Bill Rudge’s powerful life-changing testimony at a meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
Category: Testimonies of Faith and Courage
Saved By a Song
Used by permission of The Christian Banner – A Civil War magazine.
It was Christmas Eve, 1875. Ira Sankey was traveling by steamboat up the Delaware River. Mr. Sankey had been asked to sing. He wanted to sing a Christmas song but was driven almost against his will to sing Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us. All were moved by the rendition.
After the song ended a man with a rough, weather-beaten face came up and asked Mr. Sankey, “Did you ever serve in the Union army?” “Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, “in the spring of 1862.” “Can you remember if you were ever doing picket duty on a bright, moonlit night in 1862?” “Yes,” answered Mr. Sankey, very much surprised.
“So do I,” answered the stranger, “but I was serving in the Confederate army. When I saw you standing at your post I said to myself, ‘That fellow will never get away from here alive.’ I raised my musket and took aim. At that instant, just as a moment ago, you raised your eyes to Heaven and began to sing. I took my finger off the trigger.
‘Let him sing his song to the end,’ I said to myself, ‘I can shoot him afterwards.’ But the song you sang then was the song you sang just now. When you had finished your song it was impossible for me to take aim at you again. I thought, the Lord, who is able to save that man from certain death, must surely be great and mighty, and my arm, of its own accord, dropped limp at my side.
Since that time I have wandered about far and wide, but when I just now saw you standing there singing as on that other occasion, I recognized you. Then my heart was wounded by your song. Now I ask that you help me find a cure for my sick soul.”
Deeply moved, Mr. Sankey threw his arms about the man who in days of the war had been his enemy. And that night the stranger found the Good Shepherd as his Savior.
Youth and Maturity
by Jim Weikal
Forty-five years this August 2022 for Bill Rudge Ministries (BRM) and it is still going strong. Bill and Karen have ministered so long now that we forget they were once youngsters with a heart to work for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ever since the Lord sent me to this ministry back in the mid-eighties, I have always respected Bill’s wisdom and judgment. But I am sure many people just shook their heads that two recently saved “kids” in their early twenties would ever last for this long in a ministry that must look to the Lord daily for its survival.
I am reminded of Timothy whom God called to minister with the apostle Paul. Unlike our 21st century culture, which places great stress on youthfulness, the Greeks placed a high value on age and experience. Timothy was young by their standards (thirties) so Paul encouraged him: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Over the years God has provided many challenges for this ministry, and Bill and Karen have met them through God’s grace. I am an eyewitness to many of the ways the Lord miraculously intervened as they stood in faith in seemingly impossible circumstances. They have followed Paul’s dictate to set an example for believers (1 Timothy 4:12).
I came to BRM in 1986 looking for someone who could teach me to serve the Lord. I had a desire to serve but was not sure how to go about doing it. I understood from Scripture that Joshua had learned from Moses and Timothy had been instructed by Paul, so I knew the necessity of learning from someone who was following the Lord.
My first job at the ministry was using a hammer to put shingles on the new addition. Gradually, I began to proofread, do research, lead Bible studies, speak in area churches, write for the ministry newsletter and serve as Biblical Instruction Director.
In all of these activities, I was continually being taught by Bill as he imparted his knowledge and experience to me. I also learned by his example which is always the best teacher. Fortunately, I know Bill not only as a teacher and spiritual advisor but also as a friend. In all circumstances, Bill strives to honor God and maintain the highest level of integrity.
When I came here all those years ago, I could not have known the extent to which Bill would positively influence my walk with the Lord. I could not have learned from textbooks what I have learned from Bill:
- Through prayer and fasting always seek to know God’s will before you do something.
- Spend more time reading the Scriptures than you do reading supplemental books.
- Continue a healthy lifestyle and diet so the body and mind can do God’s work.
- Maintain the highest level of integrity in all spheres of your life.
- Always seek to honor God in all you do.
I have followed the Biblical principles learned at the Bill Rudge Ministries while serving as a pastor and ministering in many other ways. I believe the Bible to be the last court of appeals in all matters of the faith, and the Word and the testimony of Jesus need to be the standard for all Biblical Christians.
Bill and Karen Rudge 1970 – 2021
I Could Run But I Couldn’t Hide
By Bill Rudge
Fifty years ago, on May 16, 1971, I began my hitchhiking quest across the country with my weightlifting buddy to get away from my girlfriend and her Jesus. In reality, I was in search of peace, fulfillment and the purpose of life. The adventures along the way – as well as the dangers – were many but the story took a turn while stranded in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We received rides from all types of people.
I remember getting picked up by a businessman outside of Akron, Ohio. I thought, “Nice car!” Wouldn’t you know, he began to witness to me about Jesus Christ. I run right into this religious nut who is telling me about this Jesus who I do not want to hear about. He knew I did not want to hear about Jesus so when he discovered I was going to New Mexico he said, “I know some monks out there.” (I later discovered they were born again, Spirit-filled monks).” He wrote a note and said, “I want you to give this to them and they will take care of you.” He sealed it in an envelope and I filed it away.
I thought, I am never going to see some dumb religious monks, so I later opened the letter. It said something like, “These boys are deeply troubled. Please pray for their souls.” I kept the note just in case we needed to go there and get some food.
Then in Columbus, Ohio, we hitched a ride with a guy who pulled a Bible out of his glove compartment and I thought, “Here we go again!” But when he opened his Bible, there was a hole cut out of the center pages with a stash of marijuana hidden there. As we all shared a joint, I thought, “How cool; no cop would ever think of looking inside a Bible for that.”
Albuquerque, New Mexico
After only two days and nights on the road and many adventures, we reached Albuquerque. I hoped to see my oldest brother who was living in a hippie commune there and to obtain a “hot” [stolen] motorcycle to ride to California. My brother had phoned at Christmas and I told him I might come out to see him sometime. He said he could get me a “hot” motorcycle on which we could travel across the rest of the country. He didn’t really believe I would ever show up.
At the hippie compound I was told that my brother had left the day before to go swimming at some springs in the mountains a hundred miles away. They had no idea when he would be back.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
We decided to hitchhike to Santa Fe, which was about 50 miles north of Albuquerque. After walking about three miles we finally hitched a ride that took us right into Santa Fe. During our ride, the car radio informed us that the temperature was going down to about 25 degrees, a record low for this time of year. I had anticipated warm weather out west in May, so all I had was a short-sleeved shirt and a plastic poncho.
Our ride dropped us off and we walked the cobblestone streets of Santa Fe to find a place to spend the night. Darkness was settling in and it seemed as though the whole city had closed down. Finally we found an open bar but were not allowed inside because we were underage. We asked again if we could just go inside long enough to find someone to put us up for the night. The person running the bar did not care and assured us that without proper I.D. we would not be allowed in.
We saw a girl riding by on a bicycle (the only sign of outside life) and yelled at her to stop but she pedaled all the faster and disappeared down a side street.
We returned to our only hope, the bar, which was now closing. No one leaving the bar was willing to help or put us up for the night. It was very late and the temperatures had dropped drastically.
I had unknowingly served Satan faithfully over the years but now he knew that God was beginning to move in my heart so he led me here and set me up to freeze to death.
Hope was diminishing and then, seemingly out of nowhere, down a narrow street came a small, yellow foreign car with several longhaired hippies and a German Shepherd dog hanging his head out of the window. My friend and I began to wave and yell hoping they would stop. All of a sudden one of them started yelling, “That’s my brother, that’s my brother!” and my brother Larry screeched the car to a halt. One of the passengers, Rick, said, “Yeah, we’re all brothers. You and me are brothers. The guy in the back seat is your brother too.” Larry said, “It is my blood brother.” Rick said, “That’s impossible!”
My brother did not even know I was in New Mexico. He was supposed to be 100 miles away swimming somewhere in the mountains, and there in the small town of Santa Fe, on a narrow street, a God who knew I would one day give my life to Him, intervened and spared my life.
Larry, his buddies, and a German shepherd dog Larry found had hitchhiked up to Jemez Hot Springs (59 miles north of Albuquerque and 50 miles – by road – west of Santa Fe) and stayed for a couple days. Larry and his friends were thrown out of the Hot Springs after a few nights and were hitchhiking back to Albuquerque when a young female school teacher picked them up. She took them to her home – which just happened to be in Santa Fe – and let them sleep on her floor that night. She said to Larry, “You guys aren’t going to trash my house and steal my TV and other items?” Larry promised they would not.
The next day this single female teacher left them a note stating she would be back at noon and that they were welcome to wait at the house. She came back home from school at noon and gave Larry the keys to her car saying they could use it to see Sante Fe but to please bring it back that night since it was the only car she had. She asked Larry again, “You guys aren’t going to steal my car and take everything in my house?” Larry promised her they would not. Another schoolteacher who had followed her home at noon drove her back to school and then dropped her off at her house after school. It was later that night, as Larry was driving the car back to her house, that he saw me. Larry later told me they had thought about stealing her car but wanted to keep his promise to return her car since she had been so nice.
It was on Larry’s way back to her house that God used him to save my life. If the car windows hadn’t been rolled down, Larry would never have seen me. You know why the windows were down in such cold weather? Because they had been feeding Mexican beans to the dog and it had gas. Since the defroster wasn’t working, all the windows would have steamed up, he wouldn’t have seen me, and we would have passed like two ships in the night. So God used the dog’s gas for those windows to be down!
God uses the foolish things to confound the wise and the weak things to confound the strong.
We all scrunched into that small car and soon all of us were hanging out the windows. We went to where they were staying and I completely forgot, or cared, about God. We all smoked some grass and shared stories. Larry explained that he would not be able to get us a motorcycle so the next day my friend and I started hitchhiking back to Pennsylvania. Larry, his buddies, and the dog returned to Albuquerque – never to see that school teacher again and wondering not only why she ever picked them up, let them stay in her house, and borrow her car, but also why they didn’t steal it and take off. For many years, Larry was in and out of prison for drug related charges. He told many prisoners about that miracle in Sante Fe in 1971. Years later, Larry was on fire for Jesus Christ. He died of lung cancer and with his dying words He praised Jesus for what God did in Santa Fe.
Back in Pennsylvania
We encountered many more incidents along the way but were really happy when we arrived home. The first thing I did when I got home was call Karen and then go to see her. It happened to be Sunday so, after our reunion, Karen said, “Bill, I want you to come tonight and hear this fantastic evangelist speaking in Youngstown, Ohio.”
The last thing I wanted to do my first night back was to spend it in church hearing about Jesus. I told her, “Karen, take your religion and shove it.” She persisted so I decided to go since we hadn’t seen each other for so long and she looked so beautiful.
But that night the Holy Spirit was dealing with me in a way I had never known before. The evangelist spoke on Bible prophecy and how we could know God in a real and personal way.
I had been searching for meaning and purpose in life for a long time. I had tried everything imaginable to find lasting happiness and peace. I now knew that what I was looking for would not be found, no matter where I went or what I did, but only through giving my life to Jesus Christ and fulfilling the purpose God had for my life.
When he gave the altar call, Karen and her friends asked the usual question, “Do you want us to walk down with you?” I said, “No. This time I’ll do it alone.”
I stood to my feet and as I walked down the long aisle to the altar, I said, “God, if You prove Yourself real to me tonight, I’ll live my life for You.” That was May 23, 1971. God did, and I’ve never been the same since.
The next night I went to hear this same evangelist speak in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.
During the service he pointed to me and said, “Young man, last night there was a battle between heaven and hell. Satan and hell wanted to keep you, but God won!”
And that’s exactly what happened. I’ve never been the same and I never will be the same.
God intervened and changed my life in a way no self-realization course, no mind-expansion technique, no latent mental powers, no psychotherapy technique, no martial arts involvement, no weight lifting, no hypnosis, no meditation, no Yoga, no occultism, no Eastern religion, no human potential, no atheism, no self-effort or works of righteousness could! Nothing and no one could change my life, except Him.
Men With Vision
Men With Vision is a group of men who volunteer their time and talents to help where needed in western Pennsylvania. In March, President Bob Ramp and his crew (Tom Anthony, Dave Campbell, Mike Godnich, Dick Hetrick, Ed King, Ron McDonald, Larry Royal and Norm Simons) answered the call from Bill Rudge Ministries to build a ramp.
Karen Rudge had just had an extensive four-hour foot and ankle surgery that entailed a bone graft, three screws, three staples, and 42 stitches and would not be allowed to bear any weight for two months. The ramp would enable her to leave the house for doctor’s appointments and to continue her responsibilities at the ministry center. Karen is a full-time volunteer coordinating various crucial aspects of the ministry.
Men with Vision supplied the materials at no cost and completed the ramp in only three hours, finishing the task just as the sun was setting.
Many thanks to Men of Vision and also to all who prayed, visited, brought flowers, made meals, sent cards, and helped in a variety of ways. May God bless you all.
The Photo That Started It All
by Darlinda McDonald
Who would have thought that a yearbook photo would open the door to a lifetime relationship? Karen Blair went to Hickory High School, Bill Rudge to Sharon. One night, however, Karen was with some friends at a party in Hermitage when Bill and some friends from Ohio walked in uninvited. Apparently, Karen caught Bill’s eye because he invited her for a short walk outside where he said he would “take her on a date sometime,” though he never followed through with his promise.
Then it happened. Several weeks later, Karen learned that a photo of her selling tickets at the Columbia Theatre to Sharon High School’s senior class vice president and his date was printed in Sharon’s High School yearbook. Wanting to see the photo, her mother took her to the Rudges because both Karen’s and Bill’s sisters were in Debulets (a baton twirling group) together. When Bill saw Karen he said, “Hey, I asked you out at that party. Do you still want to go?” “Sure,” she replied, and that was the beginning.
In January, after dating regularly for about six months, Karen became a Christian. Bill, however, didn’t want anything to do with God and decided to hitchhike across the country. God, in His faithfulness, pursued him and on May 23, after returning home, Bill gave his life to Christ. A few weeks after his conversion, on June 5, 1971, Bill and Karen ran away and were married. That was 50 years ago, and so the story continues!
Bill’s picture (left) appeared in the football section of that yearbook underneath the team photo. The caption beside his picture exemplified other experiences that shaped Bill’s life: “In late August, the football team began its two-a-day workouts, which lasted for two torturous weeks. The air was filled with the most terrifying grunts and groans as the players were pushed to the brink of exhaustion ….”
Dr. BJ Rudge – Testimony on Crossing Paths
BRM Overview On Crossing Paths
A Near Miss in the Himalayas
by Bill Rudge
After speaking at a convention in the Himalayas of northern India, my team and I were making our way down the winding mountain roads as we headed to Calcutta. We stopped in the village of Darjeeling. Standing in the middle of a narrow road for a more panoramic view, my son and I surveyed this Himalayan village deciding which direction to go. Suddenly a bus came speeding around a sharp curve, heading straight toward us. Horn blaring, the bus maintained its speed as it rushed nearer and nearer with no sign of slowing down.
Sizing up the situation, I glanced to my right and left. Instinctively grabbing BJ, my then thirteen-year-old son, I quickly tried pulling him to the left, but his impulse was to go in the opposite direction. Adjusting my momentum to accommodate his motion, I pushed him to the right. Simultaneously, he acted on my initial tug by moving toward the left! There we were in the middle of the road going in circles as this huge bus came bearing down on us. I could have jumped out of the way to save my life, but I promised my wife I would bring our son back alive. If he was going to die, then I was going to die with him, so I hung on.
With adrenaline flowing and my heart pounding, thoughts of how we were both going to be killed flooded my mind, because buses in the Himalayas are notorious for not stopping for pedestrians. I personally have seen them barrel down the road, stopping for no one: young and old alike rushing to step aside or leaping to safety seconds before the bus sped by, missing them by inches.
Realizing this, our situation was desperate. Then, by the grace of God, the driver realized we really were in trouble and to our amazement, suddenly slammed on the brakes and slid to a stop no more than two feet in front of us. I remember standing there in the middle of the street after it was all over, looking at the flat front of the bus directly ahead of me thinking, “I could not even have jumped on its hood to get thrown to the side. It would have hit us, dropped us in the street, and then run over us! We would have had no hope for survival.” Thank God for His mercy and protection!
The point of this illustration is that when our heavenly Father is leading us in one direction, and we insist on going in another, then dangerous and sometimes fatal consequences occur. Rather than going around in circles in your life, take your lead from the Lord.
When I was involved in the martial arts (before the Lord led me out) the easiest way for me to lead someone’s body was to lead their head. Wherever their head went, their body would follow. I used to demonstrate this with a volunteer from the audience. It was easy to lead a person who was submissive and yielded. But if they would stiffen their neck and resist, I would explain my choices:
- I could exert more force and possibly injure his neck.
- I could break his stiff neck.
- I could knock him unconscious and then drag him wherever I wanted.
- I could let him go his own way and bang his head against the wall, or against my knee, or whatever, as a natural consequence of his resistance.
When we resist the Lord’s will and refuse to submit, He also has choices:
- He can exert more pressure in our lives to get our attention.
- He can break our stiff necks and rebellious wills by humbling us.
- He can knock us unconscious by not using us anymore or allow Satan to render us ineffective.
- He can let us go our own rebellious ways and reap the consequences, until we learn and are ready to yield to His lead.
One Reassuring Fact
It is reassuring to know that when you remain yielded, available and surrendered to God, it is impossible for you to get too far out of line. If you get involved with a practice or belief that is unacceptable to Him, He will speak to your heart through His Word and Spirit, and the Great Shepherd will guide and direct you back to the path of righteousness.
The problem starts when you become insensitive, stiff-necked, obstinate and hardhearted. This kind of rebellious attitude before the Lord, carries one promise – that of reaping what you have sown. But when you are sensitive and yielded to the Spirit of God and obedient to His Word, you have the promise of eventual victory, blessing and of all things working together for good. You will be aware of God working in your life to achieve the purpose and potential He has for you.
The Miracle Continues – God’s Amazing Provision and Protection
While most people thought the goals and vision of Bill and Karen Rudge could never be achieved, Bill and Karen believed God would fulfill what He led them to do. In August of 1977, while in their mid twenties, God led them to start a unique ministry that was destined to become an international outreach. With no money or facilities, they began an incredible journey of faith.
Many of you are witnesses of the miraculous ways the Lord has worked in and through their lives and ministry. You know about the “giants”– the impossible circumstances and obstacles the Lord has enabled them to overcome.
Some of you were there when God literally stopped the rain and thunderstorms from preventing ministry events and outreaches. Others of you observed God’s mighty hand of protection as you traveled with Bill to mission fields or on other dangerous ventures.
Most of you are aware of the numerous times, over the years, Bill and Karen were in need of a financial miracle or when they stepped out in faith to begin building projects. Some of you were eyewitnesses to the astonishing ways the Lord provided the land and enabled the building of two ministry centers primarily with the help of volunteers and without paying any interest. Most of you have read about; some of you can verify and attest to, miraculous interventions the Lord did in seemingly impossible situations (see Bill’s book, Overcoming Giants).
Many of you remember that in spite of the previous ministry building being unsold, Bill and Karen stepped out in faith and constructed a new facility. Then, on the very day they began moving items into the completed new facility, the former ministry center was sold.
As a crucial part in God’s provision for the needs of this ministry during its 42 years of existence, you have enabled this dream of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth to become a reality. But it is one thing to dream, and quite another to live by faith day after day and year after year – often confronting overwhelming obstacles. Yet, Bill and Karen have dared to trust the Lord, walk in obedience to His Word, be led by His Spirit, and persevere in faith and determination until His purposes were fulfilled.
Throughout their lives, Bill and Karen have witnessed the Lord’s protection in some incredible ways:
• Bill nearly froze to death in New Mexico less than a week before his conversion – but God dramatically rescued him.
• As a brand new Christian, a car battery exploded in his face – a miracle he was not blinded. (Years later, Bill’s youngest brother was told by a woman who witnessed the explosion, “Your brother should be blind!”)
• Shortly after start of Bill Rudge Ministries, Karen’s life-threatening liver disease suddenly disappeared.
• A shattered left ankle in the early days could have wiped out various aspects of the ministry such as Bill’s fitness and defense classes, school demos, soccer training and the obstacle course.
• Bill and Karen’s then two young children and three of their friends became separated from a group and wandered the streets of New York City by themselves for hours.
• An attempted abduction of their preteen daughter was thwarted by a friend who pulled her free from a man trying to drag her into a van.
• Armed guards in Jordan threatened to abduct their 13-year-old daughter from a bus.
• Bill has been in several near-tragic accidents, including a violent four-vehicle collision with his family while traveling through Oregon following a speaking engagement in British Columbia.
• Bill clearly heard a voice say “Stop!” as he began to pull into an intersection in Jackson Center seconds before a semi-truck whizzed by within a few feet of his vehicle.
• Placing his hand on the door handle of his vehicle in the middle of the night, leaving to meet with a former prisoner who called for help, Bill distinctly heard the word “Ambush.” He fell on his knees and prayed, then continued alone to what proved to be a set up from which only God could have delivered him.
• In Nigeria, Bill and his assistant were surrounded by 15 agitated and aggressive street people.
• In Haiti, Bill, his son, and two other team members were surrounded by approximately 40 hostile Haitians leaving a voodoo ceremony late at night.
• Over the years, Bill has traveled in several Middle East countries during threatened attacks against U.S. citizens.
• The first female suicide bomber detonated herself at the exact site Bill and his associates had stood just 23 hours earlier after speaking to a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem.
• Bill and his 13-year-old son were nearly struck by a speeding bus in the mountains of northern India: It slid to a stop just two feet in front of them.
• Bill was nearly shot during a conflict at a cult complex in West Virginia where later remains of murdered bodies were found.
• While leading a feared voodoo witch doctor to the Lord, Bill, the interpreter, and the witch doctor were supernaturally protected from being attacked by three angry men armed with machetes and a lead pipe.
• The vehicle in which Bill, his son-in-law, nephew, and Indian host were traveling came within inches of going over the edge of the Himalayan mountains.
• Bill and two others were smuggled in and out of a country where it was forbidden to share the Gospel under penalty of prison or death.
• Karen and Bill faced great peril when trapped in the California wildfires.
• Karen was diagnosed with cancer fifteen years ago and told she only had five years to live.
• Bill was bitten by a brown recluse spider – one of the most poisonous in the United States. Trapper John said, “Everyone I know who has been bitten by a brown recluse spider lost all or part of a limb or has a hole in their leg or arm. Bill does not have even a mark on his finger. It is truly a miracle.”
• Greg Callahan sent Bill a letter concerning an incident that happened when they were youths at B Street Playground in Sharon. He wrote:
Tonight as I was reading your book it came back to me about when you had a card game where you would flip cards and bet you knew which card was mine. Well, you got me. But what truly puts a tear in my eye is that we used to stack those picnic tables three high and play cards on top of the third one. They were large and heavy picnic tables which took several guys to move. One day you and I were sitting on one side of the picnic table stacked three high and somehow it went tumbling over. Those tables had to weigh at least a couple hundred pounds and we fell quite a ways. We were both sitting with our feet under the table so that when it fell there was no way out! When we hit the cement floor the seat hit first so that we didn’t get crushed. It just amazes me that we could have been killed or crippled all those years ago, but by the grace of God nothing happened and here we are today.
The Lord’s Assurance
Early in his ministry the Lord assured Bill that his life would not be taken until God’s purpose was fulfilled. Bill has faced life threatening situations throughout his ministry and during many of his adventurous mission trips to dangerous countries throughout the world. He has often been in potentially explosive situations: Threatened, surrounded, attacked; had spells put on him – even “prophecies” for his destruction. But the God of the Bible has either given him the wisdom for how to deal with them, or has intervened to protect him.
He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Proverbs 2:7, 8
This does not mean we will never be injured, attacked, or even lose our lives, but the Lord will be with us and bring ultimate victory out of every adverse circumstance.
What More Shall We Say?
Time and space does not permit us to tell of all the miraculous events initiating our radio ministry and military outreaches; or the amazing way God used Gabriel (General Secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of India) to open doors to begin our international outreach (precisely 10 years from the start of the ministry) fulfilling exactly Bill’s initial goals and vision for the ministry.
Nor does it permit us to tell (in this issue) of how the Lord enabled Bill – at no financial cost to the ministry – to fulfill the goal of blitzing the world with the Gospel in 2000. Or of many other astonishing feats and exploits the Lord has done through this ministry.
Those who honor Me I will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30
From the very beginning of this ministry, Bill and Karen’s desire has been to honor the Lord. As a result, God’s blessings (along with the difficulties) have far surpassed anything they might have imagined.
This journey is testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness. The Lord has protected, provided and fulfilled everything He has led them to do. These, and other miraculous events are recorded in a history of the ministry notebook entitled The Impossible. A future book will share in more detail these amazing accounts of what the Lord has accomplished in making the impossible possible.
In sharing these highlights we want to encourage you, to build your faith and to testify of the faithfulness of our God. As the apostle Paul said in Romans 15:17, 18:
Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me….
Don’t compare yourself to others or attempt to imitate them. Just follow the path the Lord has for you.
Bill Rudge surrendered his life to Jesus Christ on May 23, 1971 at the age of 18 after hitchhiking across the country. He has never wavered in that commitment – the wisest and most courageous decision of his life. His walk with the Lord has proven that it takes more strength, determination and self-control to live for Christ than any other lifestyle available. And it has been the most exciting adventure imaginable!
From Planned Suicide to Salvation
The Bob Davis Story
by Darlinda McDonald
The seeds of faith that Bill Rudge planted in the 1970s bore fruit when one Sunday morning Bob Davis laid down his gun and decided to go to church. That very day he found salvation.
It has been 10 years this month since Bob Davis’ plan to end his life was foiled. Bob tells it this way:
In the summer of 2007, my wife Sally had started going to a local church in Mount Vernon, Ohio (Grace Community) but I chose not to go. I had started planning my own demise early in 2007 as I was just fed up with life. About two miles outside of town in the semi-flat farmland is a beautiful road known as Green Valley Road.
There is a one-mile stretch that is straight and then does a very hard 90-degree right turn. At the end of the straight stretch was a very large old tree and I figured that 85 miles per hour into that tree would solve all my problems. I decided to do a test run and much to my dismay discovered the tree had been cut down.
Later that summer, September 16 to be exact, after my wife Sally had gone to church, I headed out of town with one 9mm round that I had hand-loaded into my gun and written my name on with a Sharpie pen. As I reached the edge of town I suddenly began to wonder, “What am I trying to prove?” I turned around and headed to Grace Community Church. Three times I stopped but got there just as the service began. After the service I met with the pastor and found salvation.
Later that day the church was having a dinner in the park, which happened to be across the street from our house. I approached the pastor and gave him my “personalized 9mm round” which he still has and uses its story to help others.
Bob says there were three important “seed planters” in his life – his grandmother, his friend Jerry, and Bill Rudge. Bob’s grandmother planted seeds of faith throughout his life and often told her grandson that she knew he would be saved. However, she died in the 1980s and, unfortunately, did not live to see his conversion.
In the 1960s, Bob’s best friend Jerry asked him to join him in starting a band. Bob played the drums and Jerry sang in what evolved into the very successful band, Nomads. Jerry was another Christian who was a seed planter in Bob’s life.
It was in the mid-1970s that Bob met Bill Rudge. Bob was seeking a karate instructor at the time. When a friend told him about Bill, he said, “Who’s Bill Rudge?” Bob’s friend replied that Bill was a student at Mt. Vernon Bible College so Bob drove out to Bill and Karen’s mobile home right away. He took lessons from Bill who tried to “turn him onto Christ” but Bob says he didn’t care to hear about God at that time. Bill and Bob practiced martial arts together for several months as Bill continued to plant seeds of faith. These seeds took some time to grow but they did grow.
Bill graduated from Bible college and moved to North Carolina and then Pennsylvania. Bill would visit Bob every so often and give him the latest books he had written. Bob continued his martial arts training and became a Black Belt instructor before quitting years later.
Bob has experienced much pain in his life. Four of his six stepchildren have died, two before Bob became a Christian. His son, Kerry, was involved in drugs and committed suicide soon after he had an argument with Bob. In 1997, his son Greg died from lung cancer, 13 years after he was cured of thymus gland cancer. Bob became a Christian before his son Ted died of a heart attack in 2008. Then, on January 13, 2015, his daughter Gretchen died suddenly at work. An autopsy revealed a previously undetected defective heart valve. Over 1300 people attended her calling hours.
Earlier this year Bob had been praying that God would give him a sign that He was still with him. The next morning Bill unexpectedly showed up at Bob and Sally’s house in Mount Vernon. Bill had “suddenly” changed travel plans because he felt led to see Bob. In hindsight, Bob realizes that God has always had His hand on him and is grateful for the part that Bill Rudge has played in his life. Bob commented that Bill and Karen are two of the most faithful he has ever met and he thanks these “farmers” – sowers of seeds.
But Bill is even more amazed by the way Jesus has transformed Bob’s life. God’s grace has kept Bob and Sally steadfast through all their trials and tribulations. In spite of the many heartaches, Bob and Sally Davis faithfully serve Jesus Christ as they excitedly await His soon return.
World War II Jewish Marine Accepts Jesus
As a new Christian Bill Rudge worked at a quick lube place changing oil. He made sure every car had a tract on its dashboard before it left Pit Stop.
One day a man who just had his oil changed noticed a tract about Jesus on his dashboard as he drove out. He was livid. He turned off his engine and came back in shouting, “Who put this tract in my car? I am a Jew. I do not want to hear about Jesus!” When he got back in his car, it would not start.
A few years later Karen Rudge was instrumental in this man’s daughter Sheree accepting Yeshua (Jesus) as her Messiah. Sheree became Bill Rudge Ministries’ first staff member. (We did not realize until later it was her father, Dexter, who had yelled at Bill years earlier.) Dexter listened in on a conversation between Karen and Sheree as they talked about Jesus. Karen remembers him interrupting the call and yelling, “You will see when the Messiah comes, He will not have nail prints in His hands!”
A few years later, Dexter’s oldest daughter Carolyn attended church with Sheree. During the service Carolyn had a vision of the Messiah. His hands were stretched out and she saw nail prints in them. She accepted Jesus as her Messiah. Both sisters consider themselves “completed” Jews, having accepted Yeshua as the promised Jewish Messiah.
Exactly 40 years later Bill had the opportunity to visit Dexter in the hospital. Bill prayed for him in Yeshua’s name and was invited to visit him in his home after he got out of the hospital. When Bill walked into his house, Dexter extended his hand and said, “You are my friend.” He told Bill he was a Marine during World War II and that he had killed people. He asked God for forgiveness.
Bill shared about the love and forgiveness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Bill talked about the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible fulfilled by Yeshua and the ones that will be fulfilled when Yeshua returns and sets up His millennial kingdom. Before leaving, Bill once again prayed in Yeshua’s name, and Dexter invited Bill to come back anytime. Bill had several more opportunities to share with him and his lovely Jewish wife, Florine. They both listened intently as the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament clearly revealed Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah, and they were given hope concerning heaven and eternity.
On Dexter’s birthday, July 22, 2013, a good friend of the family prayed with Dexter and Florine to receive Yeshua as their Messiah and Savior. Two years later, Dexter went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is amazing and awesome! Forty years earlier Dexter cursed Bill for even mentioning that name and forty years later he allowed Bill to pray for him and proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name.
There is much more to tell about the amazing conversion of this Jewish couple, but that will have to wait for a future time…or perhaps until we meet them in eternity.
The MRI Inventor’s Greatest Discovery
by Darlinda McDonald
Dr. Damadian and his wife Donna became friends and faithful supporters of Bill Rudge Ministries after they met Bill and Karen while both their daughters were roommates in college. Bill was honored to perform Keira Damadian’s wedding in 2001. Dr. Damadian, renowned physician and scientist, is among the greatest inventors in history and one of the most intelligent scientists alive today.
Dr. Raymond V. Damadian is known around the world as the man who invented the first Magnetic Resonance Scanning machine (MRI). Born into a French-Armenian family in New York in 1936 that encouraged higher education, Dr. Damadian graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in mathematics followed by an M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. In younger days, he studied violin at the famous Julliard School for eight years. While there, Damadian competed with nearly 100,000 applicants and won a Ford Foundation Scholarship when he was only 15.
Dr. Damadian’s desire for excellence has culminated in numerous awards including the National Medal of Technology, the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award and The Economist’s Innovation Award in Bioscience. He has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and was named the Knights of Vartan Man of the Year in 2003. In addition, Dr. Damadian was nominated for the Nobel Prize for developing the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanning technology that has revolutionized modern diagnostic medicine and saved countless lives.
The book, A Machine Called Indomitable, tells the remarkable story of this visionary scientist who, against incalculable odds, fulfilled his dream and created an accessible, safe, nonradiological means of determining the chemical makeup of every cell in the body.
Dr. Damadian’s most important achievement, however, was the personal commitment he made to Jesus Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade at Madison Square Garden in 1957. According to an article written by Bob Chuvala in Christianity Today, 1997, Dr. Damadian nearly lost his faith while in pursuit of building the world’s first human scan. Work became his god and both he and his family suffered for it. “Once I was driven to my knees in prayer, things started to happen,” declared Dr. Damadian. “I don’t know what it’s like for people in other professions, but for the scientific mind, the Bible is wonderful if you read it from start to finish. It fits together with an astonishing consistency, which was the opposite of my secular perception. My early impressions were that it was rife with contradictions.”
Dr. Damadian is a firm believer in the biblical account of creation during a six-day stretch about 6,000 years ago. He says, “The non-biblical account would have us believe that all life originated from a single common ancestor – a slime mold – and give or take a billion years, we’re expected to believe that the descendants of this slime mold climbed out of the ocean and stood up and started giving lectures. Do the math on that. The sheer statistics of that violate any sense of reality.” Dr. Damadian believes the subject of evolution is not science but science fiction. For example, it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
In his article, “Discovering the MRI Scanner,” Guideposts, January 1999, Dr. Damadian wrote that he now understands what the Apostle Paul called the renewed mind. He is convinced that Paul’s declaration, “In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), is the only way to account for the spontaneous onset of the incongruous idea to scan the entire human body by the test-tube technology named NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). Out of a mind renewed by Jesus came the obvious. How could a scientist achieve his goal of discovering the absolute truths that govern the natural world without the blessing of the Author of those truths? For me now the true thrill of science is the search to understand a small corner of God’s grand design, and to lay the glory for such discoveries at the Grand Designer’s feet.
With all his successes, here is Dr. Damadian’s greatest scientific discovery as quoted in Creation magazine, 1994: “The highest purpose a man can find for his life is to serve the will of God.”
You can learn more about the incredible life and faith of Dr. Damadian, in his new book, Gifted Mind, The Dr. Raymond Damadian Story, Inventor of the MRI. For more information, contact Master Books, P.O. Box 726, Green Forest, AR 72638 or visit http://www.masterbooks.com.
My Journey from Atheist to Christian
by Dr. Michael Abdul-Malak
Dr. Michael Abdul-Malak, a highly respected gynecologist, is not only a friend of Bill and Karen Rudge, having delivered two of their grandchildren, he also is a supporter of the Bill Rudge Ministries. The following testimony describes his journey from avid atheist to devout Christian.
I was born and raised in a nominal Christian home in Homs, the third largest city in Syria. I attempted to read the Bible regularly and to live according to its teachings to the best of my ability. However, no matter how hard I strove to be religious, I nearly always failed to adhere to the teachings of the Bible.
In my early teenage years, having failed to live according to the teaching of the Bible on the one hand, and influenced by the strong atheistic environment surrounding me on the other hand, I became skeptical of the Bible’s teachings. I concluded that Christianity was impractical, and in fact impossible to truly adhere to. Later on, through the study of evolution in public school, reading Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species,” and being exposed to the writings of Karl Marx, I became an avid atheist.
By the age of 17, I had co-founded and led an atheist group that strove to convert fellow students to atheism. At the age of 18, I graduated from high school with the highest score in the entire central district of Syria, and was one of the top ten students in the entire country. Had I not been so skeptical of Christianity, I would have been the top student. In every subject except for religion and sociology, I had received a perfect score.
I went to Damascus for my first year of Medical School in the fall of 1972, and just like Saul of Tarsus –– who made the same journey –– I was full of enthusiasm to fight those who believed in God.
Midway through my first year in Medical School, my closest friend and co-founder of the atheist group converted to Islam. He immediately started to pressure me to become a Muslim.
After a few months of studying the Qur’an and interacting with that group, I was quite impressed, mostly by their dedication to what they believed and how much they supported each other. I became convinced that Islam was the most realistic and the most practical religion to follow. I was ready to announce my conversion to Islam. The only obstacle in taking that step was my concern about the reaction it would provoke within my family members and friends.
In the summer after finishing my first year in Medical School as one of the top three students, I went to my hometown in contemplation of announcing my conversion to Islam.
One day before the end of my visit, I asked my cousin if we could go see the cedars of Lebanon. He took me to a friend of his who owned a car, with the hope that he would be willing to give us a ride there. We were greeted at the door of his friend’s house by a middle-aged man who appeared to be very friendly. He immediately initiated a conversation with us. When he found out that I was attending Medical School in Damascus, he informed me that he was from Damascus as well. He then invited us inside and gave us the most amazing testimony I had ever heard in my life up until that point. He proceeded to testify to us how God had changed his life from an adulterer, gambler, smoker, and an alcoholic to a new man who was able to establish himself and start a wonderful family. He then told us how a man had once visited his shop and had spoken to him about the changing power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He then described to us how he had immediately changed as soon as he surrendered his life to Christ. It was a very powerful testimony about the ability of God to change lives.
I thought to myself, “If that is what Christianity is all about, then I want to be a Christian.” I was, however, curious about the difference between Christianity and Islam. I inquired of him, “What is the difference between Islam and Christianity?” He stated in very simple terms, “Islam is like any other religion. It will teach you what to do, but it will not give you the power to do it. Christianity is Christ Himself living inside of you and giving you the power to do what he wants you to do.” I knew at that moment that Islam was not the solution that I was looking for. I knew also that it was Christianity, and more specifically, Christ that I truly needed. I definitely changed my mind about becoming a Muslim, however, I was not yet ready to accept Jesus as my personal Savior.
Soon the summer ended, and I returned to Damascus to start my second year in Medical School. Even though I became busy immediately in trying to focus on my goal of staying at the top of my class, God continued to work in my life through my studies and in many other ways. One peculiar way he worked on me was through a calendar someone had placed in my rental room. It had a daily Bible verse of encouragement, as well as a commentary on the backside. Every night before I went to bed, I had a strong urge like a still, small voice inside my head that was calling me to read the verse of the day. One night, I was so exhausted from studying I went to bed before I read the verse. I could not go to sleep. I felt strongly compelled to get up and read the slip. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26, NKJV). That verse was exactly what I needed to hear. It penetrated so deep within my heart that I could no longer resist God. I was ready right then and there to surrender my life to God, but I did not know how to do it. I felt at that moment the urge to go and see that man whom I had met in Lebanon in the summer. The moment I greeted him, he recognized me and invited me inside. He asked me about my relationship with the Lord as if he had known all along what had been going on in my life. He invited me to go to his church the next day.
When the preacher got up to the pulpit, read from the Bible, and began preaching. I felt as if he was speaking directly to me. I could not wait for the sermon to end, just so that I could talk to him and ask him to explain to me how I could become a Christian.
The pastor explained to me that we are all sinners and that the only way to have our sins forgiven is through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. He read Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” He cautioned me however that following Christ could be very costly. I told him that there was no question in my mind that I wanted to open the door for Jesus to enter my life and save me from my sinful nature, regardless of the cost. He told me to repeat after him as he prayed, asking Jesus to forgive my sins, enter my life, and make me a new person in him. I prayed with all of my heart, and I felt an enormous burden fall from my shoulders. I felt like I was indeed a new person, and that the past twenty years of my life were a total waste. I wished that I had known Jesus much earlier.
To Him be the glory now and forever. Amen.