Ryan received his Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, TX. He received his Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, also in Dallas. His thesis is entitled "Ma Manda Phonology". It was later published, both in print and for free online.
Ryan received a Doctorate degree in Linguistics from James Cook University in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. His dissertation is entitled "A Grammar of Ma Manda", which can also be downloaded for free online.
Finally, Ryan has a Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults (CELTA) from Cambridge University.
Ryan and his wife joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 2007, and a year later they moved to the country of Papua New Guinea—just north of Australia—as Bible Translators. They worked with the Ma Manda language group.
Over the following years, they took repeated trips to their small bamboo bush house in Saut Village. There they conducted linguistic research, learned the language, and developed a committee to oversee the translation program. Over the next few years, Ryan & Crystal had the pleasure of helping the Ma Manda people develop their own orthography so they could read and write their own language for the first time.
Ryan wrote two theses on the language, fully describing the sound system and grammar as a basis for future Bible Translation work. Ryan also served as a linguistics consultant, supporting other translators in their own research, and training Papua New Guineans in linguistics as they developed as Bible Translators themselves.
In 2016, the Pennington family left Wycliffe Bible Translators to embark on a new form of service. Ryan was eager to use his linguistic expertise in a new relational format, and Amarillo provided just the opportunity.
Ryan has been married to Crystal since 2006, and they have three children: Chloe (8), Caedmon (6), and Carter (2).
More than anything else, Ryan enjoys developing skills to enact real God-honoring change in the world. Currently, he is reacquainting himself with Spanish by reading children's books and teen novelas.
Ryan enjoys making his beautiful wife smile, and getting the kids laughing just as they were calmed down for sleep. He also enjoys spicy ethnic foods, roasting coffee, reading classic literature, long-distance running, mountain-biking, and backyard croquet.