ELI Project Director/RUF-I
Rev. Chuck and Debbie Emerson
Chuck comes to ELI after more than 25 years in the business world. A native of the Pittsburgh area, he has a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering (Penn State), and has served as a Project Manager for several well-known corporations. So he brings with him much in the way of project management and organizational skills.
But there is another side to Chuck too. He has always had a great love for learning and teaching the Scriptures, seeing believers grow in their faith and understanding of the Gospel. The Lord has used him over the years as a teacher of God’s Word in many local church settings, but at one point he felt a need for some formal theological training so as to become a more effective teacher. In 1988, with a young family in tow, Chuck obtained an educational leave of absence from his company, and enrolled in the M.Div. program at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he then returned to engineering, and continued to serve in his local church in various capacities.
Chuck’s wife Debbie brings many strengths to ELI as well. Her degree is in secondary education, having taught middle school for several years, as well as home-schooling their two children. Debbie went to graduate school also, receiving her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2006. She is affiliated with a local counseling practice on a part-time basis. Debbie has a heart of mercy, especially for internationals. She and Chuck have hosted exchange students in their home over the years too.
Chuck and Debbie sensed from very early on in their marriage a possible call to serve the Lord internationally at some point. Providentially, Chuck met Dan Steere at a conference at the ELI booth in 2006. That initial conversation resulted in Chuck taking a trip to Ghana with ELI, followed by two more, as a part-time instructor. God was pleased to use him in those settings, such that Chuck began to consider whether the Lord was leading him to work with ELI on a full-time basis.
This has now come to fruition, and God has prepared both Chuck and Debbie to serve in a unique capacity. Chuck is now serving as a full-time staff member of ELI with a “volunteer” assignment with a second ministry that shares ELI’s purpose.
Chuck works at the tasks of arranging and coordinating trips abroad, writing/editing curricula, and teaching in various venues where ELI is active with pastors and other leaders. Debbie will accompany him when time and circumstances permit.
The Emersons are also involved as “volunteers” with Reformed University Fellowship International (RUF-I), a ministry to internationals at Georgia Tech. This is a ministry that welcomes visiting scholars from many nations, showing them biblical hospitality and providing settings where they can explore the Christian faith while they are in the US. Several have come to Christ as a result, and Chuck and Debbie are involved with discipling them before they return to their native countries. In this case, the nations have come to us, and this presents a strategic opportunity to share the Gospel and train these future high level leaders from abroad. As such, this ministry aligns with ELI’s vision to disciple the leaders of other nations.