Rydbecks Reach Milestone
KEEP SERVING WITH CLEAN WATER PROJECTS IN LATIN AMERICA
(July 3, 2014 - by Ruth Pike) What began as a three-year commitment in Ecuador turned into more than three decades of missionary service for Bruce and Cherith Rydbeck.
It was 34 years ago that they began serving with Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) in Ecuador. The North American couple recently retired from the mission, but they continue to minister in Latin America as independent missionaries, supporting Ecuadorian mission groups via clean water projects and community development.
An engineering student with a growing interest in missions, Bruce first made a personal commitment to go wherever the Lord called him while attending Urbana, a youth missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship previously held in Urbana, Ill. But it wasn’t immediately apparent where that would be.
After completing his studies and moving to work in Boston, Mass., Bruce met Cherith, daughter of One Mission Society missionaries Harold and Margaret Brabon. Cherith grew up in Colombia and Ecuador, returning to the U.S. when she was 15.
“As a third culture kid I couldn’t imagine anything but being on the mission field,” said Cherith. “And that was when God challenged me to be willing to stay in the U.S. if he called me to.”
Bruce had worked for 10 years for Boston area engineering consulting firms gaining valuable experience and a master’s degree when the mission recruited them to serve in Ecuador. In 1981, Bruce and Cherith, together with their two sons, Joel and Caleb, moved to Papallacta, Ecuador, for a three-year assignment during which time their youngest child, Lydia, was born.
As a civil engineer, Bruce carried out the civil design needed to install Reach Beyond’s second hydroelectric plant. The project provided an additional 4.2 megawatts of power for the former international transmitter site in Pifo, enabling Radio Station HCJB to continue its shortwave broadcasts from Ecuador until they were discontinued in 2009.
However, on completion of their assignment, the Rydbecks’ missionary service didn’t end there. In fact, in 1985 the family moved to Kenya where they served for 16 months. Bruce worked with Dr. David Stevens and Dr. Eric Moore on another hydro project to provide the Tenwek Hospital with a reliable power source.