After serving the majority of a season as a Full Time Volunteer and moving to Bend afterwards, the thought of not being a part of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch was simply weird. The more time I spent thinking about leaving, the more I realized that I really wanted to work with the kids. I really wanted to deepen my relationship with those I had sessions with and knew there were more children God would allow me to meet.
Another thing that has kept my heart close to the Ranch is the sense of the safety, acceptance, and community present here. I remember being at the Ranch for the first month or so and sensing a protection over it, like God’s hands were wrapped around the property, creating a haven of security and freedom.
This haven comes partially through the presence of the people He has placed here. The staff and volunteers aren’t really coworkers—they’re much more like family—not of blood but of love. Some of my favorite memories as an FTV, other than meeting my wife, are how my relationships with my fellow FTVs deepened as the season progressed.
The community and fellowship as an FTV is founded on God’s love, though being human we often fall short. During this new season with my ranch family, I look forward to being encouraged and challenged to grow.
What do you love about Central Oregon?
Central Oregon is amazing. I never thought I’d be living on the West Coast in the high desert, but it’s become my home and I’m incredibly fond of it. Though I miss the green grass and deciduous trees of Southwest Virginia, I don’t miss the humidity in any way. I love the proximity of the mountains here in Bend, as well as all of the waterfalls, lakes, parks, and so many other natural wonders that God has placed nearby. I think God created Oregon as a gem of nature.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My biggest hobby is reading. I read constantly. Once I started reading chapter books, I don’t think there’s been a period of my life where I wasn’t reading something. I really enjoy adventure/fantasy books, like The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Redwall, etc. I actually enjoy these kinds of books so much that I wanted to share my passion and pleasure with others. At seventeen, I began working on my own book trilogy. I don’t know if it will ever be finished, but I hope that it will be, someday. And if they do get published, I hope that they won’t just be ‘good reads,’ but books that make an impact and can speak truths into peoples’ lives through the power of fiction.
I also really enjoy getting outside, which can be anything from hiking to white water rafting. I love playing volleyball and have found that I really enjoy doing puzzles with my wife as well.
What is one of the craziest or most fun things you have done on the Ranch?
I proposed to my wife at the Ranch. It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened. While sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the lawn, God began prompting me to ask her to marry me. At first I was reluctant to His nudging, feeling like it was absolutely crazy to get engaged so early in our relationship. Yes, I knew that I loved her, but we’d only known each other for two months minus a day. I knew I wanted to marry her, but it was too soon for my mind to seriously consider such a move . . . but not for God. He kept prompting me, so I accepted. I slid to my knee—and the rest is history.