Living in Two Worlds – Ruth Carlson
Ruth Carlson, Sapphire. “You see the world as a bigger place, and realize that not everyone lives like people do in the U.S.,” says IBO Ruth Carlson, a third-generation missionary.
Ruth is what’s known as a “TCK” – a third-culture kid. “I wasn’t a true American and I wasn’t a Nigerian; I was somewhere in between,” she says about her childhood in the bush. Growing up in Nigeria, she attended Hillcrest School, an American international school; her schooling there enabled her to bridge the gap between the two cultures and “kept me from being too weirded out about everything,” she laughs.
Fast forward …
After attending college in the U.S., Ruth taught in Nigeria for a few years before returning to Texas where she married her husband, Stu. Their lives were busy raising their two children (Caroline and Paul), growing their new AMWAY™ business, and traveling to Nigeria often to visit and assist Ruth’s mother in her work at the orphanage she had founded in 1992.
In 2002, she and Stu decided to return to Nigeria to provide their kids with the experience Ruth had loved.
The couple worked as missionaries at Hillcrest School, their kids enjoying the benefits of education in such an environment. The family helped out with the orphanage whenever they could. “Our AMWAY business really supported us; it was our biggest source of income,” recalls Ruth.
2010 culture shock
Stu and Ruth returned to the U.S. earlier this year, and are still undergoing a little culture shock. “The biggest difference I see is the level at which Americans rely on technology, living so much of our lives online rather than face to face. I feel there’s some danger of losing human contact. And that’s why we appreciate the AMWAY business. It’s still all about personal connections, about community. We picked up with our Amway friends as if we’d never been gone.”
Ruth is back teaching and Stu is working to raise awareness and funds for the orphanage – focusing on food, medicine, education, and U.S. adoptions.