0018 – Richard Leakey

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Richard Leakey and his family live in Burtigny, Switzerland. He not only manages the YWAM base there, but he also travels to parts of Africa, helping create sustainable farming practices in communities.

How Our Stories Intersected

Richard and I met in Switzerland, when I had the privilege of teaching writers from all over the world. He’s penning a novel (fantasy), and I do hope to hold it in my hands someday! Richard is below.

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About Richard’s Story

He felt a calling to do sustainable farming for over twenty years, and now that dream is coming true. He is based in Switzerland with his family. Five years ago, his father (a vicar) was diagnosed with Alzheimers. This podcast is mostly about that difficult, but beautiful story.

In His Own Words

“We can change the generations to come.”

“I needed to have brokenness and humility to be able to go into a village as a learner.”

“The call was there, the gifts were there, but the character wasn’t.”

“Keep me holy, humble and hidden. Keep me honest.”

“We had five gradual years of goodbyes.”

“God is so present, and He so wants to walk with us.”

“I have an intimate friendship (with God), not a contact list of to do points.”

“God was still using my father (during the Alzheimer journey.)”

Restory Recap

  • Richard was raised in the UK in a Christian home. His father was a pastor in the Anglican church.
  • At 16, he got a calling in missions.
  • He got a degree in agriculture.
  • He and his wife Elaine joined YWAM.
  • They’ve been in Switzerland with YWAM for seventeen years.
  • He is now seeing a dream come alive in different parts of Africa, helping subsistence farmers.
  • Here is the ministry that helped his father with gardening & memory care: Steps to Senior Care.
  • Five years ago, his father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. He died last summer in his parent’s living room.

Scripture: Lamentations 3:19-33

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.

Here’s a shot from Richard’s sustainable farming work:

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As in all my episodes, I pray for you at the end. It’s my sincere hope that you’ll walk away from the Restory Show changed and challenged.

{Aside: If you have a friend whose family member affected by dementia or Alzheimers, feel free to pass this episode on.}

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The End

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  • I listen to your podcast on my work commute. This one. This one triggered an ugly-cry meltdown driving to work. I could relate so much to Richard’s story because my mom just passed away last month. She had Alzheimer’s, and there were so many similarities between her mental descent and Richard’s dad’s. Ultimately, Mom’s battle with the dementia from Alzheimer’s was cut short by COPD. She wasn’t in pain, she remained sweet and kind, and passed peacefully in her sleep. I have no doubt whatsoever, particularly given her core personality remained intact, that upon that last breath here on earth, she immediately went to be with Jesus.

    • Mary DeMuth

      What a lovely story. But I’m so sorry for your loss. Last month is so recent.