Ken & Donna Rudy

Mere Agency May 22

Ken and Donna, along with their two children, Darla and Phil, began their preparation for service and missionary journey at Bethlehem Church in Randolph, New Jersey. Following two years of biblical studies at what was then Philadelphia College of the Bible, the Rudys started their missionary career with what is present-day Crossworld, formerly Unevangelized Fields Mission, in 1973. From August of that year to 1985, they studied language in Albertville, France. They worked with a team in Villefontaine, France that was church planting among the French and eventually moved to the France Field Center in Ruy, France. During the years there, they opened their home to their Crossworld colleagues, arriving missionaries, the Cambodian refugee community, and the North African community. Eventually, their emphasis became church-planting for the Cambodian refugees living in the city of Lyon, where they lived following a period in the US to establish their children in college. Brandywine Valley Baptist Church in Wilmington, Delaware became their church home during that twenty-two-month time in the U.S. Darla, their daughter entered Bryn Mawr College and their son, Phil attended Eastern College, but later transferred to West Chester University.

What began as an outreach to their Cambodian neighbors eventually grew to an established church in the Lyon area which is still thriving today. In the last few years, one of the founding elders and his wife have been sent out as missionaries from that church back to Cambodia.

In 1980, Ken was commissioned by the Cambodian church to serve with a medical team in the refugee camp in Thailand. This six-month stay gave him first-hand experience with all the devastation that had taken place in the country of Cambodia and a much deeper understanding of the people they were working among in France. It was from that time forward that Ken set his heart on someday serving in Cambodia. It would take him almost 20 years of service to other refugee populations, international students, and a great deal of spiritual preparation for him and Donna before the Lord opened the door to serve in Cambodia.

Following twelve years in France and twenty-two months in the U.S. settling their children into college, Ken and Donna were called by the elders of the International Chapel of Vienna to serve as their pastor to refugees who were pouring in from Eastern Europe. During their short time in Vienna Donna was active in the women’s ministry at the church and continued to open their home to refugees. Due to family needs and lack of finances, their time in Vienna was cut short.

In 1986, the Rudy’s returned to the U.S. where they served as host and hostess at their Mission Headquarters in Bala-Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. It was during that time that they began attending Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and started their work among the international population coming to study and work in the U.S. They served as host and hostess for two years. However, the Lord had other things in mind. Following a call from Dr. Bruce McDowell concerning a need for live-in directors at Philadelphia House in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, the Rudy’s took up that ministry In October of 1988. They lived and served at Philadelphia House from 1988-1999. For seven of those years Donna assisted Ken in the work among students, but also worked on the staff at Tenth Church as administrative assistant to Dr. McDowell. They also cared for Ken’s elderly mother living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Upon leaving Philadelphia House in the summer of 1999, they continued their work among international couples living and studying in the city. During that two-year period Ken led a short-term team from Tenth Church to Romania. He also had the privilege of joining another team led by one of their Crossworld colleagues to Bosnia.

Then, following a 20 year wait, God opened the door for the Rudy’s to go to Cambodia. Their mission, Crossworld, seconded them to ELIC (English Language School China) and in August 2001, Ken and Donna were off to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ken taught English at the University of Law and Economics and Donna served in a small English library on the campus, as
well as met with students in their home. When the Rudy’s returned to Cambodia, in 2004, following one year in the U.S. they were asked by Crossworld to return to Cambodia and be part of establishing a permanent Crossworld ministry in Cambodia. Today Cambodia has a full team of cross-cultural workers. During those two years under the direction of Crossworld, Ken continued his work at the university and Donna developed relationships with Cambodian women in leadership and worked with a local counseling ministry as mentor and support to the Cambodian staff of the counseling center. They also joined hands with two women working with young girls coming out of human-trafficking, mostly through encouragement and support of one another.
Since their return to the U.S. in 2007, Ken and Donna have worked with a local church plant, Ken has continued to teach English to immigrants and Donna has had an active ministry mentoring women. Donna made one short-term trip to Cambodia following her bout with cancer in 2008. Ken has made three return trips, and most recently, Ken made a ten-day trip to Cuba with a team from their local church. Presently, their title with Crossworld is “Ambassadors”, which they love because though some would call them “retired”, they are intent on following our commitment for as long as possible. Ken and Donna now attend First Presbyterian Church in Boulder where Donna is involved with both “Doorways” an English School for international women and “Stephen’s Ministry” and is spending time with other women who have been or are presently in full-time ministry. Ken continues to teach English when the opportunity lends itself. Both Ken and Donna are in reasonably good health and continue to look for open doors to serve when and where it is possible.

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