By Katherine Teague
A chilly wind lightly drifted in from the west, but there was not a cloud in the sky. The beams of the rising sun warmed us as we stood huddled in a circle. Tightly embraced by peers on either side, I smiled inwardly and gave thanks to God for the opportunity to be a part of this moment. It was not just any day at the ranch, but one carved out with significant purpose and vast value—it was our annual Pray Day.
As we anticipate the opening of our Session Program each year, our staff spends much time preparing for and praying over the coming season. We firmly believe that Christ must be central to all that we do. Thus coming before His throne daily, pouring out our hearts in supplication and thanksgiving regarding our work at the ranch, is an honor our staff delights in. What a joy to invite Jesus into all that we do…
…and during that day intentionally set aside in late March of every year, that’s exactly what we do. Our staff unites and bows before our Heavenly Father, calling upon Him to lead us in every small and large facet of the ranch. We spend an entire day walking the whole property of Crystal Peaks, praying over each horse, each paddock, every building and arena. Praying as small groups, individually and corporately; we lift each staff member before the Lord, as well as each specific branch of this ministry.
And we pray for YOU!
As we approach this year’s Pray Day scheduled on March 28, we invite you to join us from wherever you are, to be in prayer over the coming season. Ultimately, we pray that the Holy Spirit’s presence would be active in—and the hope of Christ known by—every living soul who comes to the ranch. And we give praise that when two or more are gathered in His name…He comes.
“For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.” –Matthew 18:20
Even though our designated Pray Day is March 28, we implore you to shoulder with us in continued prayer throughout the season. It is our unwavering goal that the hope and redemption of our Lord Jesus would be clearly shared with all.
By Katherine Teague
Men—all members of the Pacific Northwest National Guard Unit—slowly led their families up the long gravel driveway to Crystal Peaks. Their reserved facial expressions readily told that they assumed this day was just another compulsory unit gathering. But as they entered the main yard of the ranch, their detached expectations were met with a grand welcome that far exceeding what anyone anticipated for the day. Taken aback as they looked around, many of those who’d stoically advanced up our drive just moments before, were now asking, “This is all for us?”
In December, Crystal Peaks had the great honor of hosting a “Military Day” for the families of those who serve in the National Guard Unit located in the Bend area. At the ranch, we hold great respect for the men and women who serve our country. We are blessed to live in a place where our freedom is earned and protected. We are also keenly aware that it comes at the sacrifice of not only the soldiers, but their families as well. Many of our extended ranch family also recognize this reality.
Prior to the event, we opened the invitation for others to join us in supporting our troops and their loved ones. After making an announcement at a Ranch Fellowship, our staff was absolutely astonished at the response of so many who were eager to help. In fact, because of the overwhelming generosity of those who wished to lend what they could, Crystal Peaks bore little of the financial load to put on the whole affair. There were countless donations of food, games, gifts and monetary aid. On the day of the event, our barn was flooded with our own extended ranch family—all enthusiastically awaiting the arrival of those they came to honor, meet and serve.
What a welcome it was! A fire blazed warmly in the barn, Christmas decorations adorned every available surface, stuffed animals and presents were placed lovingly under the tree—each donated to bless the families who would come to spend this day with us. Traditional Christmas music filled the barn and a cookie decorating station compelled many to work together in creating a delicious treat. Bright and cheery, this merriment intertwined as introductions were made and fellowship ensued between families both new and old to the ranch.
The grounds outside were busy with activity too. Christmas lights garnishing each structure, inviting guests to look around. Laughter radiated from those gathered around the bon fire, warming hands, telling stories and roasting marshmallows. Troy brought Eclipse out and kids and adults alike admired his tall Friesian mare’s beauty. Then Troy offered, for those who wished, a chance to ride—and what a delight that was. Only a select few have been granted permission to ride his personal horse.
Some rode. Others greeted, with caring strokes, horses brought out from the paddock. There was a special introduction to Hero—our bay gelding who’d endured his own war of sorts before coming to the ranch. The families loved him! And in our smaller arena, thanks to the initiative of a ranch friend, there was a roping station where soldiers and their families had fun trying their hand at a new skill.
The day was a chorus of Christmas lights, cookies, cake, hot chocolate, a bon fire, cheerful music, horses, laughter, and joyful fellowship—each in full measure to warm the soul. Watching the undeniable enjoyment of his unit and their families, the 24-year-veteran military coordinator for this event told one of our staff, “This is the best thing we’ve ever done.” That blessed our hearts . . . nearly as much as simply getting to know these folks did.
Jeff Gorham, our facilities manager, lead the organization and planning of this event. In talking the day over, he spoke one fact that really made an impression: “It is one thing for Crystal Peaks to offer our facility and staff to host a gathering for this unit; but it’s another thing to see the community of Crystal Peaks surround, embrace and welcome these families to the ranch.”
It’s true, it was the combined efforts and love of all involved that day which made it such a warm success. And, unexpected fruit has come from the extension of such community. The military families who’d just come for what they thought would be the typical obligatory party, now have a new place they can also call home. And we have the extended pleasure of greeting many of these families as they come out for sessions and Ranch Fellowships.
We knew we wanted to honor the brave men and women and their families who serve our country so sacrificially. We hoped that it would be a fun day for all. But the involvement of our community and the richness of the time we spent together with this National Guard Unit far exceeded all our expectations. We give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to all that day.
We hope you enjoy a few pictures that captured some of the special moments shared with families on that day.
By Katherine Teague
We are honored and humbled at the gracious giving of so many towards our “Reaching the World Project” here at Crystal Peaks. Paired with the matching gifts from the “In God We Trust Foundation,” we not only reached our goal of raising $40,000, we exceeded our goal by $2,508, totaling $42,508!
Thank you, Crystal Peaks Family, for joining with us in this incredible endeavor.
Currently, over 5,000 visitors annually make their way to the ranch and we’re also connected with over 140 similar ministries worldwide. Troy and Kim travel extensively to speak at churches, conferences and other ranches. It is our heart to share within each venue the hope and love of Jesus Christ with those we come in contact with. And now, because of your help, the scope of our Reaching the World for Christ is growing rapidly.
The most exciting part of this project is that these gifts will directly impact thousands upon thousands of kids and families. By moving forward in restructuring our Welcome Center and fitting our barn with equipment capable of creating podcasts and videos, the message of hope in Christ will travel farther from the ranch than it ever has before.
We give thanks to God for allowing us to be a part of such a mission, and we wish to express our deep gratitude for the part you’ve played as well. Thank you for joining with us in helping to provide a hospitable place of refuge as people first step foot on the ranch; and for creating greater opportunity for many to hear Scripture-based teaching podcasted from the warm walls of our barn.
We are grateful for everyone who chose to unite with us in offering hope to families. It’s our prayer that you and your family would be touched and encouraged by the completion of this ranch project as well.
We hope to see you soon, whether in our Welcome Center or online!
We are deeply moved as time and again the Lord moves in the hearts of so many in provision of the ministry needs here at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.
This month has been no exception as the “In God We Trust Foundation” has offered to match all donations given to the ranch up to $20,000, totaling $40,000 for our “Reaching the World Project”.
It’s our mission to offer hope for families, and the Lord is providing a brand new avenue for us to accomplish this globally. Through our Reaching the World Project, we will be renovating our Welcome Center to better accommodate the thousands who visit the Ranch yearly. We will also be furnishing our barn with updated sound equipment in order to create podcasts and videos of the ranch Fellowship and other ministry events. Each is a new effort to further reach the world with the hope of Jesus Christ!
We are honored by such a gift and wanted to share with you—our faithful supporters—this unique opportunity to have the value of your gift toward this project doubled.
Donate between now and January 31, 2013 and watch along with us as ministry goals are reached. Click here to be directed to our website’s donations page, and be sure to continue to check our blog, to monitor the progress of this unique and very special gift. You may also mail in a cash or check donation to 19344 Innes Market Road Bend, OR 97701. Please be sure to mark your gift as “In God We Trust” either in the comments section of our donation page or on your check.
We as believers are the body of Christ. We become His hands and feet when we choose to bless those around us. Your financial gifts are instrumental in impacting the children, families and horses that depend on the resources of this ranch ministry. Now, through this new opportunity, our God is graciously using In God We Trust Foundation and you to enable our organization to further bring the hope of Christ to those who are in need around the world.
From all of us, your Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch family, we thank you as you consider this powerful opportunity to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
*All monies not used at the completion of the Reaching the World Project will be absorbed into the General Funds of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.
**Thermometer will be updated daily by 6pm Mon-Thurs.