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Making Right Decisions at the Right Time

Elva Sumner Ruple’s earliest memories were of a father who did the best he could to raise her and give her all the love he could.  Her mother died when she was just a toddler.  God provided for her a faithful dad who loved and nurtured her to be a faithful servant of the Lord. 

Elva’s dad did marry again when she was about 5 years old.  God brought her, not just a step-mother, but a “new” mother who loved her as though she were her own.  “People said we favored one another,” Mrs. Ruple would say. 

Unfortunately tragedy struck again when Elva was in her teen years; her father was killed in a logging accident.  She and her mother stood fast in their faith in God and leaned on one another through their grief.  Although losing her father was tragic, he had purchased life insurance shortly before the accident that made it possible for Elva and her mother to live without financial stress.  Mrs. Ruple would tell you that was God working and providing for the two of them.

Mrs. Ruple attended college at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, now Louisiana Tech in Ruston.  When she moved to Ruston, her mother packed up the family home and moved with her to provide support and encouragement.  Not long after, Miss Elva Sumner met and married Harvey D. Ruple, a young man as strong in his faith as she was.  Once again, God made provision for her life. 

Mrs. Ruple worked as a parish home extension agent for the State of Louisiana and was very active in her local church as well as the work of Louisiana Baptists.  Friends recall the Ruples as a couple who loved the Lord, loved their pastor, and were always ready to serve where they were needed in the church and community.  They also cared for Mrs. Ruple’s mother who lived with them for her entire life.

Mr. Harvey D. & Elva S. Ruple started their relationship with the Louisiana Baptist Foundation in 1963 while Herschel Pettus was the Executive Director.  Mrs. Elva Ruple would say that when Herschel Pettus came to FBC Homer, she thought only she and her husband heard what he said.  They wrote Wills to be good stewards of that which God had blessed them, and the Ruples’ relationship with the Foundation spanned the tenures of four Executive Directors.  After Mr. Harvey Ruple died in early 1983, Mrs. Ruple sought the assistance of the Foundation to make financial decisions such as selling timber, land and eventually her house and car.  Mrs. Ruple established two trusts to enable the Foundation to assist her in her latter stages of life and to leave any assets left over to benefit Baptist work. 

Mrs. Ruple made the decision to move to the Baptist Retirement Center (now called Leslie Lakes) in Arcadia, Louisiana when they added a new wing.  Mrs. Elva picked out her room and lived there for eighteen years until her death in the Spring of 2007. 

As she reached and passed her ninetieth birthday, Mrs. Ruple gradually turned over more of her personal and financial decisions to the Foundation.  In those latter, Wayne Taylor, the Foundation’s Executive Director, met occasionally with Mrs. Ruple’s attorney, doctor, and pastor to make important decisions on her behalf.  Because of her foresight and advanced planning, Mrs. Ruple’s “support team” was able to ensure that she was cared for and to carry out her desires to support God’s work through Louisiana Baptists.

Mrs. Ruple was sustained financially from the trusts that she established for over 20 years.  Through prudent management by the Louisiana Baptist Foundation, there were more dollars in the trusts when her life ended than when they were established.  Now those two trusts are known as the Mr. and Mrs. Harvey D. Ruple Cooperative Program Endowment.  The income from this endowment benefits all the ministries supported by the Cooperative Program and will do so in perpetuity. 

Throughout her nearly 100 years, God was faithful to provide for His faithful servant. Mrs. Ruple proved to be faithful in trusting God and in her stewardship of what he placed in her hands.   With God’s guidance she made the right decisions at the right time, not only to care for herself, but to help support the ministry of the Gospel for years to come.

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