...if you can?

Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:21-24

It goes without saying that the man believed and Jesus cast the demon out of his son... When I read this story a couple weeks ago I was floored by this man's experience, and request of Jesus to help Him... not the part where he asked Jesus to help his son, but the part where he asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief... I love how after a lifetime of raising a literally demon posessed child, in those few seconds standing before Jesus, he was made so aware of his real problem and how to find the true and lasting cure...

There have been many times this past year that I've had a hard time believing some of those kids I've gotten to work with would get anything from their time with us... I've found myself thinking, 'these kids have been on a path of destruction for years, they are, with the help of satan, destroying their own lives! If God could help them, surely He would have by now...'

Last Friday, we had an awards ceremony for our students... Six of our guys graduated the program at Eagle Ranch... I was so proud! I gave hugs and cried and made them promise they would keep in touch forever... Maybe in 10 years one of those guys will come see me for the flying frog! I have no doubts that all six of those guys will do great things, as this year I have witnessed only part of what has been a great transformation of their lives at Eagle Ranch... I will miss them each with all of my heart!

At that ceremony, I observed our students... not just those six, but the whole group... We were missing a few who should have been there, but most of the group was in tact... As I stood there and quietly observed those sweet children who I love so much, I saw A LOT of emotions and an outpouring of love as they said goodbye to the graduates and to our science teacher who is moving on from us... How have I been so oblivious to the amazing things God has done here in the last 10 months!? That's unbelievably ridiculous! Lord, I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!

When working, volunteering, or just hanging out with at-risk youth, it is absolutely vital that you believe that God can change people! He's done it over and over again for 21 years at Eagle Ranch, and He will continue to for years to come! He has done an amazing thing in those six guys, and will continue to in them and rest of those kids, and I'm learning to change my prayer from "if You can help them, God, please do" to "THANK YOU, thank You, God, for helping them!"

Last year I experienced a lot of changes, such as the capacity to move around every now and then, wake up in the morning instead of the mid-afternoon, and cook a little every once in a while, but the thing I learned most from my time at WVR was God's ability to carry me and bring me closer to Him through incredibly hard times... that's something I will never stop learning more and more on a daily basis... but the thing that I've been made more aware of than anything else this first year at Eagle Ranch is the importance and the power of faith in prayer... not just prayer, but faith that God really is there and that He's actually listening, and that everything is possible for Him, and through Him... When you approach the Lord not with skepticism, but with confidence that He is ALL powerful, He will bless you beyond all comprehension, and He will make miracles happen all around you... There are countless stories all over the New Testament of people who had great faith, and the miracles that Jesus performed in their lives! I've seen it happen this year... I've been skepticle and oblivious all year, but thankfully, there are people in those kids lives who are niether skeptical nor oblivious... God has heard us all, and I've seen great things happen in the last ten months!

What a sad goodbye it was last Friday, but what a joyous celebration of those kid's progress and trust in God! I am forever changed and impacted by all I learn from all the amazing kids God has put in my life the last two years, and I thank my God for all of them all the time!

In the same way I thank my God all the time for all of you, whose prayers have carried me through all the events of the past two years... Though I often take it for granted, I so appreciate what I've been given in each of you! I love you all very much! Pray for those six graduates as they begin this new stage, and pray for the kids still at the ranch as they continue this progressive journey to a beautiful life-changing relationship with their Maker!

Well... I'm off to a summer full of car servicing and selling and phone answering... I'm very much looking forward to having some time to breathe and relax, but I probably won't be writing many novelesque e-mails, due to the fact that pretty much my only internet access is at school, and I won't be there again until August... But you could hear from me between now and then, you never know! Thanks for sticking around!

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... if you or someone you know teaches middle school science and is looking for work, maybe you or someone you know should apply for a middle school science teaching job at eagle ranch!!

this is sad... i have no funny stories....