Steve and Judy Van Rooy spent 25 years serving as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators and also working for the International Linguistics Center (ILC) in Sudan, Kenya and Dallas. But their journey to missions didn’t begin there; both Steve and Judy grew up in missionary families. Steve spent his childhood in India, where his father oversaw a Bible ministry and his mother served as a nurse. Judy’s family served in Mexico. Her father, John Beekman, was a translation consultant and Wycliffe’s first translation coordinator.
Steve and Judy’s childhood missionary experiences left an impression on them. While in Mexico, Judy said that she “witnessed firsthand how people’s lives changed when they understood God’s Word in their … language.” This realization helped lay the groundwork for the Van Rooy’s time in the mission field.
After Steve and Judy were married, they became missionaries with Wycliffe. Their first assignment was in Sudan but it ended prematurely when their 2-year-old daughter Cammie became ill with a rare form of cancer. At the time, no child had ever survived that form of cancer — but Cammie did!
While the Van Rooy family navigated the first six years of Cammie’s long healing journey, Steve served as the personal assistant to the then-president of Wycliffe. When Cammie recovered, the Van Rooys returned to the mission field, this time in Kenya. During their time in Kenya, Steve and Judy encouraged individuals and local organizations to participate in Bible translation. After they returned from Africa, Steve became a fundraiser for ILC.
SHARING GOD’S WORD THROUGH GENEROSITY
When Steve and Judy left ILC, they transitioned into a property management and real estate investment business. Although the Van Rooys were no longer missionaries, their hearts were still invested in the work of Bible translation.
Today the Van Rooys continue to serve God through their generosity by partnering with Bible translation projects and the ministries of Wycliffe missionaries. They’re able to do this by making Wycliffe a grantee from their donor-advised fund (DAF).
WHAT IS A DONOR-ADVISED FUND (DAF)?
The Wycliffe donor-advised fund is a unique fund because it’s managed by the Wycliffe Foundation but operated by the donor. This is how it works: You make a financial gift to establish your fund and as you select the grantees, you contact your advisor to disperse the funds accordingly.
Starting a DAF is simple. After filling out a brief application and giving toward your fund, you’ll receive an immediate tax deduction! You then have the time and flexibility to prayerfully consider the grantees from your fund — like nonprofits, educational institutions or ministries.
As they entered this process, the Van Rooys connected with Michael Occhipinti, senior gift planning advisor for the Wycliffe Foundation. Steve described Michael as, “knowledgeable, responsive and a pleasure to deal with.” He also said that working with the Wycliffe Foundation was easy for the Van Rooys — after an initial call, Michael traveled to meet with them in person. He then shared with them about planned gifts and DAFs, but in the process, Michael became a friend of Steve and Judy. The couple appreciated that they never felt pressured about how or when to make grants from their donor-advised fund. They’ve enjoyed the freedom of being able to pray, plan and give as the Spirit leads.
The Van Rooys are now enjoying retired life. Cammie is healthy and has five adopted children. Her healing journey left an impression on her sisters, and they both serve in the medical field. Steve and Judy also have 12 grandchildren so leaving a legacy is important to them. Their donor-advised fund provides them a way to leave a God-honoring legacy while continuing to teach generational generosity to their children and grandchildren. One of the features of a DAF is that you can transfer ownership of it. This allows Steve and Judy to share the joy of generosity with their family and leave a legacy as God changes lives through Bible translation and other causes close to their hearts.