Sometimes I am astounded by how we continue the work of the Ranch in spite of obstacles put in our way. In the last week, the basement of one of our thrift stores flooded. Then, someone cut the catalytic converters out of the thrift store trucks we use to pick up donations. At the same time, we are implementing new federal legislation affecting children's residential services. And to top it all off, we have some major plumbing issues with our main building, our oldest building, on the Minot campus.
That is maybe 10 percent of the goings-on at the moment--operating a place like the Ranch has a lot of moving parts!
So, I make it a point to spend time with the children. Learning who they are, what they say, and the futures they have fills my bucket. They are the reason Christ put the Ranch in this world.
Last week I sat at a lunch table with a lovely young lady and her Ranch staff person. The girl has long, very dark brown hair, and eyes to match. Her eyes dance when she smiles. She has a few freckles across her nose, which she wrinkles when she has an opinion.
She's a talkative girl, and I was a little surprised she just smiled when she greeted me. When we stood to say grace, she was very soft-spoken. I noticed she was kind of slumped in her chair and kept holding her head on her hand...even though she had a ready smile as I started talking. I asked her what was new with her and she mumbled something. I leaned in and asked her what she said, and I listened really hard. "I had my tonsils out yesterday," she said.
"Oh for Pete's sake," was my reaction. "Shouldn't you be in bed or something?" She again grinned at me and said, "Nah, I didn't want to miss anything. I even ate all the soft stuff for lunch." As we visited I learned she had suffered from strep infections five times in the last year. She said, "I missed too much. Too much school, too much other stuff. Now I don't have to miss things."
I left lunch with a full bucket. This young girl, who came to the Ranch angry, hurt, and fighting everything and everyone, now sees the world as a place where she doesn't want to "miss things." That makes all the other challenges worth the effort. Those challenges are just noise. Christ and the children. They are the center.
But, I still wish they had left the catalytic converters in the darn trucks.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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