...but to save it!

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
-2 Peter 3:9

well... firstly... I heard a rumor that some of you did not get my last email... if that is true for you, and you would like to receive it, please reply to this message... You don’t have to say anything but “send me your last e-mail” and you don’t even have to say that... I guess if I get a blank email from you, I’ll know... and I’ll send it to you... is that clear? (Abby!) do you understand? Haha, the subject was ‘He never lets go of my hand...’ I think! And if you don’t even care or you did get it then you can ignore this incredibly long and drawn out paragraph that you’ve just wasted your time reading...

On a different note... Life here at the ranch is so great... We have two new boys, and they are just so sweet! Please keep them both in your daily prayers as they adjust to this new and very different situation! Jordan and Harley... they’re 8 and 9 and both at Oak Rise, giving my friends Ben and Emily (the interns) and Brian and Maralee (the houseparents) a full house of 8 boys between the ages 7 and 15! Please keep them in your daily prayers as well!! So needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot more time there with all those guys... it is just so much fun! I thank God each day for all the different personalities I’m around every day and all that they have brought into my life! It is just so great to be here and see God so at work in and all around me!

In other news, I had a birthday... I'm now the same age forwards as I am backwards... boo... that is just no fun at all, I’m not 12 anymore... just an aging 22 year old... But my day here on the 7th was so incredible! Probably the best birthday I’ve ever had! It definitely brightened my outlook on growing older (it was grim)... Just gets me thinkin about all the incredible things God did in my 21st year, and I'm so excited to see what all He's got planned for my 22nd! It floors me every time I think about how God has blessed me with these kids and all of these people this year! Furthermore... Lensa and Laura are graduating in like less than two weeks!! They need and would greatly appreciate your prayers! Laura has decided to go to Frontier Ranch (what a coincidence!) this summer as a camper with her home YoungLife group in Chattanooga and is waiting to hear back about a YWAM program out in Wyoming, where she will go in August, I think, if she gets it. Lensa, on the other hand, does not have any definite plans, not for lack of searching and searching on her part, on my part and on her houseparent’s and the counselor’s parts... God definitely has something that will be perfect for her, but she just hasn’t found it yet, so please be in prayer about that... and I’ll take this time to place a personal ad for my friend Lensa... when Lensa leaves here, she’ll have no way to get around... She needs a car... a super cheap one (don't we all, haha)... anyways, I would love to give her mine but there are 2 problems: 1) she needs a dependable car that she can count on running for more than anywhere between 1 week and 1-2 years maybe... and 2) I would have no way to get around... So if any of you is or knows of anyone who is trying to get rid of a car for super cheap, let us know... it would be so greatly appreciated! haha, was that a good ad? could i be in PR? Haha anyways, thanks y’all…. We can move on to the next thing now….

Here’s what I’ve been struggling with lately:
trying to understand “man’s inhumanity to man” (Dr. Flaming!) on a less genocidal level, however…. Perhaps better phrased as “parent’s inhumanity to their children...” I was having trouble getting why God let’s wretched people have kids and do terrible things to them... It was really getting hard for me to see and hear everyday... but I do trust God and am so very thankful that He has taken these children away from their sad, scary situations... These 23 kids are here, and they’re all safe and at a place where they can see daily God’s love for them, and how important it is for them and their families to know Jesus... and because of that, they are all such great witnesses to their families, which is incredible and just so inspiring... but it tears me apart that they had to go through what they did to get here... and there are so many just like them who don’t have a place like this... I pray so often that God saves those children, and keeps them safe... I just don’t understand, but I trust you, Lord...

Here's how God has answered my prayer for understanding:

"This happened so that we might not rely on ourselves,
but on God who raises the dead."
-2 Corinthians 1:9

I guess I just have to keep on believing in a God who raises the dead, makes the blind see, the deaf hear, and the mute speak... He also, as I have witnessed here, heals the emotionally damaged so much more thoroughly and eternally than any psychological methods! I'm a sinner just as much as these kid's parents are sinners and just as much as these kids are sinners, and we all deserve hell equally.... why would I rely on myself, or on the sinful nature of any human to treat these kids with Godly love? It's only through God working in us that we can show these kids His love... and thankfully, He has paid the price of our sins, and His amazing grace has saved me, and so many of these kids, which I praise Him for every day! I am learning now, how to pray for those parents, that they come to know their great Creator as their kids know Him more and more each day. He can save them, and He will, as soon as they open their hearts to Him and His saving grace! Please join me in praying for these kids parents, and for each of their interactions with their parents. It all brings me back to the moment when Arissa's mother hugged me at her funeral, and all I felt was bitterness and resentment in my heart. I wanted to shove her away from me and tell her how terrible she was to her precious daughter... what a terrible attitude to have! it has become so clear to me that in the eyes of God, I'm not any better of a person than she is... How great a God we serve that He chooses to save this creation that continually turns it's back on Him! If I could do it over again, I would embrace that woman, and pray to God, as I do now, that she finds Him, through the great witness that her daughter left behind, and through whatever means necessary, so that she can live in eternal glory with Jesus Christ and her beautiful child when her life on this earth is over...
Jesus said, "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge Him. For I did not come to judge the world but to save it.... For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life!" -John 12:47 & 49-50

anyways... the job search....... has hit a hiatus... I thought I’d be makin plans for Colorado right now, but that fell through, so here I am... Just a-waitin... I could stay here another year, and I would really love to, but the one thing that I’m prettysure about is I’m not being called to do that... so I’m gonna follow God and trust Him fully... He’s in complete control of my life anyways, so I’ll just wait for Him to tell me what to do... I know that He is so faithful to His children, and He will take me through hard times and good times, slow times and fast times that mold me and shape me, all to bring me where He wants me, when He wants me there... so I’ll wait... and I’ll listen... and I’ll trust in the Creator of all things...

Anyways, I really haven’t known what to say in this email, but I wanted to get those prayer requests out and let you know where I am in the “job hunt,” so I thought I would just share with you some of what God is teaching me as well...

Y’all, I say it every email, but your prayers for this place and all of these kids are so much appreciated! keep 'em comin!! I love y'all!!!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you,
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy."
-Philippians 1:3-4

ps- i'll be home for a week in the middle of May! that is so great! i will try to see everybody i can fit into 7 days!! and who is in Gainesville or nearby (or in LA!!)

and of course, to add length.... here are some quotes (there are only 3, haha, oh well... times are slow...):

Corcino (our 6'2 12 year old!!!!), telling a story at dinner at Christopher House:
“I’m always awake sometimes when I sleep…”
Mr. Luke's response: "Corcino, you can't use 'always,' 'sometimes,' 'sleep,' and 'awake' all in the same sentence."
hahaha... maybe you had to be there... and know Corcino and Luke... it just doesn't seem quite so funny now...

Michelle: “Do you want to play football tonight?”
Me: “Yeah, let’s go...”
Michelle: “Hahaha I think it’s funny that we say we’re playing football when we both know we’re really just going to play catch...”
Me: “Hahaha... yeah, it’s true... (later on) Elizabeth , are you playin football with us tonight?”
Elizabeth : “Of course! You know I’m a football maniac!”

Justin: "Has anyone ever told you that you're eccentric?"
me: "you better believe it, and I take it as a HUGE compliment!"
i'm eccentric? haha, whatever.....