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

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