In any given week, countless opportunities exist to bring hope and healing to children at the Ranch. Mission teams offer a practical provision, allowing us to deepen our impact in the lives of our students. We are indebted to these teams from churches and non-profit organizations that give of their time, energy and hearts to be part of what God is doing at the Ranch. Here are a few stories from the River Valley Church mission team.
Differences made for eternity
“I was fortunate to come alongside eight 12-year-old girls. They couldn’t understand why our mission team would take a week of vacation from work and pay to spend the week with them at the Ranch. I said it was because we loved them and wanted to spend time with them. We told the girls that our love is just a tiny percentage of the love that God has for them. The team leaders were fantastic and great at handling difficult situations. One was an extremely talented storyteller and had the girls spellbound when she told the story of Esther from memory. It was exciting to see many of our girls raise their hands to accept Jesus Wednesday night. The team leader followed up by getting each girl a Bible who wanted one. I’ve never seen anyone dive into the Bible the way these girls did, searching out the stories of Esther and Ruth and becoming totally engrossed in their reading. Differences were made for eternity at Wildwood Hills Ranch last week and every week of the summer. It feels so good, so right to have just a tiny part in being the hands and feet of Jesus to these kids. –Rachel (below is a letter Rachel received from one of the girls)
A week full of love and healing
“I spent the week with a group of young ladies who were experiencing the same brokenness I did as a young child including sexual abuse. Also, my brokenness as an adult woman in a physically and mentally abusive marriage allowed me to connect and really know what these girls are going through. Through a relationship with Jesus, I was able to leave behind the scars and wounds from those circumstances and forgive those who hurt me, allowing me to begin a new and beautiful life in Christ. I shared my story with these girls and told them that no matter what, Jesus loves you, He will never leave you and God has great things for you—from brokenness, God makes beauty and life. I also shared that to begin to heal, you must forgive in all circumstances, as Christ made it possible for us all to be forgiven. This week at the Ranch was full of love and healing in the young girls and myself. Praise God for the work He does, for even in the darkest moments of our lives, He makes all things good.” –Sara
First-time conversation with God
“I had a chance to pray individually and in groups with each of the boys in our group. One boy asked me what prayer was. After providing examples and different categories of prayer to him, I had a chance to pray with him every night, with his prayers ranging from praying for his mom to the fish he had caught earlier that day. Another boy asked for prayer for his future wife and children. How many 9-year-olds think of prayers like that? Wow! God has something in store for that young man!” –Tom
Using every opportunity to speak truth
“I was so moved by sitting in on the yoga sessions led by the fitness director. He pointed out how God created us as body, soul and spirit and to take time each day to quiet ourselves and to focus on all of nature praising God. We did just that and while laying there, he spoke God’s truth of who they are in Christ. I believe it brought so much healing to those girls. They probably hear so many negative statements and don’t think about how God sees them. It was so beautiful how he taught them these things along with how to care for their bodies. I love how the Ranch used every opportunity to speak truth, to give opportunity to accept Christ, and to teach Godly principles with every activity. They invested great teaching in their leaders and they all did such an amazing job leading the students. I loved serving with our team and coming alongside their team this past week. I’d love to go back again!” –Faye
Feeling the nudge to come and create your own story? This relational ministry opportunity can begin with finding a few friends and contacting Genelle Trowbridge for more information.