Nik and Ruth, with 3 children, served for over 32 years obeying Christ’s command to share Jesus across the globe. After 7 years in Malawi & South Africa, they moved to Nairobi, Kenya to begin work among the Somali people (1991-1997). Since that time (1998-2013) they have journeyed globally among people whom, when they gave their lives to Jesus, faced increasing persecution for their faith.
The Ripkens and their teams served throughout the Horn of Africa within famine and war zones; resettling refugees, providing famine relief, and operating mobile medical clinics. Formerly Muslims, many Somali believers, suffered for their faith. Most were martyred. Near the end of the Ripken’s tenure among the Somalis, their 16-year-old son died of an asthma attack on Easter Sunday morning. He’s buried at the school from which the other Ripken children graduated.
One year later, the Holy Spirit led the Ripkens to begin a global pilgrimage to learn from believers in persecution how to recapture a biblical missiology of witness and house-church planting in the midst of persecution and martyrdom. Most of all, believers in persecution modeled for the Ripkens how to trust Jesus completely. Many of these lessons have been lost or forgotten by the church in the West.
Currently, the Ripkens have interviewed over 600 believers in persecution, exceeding 72 countries. Sitting at their feet, the Ripkens learned from the suffering church how to thrive amidst suffering, not merely survive. The Ripkens, using everything they’ve learned from believers in persecution are creating resources as gifts from the church to the church. To date, they have created articles, books, a music CD, a documentary, workshops, and other tools that allow the church in persecution to teach the church in the West about its biblical heritage of both crucifixion and resurrection. A teaching DVD is included in future plans. All these tools are designed to challenge believers to boldly follow Jesus, sharing their faith with others-no matter the cost.
Episode Talking Points
- Nik’s background story from Kentucky to the Kraft Cheese factory
- Nik: from seminary to Kenya
- Stories of ministry and life in Somalia
- Death of his 16-year-old son and how their local church sang over them
- “God is best known on the edge of lostness”
- Worship in difficulty and persecution
- Adjusting to the lack of intimacy in Western churches
- Joy in suffering
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