Evangelist Spotlight: David Ruiz
Following in His Father's Footsteps to Spread Gospel
February 19, 2013 - David Ruiz's roots with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association dates back to 1965 when the organization hired his father in its Mexico office. Forty-eight years later, Ruiz is a key member of BGEA's Latin American ministry.
As an associate evangelist in 2012, I saw God bless the cities of Oaxaca, Mexico; Ibarra, Ecuador; and Valdivia, Chile.
By David Ruiz
I was born in a Christian family in the small town of Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1963. We moved to Mexico City when I was only 2 years old as my parents were seeking a better life for our family. My father worked at various odd jobs but found nothing stable.
Tired and frustrated, my parents planned to move back to Oaxaca. A cousin of my father said to him: “There is an office that is looking for staff. Why don’t you go to one interview as a last resort? If nothing happens, then forget about Mexico City.”
My father agreed. He was interviewed and hired. It was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Mexico office. Thus began an adventure that has lasted until today!
Dad’s ministry included taking the Gospel throughout Mexico by showing the Billy Graham films. My brothers and I helped. Every weekend, we showed the films at five or six different locations. I learned the messages preached by Billy Graham in several of the films.
When I was 16, while we were showing the film “The Restless Ones,” God touched my heart. Being a teenager who had many fears, I did not understand the purpose of my life. When I was with my friends I felt good, but when I was alone, I had a loneliness that frightened me.
During the film, Billy Graham said: “You, young man, need Christ. You need peace and joy that He alone can give you.” Those words penetrated my heart and would not let me alone. That night on the way home, I surrendered my life to Christ. I knelt before Him to receive Him in my heart.
After that, I sought opportunities to serve the Lord and began to ask if I could give the invitation after each film.
Billy Graham came to Mexico City for two Crusades in 1981, and I spent months in preparation. It was a joy, and God used that experience to call me into the ministry. Later, I attended seminary, was ordained to the ministry and pastored a growing church.
From 1990 to 2001 I was involved in a ministry called VELA (Evangelistic Vision for Latin America), which I directed for 10 years. At the same time I was involved with BGEA’s evangelism congresses and Festivals, and now it has been my privilege to serve the Lord through BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse full-time the last 12 years.
As an associate evangelist in 2012, I saw God bless the cities of Oaxaca, Mexico; Ibarra, Ecuador; and Valdivia, Chile. Each city is different, but what they had in common was the joy of the believers as they prepared for the Festival.
In Valdivia, a Christian couple prayed for their daughter Marcela, who is 17, to attend the Festival. She was facing depression and had attempted suicide several times. On the last day of the Festival, despite the rain, she agreed to go. She was one of the first to go forward when the invitation was given.
I praise God for the 24,972 people who attended the Festivals and the 2,579 who answered the call to surrender their lives to Christ! In 2013, I’m praying for Festivals in Mexico and Uruguay. In Torreon, Mexico, people face huge challenges because of the drug cartels and kidnappings.
Please pray for me as I share the Gospel wherever the Lord leads in the years to come!