Coming home!

We are on the road with an awesome group of guys! The rain held off this morning so we were able to pack and get out on time. We apologize that we were not able to get any post out this weekend as we did not have good reception.  Here’s  a quick summary  of how the last three days have gone on the trail.

Our  first day was actually our longest hike. We made it to our first campground with a Riverview and the boys did great! Lots of encouragement on the trail and lots of beautiful nature. When we set up we learned how to set up our tents,  cook spaghetti for dinner, put up our food at night with bear bags, and then had a devotional and social time around the campfire. Great view of the river and all that Manistee River Trail has an offer.
The next morning we woke up and learned how to make omelettes in a bag 🙂 Patty led us in a devotional then we headed out for a great swim spot near some waterfalls. Lots of fun playing in the river, looking for Petoskty stones , floating downstream, and catching crayfish to cook for dinner :-). Saw a bald eagle,  osprey, deer along the river.

our last day was spent traveling to the suspension bridge. A lot of other hikers on the trail and the boys did a great job of saying hello. I think a lot of the other hikers were impressed to see a group of a dozen young men making their way with full packs. we made it to a group camping site on Seaton creek where are the van Met is to bring us real food —hamburgers,  hotdogs, chips, pop, and a desert to celebrate all we have done .

At our devotional time four boys asked God to be their Savior and Jesus to live in their heart. Three boys recommitted themselves to being disciples of Christ! Lots of encouragement for each other and a few testimonials from leaders of how we have seen God encourage us

The best part of the trip is that this is only the beginning and not the end! Dan will be following up with the boys in their schools and at their homes to help them follow through on the goals that they set this week. I personally will look forward to seeing them at some of our social events including a hockey game, Craigs cruisers, and other opportunities.  Look for prayer requests and updates from your prayer partner coordinator.

Continue reading Coming home!

Adventure Awaits Us

Hey everyone, it’s Patrick Jr… or Patty!

We woke up this morning and began with a devotional about wearing masks. No, not masks we are wearing for COVID-19… but the masks we cover our in most thoughts and feelings. You see, sometimes we go through our everyday lives looking and acting like we have everything together, but that’s not the truth. The truth is, sometimes we hurt, sometimes we are broken, sometimes we need prayer. However, we serve a God who in knowing everything about us, still loves us endlessly. That’s all that matters!

After a morning session with the horses, we completed our last entrepreneurial activity, where one of the boys excelled and took home the win… Kyren stepped up and showed the true leader inside him! The rest of the boys also stepped up, and did an amazing job.

At meal time, one of the boys was missing home, and sat away from the other boys. Austin took it upon himself to go talk to the boy and invited him back to the group. These are just a few examples of exactly what we want to see just before we leave for the trail. Coming together as a team, looking out for each other.

The afternoon was spent on a trail ride to complete our time with the horses. It is always sad to say goodbye, each of the boys makes such a special connection with their horse that could never be forgotten.

The end of the day was also full of fun things such as archery tag, swimming, and lots and lots of laughs!

As the sun goes down on our final day at Cran Hill, we prepare our hearts and minds for the journey ahead of us. Tomorrow  we will embark on our eleven mile backpacking trip on the Manistee River Trail. Let me tell you.. the boys are ready. This is no easy hike, there are many ups and downs. In a way though, that is just like our faith, ups and downs. How to we get through those ups and downs, with God on our side. Please be in prayer for safety and strength for not only the boys but the staff as well. Please also note that we may not have good connection, but will be posting when we can!

-Patty

The Great Day

Today was a great day.

It started out with a good breakfast of french toast, and then we went to horses. Some continued their ridings skills while others watched the training in the “round pen.”  We learned that there is a lot that we have in common with horses. Like we need to overcome our fears, and we need to learn to trust the handler (who is God).

Before lunch we practiced creative thinking with a fun group entrepreneur activity.

After lunch we enjoyed some swim time– though we gave our best effort to sink the swim raft, we were not able to!  Maybe tomorrow!

We did zip line next and almost everyone got on it.

Then we learned to throw tomahawks, which is harder than it looks! But many of us got used to it and are quite good.

We ended the afternoon with dinner, then a testimony from Wade.  While Patrick set the movie up, the boys set their mattresses to slide down the stairs 🙂 The Popcorn and movie were good and we enjoyed being together as one.

Overall, the boys grew a lot closer to one another and God.

  • Nolan

Coming Together!

Even though Monday started rainy and wet,  we started off with a good breakfast and got to the horses right away! It is amazing and how quickly the boys are advancing in their confidence and skills in working with the horses. Many of them know how to approach a horse saddle it tie the correct knots mounted and guided around the arena after only a couple of lessons! While some were riding the horses others worked the chores in the barn and learn what it takes to take care of these beautiful animals.

We took a break from the horses to work on a creative thinking and problem-solving activity. The boys were presented with a problem of How to figure out how to survive in the desert, But the real goal was to see Learn in their ability to problem solve and work as a team.

Were you able to log into Facebook live to see our archery activity? If not you can see a recording on our Facebook page. The afternoon was classic summer camp activities including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and archery.

Mr. Dan (the boys case manager) was able to drive up from Grand Rapids and spend the day with us. It was great to continue a relationship with him as he will help with the follow up care.

We ended the day with more horse skills including riding lessons and how to wash and groom the horses.

After supper was a campfire and Patrick shared his testimony. The kids responded well and his son Patty finished the night with a stirring prayer and a call to live for God.

Day 2: Who is God?

Hey everyone!

My name is Patty! I am a staff member this week, and I am so excited to spend time with the boys this week, here’s a recap of our amazing day today:

We started the day spending time with Jesus, we dove into some scripture and explored the question, who is God? We had some really good conversations and wrote down our goals for the year! We discussed both long term goals and some short term goals that each teen can work on while they are here at camp.

We had the opportunity to complete some team building exercises, the “spider web”, and “all aboard! The teams came together and did amazing! It was hard for them all to connect at first, but towards the end they began to work together to get the task done.  There were some normal frustrations but overall the boys were determined to complete the task at hand. They came out of these activities much closer as a team.  Some of the bots even spent time learning to play chess!!

Today was the first day on horses! The boys learned how to tack, groom, and get on a horse today and even began to ride. Seeing the smiling faces and hearing the laughs was definitely a highlight of the day. After riding, the boys worked with the horse staff to feed the horses, this also served as a pretty cool experience.  See Facebook for more pics of the boys on horses today!

They also fed the goats, rabbits, and even the pot belly pig names Annie.

We would love it if you guys would pray for another great day, and that the boys would connect not only with each other and the staff, but also with their father in Heaven.

A New Beginning

As I lay here and reflect on our first day with these boys, I am amazed at how God works all things together for good. Every year a new group of boys join us and every year God begins a new work in each of their lives.

Tonight the boys kicked off their week on the climbing wall. Each of them challenged themselves to go further than they thought possible. Some were challenged to get to the top while others pushed themselves out of their comfort zones and simply put on a harness and set a goal to get a few feet off the ground. Either way, they all celebrated together at the end for the many accomplishments. During our reflection time, the boys gave affirmations about each other for encouragement while they were on the wall or for determination to meet a goal they set for themselves. It was truly a “coming together” event for this group!

Later we cooled off in the lake and closed the night around the camp fire with an introduction to their bibles.

We sat around the fire tonight and I asked the boys how they felt before they arrived today to leave for summer camp. All of them responded by saying they were anxious and worried because they didn’t know what to expect. One of them was honest enough to say he was worried about being accepted by the group. One of our  junior leaders, Quinntin was quick to respond, “this is a non-judgmental zone, we accept everyone just how they are.” Was an amazing response! I then asked the boys about their first day and how they felt. The overwhelming response was that they were happy to be here and excited for what tomorrow will bring. As we sat around the fire I looked around and watched as the boys were talking with their new friends…some were laughing while others were listening intently learning about each other’s lives back home.

I am now ready for bed and across the room I still see one flashlight on. A boy and his bible. A new beginning.

 

 

Success! Evidence of HIM

Wow!  We have seen GOD at work throughout this week.  It has truly been incredible to see evidence of HIM in all that we have done.

Our final day of hiking, we woke up and accomplished our morning tasks quickly, ready to hit the trail.  We were excited to complete our last leg of the trail and rest.  I could see the motivation in the girls to complete our hike.  Unfortunately, that motivation  began to disipate when we got a bit off track.  Somehow, we took a wrong turn and circled back, making what was supposed to be a quick hike, much longer.  As the lead hiker, I was so frustrated with myself.  I was the one that led us off track.  Our girls were tired and feeling weak.  I felt responsible for being the one to take us off track.  At that point, fatigue set in, emotions were high, and our motivation had faded.  We stopped, circled up, and prayed for strength.  It is in times of weakness that we are forced to rely ONLY on HIM.  We continued our hike in quiet, putting one foot in front of the other.  Although it was hard, we FINISHED the hike, some of us in tears.  Our feet were tired, our backs hurt, and our spirits were low. We were then reminded that it is the sacrifice and hardship that makes this hike sacred.  NOTHING happens by accident.  Our AMAZING GOD knew that the “alternate” path we took was needed for our girls.  Getting to the end of the trail was such a relief.

The girls often carry heavy burdens on their back EVERY day.  This is exactly what the heavy backpacks represented.  Taking those packs off at the end was such a relief.  We discussed that we don’t have to carry those burdens everyday.  Our GOD is willing and ready to carry the weight if we invite him in.

After resting, eating lunch, and setting up camp, we headed to the river for some fun.  The girls searched for Petoskey stones and swam in the river.  Some even jumped off the rope swing.  It was much needed down time.

Next, we provided solo time.  The girls took time to pray, journal,  and think about their personal testimonies.  Those that wanted to, shared their stories with the group.   It was incredible to see how GOD used each of their stories to speak into the lives of their peers.

After eating gourmet burgers and hotdogs prepared by our amazing Logistics Driver, we listened to a story by Patrick.  This led to salvation night.   Wow!  ALL our girls raised their hands to recommit or decide for the first time to invite Jesus into their hearts as the “driver” of their lives.

We ended the night with a camp fire and Janelly, our Junior Leader, sharing her testimony.  The girls (and staff) were moved by her life story.

This trip has been life changing for each and every one of us.  GOD has been at work for sure.  We give thanks that we were chosen to be a part of the 2020 W.A.R. Program.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support.

 

 

 

We made it! And their off…

The girls made it to the  manistee River Trail and are currently on day two which is the longest leg of the trip.   Yesterday was a roller coaster of emotion as the girls embarked on a journey not many can say they have taken.   The hills are high, the trail is long, and the packs are heavy. But the girls accomplished the task at hand! They completed the first leg and we’re excited to arrive at our first campsite where they sent camp. After setting camp the girls collected firewood and set up in their cook Groups  to make a yummy spaghetti dinner. Some of the girls venture down to the river to put their feet in while others relaxed around the fire. The campsite was filled with giggles and smiles as the girls reflected on the first part of their hike.

Today the girls will hike to the waterfall site which is filled with more than one waterfall and an amazing swimming area. This is usually our toughest day so we ask for prayer and strength for the girls. We do not have good connection to the Internet so please be patient as we try to post as much as we can.  We cannot currently upload pictures to this blog so please watch our Facebook for pictures and videos. Continue to share comment and encourage these girls as we will be reading them their blog posts tonight.

Manistee.. here we come!

Day 4 at the Ranch was filled with laughs and smiles; each activity throughout the day provided the group with different opportunities to strengthen their relationships with one another. The morning began with our daily devotional, we focused on Psalm 139:1-4 and discussed how God knows each and everyone of us, our best and worst characteristics, and loves us more than anyone else.

After lunch we headed back to the Stone House to begin our mask activity. We sat outside and enjoyed the fresh breeze as we decorated our individual masks- representing the character traits we allow the world to see and the character traits that we hide from the public. This activity provided the girls with the opportunity to get to know themselves on a deeper level,  and bring awareness not only to the masks we often wear but also the authentic beauty that is behind them.

After some fun in the Lake, we headed to the barn and began our trail ride. The trail ride consisted of many laughs, amazing views, and the chance to finally enjoy the horses as a complete group.   Dinner was followed by our daily Hot-Seat discussion, covering the progress that each girl has been made and the areas of growth that we will continue to work on. We enjoyed a warm fire outside the Stone House, and shared words of affirmation with one another before heading off to bed – this truly united the group in such a beautiful way and prepared them for the long day ahead.

Though our time at Cranhill is coming to the end, the memories will definitely live on forever.  We have seen God at work each and every day, and it is incredible to think about all of the great things that have occurred while on the trip so far. Our hike along the Manistee River will begin tomorrow, and we are eager for all of the blessings that are yet to come!

Soaring to New Heights

This morning the girls went to riding lessons and experienced the round pen. They were able to watch Jillian, their instructor, establish trust and obedience with the horse in the pen. The girls reflected on how this exercise relates to our relationship with God. We often hesitate to trust and obey God,  just like the horse struggled at first to trust and obey the instructor and  follow her directions.

Before lunch the girls participated in an entrepreneurial activity. The girls were asked to take a pair of scissors, two pieces of tape, pieces of spaghetti and make the tallest structure they could together. The girls brainstormed and worked together as a team. They practiced their listening and leadership skills to work towards winning the tallest structure.

We were able to take a trip tubing down the river. We listened to worship music as we floated, it was a nice relaxing time!

After lunch the girls participated in the zip line and tomahawks. They were able to overcome their fears and climb the ladder to get to the top of the zip line. They encouraged one another as they climbed and soared. At tomahawks many of the girls learned a new skill and challenged themselves to give it their all!

Remembrance Ranch exists to transform the lives of struggling teenagers and their families through the power of Jesus Christ impacting today’s culture for the glory of God and the benefit of society.