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.
It’s tough being a college student these days, especially if you are trying to follow Jesus. I’m not talking about the spiritual challenge of battling temptation, but deciding what to do with your precious summer breaks. College degrees are not cheap. So there’s the decision of working during the summer and saving money to help foot that ridiculously expensive bill for an education.
There are also countless opportunities for short-term missions. Should you go to Africa and drill water wells or help an orphanage? Should you spend a couple of months in Europe or Asia and teach English using the bible as your text? Should you go to one of our major urban centers in the US and tutor inner-city kids? OR what about bringing the truth and grace of Jesus to a mission field that most people haven’t even heard of, let alone gone to?
Discover the incredible needs and opportunities of perhaps the newest, most receptive, yet over-looked mission field today, Rural America. When most students are going overseas or to large urban centers in the US for summer missions, why not join RAM as we bring the truth and grace of Jesus to this largely over-looked mission field? Here are some really good reasons to be a part of RAM this summer:
Rural Missions Immersion
For four weeks RAM will immerse you into the culture and life of rural America. You will live and work alongside some of the friendliest, kindest people on earth who call rural America home! As you do, you will discover the distinctive needs of the rural American mission field and have the opportunity to play a real and powerful role in ministering to those needs. Your impact will be immediate, tangible and eternal in scope.
Intensive Ministry Training
Making a lasting Kingdom impact in the lives of people in rural America is just the beginning of your experience. You will also be equipped for ministry; ministry that powerfully transforms lives and moves beyond simply transferring information. During your 4 weeks with RAM you will learn and practice what we call the 7 Practices of Ministry. These are seven ways you are equipped to powerfully minister the truth and grace of Jesus to others. They are:
Consistent with our approach to ministry and our mission, RAM is focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Your time with RAM will continually emphasize this focus. Our goal is that after your 4 weeks with RAM you will have a deeper faith in God, a greater reliance on His power and grace, and a more effective ministry to others. You will have matured as a disciple of Jesus and experienced greater transformation into His likeness.
Ministry & Vocational Internships
For students interested in an extended rural missions experience and also the opportunity to earn money for college, RAM will assist you in obtaining ministry or vocational internships in the rural community where you were on mission with RAM or in a similar rural community. These internships follow your 4 week Missions & Ministry Training Experience giving you the opportunity to continue building the relationships and maximizing the Kingdom impact you made while a RAM team member.
Ministry internships are for students interested in serving on staff with a rural church. Vocational internships are any number of job opportunities available in a rural community. RAM will help you find a job, including employment related to your field of study. Just in the past two years we have assisted students in finding work in the mass communications and legal and social services industries. Who says you can’t do missions and make money for college at the same time?
We understand the challenges of completing your college education. It’s time consuming and expensive, so every minute during the school year and the summers in between count. RAM makes it possible in many instances to earn college credit while you are on mission with RAM. If you are interested in earning college credit while participating with RAM, please let us know and we will do our best to work with your University to make this happen!
Rural America is one of the newest and nearly untouched mission fields known today. Known as the heartland of the US, in many ways it is suffering a coronary. It is hurting for the grace and truth of Jesus, and while needs and opportunities are many, the workers are few. Become part of a growing movement of students bringing the healing power of Jesus to America’s heartland, Rural America!
RAM is recruiting 8 students for our 2017 Summer Missions & Ministry Training Experience. Download your application here: Summer Missions Application. Contact us now to be a part of this life-transforming opportunity: 405.615.8792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was not the shoes themselves that caught my attention, but the man that filled them and determined their steps. When I first met Virgil he was 90 years young. I don’t remember the exact details of that first introduction, but I can tell you he was not lying in a bed or resting in a rocking chair, or reclining in a lazy boy. He was either on his feet and moving or had just sat down, but only briefly. You might think from this description that he was just nervous energy. But that would not be accurate of the man. I think he was moving because he had a clear view of his destination, his responsibility, and the brevity of time.
I heard from those who knew Virgil long before I did that he was once an avid outdoors man; a man who loved the mountain air and the feel of the trail beneath his feet. For years Virgil lived in the open spaces of Wyoming and in view of the Rocky Mountains. His feet often took him to these wilder and wider places. But why wouldn’t they? There was so much ground to be covered and so little time. By the time I met Virgil all of the ground covered in those 90 years had finally slowed his pace to a shuffle. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” These words of Lincoln remind me of Virgil. Like Lincoln, Virgil’s pace eventually slowed, but he was still moving forward and it was where those feet still took him that inspired and humbled me.
Every Wednesday at 1pm, unless weather or sickness prevented it, Virgil’s feet shuffled him into the Washita County Jail. Moving from the jail parking lot to the entrance was an effort of determination and resolve that would shame young men a fourth his age. I watched with respect and sometimes with concern at the effort it took for him to get in and out of his car and to step onto or down from the curb in front of the jail. He always came with his bible and binder in hand that held World Bible School study booklets and church bulletins. Virgil was regularly accompanied by his two much younger partners in evangelism, Donnie (at least 20 years his junior) and Chris (a mere child at 60 years his junior!) As often as I could, I too had the privilege of joining these three men in what was often a highlight of my week – sharing the truth and grace of Jesus with our friends behind bars.
Like Superman, heavy steel doors and bolted locks were no obstruction to Virgil. The guards knew him on a first name basis and not only opened the doors to let him pass, but held them until he did. For three hours the jailers would bring in groups of men to sit with Virgil and his co-evangelists to hear and discuss the Word of God. The meeting place was a holding cell. The walls were cinder block, painted light brown, illuminated in florescent lights. There were no windows. There was a heavy chain bolted into the side of the brick and mortar bench on both sides of the wall for seating. It was the size of a chain you would use to tow a truck. The acoustics were terrible. Sound echoed off the cold, barren walls. Just a few words would multiply and morph into a muffled and distorted collision of noise. This complicated things because Virgil was hard of hearing. But did this deter him? Not at all.
Every week Virgil would introduce himself to the new guys and greet the regulars. Oft times, because of the acoustics and Virgil’s lack of hearing, the new guys would have to repeat their names two or three times until Virgil got it right. The guys didn’t mind. They loved this old man who had a love for their souls that compelled him to shuffle into their lives with the grace of Jesus. When Virgil was not present, the guys always asked about him. They showed a special concern for this man who was like a grandfather to them. He always had a word of encouragement, never condemned, but never hesitated either to tell the men what they needed to hear to be right with their Creator. They cried when they heard he’d taken his last step in the jail.
Recently a young inmate told me, “There’s no love in prison.” I understood why he could say that, but I also knew it wasn’t the whole truth. Why? Because I had the blessing of knowing a man who brought the love of God into that jail nearly every week. That love was what kept his feet moving. Though only a shuffle, as Virgil drew near to the end of his earthly journey, he didn’t waste a step. Other men half his age would not set foot in a jail unless they had to. Virgil did it voluntarily, determinedly, in step with His Master until just two weeks ago when he took that final step into eternity.
It’s going to be hard to fill Virgil’s shoes. They kept moving until the very end of their 95 year journey, even if they shuffled. The man that filled them was an inspiration to many, including myself. What do you want to bet he’s already laced up a new pair of shoes? Running shoes most likely!
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7
Into the blood the phlegm and the flood
It’s a world tour most would decline
Not an adventure for the refined
Would you mind?
Into the flame, the smoke and the pain
Renounce sweet comforts find no rest
Put your courage to the test
Be thou blessed
Sons of men to the gates of hell and back again
To announce my Kingdom come to earth
And welcome all to second birth
Find life’s worth