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A Role 20 Years in the Making

A Role 20 Years in the Making

Emily Rudolph says God began preparing her to be a refugee serving Ukrainian refugees in Poland as a student at Moody
  • August 3, 2022

Emily and Mike Rudolph established a Ukraine relief fund collecting donations that pay for food, medicine, gas, and other critical supplies for Ukrainian residents and refugees. The fund also covers materials to rebuild churches, seminaries, and ministry training centers in Ukraine that have suffered damage at the hands of the Russian military.

By Jeff Smith

On December 18, 2021, Emily Rudolph, her husband, Mike, and their two daughters were jolted out of their new lives as teachers at a Christian school in Kyiv, Ukraine. With Russian troops amassing on the eastern Ukrainian border, the family’s missions sending organization, World Venture, asked them to evacuate the country, leaving behind teaching responsibilities they had just begun in August.

Since Russia first ignited war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Emily has found herself in the unlikely role of a refugee serving other refugees while her family stays on the campus of Word of Life Ministries in Zgierz, Poland. Whether she’s helping displaced Ukrainians find shelter, teaching English to refugees, sharing her testimony with young women, or creatively directing an online school musical via Zoom, Emily said she sees her training at Moody Bible Institute in constant action.

‘I fell in love with Moody’

After being raised by Christ-following parents in rural Troy, Ohio, Emily was initially hesitant to study in the urban environment of Chicago. By the time she earned her Educational Ministry degree in 2002, her mind was completely changed.

“I fell in love with Moody,” Emily said. “Even though I was afraid of living in a big city, it was definitely multicultural and gave me a lot of opportunities through Practical Christian Ministries to experience serving Christ in the world and interacting with lots of different cultures, which has benefited my work in Ukraine and now Poland.”

One of the defining characteristics of Moody that fueled Emily’s love for God and His Word was the spiritual fire she saw exhibited throughout the student body.

“Everybody at Moody had a passion for serving Christ,” she said. “It was in the DNA of the school. It was truly gratifying interacting with fellow students there. We all had the same purpose of glorifying God and serving Him with our lives.”

‘Everything is the Lord’s’

Emily’s education training reflected these same values.

“As a teacher, Moody emphasized teaching with a biblical worldview,” she said. “Everything from math to science to recess, it’s all about God. Everything is the Lord’s.”

The Christ-centered, Bible-centric training Emily received at Moody influenced everything she taught at the Kyiv Christian school for Ukrainian students, even when the school was forced to go online after the war erupted.

With families fleeing their homeland and dispersing all over Europe, the school’s future is in doubt. But as the war rages on and the Rudolphs face uncertainty over their own next steps, Emily and Mike continue to serve God at Word of Life as English teachers, mentors, and however and wherever He leads them.

“It's been a walk of faith,” Emily said. “I never thought we’d be in Poland at this time, but we know exactly that this is where God wanted us to be right now. We don’t know where God will want us months from now, but right now this is exactly God’s will for us. God has put the Ukrainian people in our hearts, and we don’t want to take them out.”

Watch for a full story about Emily Rudolph's ministry journey in Poland in the fall 2022 magazine issue and online edition of Alumni & Friends.

About the Author

Jeff Smith is editorial manager of Marketing Communications for Moody Bible Institute.