Catching Up With… Andrew Ritchie

Filed in Successful Author Spotlight by on June 10, 2014 0 Comments

Welcome to our second installment of “Catching Up With…Xulon Press’ new quarterly series featuring interviews with select authors previously showcased in our “Successful Author Spotlight” series. The purpose of this new series is to revisit some of our authors and share what they have been doing since we last interviewed them. It is our prayer that by featuring their journey, it will provide both inspiration and encouragement to our readers through their examples. Whether it’s a new book they’ve published or a new opportunity that they have been afforded in ministry, we hope that you will enjoy each installment of Xulon Press’ new series “Catching Up With…

Xulon Press Author Andrew RitchieAndrew Ritchie was first featured in our “Spotlight” in May 2013.  I was inspired by Andrew’s story of determination and resolve as he woke up one day, hungry for God, and he followed the path he was led to follow, leading to his calling to be a missionary to Scotland. Andrew’s book “Hardened Heart: The Greed of Manwww.scottishchristianministries.com, discusses how the heart of man has become hardened to the needs of others and self serving in its own desires and wants. Andrew questions what made our hearts so hardened and how we can turn our hearts back to God and seek His will for our lives. Andrew’s story is inspirational because it shows how one man was told a plan and staggered not at the promise, and it was imputed to him for righteousness!

A little background is necessary to fully understand the journey Andrew has taken in the last five years of his life.

Andrew’s journey started five years ago, when he was diagnosed with glaucoma and had to quit his job as a cross country truck driver. Andrew hails from Buhl, Idaho– a small town with a big heart. He shares the path to his conversion from a man with hardened heart to a man after God’s own heart. “Five years ago, I was diagnosed with glaucoma. I was a long term truck driver. I gave up my driver’s license. I went home and cursed God, but then and I stopped and asked myself why was I cursing God? I felt in my heart that God kept saying “Don’t worry– I’ve got this, trust me!” Three years ago, at my eye exam– My doctor started scratching his head. He said “I don’t understand this— it’s gone! The glaucoma is gone!”—doctor didn’t understand because… it’s incurable. When I got home, I dropped to my knees. I cried out to God with glory and thanksgiving. It turned my life around. That healing happened exactly one week after I gave my heart and soul to the Lord. I had been going to church with my wife, reading in the book of Matthew how “many are called but few are chosen!” It shot straight to my heart—struck me hard—in my heart. I accepted Christ and am so humbled that He is using me in such a mighty way. It’s amazing. A year ago, I wasn’t in school, but now I am going to college for my Christian ministry so next year I can start a church in Scotland. I hope to someday move my family to Scotland.”

That was what Andrew told us a short 12 months ago… look what God can do with a willing heart in just one year since Andrew was invited by a pastor in Scotland to join him at his church as a fulltime minister!

But first, Andrew had to raise the funds to pay off all of his debts in America and move to Scotland debt free.

No easy task, but Andrew was undaunted. He knew “with God all things are possible!

As I caught up with Andrew, he was bursting with enthusiasm and excitement over the events of the past year. Andrew shared with me his journey. “Wow! so much has happened in six months for my wife J’Amie, our daughter Bethany and me. I think the biggest thing that happened is the change that God has done in me. There is something that I shared with our congregation in Buhl, Idaho a few weeks back that I need to share with you. When we started fundraising, it was fantastic! It started in a fury: car washes, bake sales, a benefit dinner, fundraising at a local restaurant. Then the wind went out of the sails, and we hit a wall! We came off of that wall bloody and broken. We had made it about the fundraising and not about the mission; wow! was that ever a humbling experience. We regrouped and refocused our hearts on ministry and…surprisingly, we received an anonymous donation in November 2013, which completely covered our travel expenses! And then we found out that the pastor in Motherwell, Scotland has a two bedroom apartment for us to use in Motherwell, which is only about 10 minutes from the church and the rent is minimal—another answered prayer!”

Andrew continued with more proof that God was paving the path to get his family to Scotland.

“We called to book our first week’s living arrangements in a hotel in Motherwell. They were offering a special that week only—buy 2 nights, get 1 free… so we bought 4 nights and got 2 nights free! What a blessing! The room was $100 a night. We rented for 6 nights.  Total costs for our entire 6 night stay totaled $296! We still can’t do the math on that!”

Andrew was in high gear, sharing the goodness of the Lord when he said “by the way, did I tell you about the going away concert the city threw for us? On March 21st, a local disc jockey is organizing this for us. He does the morning show on the Christian radio station. He interviewed me on air about my “Hardened Heart” book. We became friends, and he asked if the church was doing anything for our send off. We didn’t need to be recognized. But DJ Robert Forbes, “Robert on the Radio” our local Christian radio station 88.1 called “The Bridge” set it all up and gave us free advertising on the radio. He is also a musician, so he put on the concert. He put it on our Community Calendar, and he invited me to come on air the week before to discuss the concert and the trip. It raised the remainder of the money needed! We left Idaho debt free, with our living expenses paid for as we moved to Scotland!”

I asked Andrew, “What new opportunities have you been given since we last spoke?” Andrew shared “I had the opportunity to teach at Calvary Chapel in Hagerman, Idaho, about 15 miles from where we live. I preached on Luke 5:14- the story of the lost sheep. They gave me 45 minutes, but I took an hour and 15 minutes. After the service, a woman came up in tears. She kept asking me “how did you know? I just told the pastor this morning. How did you know?” I had talked about my glaucoma and being healed in my sermon, and her pastor told me afterward that she was just diagnosed with it. She was amazed that I knew about it—but I didn’t! God knew—but I didn’t! Then there was this man with Fibromyalgia —the man said that I probably wouldn’t know what that was… I said that I did know—and I shared with him my healing. It was amazing how God used my testimony to help others!”

Andrew continued sharing the events leading up to his flight to Scotland.

“Pat Kenny, a regional pastor for Shepherd’s Staff, the organization I work with, is coming in for our last weekend, going to our benefit concert sponsored by “Robert on the Radio” and The Bridge. He will also be in service to anoint me and send me off on Sunday morning. Pat also knows my Idaho pastor Jackie Roberts, way before he was a pastor. And I just found out that I will be ordained before I leave for Scotland. That’s why Pat Kinney is coming. To witness my ordination. Pastor Jackie will be ordaining me that last Sunday. So excited about all that God has been doing—in the last year!”

On a note of pure parenting, Andrew shared how his 16 year old daughter Bethany is dealing with moving to Scotland. He said “Our 16 yr old is excited about all of this—she has Facebook, so she will keep in contact with her old friends—she is so excited and so supportive. When we told her- “you have 2 suitcases, 50 pounds each—that’s all you can take” we expected her to react but, she said “okay” and she got rid of everything—sold it in yard sales or gave it away. She is just so excited and willing to do whatever is needed!”

Andrew continued “Scottish missionary John Knox stated in the 15th century that he wanted Scotland to be the country that turned the youth back to the Lord! I believe that we will be instrumental in seeing this happen. I don’t want to go to heaven if there’s not a Scottish section. I want to give Him Scotland. I want to bring Scotland to the Lord. I saw this video by Eric Ludy, who is an author as well, his book “Wrestling Prayer—A Passionate Communion with God” revolutionized my prayer life. I recommend to everybody. It’s an amazing read. Turned my prayer closet upside down. Eric talks about a Hebrew saying “kasak amotz” – be strong with courage because God’s army locks shields! That has really ministered to me!”

I asked Andrew “What is on the horizon for the next year?” He responded “Talking to David Simpson, one of the pastors I will be working with in Motherwell, Scotland. A lot of ministries that he wants me to be involved with: screenplays, documentaries, plays. God has so much work for me. You haven’t heard from me yet. He has so much in store for me, even if it’s just to come into His House and clean His toilets. It’s just such an honor to just be in His sanctuary. I learned this humility from pastor Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel, from California. He would clean the bathrooms before church on Sunday mornings before he preached. Nothing was beneath him—just the joy of living for the lord and doing His work. And that’s exactly how I feel!”

When I asked Andrew “How has God blessed you in a way you never expected?” he was bursting with excitement as he shared “Something I’ve been hearing a lot about at church from many people. God has revealed that our family going to be missionaries is just part of the plan. God has something major for us in Scotland. Jackie, our local pastor, he said that’s a small part of it- God revealed that I will walk in the footsteps of John Knox. I am suspecting that God is going to use us in a big way by the way He has been training me lately. My new scripture is Romans 9:3 – “would u give up your salvation to save Scotland?” God said this to me…and I said to God, in the sanctuary, And I quickly responded “yes I would.”

Attempting to explore his future endeavors on his journey, I asked “Where do you see your next adventure taking you once you get to Scotland?” He explained “Once in Scotland, there will be so much going on. There is a church plant in my future. There is a church, Port Gordon Methodist church, my grandmother was a big part of the congregation, I was christened there, my brother and sister were also, and it is empty right now. I am asking God to use me to bring people back and open that church again. I can purchase the church for $150,000, equivalent to about 90 pounds. I am believing God for the funds!”

As we drew to a close with Andrew and his fantastic journey from Idaho to Scotland, I inquired “If you could share one message with our viewers about the Lord, what would you share?” He laughed and stated “It’s a Newsboys quote. One of the biggest hits, which is also the theme for the Men’s Advance ministry that I have been a part of—simply states “living with abandon”. It means so much to me is so powerful for me. At everything we do and say, every way we look it is to praise and glorify the God of all creation. I want to have the heart of David. In my worship and in my life—just to be in His presence and do His will for my life—living with abandon!”

MAY 2014 UPDATE:

Andrew and his wife and daughter arrived safely in Scotland on March 24th, 2014, and they hit the ground running. He has been teaching in his new church under Pastor David Simpson, in Motherwell, Scotland. He also has started the necessary papers to purchase the empty church in Port Gordon where his grandmother attended, and he recently completed his education and graduated! He is actively looking for all that God has in store for him now that he is exactly where God wanted him to be!

So many people talk about what they would do for God IF they had the opportunity presented to them, but Missionary Andrew Ritchie lives by example what God can do IF you quit waiting for the opportunity and just let HIM open the door!

Just “Catching Up with Andrew Ritchie, Missionary to Scotland!”

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About the Author ()

Alan P. Scaglione is a writer who reflects on the simple contradictions and complexities to living this ”gift from God” called life. He believes that Life is a journey that, with compassion, a little levity and perspective, we help each other get through. His greatest compliment was being told “you draw pictures with your words!” He has devoted his life to “drawing”…in his poetry, his songs, his weekly “Reflections of Life” blog entries, his monthly SAS articles, his short stories and now, his novels! Alan is an everyday guy who refuses to let circumstances dictate his view to life; he lives an attitude of gratitude and spreads his positive outlook everywhere he goes. His BEST day is a day shared making a memory that will last a lifetime! Please check out Alan’s books “One Unexpected Event – How Would Your Life Change?” and its sequel “One Unexpected Event – Aftermath!” in the Xulon Press bookstore.

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