Every wild adventure in professor Rick Clark’s life is a testament to his dedication to following God’s will and God’s faithfulness to guide him along the way.
Clark’s story began in Quito, Ecuador. His parents were missionaries and ran the Christian radio station started by his grandfather. Growing up among the Ecuadorian children cultivated in him a passion for the country’s people and culture as well as bringing about a native fluency in Spanish.
From as early as he can remember, the core of his family was anchored in a real faith in Christ.
“I can remember my grandpa praying, ‘God we’ve got this light bill that’s $362.14 and we can’t pay it because we’ve got no money in the mission account,’” he recalled. “And the next day there would be a check in the mail that was for $362.14.”
Clark firmly believes God is real and moving in everyday life.
After secondary school, Clark moved to the US to start college and avoid being drafted into the Ecuadorian army. In that time in his life, he was clear to let God have the control in finding his spouse and future career.
During an unemployment spell after his move to Chicago, he decided to attend a Canadian Bible conference with his grandfather. There he met his wife-to-be.
“The best thing I did was turn that over to God,” he said, and they have been married for 42 years.
Clark’s expectation had been to graduate with a degree in communications and return to the radio station as a missionary. His plan changed along the way when he decided to pursue a teaching certificate as a way to be more useful on the mission field.
In the midst of a tough inner city student teaching experience in Chicago, Clark discovered his God-given talent in the classroom.
After studying English and communications, Clark had imagined a career tied to those subjects.
However, upon finding out that Clark was fluent in Spanish, his first employer offered him a job that included teaching multiple Spanish classes. This led Clark into a full career as a Spanish teacher.
After 22 years of teaching at the secondary level, Clark was offered a position at NW as the assistant men’s basketball coach and Spanish professor. He never imagined himself becoming a professor, “It has been awesome for my teaching, and I have had to learn so much.” he said.
Since then, he has won NW’s Teaching Excellence Award twice.
“As I look back at my life, I just see God clearly pushing me and moving me,” Clark said. Now he is in his last year of teaching, and he is continuing to trust in God’s guiding plan. He and his wife hope God will lead them to work with and serve many missionaries in the years to come. They also have a passion for finding ways to support children in the foster care system.
From a childhood in Ecuador to a collegiate teaching position, Prof. Clark has obediently followed God’s plan for him. In all his endeavors, God has displayed constant faithfulness. Prof. Clark’s life is an absolute testament to God’s guiding hand.