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.


  • Your story is such an encouragement to me & my husband! We have been in full-time ministry for our entire marriage. Thank you for all that you & your family do for the Kingdom & for others who desire financial freedom!

  • Your story is truly encouraging and you and your family are an inspiration to me. My wife and I are in ministry together and we serve the local community through our non-profit Life Matters, Inc., a non profit social organization providing our community with practical skills for increased quality of living and self-reliance. God bless you and your family and the great work you do for His kingdom!

  • Melanie Rummel

    I’m delighted for you and your family to have this recognition, Ruth, although I know you’d never ask for it! I have witnessed your life for over 2 decades now and it has been, and is, one of real leadership in the truest sense, in Amway, in your family, and in your world.

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