I’ve had a special place in my heart for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch for over 20 years. My husband Greg and I met Kim and Troy in the early 90’s, and we’ve cherished their sweet friendship over the years. We’ve continued to pray for the Lord’s leading on their lives and, although we moved to Portland years ago, our bond has remained strong. We’ve watched the Ranch grow from an inspired idea to the vibrant ministry that it is today. Truly, the Lord has produced beauty from ashes for His purposes.
In the past year, a door was opened for us to move back to Bend. I’ve spent the past several years being the primary caregiver for my elderly parents (who both had Alzheimer’s disease) and they’re now in Heaven (dancing together, I’m sure!). Our two incredible daughters are grown, and Greg and I are now grandparents. I’ve entered a new season in my life and I’ve been prayerfully pursuing His direction. What I’ve learned through my most recent experiences is that we’re called to be thankful in ALL things and we always have the option to choose joy. I’m reminded of the writer Ann Voskamp who says, “Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle…and when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.” I’ve known for some time that the Lord was nudging me out of my comfort zone and onto a path that would give glory to Him.
Since the Ranch is always on my heart, I applied to join their volunteer program. In the process of working shoulder-to-shoulder with other volunteers, I felt such peace and fulfillment. By nature, I’m drawn to people. It’s become clear to me that fellowship and ministry can occur in the unlikeliest places…even while planting potatoes or pulling weeds. Sometimes especially then! Ministry is not a task, but a fluid event. It’s who we are, not simply what we do. I was invited to come on staff at Crystal Peaks, and I’m incredibly humbled to serve here. I’m blessed beyond measure to be surrounded by a team of true servants. Every time I walk up the driveway to the Ranch, I feel like I’m entering hallowed ground.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
People! I love to watch the Lord’s hand as He orchestrates interactions and conversations. I thoroughly enjoy the process of getting to know the unique personalities, qualities and experiences of each of our volunteers. Each person is uniquely equipped, and together they’re all powerful manifestations of a plan greater than the sum of its parts. Volunteers are the heart and soul of what happens here at the Ranch—they’re critical to the mission of Crystal Peaks. Every single person who walks up the Ranch’s driveway to volunteer is giving a part of themselves with open arms. Each one of them gives not just their time, but also their love and their passion to serve the needs of those without hope. When I step back to view the big picture, I’m awed by the way God uses simple, humble tasks undertaken by each generous volunteer to minister to the broken, the lonely and the lost. What some may see as merely ranch chores, God uses for His glory and purposes.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My favorite activity is basically anything involving my family. Greg and I have two daughters: Kate (who is married to Trevor; they’re the parents of Elias, Gideon, and Nora) and Emma (who is married to Kevin). We’re a tight-knit bunch. We love to hike, ski (the younger and more agile among us snowboard) and snowshoe. We enjoy long walks (particularly along river trails), watching movies, laughing, cooking meals together (and always dessert!), dancing in the kitchen and just enjoying life as a family. I’m so blessed that the Lord placed these particular people in my life.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I’m half-Basque (my maternal grandparents were immigrants from the Basque country in northern Spain via Ellis Island). I was born and raised in Idaho, where my grandparents owned a small sheep ranch and no one could speak a lick of English. Some of my most cherished childhood memories were spent at the sheep ranch, so I have a special affinity for Basques in particular and my wooly sheep friends in general. My mother spoke English as a second language and, although she was a proficient English speaker, she unintentionally taught me many American sayings that I’m still continuing to discover are 100% incorrect. Translations are tricky!
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