by Paige K. Slighter
Ryan Nielsen has recently joined our staff to play a dual role in Missions and Facilities!
If his name seems familiar and you’re not sure why, it’s because Ryan and his family served as Woodland Hills missionary partners for 15 years with Living Hope International in Puebla, Mexico. Over the years, we have offered several short-term mission trips to serve alongside the Nielsen family at the Esperanza Viva Youth Homes for abandoned and at-risk children. Ryan’s main role as Construction Coordinator involved overseeing the details of building and maintaining Esperanza Viva. He also received WH mission teams when they arrived and assigned them work projects onsite.
Ryan was drawn to the mission field even as a child. His parents led a small group in their home and would often have missionaries share their testimonies. Ryan would stay up past his bedtime just to hear their tales of challenge and adventure. He experienced his first mission trip as an adult in Costa Rica with his wife Molly. Since that time, they have served as missionaries for 20 years. Their children Isaiah, Josiah, Keziah, and Lydiah have joined them along the way.
In 2017, Ryan and Molly decided it was time for a change and they felt a great sense peace and release from their time in Mexico. Since making the big transition state-side, some staff transitions and resignations at Woodland created an opportunity for Ryan’s gifts and experience to be used on staff. His first-hand experience as a missionary, along with his time as a Construction Coordinator at Esperanza Viva have equipped him to help care for our building and care for our missionaries.
In his own words, Ryan loves to “help people and fix things,” so he’s excited about his new role. On the missions end, he looks forward to being an advocate and a sounding board for local and global missionaries WH helps support – what he likes to call “field staff.” As co-facilities director, he looks forward to helping take good care of the amazing building we share.
We are so happy to have Ryan on staff at WH. If you haven’t already, please give him and his family a warm welcome. Also, please continue to pray for their adjustment to life back in the U.S. Though returning home is a wonderful thing, reverse culture shock can be hard!