“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”~Romans 12:21
By Deaconess Kelly Jacob
As I write this I am starting my fifth month at the Ranch! I’ve been here for a quarter of a year! Wow! The time has been filled with a whole range of experiences—from hearing heartbreaking and tough stories, to seeing our kids wrestle with trauma and the effects it has on them, to seeing our kids behave with kindness and resilience.
I was especially moved by one kindness moment this past month. We were doing a campus-wide service project—filling boxes with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies for Operation Christmas Child. While we were explaining what could and couldn’t go in the boxes, two of our younger boys, ages 10 and 13, asked if they could donate their own new Legos to put into the Operation Christmas Child boxes we were putting together. The 10-year-old approached me afterwards with his plan of how he was going to divide up his brand-new Legos between the 20 boxes filled by the kids in his cottage. I was blown away by their generous and kind hearts! Being familiar with some of the history of each of these boys, it was a powerful moment to see them so willing to give and bless someone else.
Another moment that stood out to me was while I was talking to one of our newer girls, a 17-year-old who had done a great job putting together the Operation Christmas Child boxes. She told me that anything having to do with God was difficult for her. During a rough patch with her birth mom, she stayed with extended family. They were very involved in their church and she joined right in with them. However, as time went on she struggled more and more to trust anyone, including God. She decided that going to church was not something she felt up to doing at the time. After she told them she wasn’t able to attend church with them, they kicked her out of their home and refused to have any communication with her. She then bounced around to a couple other living situations until she ended up here.
Needless to say, this young woman continues to wrestle her beliefs. She is unsure how much religion and “God stuff” she is open to. Even though she had experienced this rejection and hurt, she wanted to help with our Operation Christmas Child project. She wants to help make others’ lives better—she wants to give back.
Her bigger dream is to get her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and eventually open up her own practice for veterans. What incredible resilience. I pray that in her time here, she is able to experience and believe that God can be trusted, as well as the team of people supporting her in treatment. I pray that she and all of our kids will know and trust that despite the tough times they might have gone through in life (and might still be going through!) God’s love for them is true, real, and unchanging! As shown clearly in Jesus’ triumphant death and resurrection, God’s goodness overcomes evil!
I am thankful for these glimpses of God’s kindness and strength, and hope they can be an encouragement to you as well!