Rupert and Amy had big plans for their new life in America. As committed Buddhists, they left their life in China behind in hopes of furthering their education and finding success in the United States.
They arrived at Arizona State University (ASU), where they would pursue their master’s degrees in computer science. It was also there where they met Missions Door missionary Ben Joseph.
Ben knew what it was like to be new to school and to America. With $7 in his pocket and two words of English in his vocabulary, he stepped onto the campus of a Bible college in Phoenix, Arizona in 1970.
Little did he know that God was preparing him for a life of serving international students just like him.
From Programmer to Pastor
After a year of spending time with Rupert and Amy and inviting them to Campus Ambassador events, Ben led them to Christ. A weekly discipleship meeting quickly became an important part of their lives, and something that would help to prepare Rupert for what God had in store for him.
After graduation, Rupert and Amy moved to San Jose to pursue their careers. They quickly became involved in a local church where Rupert would eventually become an elder.
Soon Rupert began to feel God tugging on his heart to do something bigger. He enrolled at seminary where he earned his master’s degree. And in 2000, he gave up his successful career and became the senior pastor at the Chinese Church of Christ in San Jose.
Today, in addition to his role as a pastor, he travels around the world to preach the gospel and has led hundreds of people to Christ.
Becoming Like Christ by Moving Furniture
Ben and his wife, Aleyamma, have been serving international students like Rupert and Amy as Campus Ambassadors for 31 years at ASU. It’s the largest university in the country with more than 80,000 students on campus — and a record number of 10,500 internationals from 123 nations.
And after three decades, Ben and Aleyamma have seen how those relationships can plant the seeds for changed lives.
Through social events, trips and Bible studies, Ben and Aleyamma build relationships with international students and introduce them to Christ. But with the vast majority of students being atheist or agnostic, ministry often begins by building friendships and meeting their needs.
This includes helping students find apartments and furniture and getting settled into their homes — something that is greatly needed when they first arrive at ASU.
“Our goal is to serve, and our desire is for the students to know Christ,” says Ben. “We reflect Christ to them by meeting their needs. And even though they all come from various religious backgrounds, they become open to coming to our events and hearing the gospel because we have built relationships with them.”