R.A.M.’s mission is to evangelize and revitalize the rural communities of America by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus Christ through His word and compassionate action.

Most Recent Blog Entries

“Completely Blessed by Being A RAM Host Family” by Melanie Hubbard

Keith & Melanie

This is the second time we have shared our home with a RAM student.   We do life by doing the next right thing.  Housing a RAM student just seemed like the next right thing.  There was no real discussion.  We just did it.  This time our RAM student stayed on as an intern for 4th and College for two additional months.  The time flew by.  Summer in Oklahoma is a busy time.   During RAM, our students spent most of their time working in other surrounding communities with other RAM students which only further strengthens the bond they have in Christ and with one another.

We are empty-nesters living in a small house that gets warmer than most in the summer.  Why do we do it?  As parents of three grown children, we would want someone else to do the same thing for our children in a similar situation.  Yes we were strangers, but we no longer are.  Basically all they need is a place to sleep and a place to clean up after a hard day.   Anyone with a spare room has exactly what is needed.  You need to be understanding and caring; and respect their privacy.  You need to be willing to allow them to be who they are and flexible and tolerant enough to accept some inconveniences.  They are college students.  They probably will not eat or sleep at normal times.  But the blessings far outweigh the inconveniences.

RAM students bring life and joy back to struggling congregations.  Each one of them has a special gift to share and their own reasons for participating in RAM.   Stop by and just ask them, they are here for church members as much as they are for the community.  Take them for a meal and spend some time with them and you will catch a glimpse of that joy and probably want just a little bit more.  In one such visit this year one of the girls said that she came from a small town church and all she sees there is apathy, but she did not see it here.   The difference here is a caring circle of people who take time to know the students while they are here; share in their victories and share in their struggles.   They help us so much more than we could ever offer them.

Yes as a house parent you might have to deal with normal emotional troubles that come along.  It seems like when RAM students arrive and begin touching lives, so does Satan.  There will be car problems, illnesses and deaths; rain storms, tornadoes and floods and all sorts of other complications to the plans we have made in advance for the RAM students to help with.  So be prepared to be flexible because things will not go as planned.  Bathe everything you do in prayer and strive to do the next right thing.

This year, during the actual RAM month we barely saw Janelle, she was busy and gone doing something that entire month.  She sat at our dinner table once when she arrived and not again until after RAM had ended.  However, we did from time to time meet up with various RAM students for a meal wherever they were working.  This time we were committed to meet and spend time with as many RAM students, in various towns, as possible because we believe in the mission of Rural America Ministries.  We were lucky enough along the way to connect with other RAM host families who had similar stories of being blessed by their presence.  It was nice to know there are others who share our goals for this ministry. Due to the busy summer season, however, we were not completely successful with this plan.  We will visit the Seymour congregation on our way to Abilene next month.  We will commit to the same challenge next summer.  We regret that we were unable to meet the two female RAM students at Seymour.  We are afraid that being friends on Facebook is not the same as meeting them in person.

So when you feel that little tug on your heart when asked to help with housing a RAM student, step over those fears and see the blessings that are ahead.  We end this summer, looking forward to the next RAM adventure in Southwest, Oklahoma.

“Finding God in Nazareth” by Demi Lorey

Seymour VII

I vividly remember standing in the Lubbock Christian University student union building with Jim, quickly scribbling notes on a flyer he gave me before running to class because it was already October and I could not afford to be late anymore. When I got back to my dorm room later that afternoon I pinned my Rural America Ministries flyer, with the nearly illegible notes and all, on the cork board next to my desk so I would see it every day and remember to pray about the adventure that I would soon embark on. I heard about RAM my freshman year but had already committed to an internship that summer. However, when sophomore year rolled around, I knew that RAM was something not only I wanted to commit to, but something I truly felt God had been calling me to and preparing my heart for. Halfway through the spring semester I started to experience what I can only describe as a, “calm before the storm,” type of feeling. It was completely unsettling and exciting all at the same time; I knew that whatever it was that I would be encountering this summer would be important because of the way the Holy Spirit was speaking to me during that time of prayer and preparation. Shortly after those feelings began, I found out that I would be spending my thirty day mission in Seymour, Texas.

Seymour Church sign

Some would say that I am a “big city girl”, and having been born and raised in El Paso, Texas, I would have to agree.  When I first came to college, Lubbock was a small town to me, and I was told that Seymour was much, much, MUCH smaller than Lubbock. That in itself was a little unsettling, but I was excited for a new experience. When I thought about going to Seymour, I was not really expecting to see more (what a fun pun, am I right?) of anything. Little did I know that throughout my time in that special place, God would continually give me glimpses of how He saw that place and show me more than I could have ever imagined. Throughout our mission, we started every morning with a debrief time where we would study God’s word and pray together. The first thing we did in those debrief times was reflect over the question, “How did you see God yesterday?” All of those hours of studying, praying, and discussion helped me grow in my faith so much; it is incredible how quickly we were able to see God’s hands moving in different situations and people’s lives when we took the time to be still, tune in for God’s voice, and reflect over that question. That question is something I try to ask myself every day now; life can get tough, and in the difficult times, as well as days that seem slow and mundane, it can be difficult to see God working. Even in the good times, we often forget about what precious blessings those happy moments are from Him.

Demi V

Whenever I have told people about my time with RAM, many have asked me questions that all amount to, “How did you see God in Seymour?” and to be honest, that is my favorite question to answer. When answering that question I get to open the box in my mind that is full of warm smiling faces, sunsets over windmills, children’s laughter, the melodies and harmonies from spontaneous worship, the smell of home cooked meals, and the stories from God’s children; the people who stole my heart. How did I see God in Seymour? It would be easier for me to tell you how I did not see God in Seymour. I saw God in the way our congregation immediately took us under their wing; welcoming us and claiming us as their own from very early on. I saw Him in the conversations I had with widows while we did chores for them around their houses, or sat on the floor and listened to them share their life stories with us. I saw Him when I sat in my host family’s backyard and stared at the thousands of stars that lit up the night sky. I saw Him in the people that we met while canvasing in different parts of the town. I saw Him in their stories; how quickly some people dumped the load they had carried on their shoulders for far too long, not knowing or understanding that God would willingly take that weight from them. I saw Him when I sat in church with my sweet elderly ladies; when one would grab my hand and hold onto it just to feel close to me. I saw Him in the tears that poured down the faces of teenagers who shared the pains in their hearts. I saw Him while riding in a golf cart around a church member’s ranch, looking at the cattle and listening to the life lessons they had to offer. I saw Him in the relationships I made with my teammates and in the tears we shed when it was time for us to say goodbye. When I took the time to ask myself, “How did you see God today?” He was always faithful to open my eyes and show me how He walked and talked with me all day long.

Elk Mountain

In John 1:46 Nathaniel asks, “’Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’  and Philip replies, ‘Come and see.” Going into RAM, I remember sitting atop Elk Mountain alongside the other eleven RAM students while Jim read this passage with the biggest grin on his face. He told us that when we came down from that mountain we would be going into our own versions of Nazareth. He was right, not many people would have thought much could come out of the tiny little towns that became our homes for those 30 days, but God showed us otherwise. When I left Seymour, my own Nazareth, I left with more incredible memories than I could have imagined I would when I went into the mission. I left Nazareth with a restored spirit, a strengthened faith, a new outlook on the extreme need for Christ in rural communities, a deeper understanding of ministry, a closer relationship with God, and a place to call home. I left Seymour with a new family. I have been lucky enough to return to Seymour a few times this summer, and even go on a mission trip with the Seymour youth group. For me, the mission did not stop at the end of the thirty days, and I praise God for the opportunities I have had to continue serving and building relationships with the people in that place.

demi vii

Right now, I am missing Nazareth, the place and all of the people; I truly hope and pray that God will continue to use me for His special purposes there. However, as I prepare to start my junior year at LCU, I look forward to seeing friends and classmates that I have not seen over the summer. I look forward to catching up and talking about our summers and the things we are excited for this year. I am excited for the new adventures God will take me on, and the doors He will open. However, at the moment I am very excited to tell people where I spent a significant portion of my summer. I am excited to see their confused faces and give them an answer to, “Why in the world did you spend your summer in Seymour?” I am excited for the opportunities I will have to let a grin stretch across my face while beckoning others to, “come and see.”

A Church Purified

Closed church doors

“We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of  Christians is seed.”                                                                                                                                  -Tertullian

 Through its infancy, from Pentecost to Constantine, the church endured the flame and sword.  Instead of decimating Christ’s bride, she flourished.  God purified His saints through their suffering, and as Tertullian poetically stated, multiplied their number with their blood.  From the darkness Christ’s disciples rose with such persuasive and indestructible power that even their persecutors were convinced and converted.  The bride of Christ was beautiful and the world took notice.

Today in America it appears that Christ has been jilted by His bride.  She has been seduced by wealth and comfort and her greater desire is for the protection of these false lovers than for the joy of her Beloved.  Secluding herself behind the walls of her buildings, she has exchanged her true and vibrant identity for lifeless brick and mortar and made herself undesirable to the lost and spiritually lonely.  She, who as the bride of God Incarnate and recipient of heaven’s tender affections could move the world to equally yield to Christ’s advances has lost her relevance in an increasingly godless society.  She has become more an institution and protector of religious dogma than the catalyst of spiritual and moral revolution.  Fortunately for the church and the rest of humanity, God is not done with His wayward bride in America.  No different than the early days of their romance, He is devoted to her good and intent on her purification.  Unlike the first three centuries, instead of persecution, could it be that today He is using the increasing godlessness of our society to provide the cleansing His church most desperately needs? How is this?

Attending services or reciting verses makes not a single disciple of Jesus.  Cloistered members cannot salt or illuminate a world rotting and darkened by sin.  Churches that define themselves by anything less than a devotion to obedient discipleship to Christ risk the road to extinction.  Only churches whose leaders  restore the church’s mission of making and maturing disciples of Jesus will embody the redemptive power of Christ’s death and resurrection so desperately needed this hour in America.  Those churches that will dare to wade into the muck because they have resolved to remain at the foot of the cross will again become the beautiful bride of Christ to an increasingly godless generation.  Instead of losing their relevance, these churches will find it.  Instead of extinction, these churches will flourish as they become vessels of living water poured out to the barren souls surrounding them.

Persecution will always be an instrument of purification for the church, and is likely coming to Christ’s bride in America.  Until then, it appears that the purification has begun with a call to obedient discipleship rather than attending and reciting because nothing short of it will cause godless America to take notice and embrace her beauty.