New missions professor: Eileen Ruger introduction

Photo by Stephanie Reyes
Photo by Stephanie Reyes

Kira Roberts, Editor-in-chief

   Eileen Ruger is a new missions professor at SNU this year.  Howard Culbertson, Emeritus Professor of Missions, said that Ruger is a very high-energy person.

   “She has a clear vision of what she thinks global missionary outreach is going to look like in the future.  Also, as a field strategy coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene in an Asian country, she has had to develop good organizational skills,” he said.

   In an email correspondence with The Echo, Ruger shared about her life work and her passion for missions.

   “I am from Redondo Beach, California, which is a community just south of Los Angeles.  I attended SNU (then it was BNC) in 1983 and graduated with a B.S. degree in Christian Education in 1988.  I went on to Nazarene Theological Seminary and graduated with a M.R.E. [Master of Religious Education] in 1990.

   From Seminary, I went to Taiwan and taught at Christ’s College in northern Taipei for two years.  I returned to the States and served in a compassion ministry centered in Portland, Oregon for about five years.  I pastored in multicultural areas of Southern California for over ten years.

   I have had the opportunity to serve in Asia for about ten years.  I mostly worked in a creative access country in theological education (creative access means that people are not permitted to share the Gospel because of either cultural or political persecution).  I have also served as a Field Strategy Coordinator on the Asia Pacific region.  I absolutely love talking about cultures, missions and my experiences as a missionary, but I can’t write about them because of creative access security concerns.

   I have taught in universities in Asia and enjoy the freedom in the classroom to discuss, challenge and motivate students to think about the world outside of their immediate realm of experiences.  Studying at SNU has made such an incredible impact on my life.  I believe in the mission of this university and know that an education centered on the positive message of Jesus Christ equips a student to serve their communities in optimistic, constructive ways. It is an honor to be able to encourage students to think globally about their futures and hopefully cultivate interest in cultures to create a hunger for experience and service.

   I have a compulsion to talk about what ‘missions’ means!  I believe to be ‘Christian’ means to be missional, going out from our own communities and reaching another with the message of reconciliation (the Gospel!). Whether that is urban ministries, global business, cross-cultural ministries, compassionate ministries or simply building relationships with those outside of our sub cultures, our mission is the same: to make Christ-like disciples!

   I want to encourage those that are contemplating missionary service.  Being a missionary today looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago (or even ten).  Today’s missionaries are from all over the world with all types of vocations sent to all places in the world (even here).  They all have one thing in common though.  They are all using their gifts, talents, education, interests and passions for the purposes of God (the spreading of the message of God’s reconciliation to us in Christ).  It would be such a privilege to sit down and talk and pray with those that are on this journey, so please stop by my office and sit for a while!”