A focus on faith — especially at Easter — is transforming kids’ lives.
After Daniel had lost all hope, he remembered the Ranch’s Christian lessons. Here’s his story of healing:
"The most important thing Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch did is point me toward faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life. I may not have exhibited the fruit of this at that time, but the seeds were sown.
"When I was 21, years after I’d left the Ranch, an experience took place that would change my life forever. On a hot and humid night, I was staying on the couch of a guy I hardly knew. The mugginess made it hard to sleep.
"That night I was bombarded with the most negative thoughts I have ever had. I thought about how much of a mess I had made of my life. It seemed like nobody valued me and, therefore, my life had no value. My family didn’t trust me and wouldn’t let me in their homes. My carefree lifestyle had been brought to an end by the police serving a search warrant. I couldn’t find a job. I couldn’t find any meaningful purpose for my life. It felt like my life was over.
"So I decided I was going to kill myself that night. I swung my feet off the couch to go to the bathroom to find a means to do it. But out of nowhere, this thought popped into my head, What if this stuff about Jesus is real?
"At that very moment, the room seemed to be filled with a presence that I had never experienced before. But for some odd reason, I knew it was Jesus. A voice began to speak into me — not like you would hear my voice, yet speaking into me very clearly.
"He told me that He made me for a purpose and that my life had great value. A huge weight seemed to lift off me. I felt light. I noticed a Bible sitting on a shelf across the room and sat up most of the night reading the Gospel of Matthew. From that point on, I always had a true north.
"Today my home is so much different from the one I had as a young child. No longer is home a place of fear and anxiety.
"Today my home is a place to escape life’s busyness and enjoy the simple things of life with my family.
"Today my home is a place of love and laughter.
"Today my home is a place for my family and me to grow together in biblical values and be shaped in the image of Christ."
Easter is a celebration of hope at the Ranch
Easter is a great time — maybe the best time — to focus on faith. We use this special season to help get the children thinking about Jesus, His triumph over sin and death, and what that means to them.
In the days leading up to Easter, we've hosted special chapel services and other faith-building activities. But the climax of the season is an all campus Easter egg hunt.
Our team fills plastic eggs with treats and hides thousands of them across the grounds. The kids chant a “Ready, set, go!” — and then there’s an all-out dash to collect as many as they can. There is laughter and love, excitement, and color.
But there’s also the chance to get our kids thinking about the meaning of Easter and God’s gift “too wonderful for words” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Happy Easter to you!