Northwestern alum Rob Roozeboom is the founder of RISE Ministries Inc., a local organization that works with teens and young adults.
At times, the ministry’s goal, to “reach people that are hurting,” has been a challenge for Roozeboom who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in junior high.
Roozeboom will speak in chapel on Monday, Nov. 7 about his experience following God while living with a disease that is causing his muscles to slowly deteriorate.
Roozeboom recalled being confused and angry about his disease.
“My brother could do sports and excel in them,” Roozeboom said. “I liked sports so why couldn’t I do them? I found myself asking, ‘Why me? Why not him? If God loves me so much, why did he make me this way?’”
Despite his anger and doubts, the Bible became a central part of Roozeboom’s life while taking Biblical Studies in college, and he ended up beginning his ministry before graduation.
“I never looked back,” Roozeboom said.
Today, Roozeboom speaks at churches, colleges and special events.
“He is a really good speaker and easy to relate to,” said senior Jenna Van Oort who helped put together an information and media kit for RISE Ministries last year with NW’s advanced public relations class.
Other outreaches of RISE Ministries include a youth missions program called Rise on the Road, radio devotions and an annual Christian music festival called RiseFest, which takes place in Orange City.
“He has a small staff, but they really do a lot to help him out,” said senior Cassuandra De Bruin. “He thinks outside the box and has a lot of energy.”
Roozeboom has some fears about the future.
“When will be the last time I can get in a tractor?” Roozeboom asked. “How is this going to affect my children? How long am I going to be able to be independent? I am a very independent person.”
However, Roozeboom refuses to let the uncertainty which lies ahead stop him or slow him down. He has won several awards including the Distinguished Service to Humankind award from NW.
In his office, Roozeboom has a quote that says, “People can live without a lot of things, but they can’t live without hope.”
“That hope is found in Jesus Christ,” Roozeboom said. “We all get dealt a hand. I want to use what I have been dealt to help people.”