By Erin Rodewald // August 30, 2016
(This article originally appeared at The Philos Project)
As midlife crises go, Nik Ripken’s was a whopper. After years of blood, sweat and toil, his life’s work lay in ruins. His enterprise had failed, he was forced to flee his home, and he buried his beloved son, all in the span of a few months. Not surprisingly, Ripken was left with hard questions – just not the questions one might expect.
Ripken is a missionary. He and his wife Ruth followed their hearts to Africa in the mid-1980s, serving first in Malawi and then in South Africa. In 1991, with a young family in tow, they traveled to Somaliland, a region in northwestern Somalia devastated by drought and civil war. In the face of total societal collapse, the Ripkens aimed to bring humanitarian relief to a desperate people, and in so doing, demonstrate the love of God to an un-churched people.