We had 119 students on site this week along with leaders and 16 mission team members that graciously came to serve at The Ranch. Our reach was 24 communities throughout the state of Iowa with a focus on the Central Region. We highly value mission teams coming and serving at The Ranch. If your church or family/friend group wants to help make a difference this summer please reach out to Jeni Bailey: firstname.lastname@example.org
I Am With You Always
One of the touching stories from this week is a great testament to why we do what we do:
When we were putting girls to bed tonight, one of my girls called me over and asked if we could turn the light back on because she was scared of the dark.
I sang her a song we had learned about Jesus and asked if she remembered it. I then told her that Jesus was ALWAYS with her and that if she was ever scared she could always just say His name. We proceeded to prayed together and soon she was asleep faster than any of the other previous nights.
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you ALWAYS even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20
God Gives the Increase
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
We also had an incident at The Ranch this week where a youth was acting out and punching our staff and becoming violent. Our staff kept telling him amidst this turmoil that they loved him and that they were there for him. So many of the youth we work with need the love of God poured out to them. Although it is difficult at times and a challenge, we believe our mission is to spread the everlasting love of Jesus Christ to every child that attends The Ranch and our staff lives out that mission each and every day.
Sometimes the fruit of what we invest is instant, as in the story of the girl going to sleep with the reassurance of a Savior that loved her. Other times, we plant the seed and it takes a while to grow and develop into a mature plant. We plant the seed and we water the seed but ultimately the fruit of the harvest is all by the doing of God in His timing.
What an honor to serve youth and tell them about the One who gave it all for them!
Next week, we have a brief summer programming break for the Fourth of July Holiday and then our staff will experience a Spiritual Retreat during the weekend. This is an impactful time for summer staff to dive into The Word and receive teaching and fellowship to rejuvenate their souls before continuing summer programming.
Thank you to each and every one of you for keeping Wildwood Hills Ranch in your heart and in your prayers.
Below is a photo of all the youth (438 in total) that The Ranch has served so far this summer. Keep them in your prayers! Also, please view our video recaps on Vimeo of the first two weeks of summer programming!