Rudy Rasmus: Not-So-Easy Money
By Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
“It was a bad business. My dad and I owned and operated a borderline bordello.”
Rudy Rasmus learned the family business from his father when he was just five years old. His dad brought home a set of blueprints and unveiled his business plans. Together, they would get rich in the sex industry.
Rudy explains, “I’m fascinated looking at these plans. He goes on to tell me this is a motel and other people’s husbands were going to come and give us money to spend time in one of our rooms.”
Seventeen years later, Motel Houston opened its doors right next door to the family’s home. The motel strictly catered to prostitutes and their customers. With Rudy in charge, the business took off. Rudy calls it a borderline bordello, because he says he never took a cut of the prostitutes’ profits.”
“The women were independent contractors,” Rudy says. “We didn’t really directly profit from their trade. We just rented them a room, but the activity was the same. In a sexually-oriented business -- and that’s what that was -- it is a dark environment. In those dark places, a lot of unseemly activity takes place. I remember my heart being calloused, not really caring -- as long as it was profitable. That’s what we did every day. We profited from darkness. In many cases, [we] profited from other people’s misery and other people’s pain.”
Rudy distanced himself from what went on behind closed doors. He says, “It was another day at work. I mean, right and wrong in those days, the lines kind of blurred together. It was about making money. It wasn’t about right or wrong. It was about going to the bank. Money was god.”
But his god didn’t satisfy. The thrill of making easy money at Motel Houston faded.
“There was definitely something missing in my life, and I think the one thing that was missing was fulfillment. It was just an empty place.”
Rudy spent years searching for true fulfillment, but each time he came up empty. He met a woman at a funeral that held the answer.
“This woman walked in into the church and caught out the corner of my eye. I looked over out of the corner of my eye, and I really forgot what was happening at the front of the building,” he says, laughing.
From the start, there was something different about Juanita. She was a Christian but naïve about Rudy’s work. They began dating.
Juanita says, “I thought of it as, this was a family business. I think I was naïve about the kinds of activities that actually went on there. I look back now, and I realize my having been naïve was very much a gift. Because it gave me an opportunity to really see his heart and not pay attention to all this stuff going on around him. I really think that was kind of a God-setup.”
Rudy and Juanita fell in love and married. She wanted to have a godly family and took Rudy to church.
“The preacher in this particular church reached out to me,” Rudy says. “That was profound, so I started showing up to this church every week. After church, I’d go back to my business. I did that for five years.”
Juanita spent those years praying for her husband. “I just prayed, ‘God, allow Your divine love to be manifested in his life. Allow Your will to be done in his life,’” she recalls.
Rudy says, “One thing Juanita did was love me unconditionally. I watched her life and her faith, and I really said, ‘You know, she’s got something that I really would like to have.’”
Rudy joined a men’s Bible study group. He searched for truth in the Scriptures and finally found what he’d been looking for.
“I had cash, but there was a hole in my spirit, in my being, that I couldn’t fill up with money or stuff. I knew something was missing, but I didn’t know what. I never figured it to be God that was missing. By the end of that year, I said yes to Jesus. That’s when it really began. I began to develop a conscience.”
Rudy knew things at work had to change.
“That first year as a Christian, I’m still in the business. Imagine that! That’s not cool. I’m a Christian. I have this love in my heart, but people are still getting hurt everyday in this place that I make money. So I stopped taking the money first. I thought, ‘Maybe if I just don’t take the money, I could still run the business.’ But during that year, I said, ‘I can’t even do this,’ so I tell my pops. He really thought I was losing my mind. I really had… I lost my mind to Christ.”
Juanita says, “When you pray God’s Word for someone you love and you see God manifest that word in their life, it is incredible.”
Rudy and Juanita volunteered to pastor an inner city church in Houston, Texas, that had just nine members. Today, their congregation at St. John's United Methodist Church has exploded to 9,000. Every day Rudy and Juanita make it their mission to embrace broken, hurting people with God’s unconditional love.
“The way we feel God is through love,” he says. “I wasn’t a bad guy, but I didn’t do good things. In spite of that, Jesus said, ‘Hey, you can be a part of My crowd.’ That’s really why I’m so committed to this faith today, because of the unconditional love God showed me.”
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