Monthly Archives: September 2014

Rachel’s Story

We don’t always know a child’s background or circumstances at home when they come to spend a week or weekend with us. We know they come from very difficult situations; that’s why they were referred to us in the first place. But we have no idea what heartache, loneliness, fear, or rejection many of them experience on a daily basis.

Your gifts and your prayers enable our staff to shower these attention-starved children with love and truth. And it is this persistent love and caring that God uses to transform lives.

Here is one transformation story as told by Amanda, one of our team leaders.

I had Rachel* (age 8) on my team for the first time last summer. She was one of the three most difficult children of my summer because all week long she was trying to get attention by being stubborn and unresponsive to my requests. In chapel she would sit at the very end of the row, as far away from the other children as possible, and refuse to sing the chapel songs or do the motions.

Mid-week God prompted me to look at her being difficult as an indication of her being starved for attention. With this in mind I began showering her with compliments, telling her how happy I was that she was on my team, telling her she was beautiful, calling her “Princess Rachel,” and pointing out ways I saw positive things in how she treated her teammates. She was very uncomfortable with compliments to the point of running away from me yelling, “Stop saying that! I’m not pretty!” I carefully didn’t stop.

On the last chapel service before the week was over I was rewarded for my efforts by Rachel sitting front-and-center while enthusiastically singing the songs and doing the motions.

When she came back to the Ranch, she was on my team again. I was blown away by the change in her. Rather than being difficult she was holding open the door for me and cooperating with my requests, obviously wanting to please me. In chapel she was fully participating and singing with the rest of us. In devotions she had contributions to many of my questions.

I was so blessed to witness this transformation in her life, which I can only imagine is the work of God through the attention and patient love poured out on her from the staff she has been with at Youth Haven. She gave me one of the biggest hugs I have ever gotten from a child as she left to go home.

Thank you for giving, praying, and investing in the lives of these precious children who need the love and hope of Jesus Christ. God is using you to make a powerful difference in the lives of hurting boys and girls!

*Name changed for confidentiality

If We Don’t, Who Will?

Youth Haven RanchersThese children need to know they are loved and cared for. Will you help?

By Amy Carlson

“I’m afraid people will hurt me because I’m small,” she confided. We were sitting in the back of the chapel, just the two of us, after the rest of the kids had left. She had hung back, needing to talk, longing for someone who would listen and care about her struggle. My heart broke when she revealed the reason for her fears: “I was abused when I was younger.”

It was hard to hold back the tears as her story unfolded. The bruises have healed, but the emotional pain lingers. Someone she loved and trusted intentionally hurt her. Her own mother doesn’t want her, so her grandmother is raising her. She lives with a feeling of worthlessness. And every day she is afraid. Afraid someone else she loves and trusts will get angry and hit her. Afraid she will be given back to a mother who doesn’t care about her and treats her unkindly. Afraid the pain and fear will never end.

Although I could not take away all of her hurt, I was able to reassure her she is loved and valued – by the people here at Youth Haven, and by the God who has promised He will never leave her or abandon her. We prayed together. We cried together. We read Scripture together. This was not her first visit to Youth Haven. She loves coming to the Ranch because when she is here, she feels safe. People love her and take the time to listen to her. She is reminded of God’s love and care for her. Every visit to Youth Haven gives her renewed hope for the future.

And every week of the year, we welcome a whole campus full of kids with similar stories, similar hurts, and similar fears. These kids need you to care for them and help provide for them. If we don’t love them, meet their needs, and teach them about Jesus, who will?

You are an important part of our ministry team here at Youth Haven. All of the children who attend our programs do so free of charge, and Youth Haven does not receive state or federal support. Quite simply, if you do not give, the children cannot come. They may never know they are loved and cared for. They may never discover hope in Christ.

Your gifts and prayers are the reason lives are being positively influenced and forever changed at Youth Haven. Please continue to give, for the sake of the children. Thank you for caring about children and teens who so desperately need love and hope.

Youth Haven Ranchers