After receiving so many comments on September's newsletter, I decided to share it on the blog. Enjoy =)
"I've always felt like I wasn't good enough…my mom left me and I felt unloved. But--when my adoptive parents had my baby brother, I realized how everyone loved him--just because he was a baby! So someone must have loved me too."
I watched the girl from a short distance as she brushed the horse's shiny brown coat until it was silky smooth.
"Jesus loves you." I said.
She smiled, but didn't look at me, "Funny, you're the second person to tell me that today!"
I paused then, praying for the right words to say. "Do you love your baby brother?" I asked.
"Yes! Very much!" Was the immediate reply.
"Would you ever give him up?" I pressed.
"Not for anything." She said the words firmly, with determination.
"Well God gave up His Son, Jesus, for us. He let Him die so that He could save us from our sins that separate us from Himself. He died…for you."
"And for everyone else…" My student pointed out, nodding.
"Yes…and no." I said quietly. "He would have done it all even if only to save you. He would have died just for you--or for me."
For a moment, the girl was quiet. She stroked the horses mane and her large dark eyes were careful not to make contact with mine.
"Do you really believe that?" She asked.
"With all my heart." My answer came quickly, and I found myself admitting, "Its hard sometimes for me to believe because I know I don't deserve that kind of love--"
"Oh yes you do!" My young friend objected immediately.
I smiled at her kind outburst but said firmly, "No. I don't. And that's what makes God's love so beautiful! The fact that we don't deserve it! He sent His Son to die purely out of love for us!"
And then, a soft, "Wow…"
What Jesus did for us? Is more than worthy of a "wow". Let's not forget, even when we know the story so well. =)
Thanks for reading!
Monday, September 7, 2015
What a blessed summer we have been having!
My husband's sister, Lydia, joined us the beginning of August when Ruth had to leave. She is adapting very well to all of her new duties here and though we are sad to see Ruth go, it is fun to get to work alongside my sister-in-law =). Ben and I both seem to lack int he ability to plan, let alone set up a schedule for an entire month! And for that reason, we are incredibly grateful for Lydia's skills in the office. Also the office has never looked so clean…!
Fall has begun and our junior volunteers have all returned to school. They continue to pop in on us occasionally however. Sometimes to offer their hard work after a half day at school, other times just to talk. Today one stopped by to tell us she had been accepted into the Christian College of her choice! (Good job, J!!)
We are eccstatic to see the friendships begun here while working alongside of eachother have grown into lasting relationships. We miss the work, the willing attitudes and big personalities our junior volunteers bring us. Keep coming by, everyone!
Inspite of summer's end, we continue to see many children at HIS Ranch. Please pray for us as we reach out to them and strive to show them the love of Jesus. We believe that God has brought each one of them here specifically, and we want to be His hands and feet. I have found that I often take God's love for granted--until I am explaining it to a child for the first time. They find the idea that Jesus died for the world, yet would have died for them alone, incredible. And it IS! Because we don't deserve that love.
Last but not least, a quick shout out to my husband…who brought me flowers for sitting in the office long enough to write this blog .. =)
Thanks for all your prayers and support. Hope y'all have a blessed day!
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I grew up in a large desert city where the only season I knew was HOT.
Floods and thunderstorms were no concern of mine. The plans I made were never interrupted by the weather, and "cold" was when someone left the refridgerator door open for too long.
So when this happened...
I was a little taken back! The fact that people still live where floods happen hadn't really occured to this desert girl.
But then something else happened:
People came! LOTS of people. Some of them I knew, some I didn't. But together we worked with one focus in mind: to hold back the flood. Growing up in a city where we barely knew our own neighbors and had never been in any real need of their companionship, this was new to me. I had never experienced a community pull together so QUICKLY and with such determination to accomplish their goal!
The Bible says in Galations 6:2 that we are to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ". I was impressed by the meaning this took on when 100+ people were acting it out.
On Monday a storm with class 1 hurricane winds blew through Taylor. It knocked down several trees and took out part of the fence.
Again I witnessed the community pulling together with a unified purpose. Trees were cut up and limbs were dragged away. Fence post holes were dug and new fence put up.
There is something precious about community.
It pulls us together.
What is interesting, is how quickly a sense of community is lost when there is no flood. No storm.
It is those 'catastrophes' that make us realize how we need one another.
Differences are thrown aside when work is at hand.
I wonder, if we would find a more consistant sense of community if we were more actively involved in bearing one another's burdens.
Even when there is no storm.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
We love our job!
We love seeing the beauty of God's creation around us, and encouraging others to see and enjoy it as well. We love the smile on a child's face as they climb on a horse for the first time. We love witnessing the change of hearts from hard or scared to soft and confident.
If you haven't yet made it out to the ranch this year, let me take a moment to introduce this year's staff.
We are SO happy to have Ruth Virkler back with us this year!
It is her cheerful voice you are most likely to hear over the phone when you call in, as her abilities in the office are beyond compare!
During the off season, Ruthie works for FBi Buildings Inc. and teaches piano in Indiana. We are grateful to her for making the trek out to Missouri so faithfully every year to join our team and would love to see her become a permanent resident of our state!
She assists in horse riding lessons, handles nearly all things in relation to the office, and encourages volunteers and other staff with her sweet and helpful personality.
Mr. & Mrs. Lindberg
Ben and I (Anneliese) married 2 1/2 years ago. We met and fell in love at HIS Ranch and God has placed it on our hearts to stay with the Ranch long term.
Together, we teach lessons, coordinate volunteers, and manage HIS Ranch on a day to day basis. I love getting to work with my husband during the Ranch season at a job that we each feel so obviously called to by our Lord.
During the off season, Ben builds pivots with Landmark Irrigation here in Taylor while I teach at a private Christian school in Palmyra.
Shannon & Susan Haerr
Shannon and Susan founded HIS Ranch in 2005.
Today they still play large roles behind the scenes for HIS Ranch, though God has also laid it on their hearts to reach out beyond themselves in other ways.
In 2013, Shannon gained a teaching certificate, desiring to reach out to and interact further with kids. Today he teaches Special Education and volunteers on the football program at the public schools in Palmyra.
Susan graduated this year with her Masters Degree in Counseling! She uses her gifts at the Chaddock School in Quincy.
Together, Shannon and Susan parent their three children.
We all look forward to seeing you at the Ranch this summer! Thank you for your support, your prayers and your encouragement. We are grateful to you!
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
We're back!! (yay!)
And already half way into our first month of the season! It's been busy, so here's some quick insight into what we've been up to!
There has not been an empty slot on our calendar this month. Early on, we enjoyed hosting the TLC Sutter Home. They brought out 3 of their severly handicapped residents. We were unable to ride, but we enjoyed seeing the change and reactions as they interacted with the horses!
We've also been enjoying lots of help from our junior volunteers! They seem to be growing larger in number every week. Its a full time job in itself to keep these eager, hard-working volunteers busy!
And of course! We have kids coming out for lessons! They come with smiles and giddiness that makes obeying rules like "no running" nearly impossible. Some of them come simply because they are curious about these large animals...
…others come to know what it feels like to have legs that can walk.
If a pictures says a thousand words,
then I've said plenty.
Have a blessed day, y'all!