For more than a decade, Ruth has dreamt of helping people all over the world. Now God is sending her to serve alongside her husband on OM's newest ship.
Helping people is in Ruth Campos de Schmutz’ blood.
As a child she watched her mother willing to give her last dollar to help others. As a teenager she made herself available for others to share problems or ask for prayer. And now she and husband Nathan, both 33, have been appointed as the leaders of Doulos Hope, OM’s newest ship.
Finally, Ruth is seeing the fulfillment of a decade-long dream to help people all over the world.
She said, “In my church in Guatemala, we received different missionaries, and they came and shared their testimonies, what they are doing in different countries, and I always heard testimonies about Asia, Africa and India.
"When I was 19, I remember that I went in front of the church and I said, ‘Lord, here I am. I really want to serve You, and I really want to go wherever You want me. If you want me to go Asia, Africa or India, I really want to go.’
“But I understood that always [things happen] in the time of God, not in my time, so I continued serving in my church.”
Ruth began by joining an outreach team which performed drama and dance at weekend events, which was perfect preparation for when an OM team visited her church in 2011.
“We were in different schools to do different programs and I really enjoyed this week, so I started volunteering with them,” she said.
“In 2012, I met Nathan, who is from Switzerland. I was praying for a God-honouring husband, that together we could go wherever God wants, and God answered my prayers.”
Trusting God’s timing
During the next few years, Ruth was reminded of the importance of trusting in God’s plans and timing.
“Before OM, I was studying social work — five years at university. When I was in my second year, my leader from OM in Guatemala, Pilar, passed away. In this time, I said to the Lord, ‘Okay, if You want me to better support the team here in Guatemala, I could leave my studies and everything, and I could be with them.’
“But the Lord was clear, and He told me, ‘No, you need to continue with your studies and what you will learn, you will use for Me.’
“Then when I did my last task for university, the Lord invited us to go to Logos Hope for a year. I was talking with my teacher, a Christian, but I shared with her about this new step that the Lord was asking me [to do].
“She told me, ‘Ruth, do you have a lot of time to finish university after? If the Lord wants you to go, go, and after you can finish.’
“So, in 2014, I started full-time with OM, but I understood one more time that everything is in the time of God.”
When Ruth and Nathan were approached about leading Doulos Hope, they took two weeks to pray about the invitation.
“We needed to ask what the Lord wants for this new ministry, and what we feel is that the Lord is saying to us was, ‘Here is the baby that I want to put in your hands. I really want you to guide them and show the right way,’” Ruth shared. “We received Doulos Hope like a gift, like a baby that we need to care for.
“When we think about all the people that will be on board, our heart for the ship is to help all the crewmembers to love God and to serve with all their heart and to do the things with excellence — whether you are the director, if you are the leader, or if you clean the bathroom or you cook.
“We, all of us, are the same in the hands of the Lord, and this is our heart for the ship — that we could show what Jesus can do in our life when we are open.”
Learning new things
Ruth is happy to admit she is constantly learning new things about and from God.
“I can't do things alone; always, always I need His help,” she said. “Always, I need His wisdom, His guidance during challenges in our life. So, when I have a challenge I say, ‘What do you want to teach me now? What do you want me to learn?’ so I won't be frustrated with the challenge.
“The Lord is teaching me to have open eyes and [an open] heart, and to see what He wants to show me, or what He wants to talk with me about different situations.”
Even after so many years of trusting God to lead her, Ruth says He still surprises her.
“The Lord was giving the surprise of our lives that He was inviting us to Doulos Hope... But if the Lord is asking us [to go], He will be with us,” she said.
"Seeing the body of Christ supporting us in this new stage has been beautiful. Seeing how happy they are sending us to serve, that fills my heart.”
Pray for wisdom and guidance for Ruth and Nathan as they take on the leadership of Doulos Hope. Please pray for the crew members and staff on board Doulos Hope, and for more people with the right skills and giftings to join the ship ministry. Pray that God will open doors in Asia, and that the workers on board can demonstrate what it is to be the body of Christ to all those they meet there.