So there I was, a few months ago, stopping by CCF, and I don’t remember why, but I was there near lunchtime, and saw my new friend Jairus Hodges, and somehow, a few minutes later, I was in his car with Ryan Ries and his buddy Daniel on our way to lunch. Ryan was in town to speak at CCF, do some stuff with Zeal, and I think they were doing an event in St. Pete as well. After lunch, Ryan gave me a copy of his book.
I had met Ryan a few months before at the Pastor’s Conference in Diamond Bar, California. He was friends with Chris Waldrop and we were introduced. I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t remember me, only because of the sheer scale of people that he meets on a regular basis.
I knew him because many years ago, I was at a Pastor’s Conference in Murrieta Hot Springs and Raul Ries, Ryan’s dad, introduced him. Ryan shared how he had been a prodigal for many years, and how the Lord got a hold of him after an overdose in a hotel room in Panama on a skate tour. It was a powerful story, and Ryan was introducing the new ministry he was a part of called “The Whosoevers.”
The original idea for “The Whosoevers” came from Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. It was born through a conversation in Las Vegas over dinner. Sonny invited his friend Brian “Head” Welch of Korn, and Ryan invited Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf and the four of them partnered together and have been sharing the gospel with a part of our culture that not many people have been effective in.
The book is Ryan’s story. What’s refreshing about it, is that it’s not heavy. It doesn’t mince the realities of a life with sin, but, there’s huge sections where Ryan is explaining from the New Living Translation of the Bible what was happening in his life both before Christ and then his journey as a Christian.
It’s very Southern California, and beyond that, lots of skateboard culture and Latin culture. I found the way he relates the Scriptural truths to not only be accurate and engaging but like I said earlier, “refreshing.” It’s a fresh voice, some new words, some fresh expressions, and the trustworthy truths are hopefully heard by a new group of people.
My teenage son read it and enjoyed it too. We would recommend it.
Ryan’s not the only long time prodigal that we have seen come to Christ through praying parents. And, not just come to Christ, but blaze a new trail into areas of our culture that desperately need to hear the good news of Jesus. If you’re a parent of a prodigal, you’ll be encouraged reading this book.