Rodney & Ruth Stromlund
- Our Local
- Our Reach
- Our Self
Rodney and Ruth Stromlund serve in the rural back-hills of north central Arkansas. The heart of the Ozarks is the Boston Mountain Range, where the majority of the Stromlunds’ ministry work takes place. They have started churches in the two largest towns in the area, Mountain Home and Harrison, and recently started a church in the hills of Newton County.
While the area is very beautiful and scenic, most of the residents are classified as below the poverty line. However, those living in the mountains have become resourceful, learning to live with very little. There are several small industry plants throughout the region that provide employment, and many are involved in the seasonal timber industry.
Many residents have a “Folk Theology” which has been handed down from previous generations, and is based on the difficult lifestyle they have encountered. The thought is to “hold out faithfully to the end, and maybe you will make it.”
The greatest need in these communities is children’s ministry. Parents are busy trying to make a living, and often drive over an hour to find employment. This often leads to households where children are basically raising themselves. Compound this with the addictions that have torn many families apart, and the situation worsens. Rodney explains, “We find that most of the time it is the children who are worried about and taking care of the parents.”
After seeing the need in their community, the Stromlunds began reaching people in seven counties in north central Arkansas. Their ministries reach people of all ages living in the Ozark Mountains, and include Vacation Bible Schools, youth meetings and retreats, men’s and ladies’ Bible studies, hospital and nursing home visitation, AWANA, revivals and Bible conferences, and ministry at Rock Haven Bible Camp.
While actively involved in numerous ministries, the Stromlunds’ focus has always been on church planting. They have had the privilege of starting twelve churches in the area – three of which are in larger towns, and the rest located in rural, secluded areas.
“We have always tried to take our churches out of their four walls and into the surrounding community,” Rodney writes. Their church in Newton County is involved in several community outreaches focused on showing Christ’s love through action. One outreach is a lunch program for teachers in Jasper and Mt. Judea public schools, where over one hundred teachers are fed. Another outreach involves traveling to the local nursing home each spring to clean the flower gardens, plant a vegetable garden, and interact with the residents.
The Stromlunds’ AWANA ministry has just finished its twentieth year of reaching the local children. Response to the program has been phenomenal in reaching children, and in the last few months several families have joined the local church because of this outreach.
The Stromlunds have served as InFaith field staff since 1968.
Rodney is originally from the northwest corner of Minnesota, and Ruth is from Indiana, near Goshen. They both attended Ozark Bible Institute in Arkansas, and went on to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. After starting a church in Jay, Oklahoma, they were accepted as full-time missionaries with InFaith, and have been serving in north Arkansas ever since.
Rodney and Ruth have been married fifty-two years and are blessed with five children, sixteen grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.