New Mexico State University
Ben & Anna Coppedge
NEW MEXICOUniversity STATE R E F O R M E D
U N I V E R S I T Y
F E L L OW S H I P
Westward Bound WHY WE’RE ANSWERING GOD’S CALL TO MAKE NEW MEXICO HOME
God’sProvision this Year • MAY 2012. Ben & Anna are married! • AUG 2012. Anna finishes 3 strong years of youth ministry in Colorado Springs. We move to West Philly! • FALL 2012. We begin exploring RUF opportunities in the West. The Lord keeps us in a “holding pattern”:) • FEB 2013. We’re invited to visit NMSU to interview, meet students, the church, the town. LOVED the kids, the place, the potential! • MAR 2013. Ben receives a “call” (job offer) to be the RUF Campus Minister at NMSU beginning June 1st. We celebrate! • APR 2013. Ben passes his exams to able to preach in the Southwest Presbytery and is licensed. Our excitement only grows. • MAY 2013. After 4 intense years, Ben graduates from Westminster with a Masters of Divinity. Anna gets her husband back;) • June 2013. We work to gather a large group of our friends as supporters who are compelled by this ministry at NMSU.
Anna and I are thrilled to share with you that we recently accepted an opportunity to be the next RUF campus minister at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM! As we look back on the past decade of our lives, we’re amazed how God has carefully woven together in this new calling so many threads from our past. Here are a few of those threads: Anna and I met in RUF and were profoundly shaped by the ministry while at University of Georgia 10 years ago; God has nurtured in both of us an ever-growing passion for student ministry these past 10 years; and God has opened both of our eyes to the need, potential, and adventure of the West. If you asked us a year ago whether we would ever imagine serving college students in New Mexico we could not have predicted it! But looking back at how all of these threads now tie together, it’s no wonder why we’re leaving for Las Cruces in a month. We’re eager to meet and serve the 90 RUF students awaiting our arrival along with the other 15,000 students whose paths we haven’t yet crossed!
Why RUF in New Mexico? A Legacy of Fruitfulness. For folks who live on the East Coast, New Mexico may strike you as a distant outpost--a place that is “out of sight and out of mind.” How could a campus ministry there have a meaningful impact beyond the campus? But for the past 20 years, God has been using RUF at NMSU as a refuge for wandering students (the “unconvinced” who are
• Aug 2013. Arrive in Las Cruces. Stand on the shoulders of 20 years of my great predecessors at NMSU.
regularly reached by this ministry), a nourishment for growing students (the “convinced” who are being equipped to follow Jesus and love others well), and a doorway that welcomes all of them into the Church. Former students have gone on to serve as deacons, elders, and pastors in churches across the Southwest. Just yesterday I met a recent NMSU RUF grad who is moving to Utah to reach college students in Salt Lake City through RUF. Scores of other NMSU RUF alum bring the aroma of Christ into other holy vocations in the marketplace, academia, agriculture, and prominent research labs in the area such as Los Alamos National Laboratory. Truly, this is a ministry to which God has given a regional impact for two decades. It is populating churches and cities in the Southwest with transformed, committed, and sacrificial “20-somethings.” Now, we get to help!
Why New Mexico? • The need. RUF doesn’t yet have a presence on any campus within 500 miles of NMSU. This ministry impacts an entire region of the country that needs the presence of people, churches, and ministries that are Gospel-shaped.
• The students. RUF at NMSU has been faithfully serving students here for over 20 years. Anna and I want to help reach and equip students who will stay in the Southwest and impact the church and culture here for a lifetime.
• Our story.
Red dots represent campuses where RUF is present. NMSU is the yellow dot.
The Regional Need. Anna and I, like many of you, come from a part of the country where great evangelical churches and faithful campus ministries abound. Part of our burden for NMSU and for the Southwest is the map above. While RUF is on about 50 campuses in the Southeast, it is only on 1 in the Southwest--NMSU! We want to be a part of changing this. We believe God has and is using the students of NMSU RUF to be a part of a growing community of faithful Christians in this region. We want our students to catch this vision and to bring it to fruition on campus. And we want to persuade our friends around the country of the strategic value of this work.
The “fruit” that God has been particularly pleased to grow from our past ministry is leaders. About 10 of Ben’s former students are now seminarians, pastors, elders, deacons, or missionaries.
“RUF [at NMSU] is the place where the kids who don’t fit in anywhere else come. This is the place they feel welcomed. People on campus see us as the ministry where everyone doesn’t fit into a ‘cookiecutter’ mold.”- R UF Student
What God Has Already Provided. Successfully reaching and equipping these students requires significant resources. But already God has provided so much--we’ve received 4 years of rich theological training, a clear calling that is affirmed by the church, a house just 3 blocks from the heart of campus, a rich legacy of fruitful ministry on this campus, the buy-in and support of many local This was the last “large group” meeting of the semester in churches, and around 50% of the funds for this May when about 100 students told their beloved Sid and ministry raised in pledges. All this is in addition to Tere Druen goodbye (our amazing, faithful predecessors). God’s provision of 90 students regularly reached and equipped by this ministry and the 15,000 students he wants us to meet! And so all that we still lack are companions on the journey--people compelled by this unique opportunity and who want to have “skin in the game” through their prayers and/or financial help. Would you consider joining us on the mission? Thank you, Ben and Anna
IF this vision excites and compels you... here’s
how you can participate!
Seriously! If you want to serve RUF at NMSU through regularly praying, we would like to send you more personal and situation-specific prayer emails. We promise, no generic, long-winded, or flowery prayer requests. Rather, we’ll send periodic “in-the-trenches” updates--rejoicing, groaning, and petitions for our generous God. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and say, “Add me to the prayer list” and we will. You can unsubscribe at any time!
For RUF at NMSU to continue its fruitful work, we need a large community of friends who invest their financial resources. Do you know friends, family, or churches who may be interested in giving toward this ministry?
It costs RUF about $130,000 per year to maintain a robust ministry on NMSU’s campus (i.e., staffing expenses, room rentals, itineration, conference scholarships for students, etc). While an encouraging amount of this total has already been pledged, we remain in need of $70,000. Would you consider helping us meet this need? The chart below demonstrates how even one individual’s giving--together with a larger community of supporters--can actually make a significant impact! All donations are tax-deductible, can be made monthly, annually, or “one-time,” and can be made via several methods (the enclosed donor envelope, check, credit card, Automatic Draft from checking/savings account, or stock transfer). To give online please visit: www.ruf.org/donate.