In a small nondescript frame perched on the side of Mr. Bill’s desk is a picture. It’s beautiful in it’s own right, as sunsets on Lake Texoma usually are; but it’s the story behind this one that gives witness to the true beauty of the picture.
Ron Ruppel has been coming to Share Ministries as a volunteer for many years. He sits on the Board of Directors and is still very actively involved in the day to day operations of the ministry. He’s also heavily involved in the community and is a successful business owner. But there’s always more below the surface… we never know how someone is struggling or what they’re going through.
Sometimes life just wears you out. Between our jobs, family pressures, money issues or medical problems our stress builds up and sometimes we just crash and say “I can’t do this anymore.” It happens to the best of us and it happened to Ron.
Ron’s head nods up and down and he looks off to one side and knowingly says, “I was lost and trying to do things my way and it just wasn’t working. A lot of things led to that day… a lot of things.”
Ron’s mother had recently broken her hip and he needed to travel to California and spend a month with her. This was the breaking point for Ron. Everything came crashing down and he was hit with a deep depression during the trip. He couldn’t make any decisions, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t even watch TV. He was afraid of everything and had constant visions of failing. It got worse and worse and over a short time Ron had lost 35lbs and was a shell of his former self.
Ron was back in Sherman and somehow reconnected with Bill Whitehead, who had been a customer in Ron’s Dairy Queen over the years. With Mr. Bill’s encouragement, Ron started coming down to Share Ministries and volunteering. Somehow this simple act of service started to feed Ron. One day he was sitting with Mr. Bill… the light came through and he was able to start to see a glimmer of hope again. That’s when Ron finally broke and made a choice.
I hit my knees and asked for God’s mercy. I had given up on life. The foundational prayer of all Christianity burned into my soul, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I gave up trying to fix everything and laying at the foot of the cross I cried, “God, please… please help me.” That’s the day that I accepted Christ and proclaimed Jesus to be my savior.
That day was also the day that had already been picked to baptize people and Ron decided that he wanted to participate. Bill always did Baptisms late Sunday afternoon so we could see the sunset during the baptism hour. On this specific day it rained and rained. We decided to go anyway because we felt like God was telling us to. As we journeyed to Lake Texoma it was cloudy and overcast and the sun was nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be seen at all that day except by one person.
A friend of Ron’s named Joe Bindel was present to support him and decided to snap a picture of the event. Joe tells what he saw that day and luckily for us the picture is a gift that illustrates the story.
The baptism’s took place and then it was Ron’s turn. He was submerged to his waist in the waters of Lake Texoma as Bill dunked him under the water. and as it happened the sun came out and this picture was snapped.
As Joe snapped the picture of the event he smiled. He would later tell Ron,
“You have got to see what happened. As you went under the water the sun came out and there was the most beautiful sunset. You came up from the water and within seconds the sun was covered again and it went back to gray, dreary and overcast.”
Now the picture that Joe took is a reminder of the graciousness of God. As Ron say,
“It confirmed for me that God was watching and had his hand on me and that he loves me. He was answering my plea….”
When we stop trying to solve everything ourselves and instead fall to our knees and ask God for help things start to fall into place. He is faithful.
Ron is now taking over the ministry and says,
“This has made me a new creation, I have a reason to get up in the morning and my goal is to share with as many people. I am amazed everyday at the way he is working in my life and using someone like me.”