|Dr. Philip Ridenou|
Last Monday, I received the news that my friend and colleague, Dr. Philip Ridenour had died. Philip, an American living in Ghana for the past ten years (or so) has served the Lord faithfully, without recognition, in some of the most dangerous areas of the country. His death was unexpected and gives reason for questions.
Dr. Philip was a big man with a big heart. His infectious smile was always an encouragement to everyone who met him. Our projects in Ghana were always easier once we had met and visited with Philip.
As a gifted eye-doctor and sincere missionary Philip made the decision to leave the comforts of the USA and move to Ghana with the vision of helping blind children in the villages of the Northern Region. He had established a shelter compound for the children where he saw to it that each of them was cared for, educated, housed, fed, and loved. These children were the passion of Philip. In all my years of ministry I do not think I have ever met a person of more devotion and commitment.
Not only did Philip live in Ghana, but he lived in the traditional fashion of a normal Ghanaian. In other words, he lived in the village setting without running water or the other comforts most of us take for granted. When I would travel to Ghana, Philip would travel over 20 hours to meet us in Accra where we were bringing supplies to him. It was incredible to hear him relay the details of his travels just to meet us.
On one occasion Philip shared with us the details of the difficulty of the Gospel ministry in His area. He related to us the sad story of the dangerous opposition to the gospel in that area of the country. He told us the story of a young woman, who upon coming to Jesus, lost her life at the hands of religious extremists in a matter of days. It was a sober reminder that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is free, but it is not without cost. I trust you will remember to pray for missionaries around the globe as they share the gospel with many who’s lives are on the line.
The work of the ministry will go on, but we have certainly lost a friend and co-laborer in Christ. His death is a constant reminder that we are in a battle for the souls of people. His death, for the cause of Christ, will not make news, but it is certainly recorded in the books of God. Philip, I will miss you.