Medicine Lodge, KS
I felt called to Crystal Peaks after hearing about the ministry from my mentor. The Lord would not let me forget about what He was doing in this place. I started praying about coming out to Central Oregon to serve. I frequently heard about the books and listened to podcasts of the Focus on the Family interviews. Also, others I’d asked to pray with me over this choice to serve the Ranch were constantly calling to find out if I’d made the decision yet. Looking back, I can see how this was the Lord quietly whispering in my ear, calling me. Gratefully, He used many people in His vast army of believers to get through to me.
After hearing the good news of my acceptance, I concluded that God was speaking to me all those months; I just wasn’t listening. Thankfully, God is in control. If He didn’t outright tell me, “Yes, daughter, GO!” I’m not sure that I would have ever had the courage to travel 1,700 miles over two mountain ranges. It was here, in the midst of one of His wonderful ministries that I’ve met my Lord and Savior face-to-face. What an incredible God we serve!
Five years have passed since I was last on staff at Crystal Peaks, and, through that time, my life has changed drastically. I got married to my best friend, had a wonderful son, and I’ve grown in more ways than I could have imagined God would orchestrate. As I am immersed back into Ranch life, I can’t help but be so vastly aware of the feeling of returning “home” to the family that I have held so dearly all this time. What a wonderful gift that only the Lord could make a reality.
What I love most about my day-to-day activities, if I had to choose only one thing, is leading sessions. There is nothing better than seeing a child who doesn’t speak or doesn’t even make eye contact loosen up when they’re grooming their favorite horse or petting one of the new four-legged friends they’ve met. I’ve sensed an incredible feeling of Jesus’ presence when that connection begins to blossom between a child and a horse. I can’t thank my God enough for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful transformation every day I walk up the driveway to start my day of “work.”
What do you love about Central Oregon?
Since I’m from the great mountainous state of Kansas, one of the most prominent things that I love about Central Oregon is the Cascade Mountain Range. There is little beauty that compares to looking up at the incredible snow-topped Three Sisters in the distance. I also love hiking! Back home, we have something similar, but it’s called walking. There’s usually not an incline, and it often doesn’t end at the base of a waterfall or overlooking a beautiful river basin. Being outside exploring my Creator’s wonderful canvas is one of my favorite experiences!
What is the funniest thing a kid has ever said to you at the Ranch?
The funniest thing that a kid has ever told me here at the Ranch came from the mouth of a little boy who was fairly uneasy around horses. As we walked out to the paddock in search of the perfect horse, I began introducing him to some in our herd that I thought might be a good fit for him. As we walked up to Shamis, one of our lovely mares, I explained her unique “buckskin” coloring to this bright-eyed child. The boy’s eyes suddenly became the size of dinner plates! Out of his mouth burst, “I don’t want any horse that has a buck in it!”
What is your most embarrassing moment at CPYR?
One of my most embarrassing moments at the Ranch happened during a normal day while I was enjoying a nice, friendly game of big-ball soccer. We have equine soccer balls (three feet high) that we often use in sessions as a tool to encourage our horses to play. But, once in a while, we’ll pull the ball out for our staff and volunteers and play a game in Sandy Pants arena. On one particular day, our game was with a large group of pretty rambunctious teenage boys. I grew up with two older brothers, so I was definitely up for the challenge. The game was getting pretty heated, as the scores were close and we were about to call the game on account of time. Just then, one of the boys kicked the soccer ball toward the makeshift goal of cones. Being the great big-ball soccer player I am, I blocked it…with my face!
I was knocked flat on my back and the wind was knocked out of me, but that’s not all…one of the guys couldn’t stop as abruptly as necessary. To avoid kicking me in the face, he did his best to leap over my head. In doing so, he kicked gravel and dirt all over me! When I got up, I was covered from head-to-toe in sweaty dirt clumps and had a delicious mixture of sand and gravel coating my mouth. Sandy Pants’ name had definitely proved to be quite accurate. I got up LAUGHING and, without a word (mainly because I was enjoying the taste of mud in my mouth!), headed to the porta potty to try and get the caked-on dirt out of my mouth, ears, and nose. As I left, there was a round of applause coming from the guys in the arena who finally saw their loud and obnoxious friend rendered speechless.