In August of 2001, as his sixteen year old brother Caleb lay dying in a hospital bed, Kevin Ruff laid hands upon him and trusted his new found faith in God to restore his younger brother.
Sadly, Ruff’s brother passed away, causing Ruff to question his beliefs.
Today, Ruff is a junior at Eastern University, majoring in Biblical studies while having an active ministry role in Brighter Day ministries. His brother’s untimely death is one of the many trials he has had to overcome.
“My life as a whole has been challenging because of my background,” Ruff said. “Both of my parents were on drugs, and alcoholics.”
Ruff also found himself in charge of younger siblings and struggled with all the issues a young person at that age has to deal with: low self-esteem, acceptance from peers and insecurity.
After only visiting churches occasionally for major holidays, Kevin started attending vacation bible school at Holy Temple of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and eventually attended weekly church services.
“One Sunday, I felt the spirit of God and was convinced He was real and that I needed to serve Him,” he said.
Kevin was sixteen years old at the time.
The pastor at Holy Temple recognized his leadership and preaching skills and began training Ruff by giving him sermonettes to preach. Ruff eventually planned activities for the youth group and became the church’s youth director.
Ruff continued in his position at Holy Temple, while attending Eastern full time, until August 2005 when he began working with Brighter Day Ministries.
Brighter Day Ministries is the realization of a vision that began with Rev. Leonard Jamison, vice president for university relations, and his wife Marilyn.
The mission of Brighter Day is to “attempt to provide spiritually formative mentoring and discipleship,” Jamison said.
Ruff works as an assistant to Rev. Jamison and as the ministry coordinator for Brighter Day. “I had been praying for a mentor, and God met that need,” Ruff said.
According to Ruff, his involvement has helped him to balance his life “academically, financially, socially and spiritually” and “usher me into a new level in my relationship with God.”
Putting in almost twenty hours a week working for Brighter Day ministries, carrying a full college academic load and working as an office assistant sound like it could be too much for one person to handle.
Ruff admits that “before it would have been hard to balance, but now the accountability I have learned through ministry has taught me how to balance.”
Finding that balance in all aspects of life has been an essential part of Ruff’s success in his triumph over adversity. Even through many family losses, the challenge of finding the money to attend Eastern and his successful efforts to bring his parents to the Lord, Ruff has remained a “fervent, fruitful and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Although God did not save his brother that day in the hospital, Ruff believes ministry will always be in his future, along with “a smile and a joyful attitude.”