Celebrating 50 Years

by Ken Ham on December 26, 2022
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Well, December 2022 is a special month. And December 30, 2022, is a special day. On December 30, 1972, Mally and I were married in Brisbane, Australia. So we are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this month.

Time sure flies. It seems like only yesterday we met and were married. But so much has happened during those 50 years. We have five children, of which four are married (one daughter still needs a husband, by the way), and they’ve given us 18 grandchildren. Oh—and one grandson is married with our first great-grandchild on the way.

As well as a family, God has brought into being what has grown enormously over the years—the ministry of Answers in Genesis, with the world’s two leading Christian themed attractions, now impacting tens of millions of people around the world each year. AiG is now the largest biblical apologetics organization in the world.

Now there are a few questions both Mally and I have been repeatedly asked in recent days: “Did you ever envisage a ministry like this when you first met?” The answer? “No.” Another: “Is the Creation Museum today what you had in mind when you first came up with the idea?” The answer? “No.” Another question: “Was building a life-size Ark always part of your plan?” The answer? “No.”

Mally replied to one person, sort of tongue in cheek, by saying, “If we knew what God had planned for us, we may have run in the opposite direction.” Maybe we would have been like Jonah if we had realized God was calling us to do something that seems impossible from a human perspective.

As Mally and I were talking about our 50th anniversary, she reminded me that not long after we were married, I told her I believed God was calling me to do something with preaching, maybe even going to Bible college. As we know, God had other plans.

So much has happened over these 50 years that we are working on a book about it all with our publisher. But that will take over a year to put together. However, I wanted to highlight just a few aspects of what God has done to bring the ministry to where it is today.

As we look back over the years, what has happened in our lives reminds us of a giant spiderweb. It’s such an intricate design but woven together as a complex structure of filaments in many different directions to form a marvelous pattern.

As we look back over the years, what has happened in our lives reminds us of a giant spiderweb. It’s such an intricate design but woven together as a complex structure of filaments in many different directions to form a marvelous pattern.

I was first burdened about a Creation Museum back in the late ’70s when, as a public school science teacher, I was taking my classes to secular museums that were all from an atheistic evolutionist perspective. “Why can’t we have a Creation Museum to teach them the truth?” I often wondered. Around 1980, one of the board members who helped us start the ministry that became Answers in Genesis in our home in Australia stood with me on a piece of property and prayed for a Creation Museum.

At the time, we really had no idea what that meant or how to build such a place. We just knew something was needed to counter the atheistic museums indoctrinating people day after day. We had no idea back then that God, through a series of complex circumstances, would bring us to America. And over the years and in miraculous ways, God brought all sorts of people together that one would not expect to be involved in building this ministry and attractions.

The Lord orchestrated circumstances to bring a schoolteacher from Australia to America, joined by a young man who studied history and worked in a Christian radio station (Mark Looy) and a retired Lieutenant Colonel (Mike Zovath), to start an apologetics organization that would build the world’s two leading Christian themed attractions. If a person were planning this, these three people would be the most unlikely to be involved in this project.

Through another series of complex events, God brought the three of us to Northern Kentucky to officially start Answers in Genesis.

And then God led us to meet Buddy Davis, a taxidermist who lived with his wife Kay in a log cabin they built in Ohio. Kay had started renting out dinosaur models that Buddy had sculpted to shopping centers. We found out God burdened Buddy and Kay about using their dinosaurs to counter the teaching of evolution. They wanted them to be used in a place like a museum from a creationist perspective. This was a key circumstance that God used to intensify the burden to build a Creation Museum.

Then through various “mountains” and “valleys,” God brought us to the point of starting to build a Creation Museum in March 2001. Even though we were raising money for this venture, we really did not know how we were going to build this facility and use it to teach people the truth about God’s Word beginning in Genesis.

Through another series of events, out of the blue, a man named Patrick Marsh (1944–2021) wrote to us to ask if he could come and use his talents to design the exhibits for the Creation Museum. Patrick had worked for Universal Studios and with theme parks around the world. He was in Japan at the time (Patrick and his wife were actually married at a Buddhist ceremony in Japan, but God used circumstances to save them out of this false religion and become on-fire Christians).

Patrick joined us in October 2001. I gave him the script I had written for the 7 C’s of History (a walk through the Bible from creation to consummation) and he designed this exhibit as the centerpiece of the Creation Museum. Because of Patrick, others with extraordinary talents came to join him. Patrick built a phenomenal design team that would be the key to building other exhibits for the Creation Museum and eventually for the Ark Encounter.

Now going back to 1984, while I was on a speaking tour in the USA, I met Dr. David Menton (1938–2021) in Kansas. He taught anatomy at the Washington University School of Medicine. When he retired, he moved to Kentucky to work with AiG and traveled with me across the nation, speaking in churches and conferences. Dave (as he was known at AiG) was loved by all. He was a gifted communicator. His most popular presentation was called Fearfully & Wonderfully Made. He presented stunning information about the development of a child in a mother’s womb. He often spoke about needing to have an exhibit based on this talk at the Creation Museum. Patrick worked with the design team to see this exhibit become a reality. In October 2022, we opened the upgraded and permanent Fearfully & Wonderfully Made exhibit at the Creation Museum, which is the most powerful pro-life exhibit in the world. This is a part of Dave and Patrick’s legacy. It’s amazing how God orchestrated all of this.

Patrick spent hours with the design team helping to develop master plans for both the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter attractions as he used his visionary ideas to look into what the future might hold for both of these attractions.

As part of the master plan for the Ark Encounter, Patrick worked on what he called a “walled city” that would also be the official entrance to the park. This would incorporate a permanent shuttle loading and unloading area to bring guests from the parking lot, as well as a welcome center. Our leadership and design team had already discussed the possibility of the next big attraction at the Ark Encounter being the Tower of Babel. However, before we can even consider adding that or anything else to the attraction, this shuttle loading and unloading area and welcome center are needed. For many important reasons, they’re the key to any further development.

Patrick was working on a model of the “walled city” when he became seriously ill and passed away last year. We actually carefully photographed and documented everything that was in his office as he left it and also have preserved the model he was building and all his notes and plans. One day we hope to reproduce his office as part of a series of exhibits about the history of the Creation Museum and Ark. There’s no doubt that God bringing Patrick alongside us took these attractions to levels we never even considered possible. Patrick always said he wanted the exhibits at these attractions to be world-class—better than what the Disney or Universal attractions could do. Patrick was a genius at design. He left a phenomenal legacy in the team he trained, and this team is intent on continuing Patrick’s vision and the level of quality he always insisted on. Just visit the new Fearfully & Wonderfully Made exhibit and you will know what this means!

Many times when I was speaking with Patrick, he would share his excitement about how the attractions were honoring God and presenting the gospel. He had a heart to see people saved as he and his wife were. He knew what it meant to have his life turned around for the Lord. Also, when I discussed how much certain exhibits would cost, he would always say something like this to me: “God will provide. Look how he has already provided. I know he will provide somehow.”

At the time of Patrick’s passing, the design team was working on what will be the world’s largest indoor model of the Jerusalem of Jesus’ day, as I outlined in last month’s letter. This will be used to teach people more about the life of Christ and the saving gospel. As I detailed last month, our designers have worked out how to modify Patrick’s original walled city plan to incorporate this Jerusalem model within it.

Not only will this honor Patrick for the legacy he has left us, but it will fulfill his burden to see the saving gospel presented to more people.

Not only will this honor Patrick for the legacy he has left us, but it will fulfill his burden to see the saving gospel presented to more people.

In a way, building this plan for the shuttle loading and unloading area, the Welcome Center, and housing for the Jerusalem model helps complete a major part of Patrick’s vision for the Ark Encounter. The design team Patrick built will then develop the future plans to extend his legacy.

This gives us even more reasons to make this our 2022 end-of-year project. As I shared with you last month, this is a $20 million project, and we’ve already been provided an $8.5 million matching gift commitment by a family foundation and another supporter.

That means every dollar donated to this project through the end of this year will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $8.5 million. Also, as I previously shared, there is a special book I want to send you as an incentive for our matching gift challenge this year.

I’m grateful for any gift that you can make toward this impactful project that honors God, honors his Son, honors Patrick for the legacy God enabled him to leave, and enables the Ark Encounter to proclaim the saving gospel in an even more powerful way.

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