Lloyd Porter (Director of Mission Studies, Vose Campus, Morling College, Australia)
A hard-hitting and humble mission memoir that traces the spiritual journey of an extraordinary couple through the highs and lows of mission service around the globe, from lying unconscious after a bomb blast in Pakistan to impacting whole communities through radio broadcasting. Ascent, crest, perspective highlights the significance of resilience and steadfastness in a challenging world where life and projects don’t always turn out the way we want. This well-crafted memoir highlights the hardships and joys of life committed to service.
A must-read for mission students and those pondering decision-making skills, this story is beautifully constructed around the central theme of providence, drawing attention to the reality that God can use each stage of life whether failure, disappointment, or success, as preparation for the next chapter. An outstanding feature of this vibrant journey is the author’s heart-breaking vulnerability about his own struggles with depression and frustration. Ross gives hope to the ‘ordinary’ follower of Christ that a life anchored in scripture, anchored by companions and by perspective, can accomplish much for the kingdom.
Rt Rev Dr Peter Brain (Retired Bishop of Armidale, NSW, 2000–2012)
Never doubting in the dark what he had learned in the light, partly with the benefit of hindsight but primarily with the conviction that God can be trusted in all circumstances, Ross has given us a much-needed, down-to-earth affirmation of Romans 8:28’s ‘ . . . in all things God works for the good of those who love Him . . .’. It is an adventure of faith, told with the deft hand of a storyteller, and invites us to trace God’s hand. His honest reflections on the challenges he faced in his life in Australia and in a wide variety of other cultures will be a tonic for jaded believers and wondering seekers alike, as God’s trustworthiness is winsomely set before us.
Graham Mabury OAM Cit WA (pastor, presenter of Nightline radio program, 1981–2014)
An excellent piece of writing with perspectives from the top of the mountain with a weight of significance. It drips with a perspective that comes from having climbed the mountain but reflected with honesty and humility on the path taken. As my first producer of Nightline, the high standards Ross set and the ‘front of house’ training that involved, laid the foundations for decades of on-air [and off-air] ministry—AKA urban mission these days.
Michael Fischer (pastor, SIM missionary)
I first met Ross when I was suffering the predations of giardia in Pakistan. Ross’s cheery demeanour did nothing to help me recover as I lay sickly and pale upon his couch. These first impressions belied the fact that he has a wonderful gift of communication, an ability to bring people together under a common goal, and a way of coming up with new ideas and possibilities. Ross is down-to-earth, witty, insightful, and modest. This book is not a theological account of Providence, but it will show you what a life looks like as it unfolds, even if it means that you discover you have been designed as a bamboo camel!
John (JD) Donoghue (former radio broadcaster, and colleague)
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and memories can be pleasant, joyful, shameful, hurtful, flippant, deep, inspiring, or even remorseful. Occasionally recollections may not be as accurate because we leave out details we might have chosen to forget, or have buried deep for good reason, either to save our sanity, or to save others embarrassment or hurt.
However, Ross James shares his memories of a voyage through life in a way that is honest and vulnerable, caring and sensitive, inspired by a lengthy journey, which prompted him to revisit the past, and take us on a journey that threads its way along paths that will resonate with the reader.
His emerging views on geopolitical, cultural, spiritual, and social issues, have been artfully woven into the passages of his life and the new pathways that opened for him, as he learned about his own emotional awakening, his challenges and joys, his experience with depression and mental health, and the way Providence played a big part in the direction his life took. Whether it was sharing a meal of entrails in Kenya, writing his masters thesis on a wobbly picnic table while seated on a cardboard packing box, travelling across the globe as a missionary, lecturing postgraduate seminary students during a People Power Revolution, sheltering from rocket explosions the day after arriving in Pakistan, or his heart’s desire to communicate God’s love, this journey is full of surprising stories, funny moments, and poignant insights.
I hope you enjoy sharing this meander through his experiences, as much as I did.