As I pulled my pickup into the drive, I felt myself drawing a long, deep breath. “Lord, please lead us in Your will.” This brief plea escaped my lips even before I had time to think about it. I eased my Dodge up the driveway and around the paved turnaround just past the dilapidated front doors of the vacant Riverbend Supper Club entrance and shut down the rumbling engine (“Yeah, it’s got a Hemi!”) My eyes drank in the vast 60-acre expanse of snow-covered land surrounded by the Red Lake River which meanders in a horseshoe shape around the property. I pulled my coat zipper up to my chin and stepped out into the 10 degree frigid morning air, leaving a trail of vapor with each breath, the snow crunching under my boots.
I had come to pray and to meet the Lord of Hosts in a brief time of respite from our otherwise crazy schedule. Tucking my hands deeper into my coat pockets, I began to talk to God, pouring out my heart to Him as I walked along. It was during this time that I realized I was afraid, fearful of what might become of this dream we call Stable Days Youth Ranch.
Caryl and I moved our little ‘tribe’ to Grand Forks in 1994 to organize and lead a Para-church youth ministry in the Grand Forks area. Even then, however, my heart was stirred about the possibility of someday operating a youth ranch for kids who needed to find hope, encouragement, and faith in a Savior who satisfies our deepest need for love and affirmation. Little did I know what this dream would lead to, or what it would involve.
So why start this ministry here, and now? Does the Upper Red River Valley need a program like ours? Simply stated, we believe the need is greater than ever. Four key factors creating this need include…
* Every child with or without diagnosis or life struggles need to feel wanted and can benefit from a good old fashion ranch environment, where they can experience faith, hard work, friendships and horses.
* Continued breakdown of the family- divorce, separation, abandonment, abuse, drugs and alcohol.
* Economic factors – unemployment, debt, cost of living expenses
* Hopelessness - kids feel lost, overlooked, and unneeded.
Our goal at Stable Days Youth Ranch is to provide a positive environment where kids can be encouraged, affirmed, and challenged to achieve great things. We support parents and caregivers, seeking to minister to the needs of the entire family, to strengthen the foundations that ultimately lead to healthy, happy families, built on the Word of God.
Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10) It is our hope that SDYR will help to fulfill God’s plan as He continues to “seek and save” people and to bring them into a purpose-filled life.
It was that cold December morning that I made up my mind that I would follow God’s lead and overcome my fears and doubts and allow Him to use me – regardless of the cost – to build SDYR into a tool and resource that will bring Him glory. So consider this an invitation to join us – bring your kids, pray for us, help shoulder the work that is to come, tell others about SDYR, and contribute whatever you have to offer so that others may have the chance to experience life with purpose!