In 1977, at the very beginning of the Bill Rudge Ministries, the Lord spoke to Bill’s heart and gave him goals and a vision that within five years the ministry would be reaching out nationally, and within ten years internationally.
Bill knew he could not fulfill this vision on his own – all he could do is be faithful to the Lord and let Him do it in His time and His way. Ten years later in 1987, through a series of traumatic experiences (described in the Strength Through Weakness booklet), Satan nearly stopped the fulfillment of that vision, but the Lord intervened and brought the victory.
Just as the Lord had provided ministry opportunities throughout the United States during the previous five years, He began to open doors internationally in 1987. Bill was able to go on his first radio station outside the U.S., the Caribbean Beacon, and soon thereafter on other overseas stations (long before streaming over the Internet was available). As a result, we began to receive letters from around the world requesting our books and audio messages.
Looking back, it is amazing how the Lord brought about the fulfillment of the goals and vision He gave Bill when the kitchen table was our desk and others questioned our survival. How awesome and amazing He is!
Gabriel – A Man from India
The Lord used a special man from India as a catalyst to help move this ministry beyond the United States to the world.
In 1986, Gabriel Massey, who was the General Secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of India, was speaking in the U.S. We had never met or heard of each other. Gabriel happened to be in Youngstown, Ohio at a motel. He could not sleep this night because as he said, “The angels were disturbing my sleep.” So he scanned the radio dial for a Christian station until he came across Bill’s broadcast. The Holy Spirit spoke to him that “this man must come to India to minister.”
Gabriel went back to India and wrote requesting Bill to come and speak for their national convention in September 1987. Unable to go at that time because Karen had major surgery in June of 1987, Bill sent a representative. Then in December 1987, when Gabriel was again in the U.S. speaking, he looked Bill and Karen up, once again asking them to come and minister in India. The Lord strongly led them to go and did some phenomenal things in coordinating the plans to begin their world outreach.
Such was the beginning of Bill’s “Adventures in Missions” which would take him on many exciting, fruit bearing and oft-times dangerous ministry trips and missionary outreaches. In the past 30 years, we have been able to share the Gospel throughout India and the Himalayas, Haiti, the West Indies, South America, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
In June of 2005 when Bill was bitten by a brown recluse spider, he called Trapper (the ultimate outdoorsman who was an expert on insects, animals, and plants).
The brown recluse spider is the most dangerous spider we have in the United States. Trapper John told Bill, “This could be very bad since people have been known to die from the bite of the spider, while others have lost limbs.” Trapper remembered that Bill didn’t seem upset by what he was told and responded that the Lord would get him through this ― and He did.
One Sunday morning after BJ spoke at South Pymatuning Community Church, Trapper told BJ, “I saw that bite on your father and he should not have a hand or arm. It is a miracle your dad didn’t lose his finger or even worse. God truly protected him.”
On Labor Day 2006 Bill walked by Trapper’s booth at Buhl Day. Trapper was surrounded by people but when he saw Bill he told him to come over and hold up his left hand. Trapper told his audience this was a miracle and Bill should have lost his left hand or more.
In Trapper John’s words:
“I am well aware of the tragic results of being bitten by a recluse spider. Many people have suffered intense pain and lost some part of their anatomy because of this spider’s poison. Yet because of Bill’s complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ, his finger healed beautifully. He has no scar, no loss of flesh around the area bitten, nor any adverse results from this bite. Like the man said, ‘Faith can move mountains’ or in this case, stop a disaster by healing a finger!
“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.
“Some people say they have faith but Bill proved his faith when he faced the brown recluse spider bite. I am convinced that without God’s help he would have a stub for a hand.
“God Bless you and may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand until we next meet.”
After Bill Rudge gave his life to Christ in May of 1971, the Lord led him to leave his job as an instructor of a health spa. So at the age of 18 he was working at Pit Stop changing oil in cars before leaving for Bible college. His boss, who despised Christianity, told Bill to use an electric drill with a wire brush head on it to clean the battery terminals. Not understanding electricity or mechanics, he did so.
Bill was only about a foot away, looking at the battery, when he must have touched the metal wire brush to the positive terminal and metal on the car. The battery exploded in his face. The pressure on his eyes was tremendous and the severe burning sensation from his eyes being filled with the battery acid was excruciating. Bill was certain his eyes were blown out of their sockets and that he was blinded. The owner of the car, who was standing several feet away, had holes burned through his coat and paint burned off his car.
On the way to the hospital Bill said, “Lord, You did not save me for me to be blinded like this. Please help!” The nurses and doctor at the emergency room rinsed his eyes for over 15 minutes and said it was amazing he was not blinded. Many years later one of our staff, Tina McDonald, was told the following account by a woman she met: “I worked with Bill when the battery exploded in his face. He should have been blinded by that.”
Equally amazing is that when Bill was only five years old he had to have an eye operation to have a small piece cut out of his left eye. In those days eye operations were primitive and he was hospitalized for a week. On another occasion a few years after the battery explosion, a glass broke and exploded in his face and eyes.
Bill is thankful for how the Lord has spared and protected him throughout his life.
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 pre-teen 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.
In February, 1992 the ministry’s 1986 vehicle was rapidly heading for retirement. It seemed impossible to raise the necessary funds (since we do not pay interest) to purchase a mini-van, but the Lord encouraged us to trust Him and to persevere.
As the months went by, numerous individuals and churches generously donated over $4,000 — but that was still far from being enough. Many people said, “Are you ever going to get your van?” Bill assured them the Lord would soon provide all the necessary finances to purchase a much needed ministry van.
In September of 1992 Kenneth and Janet Fisher donated a house and two acres of land for us to sell and use the funds to help purchase the van. Kenneth had lived in this house until three years earlier when he married Janet and moved in with her.
Kenneth said that he didn’t know what to do with the house and property. He said he woke up in the middle of the night as he contemplated what he should do with his house and two acres of land. He said the Lord spoke to his heart to give it to the Bill Rudge Ministries.
In June of 1993, we sold the house for $14,000. With the income from donations received from individuals and churches (over $4,000) and proceeds from the sale of the house, we were ready to begin looking for a ministry van.
Eilene Urmson told Tom Brest, who was service manager at the time at Austintown Dodge to call me. I told him how we had been raising funds for almost a year and a half and even had a house donated to us. He had Chuck Eddy, the owner of Austintown Dodge call me so I shared our circumstances with him. A few days later Chuck called back and said, “I have the van I think you want!”
It was a 1993 Dodge Caravan used as a corporate vehicle with only 10,000 miles on it. The sticker price was $25,000 and he said he would give it to us for $20,000. I said that was still too much since we had only raised a total of $19,000. So he said he would give me $1,000 for my personal 1982 Oldsmobile as a trade-in.
I prayed about it for three days and talked to my Board members. We all agreed to get this vehicle. This mini-van the Lord provided far exceeded what Karen and I had ever hoped for or thought about. We were initially looking to get a used mini-van, but the Lord had other plans. Chuck Eddy was right when he said, “Purchasing this van is an excellent stewardship of the Lord’s money.”
The Lord is faithful! He had spoken to numerous people to give various amounts — some large, some small, but all appreciated. He also spoke to Kenneth Fisher to donate a house to be sold to help purchase the van.
Several years ago the Rainbow Family was having their annual gathering at the Allegheny Forest, an expansive national park in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. One of my staff and I spent the majority of Friday, July 2 witnessing and passing out books and pamphlets to some of the 20,000 people who were involved in a smorgasbord of new age beliefs, eastern mysticism, occultism, and American Indian religions, as well as many using drugs and alcohol. Most were very friendly and receptive.
Two days later on the Fourth of July I went back alone. The massive encampment of 20,000 people was spread out over many wooded acres involving hundreds of trails. Upon arriving at the Allegheny National Forest, I turned into the area set aside for this gathering. I wore a tie-dyed shirt and bandanna. I picked up three “hippies” and gave them a ride for about 10 miles on a dirt road. After dropping them off, I realized I was not where I wanted to be so I turned around. At that point, another “hippie” asked for a ride. I asked him where he was going. He responded, “I don’t know. I am trying to find someone.” He told me that he had driven approximately seven hours from Cincinnati, Ohio to find a co-worker — a 20-year-old young man whose father had just died. He happened to be the only person who knew that the 20-year-old had hitchhiked with his dog to this “Rainbow” gathering. Becoming aware of the immensity of the event, he was simply overwhelmed. He had slept in his car the night before and had no idea where or how to begin. I told him the reason I was there and offered to help, saying that only the Lord would be able to assist in finding this “needle in a haystack.”
Cars were only allowed up to certain checkpoints, but because of the nature of our search we were allowed to drive further than most. Even so, after driving another five miles down dirt roads we finally had to park the car and walk. We passed several trails. There was a slight problem hindering us in communicating about our search. The morning of July 4th was their time of silent meditation — a quiet time to “honor and respect all those who have aided the positive evolution of earth and humankind.” The entire camp was hushed and people were gathered in the Main Circle to meditate for world peace and the healing of the earth. So, we could not talk out loud to anyone and had to speak to each other in hushed words.
After leading him to a spacious area where the silent meditation ceremony was focused, and telling him that this was as far as I could take him, he suddenly turned around and exclaimed, “There he is!” The 20-year-old we were searching for in the midst of 20,000 people was seated not even four feet from us. He told him, “You have to come home with me.” With a perplexed look the young man asked, “Why?” He was told that his father had passed away. As he gathered his belongings and his dog to leave, I said, “What you saw today was a miracle! Only the Lord could have helped us find you.” My co-searcher said, “Without a doubt!” I gave them my Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ book and Searching pamphlet which they gladly received.
Truly the Lord is amazing! In the midst of 20,000 people, down miles of dirt roads and numerous trails past hundreds of encampments, He guided us to the exact spot where that young man was sitting. I have seen God do these kinds of things over and over again. Truly He is Lord.
by Rich Miller
Rich Miller served as webmaster for the Bill Rudge Ministries for two years. He is the nephew of Bill and Karen, and a good friend of Clayton Smith who is Tabitha’s husband. In fact, Tabitha and Clay met when Bill performed the wedding of Rich and Sunday (Todd Renzema’s sister).
God often confirms His love and demonstrates His power through miracles so that our faith in Him will be strengthened, and we will have a deeper understanding of His relationship with us. Through these miracles we have proof that Christ is alive and that He is Lord of Heaven and Earth.
The Bible has many eyewitness accounts where God demonstrates His power and His love through a miraculous sign or wonder. As He takes impossible situations and makes them possible, we get a better understanding of the love and compassion that He has for His children.
A situation happened on Halloween night 2003 in southern California that dramatically touched my family, strengthened our faith and demonstrated the amazing mercy and love that God has for us. My sister-in-law, Lynn Renzema, eagerly awaited the arrival of her husband, Todd, from work. It was 7:30 p.m. and Todd was an hour late. She sensed that something might be wrong and asked her mother, Diana, to come to their home. Lynn repeatedly tried to contact Todd on his cell phone without response.
Assuming that his car had broken down, Lynn prepared to search for him along the side of the freeway. A half-hour search yielded no clues to Todd’s whereabouts, so Lynn returned home hoping to find his car parked in the driveway. She grew increasingly worried when she arrived home and learned that her mother, Diana, still had not heard from Todd.
Soon I received a phone call from Lynn’s mother. As she explained the situation, I thought there must be a logical explanation for Todd’s late arrival since it was uncharacteristic of him to be an hour late and not call home.
My friend, Casey, and I drove by Todd’s workplace. Upon discovering that he was not there, we decided to start looking for him along the freeway en route to Lynn and Todd’s house. We were confronted with an eight-mile stretch of unlighted highway that consists of many deep ravines and large hills.
A few days before, one of the California fires had burned through this location consuming almost all of the brush and blackening much of the area. The scorched earth made it even more difficult to see in the darkness. As we unsuccessfully searched the freeway, our imaginations began to paint a picture of likely scenarios such as Todd driving off the freeway into a ravine, being a victim of a carjacking or being kidnapped.
Still No Clues
It was 9:15 p.m. when we arrived at Todd and Lynn’s house. It was almost three hours since anyone had heard from him, so we decided to contact the local law enforcement agencies to determine if they had any information about him. The sheriff’s department and the California Highway Patrol were contacted but they reported having no record of Todd being involved in an accident, being transferred to a hospital or being taken to jail. We did learn that there had been an accident – a car fire earlier in the evening – but none of the vehicles or persons matched the description.
As time passed we could not help but imagine the worst-case scenario ― that Todd was severely injured or perhaps dead. We prayed for Todd’s safety and that if he was hurt, the Lord would protect him. As we closed in prayer, Lynn mentioned that the Lord spoke to her heart that Todd was not dead but that he was just sleeping. Encouraged by Lynn’s revelation, Casey and I decided to search the freeway one more time, but the dark of night made an effective search impossible.
Casey and I arrived home around 11:30 p.m. ― nearly five hours after Todd was found to be missing. With each passing moment we grew increasingly concerned about his safety and again prayed for God’s protection. We realized we had done everything possible and placed the situation entirely in God’s hands. As the early morning hours approached, we tried to get some sleep to resume our search at sunrise.
Eleven Hours Later
My wife, Sunday, and I woke at 5:45 a.m. to the ringing of the telephone. As my wife struggled to find the receiver, I anxiously waited to hear if this might be news regarding Todd. My friend, Clayton Smith, a California Highway Patrol officer, had just started his a.m. shift and was on the phone. He was contacted by Lynn earlier that morning and was informed of Todd’s disappearance. Clayton had already notified dispatch which made this a top priority because of Clayton’s friendship with Todd. A helicopter unit was contacted to search the canyon areas along the freeway, but an overnight rain and a heavy morning fog delayed the helicopter.
Clayton drove his patrol car slowly along the shoulder of the freeway while I peered into the ravines along the way. As I peered into each canyon, I prepared myself mentally for the possibility of seeing Todd’s car at the bottom.
With every moment that passed, our hope of finding Todd alive became more desperate. Clayton contacted dispatch once again and learned further details about an accident that had occurred the previous night on the freeway. He learned that at approximately 6:30 p.m. emergency vehicles responded to an accident involving two cars and a fire. A female driver was reportedly removed from the scene and taken to the emergency room. One car was a Pontiac Grand Am and the other car was unidentifiable due to the damage it had sustained, but was suspected to be a Pontiac.
Clayton and I concluded there was a high possibility that one of these vehicles could have been Todd’s. Just then my uncle, Bill Rudge, and Lynn drove up to help with the search. We decided not to tell Lynn until we were certain if Todd was involved.
As Bill stepped out of his car and out of Lynn’s presence, Clayton informed Bill of the situation. After a brief discussion Clayton and I sped away in the patrol car to find the accident scene while Bill took Lynn home to pray and contact hospitals.
Locating the Accident Scene
After several minutes we noticed skid marks along the shoulder of the freeway, about a half mile west of where we had originally been searching. Clayton slowed down and stopped the patrol car on the shoulder near some debris. As Clayton talked with dispatch, I got out of the patrol car and walked to the edge of the ravine. I looked down and saw Todd’s body lying on the ground about 20 feet down the hillside. His car was nowhere to be found. His back was flat against the earth, his face as pale as snow, left arm by his side, with his right hand resting on his chest. As I struggled to grasp the reality of the situation, a surge of adrenaline shot through my body as though I was hit in the chest by a heavy object. I turned my head away stricken with the fact that I had just found my brother-in-law dead in a canyon. My knees began to buckle as I yelled to Clayton, “There’s a body down there!”
As I observed Todd slightly wiggling the fingers on his right hand, I recalled Lynn’s words about God telling her Todd was not dead but was just sleeping. I turned toward Clayton who was informing dispatch and yelled, “He’s alive!”
In an effort for a more immediate response, Clayton radioed in the code for “officer needs assistance.” As I raced to get the EMT kit out of the patrol car Clayton made his way down the ravine to check Todd’s vital signs and offer him aid.
Todd lay almost motionless as Clayton applied gauze to a noticeable laceration on the side of his head. I placed my fingers in the palm of Todd’s right hand to let him know that I was there. Todd briefly opened and rolled his eyes side to side as I continued to reassure him that help was on the way. His breathing was labored and shallow, rattling as he fought for air. Clayton started to connect the O2 bottle as he administered oxygen to aid Todd’s breathing. In order to maintain Todd’s alertness I commanded him to grip my fingers whenever I felt him loosen his grip.
Within a few minutes the first of the medical response teams arrived. Clayton called to them, “He’s been here all night!” Immediately the EMTs got their gear and rushed to Todd. Several more emergency personnel arrived including fire trucks, highway patrol officers, ambulances, and a helicopter unit. It was not long before Todd was placed on a transfer board and carried up the ravine toward a waiting ambulance.
As I walked out of the canyon toward the patrol car, I overheard one of the emergency personnel tell Clayton that they could not find Todd’s pulse, indicating his system was starting to shut down. As Todd was rushed into the ambulance and to the emergency room, Clayton and I followed behind in the patrol car. I prayed silently for Todd’s survival and hoped that he could hang on long enough to make it to the emergency room.
Assessing His Injuries
We arrived at the hospital in a few minutes. We were told that Todd had survived the trip to the emergency room but his body temperature was down to 85 degrees. He was quickly taken into the trauma unit for a CT scan in order to assess the extent of his head trauma. As family members started to arrive at the hospital, doctors reported after several tests that he had the following extensive injuries:
- Brain trauma, swelling, slight bleeding, with the possibility of cognitive and communication damage such as delayed comprehension
- Left ankle fracture and laceration
- Shattered left knee
- Left shoulder fracture and dislocation possibly requiring a steel rod and ball insertion
- Right shoulder fracture
- Right knee hairline fracture
- Multiple skin abrasions and lacerations
- Several chipped teeth
In speaking with the medical personnel who assessed Todd’s injuries, it was speculated that:
On his way home from work he was stuck in traffic on the freeway. (For an unknown reason Todd pulled onto the shoulder.)
As he was standing near his car, it was struck from behind by a motorist who had swung onto the shoulder. The impact forced his car to smash against him clipping his legs and knees. As the car moved forward, it violently threw him into the ravine.
His car finally rested on the shoulder 50 feet away from its original location and ignited when the gas tank ruptured.
When emergency personnel arrived at the scene and found no body in or around the wreckage of Todd’s vehicle, they assumed the vehicle was previously disabled and abandoned prior to the accident.
Due to the extreme damage to Todd’s car, authorities were unable to find the license plate or vehicle identification number and therefore no records of his car were in their computer systems.
After an extensive hospitalization of approximately three months, Todd made a miraculous recovery and returned home to his family. It was miraculous….
that he was not killed on impact
that he survived being thrown 50 feet
that he did not suffer permanent brain damage.
At that time, as he held his two year old son and anticipated the birth of another child, we were all so thankful that God had spared Todd’s life. Our families continue to believe that a miracle has happened and that many prayers were answered by this remarkable chain of events. Just as God had revealed earlier to Lynn that Todd was not dead, he was just sleeping – Todd had been found alive, minutes from death! He had lain 14 hours in a ravine, with multiple injuries, through the cold of night, and an overnight rain. Yes, God protected him. God answered our prayers. What a truly amazing God we have!
It was a Saturday night in March 1993, when Bill Rudge and his team arrived back at the Mission Possible compound in Haiti after an outreach in Gonaives. They heard voodoo drums, so Bill decided to go research a Rara. Bob, Toni, and BJ went with him, while the others stayed back at the compound.
The lights go out at the compound at 9:00 p.m. and it is pitch black. So they each took a flashlight. Bill told Bob, Toni, and BJ that if they got into trouble to turn off their flashlights and run into the jungle and hide until morning. Edmond, the night guard at the mission compound who spoke a little English, saw them going and insisted on coming. He took them the back way through jungle trails.
As they were walking down a narrow path to get close to the site where over 100 voodoo practitioners were gathered, the ceremony was just breaking up and the participants were heading up to the street to dance from hut to hut. Bill and those with him stepped to the side of the narrow path to get out of their way. But when the Rara participants saw Bill, about 40 of them surrounded him and his team.
Bill had no idea what they were going to do. Some of the men and women and teens sounded extremely agitated. Not being able to speak their language nor knowing their intentions, Bill quickly pondered an escape behind a nearby hut, but decided to stay and face them. It was a good thing they did not try to run into the jungle because there was a high fence behind the hut, and they were trapped.
A few days before Bill and his team arrived in Haiti, a Haitian woman at a Rara was hacked on her face with machetes and left to die by two men who were drunk. She was taken to a Haitian medical center, but told they could do nothing. Then she was taken to the Baptist Mission Hospital where Doctor Rhode’s (who was also staying at Mission Possible with us) daughter is a nurse. She didn’t know if she could save her, but began to sew her back together. She did live but will be scarred for life.
A sign in Haiti at a voodoo display read, “The Rara is to celebrate the crowd who cried for Christ’s death.” No wonder the voodoo practitioners were so hostile when Bill and his team encountered them at the Rara.
Toni and BJ stood behind Bill, and Bob stood beside him. When the hostility was at its peak and it appeared we were in grave danger, two of the younger boys, who played soccer with BJ a couple days earlier and received a gift of a soccer ball from him, saw BJ was in trouble. They then walked out of the hostile crowd and stood by him. They both held his hands. The crowd’s demeanor immediately changed and no longer were threatening our lives.
The leader of the Rara said to Edmond, “Are the white people afraid?” Edmond replied, “No, the white people are not afraid!” Women started dancing around Bill and those with him. But Edmond said to them, “These are Christians; they do not want you to dance for them; they are only here to watch.” Edmond later said they were saying, “I danced for you, now pay me!”
After some harsh glares and comments the participants at the Rara continued their procession up to the street where the people began dancing from hut to hut to receive money. Bill and his team went up to the street, watched for a few minutes so they would know that they were not afraid, and then headed to the mission compound.
Thank the Lord that Edmond went with Bill and his team to interpret or it could have been a much different scenario. What was a small problem could have easily – with language barriers – escalated into a life threatening situation. The Rara participants’ aggression could have led to a fight for survival — one Bill now knows he could not have won. For all Bill knew then, the Haitians could have been saying, “We are going to kill you, prepare to die.”
It was the Lord, and the gift of a soccer ball that saved our lives.
George, the Israeli tour guide for Bill Rudge Ministries’ 2012 Holy Land Adventure, shared with Bill Rudge how his 12-year-old daughter, Sivan, survived a bus bombing (see picture):
“At the end of the summer in 2004, I took her to a concert to hear Israeli singer, David Broza, who is our very good friend. Following the concert, when it was time to go home, she wanted to stay backstage with David but naturally we wanted her home as soon as possible since she is only 12 and school was to start the next day. To make her go home, David took off a necklace he was wearing with Hamsa on it. (Hamsa is shaped like a human hand and was blessed by a priest.) Sivan liked it and went home to sleep.
“On October 19, 2004, Sivan as usual went to school in Tel Aviv by bus (not a school bus but a public bus). At 8:46 in the morning her necklace fell to the floor and she ducked down to pick it up. At this very second a Muslim terrorist blew up the bus. But since Sivan was bending down to the floor, she was the only passenger to survive the blast!”
Everyone was killed except one person: George’s 12-year-old daughter. She survived without a scratch.
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.