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Rhonda Harmless Tipton

Retired Missionary to Honduras
"To Help Equip"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, May 2015

At a revival meeting during the fall of her senior year of high school, Rhonda Harmless felt God calling her to commit to follow Him and, shortly thereafter, the call to full-time ministry. She attended Circleville Bible College (now Ohio Christian University), where she met Kent. Before getting married, Rhonda served as a volunteer at Southwest Indian School on WGM’s American Indian Field in Arizona.

She graduated from CBC with a Bachelor of Theology degree and was ordained soon thereafter. Kent and Rhonda became missionaries with Churches of Christ in Christian Union and served in Laredo, Texas, for 15 years. They relocated in the Circleville, Ohio, area to help their daughter through high school and college. With the plan of returning to the mission field in some way in the future, Kent and Rhonda pursued further training—Kent in auto mechanics and Rhonda in biblical counseling.

Through their church, Kent began going on work teams to Escuela El Sembrador, a school for underprivileged boys in Honduras. WGM missionary Terry Hawk approached him about joining the team at the school, and in 2004, Rhonda and Kent became career missionaries with WGM in Honduras.

Rhonda taught in the Bible institute, assisted with the student sponsorship program, worked in women’s ministries, and served as field secretary. Kent was involved in maintaining the buildings, working at the hydroelectric plant, teaching mechanics and small engine repair, and mentoring students. Rhonda and Kent were dearly loved by students and staff alike.

For Rhonda, teaching at the Bible institute was very fulfilling and humbling. “Whether spending time in the classroom, in our home, around campus, at retreats, or in ministry together, I enjoyed the challenge to help equip those young men and women as pastors and leaders for the national church, so they could in turn minister to their fellow Hondurans or in other countries,” she shared.

“Kent and Rhonda’s love for the Lord and love for each other was a real testimony to those around them, especially the students at El Sembrador,” said Terry. “Kent’s mechanical gifts and Rhonda’s teaching abilities were a real blessing to El Sembrador. They mentored many of the students and staff and encouraged them in their walks with the Lord.”

On February 4, 2013, Kent passed away unexpectedly in Honduras. They had been married for nearly 35 years. Kent and Rhonda have one adult daughter, Teresa, and one much-adored granddaughter, Sydney. Rhonda’s favorite thing to do is spend time with Sydney, telling her stories about her grandpa. Rhonda retired in 2013 after 10 years of service with WGM. She has since remarried, marrying Jim Tipton. They live near Rhonda's daughter in Circleville, Ohio, and she serves on the staff of her home church, Crossroads CCCU in Circleville, as finance officer. 

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