Izzy Rupp: God’s Design

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Izzy Rupp: God’s Design

Izzy Rupp: God’s Design
Sarah CrossPost author The Journey

I remember taking money out of my mom’s purse so we could buy food to eat.”

At 10 years old, Izzy Rupp ’25 and her twin sister, Zoey, learned to rely on each other. Together, they would get up, ready, and off to school without any prompting.

Their father, Eric Rice, had died unexpectedly just before the twins’ seventh birthday and although the family had always relied on government assistance, they were now in dire straits. Eric had led the family and provided financial support—his love for his girls was obvious despite certain lifestyle choices.

The twins turned to their only source of hope: their mom. Wendy Keech loved her girls, but with mental and physical health issues, and an addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs, she was trapped and isolated. Wendy knew her girls needed better than what she could give them.

Meeting Jesus

In fifth grade, Child Protective Services placed the twins in their grandparents’ home to finish the school year. The next year was spent in Schoolcraft, Michigan to stay with an aunt and uncle before eventually landing in Marcellus, Michigan to be with their Aunt Ginna and Uncle Jack.

This was where 12-year-old Izzy first heard the gospel.

“I just remember being so intrigued. Because, growing up with our parents, I never really knew what trustworthy people were like,” Izzy Rupp said on the Grace “Listen Up Campus” podcast.

Izzy and Zoey were asked to help with childcare at a church event where the gospel would be shared by missionary speakers.

“I was like, man, this Jesus guy claims to be trustworthy and that He’ll never leave you and never fail you,” Izzy said on the podcast. “That’s something I had never experienced in either of my parents or really in anybody.”

When Aunt Ginna heard the news of the twins’ acceptance of Christ, she could do nothing but cry for joy. The twins had been living in their home for only six weeks.


With a stable home and a newfound faith in Jesus, Izzy’s life began to settle. But their mother still wanted to be in their lives.

“She always talked about getting us back. And once Zoey and I realized what better life was like, we didn’t want to go back with her,” Izzy says.

News of their mother’s death hit them hard, but it also brought a wave of relief. They knew they were in their forever home.

So, at 12 years old they asked to be legally adopted and two years later, Aunt Ginna and Uncle Jack became Mom and Dad.

Finding Grace

Then came high school. Izzy’s years at Howardsville Christian School led her to a deeper understanding of the Bible and relationships. She spent time with friends, playing sports, and leading Bible studies with Zoey.

And, as graduation approached, she knew she wanted to attend a college that would continue to reflect the small community and atmosphere at Howardsville.

After a Google search, she found Grace Christian University in Grand Rapids and started her freshman year in 2021.

In 2025, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Education for English and TESOL through Grace’s partnership with Cornerstone University while also earning a Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies from Grace through the Bible/Theology coursework load.

Izzy, now a junior, has worked on campus at Bultema Memorial Library for a year and a half and she has connected with Grace’s librarian, Erinn Huebner, who also encourages her as a leader to her peers. Working at the library gives Izzy a unique opportunity to serve other students and see how the library’s services impact academic success.

Although Izzy is planning to use her degree to teach in a Christian school with the possibility to move into education administration, her experience at Bultema has given her an interest in working in libraries in the future.

Grace’s community has allowed Izzy to thrive in work and in her academics. She explains that two classes specifically have impacted her understanding and practice of the Bible.

“Bible Study Methods and Application gave me some incredible tools to be able to interpret and understand the Bible, not only for deeper theological study, but also to be able to know God’s Word in day-to-day life,” Izzy says. “Theology of Spiritual Formation has helped me to understand how to become closer to God through spiritual disciplines.”

Grace has offered Izzy a biblical basis and a welcoming community as a solid foundation for her future.

“From GCU, I have learned how to love people as Jesus does and have compassion for all people,” Izzy says.

 Izzy & Zoey with parents Aunt Ginna & Uncle Jack

Izzy & Zoey with parents Aunt Ginna & Uncle Jack


All Things for Good

Looking back, Izzy can see God’s hand throughout her story. Generations before her had dealt with drug addiction, alcoholism, broken families, and difficult situations—and Izzy had to deal with it too.

But because of Jesus and the impact of Aunt Ginna and Uncle Jack, Izzy broke the pattern and started a new one—one that knows God and makes Him known.

Her childhood circumstances didn’t determine her future, God did.

“Even the horrible parts of my story lead to the moment of my salvation,” Izzy says. “My story is God using all things for His good. And I’m grateful.”


Read more stories like this in The Journey Magazine | Spring 2024 >


Sarah Cross ’24 is a student in the communication program and a freelance writer and editor.

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