By Sharon Mager
Glen Burnie, MD–– Glen Burnie Baptist Church Pastor Robert Rudman and his wife, Mary, were married 25 years ago on Valentine’s Day––an occasion worthy of a special trip. But rather than celebrate their anniversary with an excursion to an exotic destination, the two of them headed south to Nicaragua to minister with and encourage their missionary friend, Steve Bakos, with the Messiah Project.
Once in the country with Bakos, they boarded a small prop plane for an hour and a half flight, landing on a dirt runway before climbing into a large canoe and heading to a remote area on the Rio Coco. That was their “anniversary cruise,” Mary joked. They worked with other church leaders, singing, sharing the Gospel and feeding the hungry and they witnessed 24 baptisms.
The Rudmans brought bowls for the feeding ministry, knowing from past experience that many show up to get hot food but have no containers.
“Soup bowls sound like such a small thing, but it really blessed their hearts,” Mary Rudman said.
The Nicaraguans were also blessed when Bakos told them that the Rudman’s chose to spend their anniversary coming to help them.
“It was a jolt in the arm that someone would care for them that much,” Mary said.
Mary Rudman became interested in ministering in Nicaragua in 2007. Friends became familiar with the Messiah Project and Steve Bakos’ ministry when they adopted two children from a Nicaraguan orphanage. They shared their experiences with the Rudmans and Mary went on several mission trips with them.
Though Mary and Bob have been to Colombia, Guatemala, Budapest, India and Africa, Nicaragua was where they felt God’s pull, especially Mary.
“I really have a heart and passion for these people,” Mary said. “They became like family. If you would see your kids or grandkids suffering or without food it would literally break your heart and it does for me,” she said.
When the Rudmans came to Glen Burnie Baptist in 2009, they brought their passion for missions with them and led the church to take a ten-person mission trip to Nicaragua last year, partnering with Severna Park Baptist Church. This year, the two churches are partnering once again for a return trip in August and 15 are already registered.
Mary, in her zeal to help the children of Nicaragua, started a program called Koins for Kids. The children in both churches collect coins – especially during VBS to sponsor orphans and needy children. Twenty-five dollars provides food for an entire year and for their quarterly parasite medicines.
Glen Burnie Baptist Church and Severna Park Baptist Church collected coins/money last year during VBS. First Baptist Church of Pocomoke also participated.
Mary invites other churches to participate in the program.
For more information about the Koins for Kids program, or about ministry opportunities in Nicaragua, contact Mary Rudman, email@example.com. To donate Koins for Kids, send a check or money order to Messiah Project, C/O Mary Rudman, 238 Saxony Glen, Glen Burnie, Md 21061. Designate the funds for Koins for Kids. All donations are tax deductible.