Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life on the Ranch

This past Friday night I had the opportunity to go to the Big Oak Ranch for Girls. The Women's Ministry at my Church has gone a few Friday nights this year to eat and watch movies with the girls so the house parents could have a night out. This was my first time to go and what a treat! We had a Christmas dinner and did some fun crafts.

The Ranch sits on 325 acres. It has 8 residential homes (where the girls live with their foster parents), a gym, pool and equine center. It is so beautiful there. Even the name is beautiful, it comes from Isaiah 61:3 "And they shall be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified." I praise God for men like John Croyle who followed God's calling to minister to these children.

I had no idea the scope of the Big Oak Ranch and the ministry it is. I also had no idea how much a couple of these girls were going to get under my skin and take residence in my heart. One was 14-year old Nara. She's one of those larger-than-life personalities who attached her hip to mine right from the get-go. She kept me laughing and at one point said she wished she could get a hold of my hair and fix it. Hmmm...

Towards the end of the night we were paired with a girl to talk and pray. I was paired with Vanessa. She's in the 10th grade and from the moment she opened her mouth, I wanted to take her home. She told me she and her sister have been at the Ranch for 10 years. That's so hard for me to comprehend. I don't know her story - all I know is that she looked happy and the things she asked me to pray for were normal teenager things like school and a boy at Church she has a crush on. 10 years ago her list was probably a lot different.

I hope I have many more opportunities to go back. I can't get these two girls off my mind. God arranged our meeting and I'll forever be greatful.


MamaHen said...

I want to go!

And that is hilarious about her wanting to "get hold of your hair"

Sounds about what a teenage girl would say. Or our grandmother.... :)

Walking on Sunshine... said...

What a wonderful way to spread the love of God by visiting the ranch. And how sad to be there for 10 years!!! Your Christmas with your family sounds really nice. I have never heard of hot spinach dip!! Sounds yummy!

Rachel said...

Wow... that's amazing! I'm so glad you were able to go! That's an awesome ministry.

Adrianna said...

So glad you were able to come and I am so glad I know you have a blog. It is great. Thanks for sharing.