We are so incredibly amazed and blessed by God’s faithfulness and your ongoing generosity at the Wild About the Child Shindig at the Stine Barn on May 5. Thank you to each and every one of you that came or donated in some way-your impact will help change lives and spread hope and healing to hundreds of children at risk right here in Iowa.
Because of your contributions, we will be able to provide scholarships to over 360 children. The night was a successful one—full of good food, speeches and a live and silent auction. We plan to have the event again in May of next year so stay tuned for updates as that date approaches.
Fund-A-Need: Human Trafficking and Abuse
One of the most heart warming components of the Shindig evening was during the Fund-A-Need (facilitated by program director, Kaitlin Lundeen) which focused on human trafficking this year. This part of the evening alone raised over $40,000. In the United States over the past 10 years there have been more than 40,000 reported cases, and in Iowa last year alone there were 74 reported cases of human trafficking.
At Wildwood, we have also experienced human trafficking’s negative impact personally through three girls who have been involved in our programming. Their story starts like this: three beautiful girls want to learn, laugh, and be a part of a family that loves them. They have high hopes for their future as they talk to friends and begin learning about the world as they sit in the classroom at school and as they explore their community, one of our Iowa neighborhoods. However, their father began to disrupt the hope and tear apart their trust. He started to abuse them physically and sexually and then it progressed to selling their bodies for sexual acts and pornography. No longer were they laughing or dreaming. They were just trying to survive and to make sense of it all. He financially gained from their pain, from their desperation, and they were left feeling confused, used and ashamed.
Over the years as the three girls have come to the Ranch we have watched them cry, we have listened to their stories, and we have told them that they are loved, cared for and valued. We have seen them experience justice, hope again and dream of their futures: to graduate from high school, to pursue jobs in things they love, to reach out when they need encouragement and know that it will be met with Christ’s love.
Summer Programming Launch
Wildwood Hills Ranch is busy year-round conducting weekend leadership retreats for our young leaders, hosting conference center corporate and group retreats, planning and facilitating fundraising events, equipping and training our staff, providing tours to donors and pursuing intensive networking and fundraising efforts. However, during summer we go from busy season to our busiest season.
This week is the first week of two weeks of staff training for our summer staff. We hire over 50 individuals to be a part of our summer staff team, and we serve an average of 150 children/youth per week during the seven-week summer programming window. We would greatly appreciate your ongoing prayer during this time as it is our highest time for financial expenses and our season of greatest quantity of children on site.
What Summer Looks Like
June 4 is our first day of summer programming when children/youth arrive at The Ranch. We need your continued prayers that God will move the hearts of the children who come to The Ranch this summer. Our goal is to create an environment of hope, safety and learning for them to be shown the unconditional love of God while allowing them to heal from a place of brokenness and despair.
What we do during summer programming is so important because we witness the cycles of drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual/physical abuse, neglect, hunger, depression and anxiety being broken and God transforming hearts. We play a part in filling the void through parenting the parentless, giving them hope, teaching them skills to be able to get a job and/or go to college, loving them, caring for them, nurturing them and we are continually praying for them.
Summer Programming Theme
Each one of us has a story. A story filled with memories, experiences, opportunities and future pages to be written. The current pages of our life may be filled with joy, laughter, thrill and adventure, but there may also be pain, brokenness, heartache and tears. Our story matters to God; He knows how it began, how it is now and how it will end.
The most important part of a story is the point of the story: the purpose for living it and telling it. There is good news for us because God always has a purpose. He has written the greatest story ever told, and the point of His story is love.
His love for us stretches higher than we can see, deeper than we can feel, and wider than we can ever know. He came for us, lived among us, died for us, and is with us still.
He invites us to experience a life with Him as He fills the pages of our life with His love and to trade our small story for His grand story. When we make Him the point of our story, then our story has grand purpose, and we get to be the illustration of His love to the world.
So, what’s your story?
This summer we will be focusing on the life of Christ within the greatest story ever told in the Bible. As we believe in Him, receive His love and choose to be the illustration to His story, we get to experience a life of purpose, freedom and joy. Watch and read The Story for more info.
- Creation: God created us in His image for relationship based in real love.
- The Fall: We chose to write our own story and reject His love. This caused separation from Him and broke our perfect relationship with Him.
- The Rescue: God loved us in the midst of our rebellion and sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from a place of brokenness so that we can experience His love again.
- The Restoration: Jesus’ death and resurrection gives us new life when we believe in Him, and this new life motivates us to share His love with others.
A special thank you to all of our Shindig Sponsors!
Special thanks to Walt & Judy Tomenga!
Scott & Amber Mikkelsen
Joe Yamen: Shelter Insurance
Silver Spur Sponsors
Brett & Aly Halley
The Rasmussen Group
Grefe Capital Management
Casey’s General Stores
Bronze Buckle Sponsors
Holmes & Murphy
The Siedenburg Group
Systems Management & Balancing
Syverson & Strege
West Des Moines Leadership Academy