The other day I stopped by to visit a friend and supporter of the Ranch. He is a man of deep faith and inspires me to spend more time in prayer and more time giving thanks. He was in the middle of his devotion when I arrived and was kind enough to read to me from his devotional, “My Utmost for His Highest,” by Oswald Chambers. He read,
“Ministering in every day opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings—it means being God’s very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us...
Do you find yourself responding by saying, ‘Oh, I will do all that once I’m out on the mission field’? Talking in this way is like trying to produce the weapons of war while in the trenches of the battlefield— you will be killed while trying to do it.
We have to go the “second mile” with God (see Matthew 5:41). Yet some of us become worn out in the first ten steps. Then we say, ‘Well, I’ll just wait until I get closer to the next big crisis in my life.’ But, if we do not steadily minister in every day opportunities, we will do nothing when the crisis comes.”
Hearing this devotion made me think of the kids at the Ranch. Each day, those of us blessed to be near these kids has the opportunity to minister to them in what could be considered mundane, every day tasks. But sometimes it is in the small things that make a big difference.
One of the small things I was asked to do recently was to speak to a group of our students. They were starting their own small business (selling popcorn to Ranch staff) and their teacher, Mr. Brandt, wanted me to talk about customer service and what that means to me.
It was fun to engage with these precious children and have a bit of fun with them. They were very respectful to me as I stood at the front of the class, so I was applauding them for already mastering one of the keys to good customer service. My heart melted when one of the boys quietly said, “It’s kind of hard not to respect you.” Wow, that blew me away.
Then at lunch the same day, a different boy stopped to say hello and then cleared my food tray for me. When I thanked him, he looked me in the eye and said, “We all can use a helping hand sometimes.”
As I walked away, it hit me that “ministering in every day opportunities” includes allowing our kids to minister to us. They grow leaps and bounds when we allow them to do small things for us—when we show them they have something to contribute. Despite their past and despite their challenges, each of our children can give, as well as receive.
Honestly, I love these kids.
Thank you for your prayers and continued support.
Senior Development Officer
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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.