Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Last week, Robanne and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. It was great! I surprised her by renting a beach house in southern California, right on the sand, and flying in our son, R.W., who lives in Wheaton, Illinois. We just spent the week together as a family. We didn’t do much – just played games, watched TV, walked on the beach – but what I really enjoyed about the week was something intangible. It was the experience of family.

In my family Dad is always the brunt of jokes. Every wrong statement or every funny experience or miscommunication somehow becomes a laughing matter. I like the fact that my family jokes about me and teases me. I also like that we show love through physical affection. Every now and then during the week, we all just stood up and had a great big family hug.

I find love in my family. I find acceptance. I find a place of sanctuary.

What a marvelous picture of what God wants for our ministry and for our lives – a place where accounts are held short, where love takes place, and moreover, where I feel that I can just be me. My encouragement to our mission family is that you take your family seriously. I was talking to someone this week who runs a camp, and she described herself as a “camp widow.” Her husband is always away on camp business.

If your ministry is in the way of your being a family, I would encourage you to reevaluate your priorities. Family ought to be a place where you experience connection. It is my prayer that our families and our mission family will be that.



  1. This is dave Carroll from Montana. I like what you say here ridge...I know for me when we started out in full-time rural ministry here in 2001 I was going so much to "start doing" ministry that I sometimes left my family behind. I have made some corrections in that matter over the past 2 years and still have a ways to go. It is a challenge trying to develop a "family community" in the rural, I can do it my way mentality of Montana. even more so when my "family" does not have a sense of community. glad you are with us...dave & lisa carroll

  2. Hey Ridge I appreciate you comments on making family a priority. When we started in FT ministry in 2001 I was so gung-ho to get this new field going my family suffered for it. I suffered for it. It took a few years for that reality to set in, mayber 6 or so. I have made changes in my priorities, and still am making changes. I need my wife to know she is number 1 on my list of things to do (after Jesus of course!)...for a type A guy like me that is a challenge. Same goes for my kids. With all the disorder and confusion in the rural families of Montana, i need to make sure mine is "good to go" if I am going to be used by the Lord to help others...glad you are on the AMF team!

  3. Ridge,
    Appreciating the Biblical continuity and direction these blogs are setting for us as AMF missionaries.
    I believe that as missionaries, sometimes we need to know its okay to focus on rest, being and family; not from scripture, but from those put in authority over us.

    My observations is that while we may hold these Biblical convictions and want to apply them,we can be guilty of ignoring them for a variety of reasons; we work alongside of boards, church workers and constituents on our fields that do not hold or understand them or might even have 'work' as an idol in our lives.
    This can create a culture of false expectations, resentment and bitterness if allowed to take root.

    Developing and cultivating a culture that promotes these ideas as Biblical and seeks to place and support missionaries on fields where that is clearly understood as a goal of AMF would have a profound impact.

  4. Congratulations on your anniversary. What a great thing to celebrate! I love the gift you gave your wife in bringing the family together. I believe that an individual's character begins development in the family and the tone of the family begins with the marriage and the marriage's strength starts with the individuals. What a cycle! Praise God for what he's done in your life, in your marriage and in your family.


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