Interview with Mally Ham

Excerpt from Ken Ham’s 2020 book on parenting, Will They Stand?

by Avery Foley on May 9, 2021
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Author’s Note: I asked Avery Foley, a writer and speaker with Answers in Genesis, to interview my wife, Mally, on her perspective of the history of the AiG ministry and the Ham family.

“Neither of us would have envisaged that this is what the Lord was going to do, and if we’d known, we would have run a million miles.”

On December 30, 1972, a beautiful young woman named Mally said “I do” to a lanky university student, studiously working to become a teacher like his father. Mally worked, supporting her new husband as he finished his degree, before moving with him to the small country town of Dalby, Australia, for his first teaching appointment. There she imagined her life, settled in rural Australia, surrounded by a brood of children, her husband shaping young minds in the science class of the local high school.

That vision was not to be. God had other ideas for the young couple. While they were dating, Ken was given the little yellow book (pictured on page 53) that first excited him, awakening him to [the] issue of death before sin if the millions of years are true. Soon after, Ken heard about The Genesis Flood, and he found a copy in a local Christian bookstore. Ken was so excited, Mally figured she’d go along with her new husband’s interest, never imagining where it would lead.

Then, in 1975, at the Baptist church in Dalby, Ken first gave a presentation on creation, evolution, and the age of the earth. This talk was the genesis of what would become the ministry of Answers in Genesis.

People were hungry for more answers, so Ken approached Mally in 1977 about needing a bookshop. Mally agreed their home could become part bookshop.

In 1976, Ken and Mally both believed God was calling them from Dalby to the coastal city of Brisbane. There Ken continued teaching and gave his first creation seminar in 1977. Mally, home tending their young son, Nathan, missed the seminar. At this program, Ken displayed his collection of creation books and resources on a table at the back. People were hungry for more answers, so Ken approached Mally in 1977 about needing a bookshop. Mally agreed their home could become part bookshop.

Books soon took over the small house where Ken, Mally, Nathan, and new baby Renee lived. Boxes spilled down the hall and Renee moved to Nathan’s room so her bedroom could be used to store the growing collection. Much to Mally’s dismay, the collection of books soon attracted some very unwelcome visitors — cockroaches.

It was obvious they needed a new solution. Stepping out in faith, Ken and Mally obtained an additional loan on their house and converted their patio into a bookstore. Mally recalls that, at the time, they thought they had it all. Never could they have imagined that tiny bookstore was just the beginning.

By this time, Ken was traveling on weekends, packing the vehicle full of books Saturday morning, driving many hours, speaking Saturday night and Sunday morning, then driving back Sunday evening, to wake up Monday morning ready to teach his class. Mally recalls the first time Ken left for one of these trips, just weeks after Renee was born. She was terrified to be left alone and asked the wife of Ken’s fellow creation speaker to come and stay with her. They had a lovely time, but Mally quickly realized she couldn’t have someone come every time Ken left. Searching the Scriptures, Mally found comfort in God’s promises, particularly in the Psalms, and chose to trust that God would care for her and her young children.

In 1979, Ken and Mally began discussing the possibility of going full-time in creation ministry. Leaving a secure job of teaching was frightening, but they both realized Ken traveling all weekend was too much for him, and God was calling them to step out in faith. While driving in the car on the way home from visiting friends, Mally read from Matthew 6:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The decision was made. They were going full-time.

Mally says those first years were a blur. Ken was often gone speaking, including trips to America that would last several weeks at a time, the kids were little and kept her busy, and money was tight.

Mally says those first years were a blur. Ken was often gone speaking, including trips to America that would last several weeks at a time, the kids were little and kept her busy, and money was tight. Mally shares, “Being home alone was really hard, but you just do it one day at a time and do what you have to do.” And God was faithful. He provided for their needs, including using a member of their church who brought baskets of fruit and vegetables by each week. Mally knew, just as Ken knew, that this ministry was what God had called them to and, no matter the challenges and sacrifices, they were in this together.

Then Ken returned from a trip to America and told Mally, “We need to move to America. We need to get the message out in America.” At that time, America was the center of the Christian world, and if you wanted to be effective, you had to be there. Mally shares this was her biggest “Red Sea moment.” It was a huge step — leaving everything familiar, their family and friends — to travel across the world to the United States.

In just six months, they downsized everything they owned and prepared for the big move. As they packed and prepared, they both wondered, “Is this really what God wants us to do?” (See chapter five for the story of how God confirmed to both of them that this was truly where He was calling their family.)

The family of six (to become a family of seven in 1988) soon settled in San Diego, California. Surrounded by eucalyptus trees, bottle brush trees, and other Aussie plants, Mally was comforted each day with a reminder of her Australian homeland. But seven years (and one more baby) later, God called the Ham family to step out in faith once again — this time to move to northern Kentucky to start the ministry of Answers in Genesis.

For Mally, this move was even harder in some ways than the move from Australia had been. Kentucky, with its four seasons (including winter!) was very different, and many of the new friends they had made were back in California. But, again, God sustained them. As Mally shared the story of AiG from her perspective, with all the challenges they faced, she continually said, “You do what you have to do, and the Lord looks after you.”

Doing what the Lord called them to do wasn’t (and still isn’t) without sacrifice for Ken, Mally, and the five children. “For us as a family, Kenny being gone all the time and traveling all the time is a big sacrifice. Being away from our family in Australia, especially when we first moved and there were no cellphones and no computers, made it very hard to keep in contact with family. In those early days, it was really hard. It’s easier now than what it used to be.” But Mally has no regrets — this is what God called both Ken and Mally to, and they joyfully serve Him in the ministry He’s entrusted them with.

Answers in Genesis has always been a family ministry. Mally jokes that “I’m the real CEO because I tell him what to do and how to do it.” In the early days, Mally recalls the whole family sitting on the floor stuffing envelopes to mail out to supporters or traveling together to support Ken as he spoke. Mally even tried homeschooling on the road, but with little success — the kids were far more interested in what was going on outside the windows! Today, four of the five children and some of the grandchildren work for Answers in Genesis, and the whole family loves the ministry and champions the message.

After nearly 48 years of marriage, Mally looks back on their many years together and all that God has accomplished and thinks, “Wow. I am blown away with what the Lord has done. Kenny and I are still part of the ministry, and our kids are too, but we’re just little pieces of the ministry. This ministry is God’s ministry and He’s been faithful. He’s seen us through.”

Mally’s true loves are obvious after just a few minutes of conversation — she loves her husband (whom she describes as “a big softie who would do anything for me, and anything for the kids. If he could possibly do it, he would do it.”), her five children, her eighteen grandchildren, and, above all else, her Lord and His Word.

Mally’s true loves are obvious after just a few minutes of conversation — she loves her husband (whom she describes as “a big softie who would do anything for me, and anything for the kids. If he could possibly do it, he would do it.”), her five children, her eighteen grandchildren, and, above all else, her Lord and His Word.

Raising five children with a husband who was frequently gone had its challenges, and the whole family sacrificed for the AiG ministry to be what it is. But it had its positives as well. The Ham children grew up knowing many great theologians and scientists who loved God and believed His Word. They watched both their mother and father stand solidly on the Word of God, never wavering. They saw (and continue to see) God provide for their needs and bring them through many “Red Sea” events.

Mally believes their stand on God’s Word has impacted her children greatly and is a big reason why all five love and serve the Lord today. Mothers, she says, should realize that the “most important thing for a mom to focus on is allowing God’s Word to saturate every part of your kids’ thinking. That has to be first and foremost.”

Ken says another reason their children are who they are today is because of who Mally is — “She’s always been there for the kids, she’s totally selfless, always putting the needs of others before her own, she’s generous and would do anything to help anyone. Her constant devotion, stand on the Word, and counsel from Scripture have helped shape five hearts to love the Lord Jesus and continue passing the knowledge of the Lord along to the next generation.”

While having your husband recognized every time you go anywhere isn’t exactly normal, Mally says she doesn’t feel like she’s married to a famous Christian speaker. “The Lord has gifted him in a mighty way. I do not feel like the wife of a famous speaker who heads up this ministry. We’re just down-to-earth people from Sunnybank, Australia. That’s who we see ourselves as and that’s who we are.”

Mally has heard her husband speak countless times and she loves it (especially his “Creation vs. Evolution: Why it Matters” and “One Race, One Blood” talks and his “Dinosaurs for Kids” program with Buddy Davis). Afterward, Mally often stands quietly off to the side and listens to the testimonies of countless individuals and families as they shake Ken’s hand. Her favorite stories are from parents who say, “I heard your dinosaur talk when I was just a little kid, and it impacted me and now I’m raising my children on your materials.” It reminds her, “This is why we did it. This is why we sacrificed so much.”

But to hear the story of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter isn’t really to hear the story of the Ham family. It’s to hear the story of what God has done through humble servants who love Him and are willing to do what it takes to obey His call on their lives. After nearly five decades of marriage to a man some would call “controversial” for his stand on God’s Word, serving alongside him in a worldwide ministry that built a one-of-its-kind Creation Museum and a life-size Noah’s Ark, Mally says, “We have had an awesome ride together. It’s a crazy ride with being a part of this ministry and neither of us would have envisaged that this is what the Lord was going to do, and if we’d known, we would have run a million miles. We honestly couldn’t have done this on our own strength, without the Lord going ahead and opening doors and orchestrating things and giving us little glimpses.”


Master Books has graciously granted AiG permission to publish this chapter from Ken Ham’s 2020 parenting book, Will They Stand? online. To purchase a hardback or digital copy, please visit our online store.

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