Genocide. The things that they suffered during that time had ill effects on their health. Presently, Samaat is suffering from what I believe is TMJ. She is in pain most all the time but is still faithfully serving by her husband’s side and doing all that she can. Sakaun is now suffering from bone spurs and a shoulder injury. These ailments have slowed him down, but there is no stopping him.   Please pray for the health of these two saints. We are asking God to give both Sakaun and Samaat many more years and the strength and health to serve Him all their days.

Honored to Serve Him,

Rodney Ruppel

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Posted by: theruppels | May 12, 2014

Prayer Letter April 2014

Dear Friends,

In 2007, New Hope Baptist Church started a giving program to establish a “land fund”.  Church members made four year commitments to this fund, and they gave sacrificially.  Their sacrifice and commitment has been a wonderful testimony to churches all over Cambodia.  By 2013, New Hope Baptist Church was ready to buy a piece of land that would be the future center of New Hope’s meetings and ministry.  Praise the Lord!  In October, God gave them a small (in American standards) piece of property in an area that is supposed to be developed soon. It is a wonderful area for a church; full of people that are lost and in need of a Saviour.

Because of circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to use the house we are renting for our normal church meeting on Sunday May 4th, which happened to be the 17th anniversary of New Hope Baptist Church.   God led us to have a tent meeting on our new land instead.  We had a great day!

As always, one of our goals with anniversary Sunday was to get some of the “AWOL” church members back “through the doors.”  We also wanted these absent members to be acquainted with the future place of the church.  Success!  Some people that we have not seen in a very long time were present for the meeting.

We also wanted to start reaching out to the people in the immediate area of the land.  We learned through canvassing the area that most people there think a church is a place for children to go learn English.  During the weeks leading up to the service, we were able to introduce ourselves and the Gospel to our future neighbors. About 5 adults from the neighborhood showed up for the meeting, and one woman raised her hand during the invitation to express interest in learning more about Christ.  Pray for Leenaan to understand the Gospel and humble herself to accept Christ as her Saviour.

On this special day, we had the privilege of recognizing the faithfulness of our people and dedicating the land to God’s work.  At the end of the service, something unexpected happened. Pastor Wang stood and expressed gratitude to Becky and I for sharing the Gospel with them and planting New Hope Baptist Church.  Then he handed us an envelope containing $71  to express their gratitude toward us. We found out from our children later that day, that neither they nor any other American were allowed to contribute to this special gift. Our people gave generously to purchase this land.  They give generously to the general fund of the church and to missions.  This gift was above and beyond.  Some of you do not realize what kind of sacrifice this $71 represents.  To help you put it into perspective, another nearby church gave a total of only $50 in their offerings for the entire year.  This money came from a small group of people who love God and love God’s work.  May God help me to love them better.

Rodney Ruppel

 

Tent Meeting - Anniversary Sunday

Tent Meeting – Anniversary Sunday

Bricks Painted Gold for Faithfulness Awards

Bricks Painted Gold for Faithfulness Awards

New Family Saved in 2013

New Family Saved in 2013

Becky Handing Out Faithfulness Awards

Becky Handing Out Faithfulness Awards

Receiving Faithfulness Awards

Receiving Faithfulness Awards

Posted by: theruppels | March 17, 2014

Prayer Letter February 2014

Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God allows us to do many things for Him, but we do not always see what it is God accomplishes through our service. We do know that His Word will prosper. It will produce fruit, but we are not always present for the harvest.

In 2004, a number of our supporting churches provided funds for us to print 50,000 copies of an evangelistic, full-color, 40 page booklet that I had written a couple years before. The large printing allowed us to provide the booklets to missionaries and churches for a very low price. We have printed a total of 95,000 booklets in the last 10 years. As we sorted and prepared the booklets from the original printing, I asked God to use these seeds of His Word to produce fruit in many lives whether we knew about them or not.

Last week, we had a singles activity with Brother Stephen Benefield’s church, where I asked the young people to tell us how they got saved. God surprised us! Sophia (from Brother Stephen’s church) started her testimony by saying, “I first heard about Jesus through Brother Rodney’s church. My Grandma read to us from a ‘Do You Know God?’ booklet that she received from some of his soul winners.” We did not know them, and they never came to our church. We did not know that there was a home where an unsaved Grandmother was reading this booklet to her grandchildren. A number of years later, Sophia’s older sister was saved at Brother Benefield’s church. Sophia then also went to church and was given another “Do You Know God?” booklet. Before long, she too accepted Christ as her Savior.

Churches gave for the printing, and most likely never met a soul changed by those booklets. Regardless, God is still keeping an account of fruit to their account. Our church has labored to get the Gospel to as many lost Cambodians as we can, and we have seen many come to Christ. However, there may be thousands whom God has changed through these seeds! It is an awesome privilege to be used of God to do something that is way bigger than my life!

As a nine or ten year old child, seeds were planted in Sophia’s heart. The power of the Gospel did a great work unto salvation. Now please pray for this young lady to continue to produce fruit for the glory of God and for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

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Posted by: theruppels | March 11, 2014

Prayer Letter December 2013

Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
About a year ago, I had the privilege of meeting Mike Van Horn, a Rock of Ages prison evangelist. He and a Filipino missionary, Hope Dela Cruz, came to talk to me about their desire and vision to gain entrance into the Cambodian prisons to preach the Gospel. Just a few days after that meeting, God introduced me to a man named Yuri while doing cold calls in an area close to the church. Yuri had just been released from prison that week. He had been saved in prison under the preaching of a Cambodian Baptist pastor. This pastor’s work in the prison had been unknown to me until the meeting a few days prior. God brought the need for this kind of ministry to my attention just before introducing me to Yuri; not a coincidence!
On November 11th and 12th of this year, I had the opportunity to accompany Brother Mike Van Horn and Brother Ricky Dunsford to the provincial prison of Kampong Cham. Brother Hope Dela Cruz has recently gained entrance into this prison. This is the first time I have ever been into a prison or jail. Listening to these two Rock of Ages missionaries speak to the officers in charge of the prison was very educational for me. I learned so much about the Cambodian prisons and the spiritual and physical needs that are pressing down upon the men there.
Brother Hope gave me the opportunity to preach the Gospel to over 40 inmates. I have never had so many unsaved Cambodian men give me their undivided attention as I preached the Gospel. Of course they were literally a captive audience. 🙂 This experience gave me a much greater burden for the men and women in the Cambodian prisons.
Later that day, Brother Van Horn and I discussed the possibility of using some of the discipleship materials that we have developed for use in the prisons. There are a few minor changes that need to be made in order to make it more functional for prison ministry, but Lord willing, it will be complete in the next few months.
Three days after this trip, I was making cold calls again when I “ran into” a man who had just been released from a prison near the one I had visited. Ban also heard the Gospel and accepted Christ in prison. He has attended New Hope Baptist Church the last two Sundays!

Please pray : 1) that God would open more doors into Cambodian Prisons to enable independent Baptist pastors to preach the Gospel to over 15,000 Cambodian inmates.
2) that God would help me edit discipleship material to use for the edifying and strengthening of many new Christians, especially in the prisons.
3) that God would show us what he would have us do to help new Christians get plugged into churches once they are released.

Cambodian Prisoners studying the Bible

Cambodian Prisoners studying the Bible

Posted by: theruppels | March 11, 2014

Prayer Letter October 2013

2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Training men for the ministry is of utmost importance regardless of the country in which you are serving. However, training men in Cambodia faces the challenges that often present themselves in underdeveloped countries where the church is young. 1) There are very few books and Bible study helps in the Khmer language. 2) Many of the men have had insufficient academic education. 3) There are very few Cambodian pastors who can help us train the next generation. 4) Regular (5-day a week) Bible college is near impossible without paying the students a stipend. With these things in mind you may better understand our excitement about our little institute.
We now have eleven men coming to our Bible institute which meets every Wednesday from 1:30-4:30 PM. Ten of these men preach on a regular basis of which seven are pastors. This group meets for a 3 month session in the summer and another in the winter. The goal is: 1) To give these men the additional training that they need to effectively pastor and go forward in the work of God. 2) To equip them with the materials they need to also teach other men from their respective ministries. We believe God would be pleased for every church to be training men for the ministry.
I have been developing materials for the institute to fit the needs that we have now as well as the future. In September, the men in the institute finished a study through Ephesians. Now that this study guide through Ephesians is finished in Khmer, other missionaries or Cambodian pastors may use the book to teach other men also. Along with Ephesians, study guide books through Colossians and James have also been finished. I was also able to help another missionary finish an O.T. survey course.
One of the greatest blessings of the institute is Pastor Sakaun. He is helping me teach a number of practical courses that are culturally relevant. Pastor Sakaun has already taught about funerals and weddings and is now preparing a course on the pastor’s family relationships.
Two of the institute students are taught individually. One is now meeting with me on Saturday afternoons and the other on Monday. Individual training is not ideal for my schedule, but both of these men have a family to support and tough schedules of their own. Besides, one-on-one training also becomes one-on-one discipleship.
The men in our institute are listed at the side of this letter. Please pray for them and their families: 1) To be faithful to God’s Word and to God’s Work. 2) To grow in their walk with God and in their ministries. 3) To teach others also.

Posted by: theruppels | March 11, 2014

Prayer Letter August 2013

Mt 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

When we first arrived in Cambodia, it was pretty safe to assume that every Cambodian we talked to had not been to church, had not heard the Gospel, and did not personally know a Christian. Asking people whether they had studied about Christ or not brought a confused look and a defiant answer, “I’m Cambodian. I’m Buddhist.”

About a year ago, my son, Ryan, challenged me to reconsider my approach with people. He was observing that more and more of the people we witness to had some knowledge of the Bible and Jesus Christ. Now I ask just about everyone that I meet whether or not they have ever studied about Jesus Christ. The difference is amazing. More than 50% of the adults I now meet in Phnom Penh have been exposed to some kind of Bible teaching. Most of them went to a church when they were children. Although most of them can not give me a Bible reason why they are saved, the seeds of God’s Word have been planted in their heart.

One such young woman, Saat, was brought to our church about six months ago by one of our members. We were told that she had a church in her home village, and she was just married last January with a Christian ceremony. Becky began a salvation Bible study with Saat and found out that she did not consider herself saved and Heaven bound. As Becky finished up the study, Saat realized that she had never made a decision to accept Christ as her Savior. Becky did not have to lead her in a “sinner’s prayer.” With tear-filled eyes, Saat called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ all on her own!

Saat is due to have her first child in October. Her husband, Sarom, went to the same children’s Bible program as she did. He is still a bit confused but listening to the Gospel. The last three Sundays, he has attended church with Saat. Please pray for him to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior also.

I am not giving my endorsement to every evangelistic program in this country. Some churches even dishonor the name of Christ, but God’s Word is powerful! It is the power unto salvation. God’s Word is a seed that is planted in the hearts of men, women, boys, and girls. God’s Word can do a work even if the sower is carnal or improperly trained. We plant and water, but God brings forth the increase. May God help us to be faithful to proclaim His Gospel and faithful to preach His Word, and may God help us to trust Him to build His Church!

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