This week, we get to hear from Katie, our Creative Arts Director, as she shares a story of impact from session 5.
“This week at the Ranch, all of the students were between the ages of 13 to 18. There was one student in particular that I saw so much of the light of Jesus in, despite her circumstances, from the moment I met her on Monday.
Each Monday during registration, I meet every girl and write their name on their name tag for the week. One young woman, Mikayla, immediately made me smile! I could see the joy of the Lord in her even in our short initial interaction.
I observed her leadership and joy from afar until Wednesday when we had Mikayla in our creative arts rotation. The art project that day was about setting goals and then turning your goals towards Jesus. After several of the girls on her team shared their art, Mikayla spoke up. She shared that she is secretly battling with depression and struggling to stay focused on the good things in life. She shared her goal to shine through anything that comes her way, and to be more open with her feelings. My co-leader and I were able to tell her that simply recognizing those feelings and sharing them with her group means that she is already on her way to winning that fight and that we were proud of her for sharing and being vulnerable.
Later that evening after worship and our guest speaker, Mikayla and I spoke again. She shared with me that she was really impacted during worship and that sparked a long conversation about her depression, the history of her stepping in to parent her 9 siblings, her history with suicidal ideation, and her journey with God. We were able to talk about her home life, her church life, her ways of coping with depression, and the things that helps her work through it.
She told me and a few of my coworkers this about the Ranch, “When I first got here I wasn’t sure what to think, and now I know that I want to come back and work here to help others feel how I have felt. I feel so much joy here and feel safe.”
The conversation we had that night ended with her deciding to face a fear and commit to her goal to “be more open” with her feelings and she asked me if she could share her story of depression and a poem she had written with the entire Ranch at the Talent Show on Thursday. She was the last act of the night and spoke straight into the heart of everyone in the room that night. She shared her story of overcoming homelessness, depression, and walking with Jesus through her battles. Mikayla was already achieving her goals. She was pushing herself to be vulnerable, creating a space where others could feel safe, and showing the light of God to others around her.”
Thank you, Katie, for sharing this story with us!
On another note, Darla, our Agriculture Director, has been making absolutely stellar zucchini bread that our students rave about. She was so kind to share the recipe with us!! Here it is…
Darla’s Zucchini Bread
3 eggs (beaten)
1 C vegetable oil
2 C sugar
2 C grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 C flour
Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 55-60 minutes.