I was introduced to Crystal Peaks when I heard Kim speak on Focus on the Family. Being a horse lover, I was intrigued by how the Ranch used horses to share the love and hope of Jesus to kids and families that were experiencing brokenness and pain. I remember listening and being so moved by all the stories. My first thought was: THAT is what I want to be a part of! That thought was quickly replaced with the sadness of realizing that it would NEVER happen. At the time, I was going through a very difficult and painful season of life. In addition, I lived in the Midwest, and Oregon seemed a million miles away. Looking back, I was probably very much like those kids at the Ranch. I was just a grown up with a hurting heart. What I didn't understand at the time was there was healing that needed to take place in my own heart before I would be able to share the love and healing of Jesus with others.
Over the years I followed Crystal Peaks. Each time I received the newsletter, my heart was stirred in ways I couldn't explain. I never understood why a place I had never been to and people I had never met always seemed to touch my heart in such a moving way. What I know now is that God was planting a little seed. One that would take sixteen years to come to fruition.
Years later, I met and married my husband, Bill, and moved to Montana. This Midwest girl had come WEST! In 2017 the owner of the ranch we were renting in Montana decided to sell. The most practical decision was to move back to Kansas to be close to family. As we began to pray and seek God's wisdom concerning our move, however, I strongly sensed that God was leading us in a different direction. We both had been praying for several years about being a part of something bigger than us. I also knew that somehow it would involve horses. I knew what it felt like to be hopeless and hurting then experience His redeeming love for me. I wanted to be able to share the love and healing of Jesus with others. We had no idea what God had in store for us!
As we prayed, it became obvious that God was asking us to go to Crystal Peaks. After all those years that little seed was getting ready to sprout! Coming to serve as a volunteer at Crystal Peaks was a walk of faith for us. We had to fully trust Him for the details. We came to volunteer, and, several months later, we were invited to be a part of the staff.
Since coming to Crystal Peaks, God has taught me so much about His faithfulness to me. A little seed was planted all those years ago, and Jesus lovingly wove all the pieces of my life together to be able to come and serve Him here. I love watching our staff use the unique gifts God has given them to minister to the kids and families that come out. The people that I meet and form relationships with are such a gift. Special relationships are born each day as horses are groomed, weeds are pulled, gardens are watered, and wooden swords are crafted. And it's all because of Jesus.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
How do I pick just one? The fact that I get to serve Jesus alongside my best friend and husband is one of them! Horses and people are my thing! I believe I have a really great job here because I get to spend time with people and form relationships. I get to hear the stories of the amazing things that Jesus is doing in the lives of others and I am able to spend much of my time with the horse herd as well. I have the best of both worlds. Most often you will find me working with a horse, serving alongside our volunteers, preparing for fellowship, or serving with our interns.
What do you love about Central Oregon?
What's not to love? I feel God's presence most clearly when I am in His creation. Everywhere I look I see His handiwork. Until a few years ago, I had lived in the Midwest my whole life and I never knew how beautiful the Pacific Northwest was! There are beautiful lakes to kayak on, quiet mountain trails, and waterfalls galore. I love it all! I think one of my favorite things is that the hot summer days always end with cool summer nights. Also, one of the really cool things about this area is that is smells amazing!
What do you like to do for fun outside the Ranch?
Horseback riding, photography, and playing cards with friends.