Pictured are missionaries Nik Ripken and his wife, Ruth. Mr. Ripken will be a guest speaker at Bell Shoals Baptist Church on Wednesday, August 1.

Earlier this year, Bell Shoals Baptist Church introduced First Wednesday Services featuring guest speakers, high-energy worship, prayer and applicable Bible teachings. The special services begin at 7 p.m. in the Worship Center on its Brandon Campus.

On Wednesday, August 1, author Nik Ripken will speak about his 30 plus years as a missionary and up-close experience with the persecuted church. Along with his wife Ruth, he founded Nik Ripken Ministries, which calls attention to the high-cost paid by believers who are living outside of the comforts and religious freedoms of the United States.

“The Ripkens learned from the persecuted church not only how to survive in the midst of persecution, but how to thrive,” said Dr. Stephen Rummage, senior pastor at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. “Most of us would want to know how our faith can make that kind of difference in our lives.”

Mr. Ripken’s book The Insanity of God (2013) chronicles their relief work and heartbreaks in the oppressed and impoverished regions of Africa. The book depicts how faith can flourish even in the direst of circumstances as seen through the eyes of persecuted believer testimonies.

The book also inspired a film documentary that was released in 2016 and bears the same name. The Insanity of God begs the question, “Am I willing to give my life to follow Jesus fully.”

Mr. Ripken’s second book, The Insanity of Obedience (2014), is considered “a challenging book,” as described by its author. Mr. Ripken penned the many missionary life lessons learned while witnessing to believers surviving in areas that are rampant with brutal practices, persecution and tyranny.

Dr. Rummage continued, “The Ripkens show us what it means to live for something far greater than ourselves. That is something—the only thing—that can give our lives meaning and purpose.”

The message is free and open to the community. Programming is also available for preschoolers and children. Bell Shoals Brandon Campus is located at 2102 Bell Shoals Road in Brandon.

Additional information on Mr. Ripken can be found at www.nikripken.com. For more information about First Wednesday at Bell Shoals, visit www.bellshoals.com, its Facebook page or call 689-4229.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.