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I’m sitting here with dear friends of the ministry, Craig and Nancy McAtee. This year will be Craig’s 12th year riding in the Agony and 13th as a participant. A few years ago, Craig broke his collarbone while training for the Agony, but still raised funds for CEM and came out as a sagger. Craig’s passion for Jesus coupled with his love for long-distance bike riding has made him a very effective spokesman for the Ride, raising over $45,000 for CEM. Over the years, the Agony has woven its way into the very fabric of the McAtee family. Here’s what they have to say.
Nancy: I’m not a bike rider. I don’t like competing with cars, so I don’t like training for it...But I’m a physical therapist, so I kept thinking about ways I could help out. When Craig would go, I was at home for the majority of our child-raising years. Once our kids got older, I wanted to give a little bit to the ministry because I really believe in what it’s doing for the kids... I thought, as a physical therapist, I can help out and do massage. But it was more than that, because when people didn’t need a massage I was out cheering with the kids, serving food. I could diagnose injuries and show people how to change their posture on their bikes.
BY: Zoya Lee
Former CEM intern, current CEM staff member and 3-time Agony rider!
There are seasons of my life where there is a more deliberate, a more conscious drawing near to the Lord usually brought about by a set of challenging circumstances. In this particular season, He’s also reminding me of the joy found in obedience.
As I am writing this, it is Holy Week, and I’ve been reading a devotional intended to “focus our attention on Jesus as He displays His love to the uttermost.” Monday’s text leads us to ponder what it meant for Jesus to set His face for Jerusalem. The author wrote, “Remember, when you think of Jesus’s resolution to die, that he had a nature like ours. He shrunk back from pain like we do.” I don’t know about you, but oftentimes when I think of Jesus I tend to focus more on His divinity than His humanity. Perhaps, because to consider His humanity, I’d need to put myself in His place and that’s far too painful. Because I, too, shrink back from pain. And then I remembered last year - the week leading up to the Agony Ride. On the morning before the Ride as U-Hauls were being loaded, a coupIe of students walked in on me crying. I explained that it was just my “pre-Ride cry”. What they didn’t know was that this had been a daily ritual every morning that week. I was setting my face for Jerusalem.
by: Chuck Boatman
CEM's Executive Director
Seeing lives change is one of the primary joys we experience in being a part of CEM. Sometimes the change happens slowly in the form of steady growth. More often, the growth comes in spurts, with occasional setbacks requiring the change process to begin again.
I was reminded of this recently as I was reading Jeremiah. In chapter 18, God told the prophet Jeremiah to visit a potter and observe him at work. The vessel the potter was creating developed a flaw, so he made it a lump of clay again and formed a new vessel on the wheel.
The Igloo Trip is our bi-annual single-gender four-day winter camping trip that takes place in the Sierra Mountains, during which the participants work together to build igloos and other snow structures to protect them from the elements.
In mid-March, staff, interns, and students take a break from their normal morning schedules for a week of condensed spiritual input.
This year, we had the privilege of hearing local ministers Scott Gallagher, Guy Prudhomme, and Zach Malech share from the book of Titus. Dan Prout led us in a teaching on prayer.
After staff and interns covered the students in prayer, the students in turn prayed over those in authority.
We were encouraged to hear from former students Alyssa McMahon (2016) and Jackie Turner (2010) as well as current students Zack and Nate. Interns Justin Dillenback and Maddie Johnston also led us in devotional times.
by: mADDIE jOHNSTON
Current CEM Intern
You’ve not truly experienced the “stink eye” until you’ve gotten the stink eye from Savannah for joking that she got less wise after her wisdom teeth extraction. And for good reason—Savannah, whose dry humor and good-natured smile are staples in the current Ranch family, has wisdom beyond her years.
Growing up, Savannah grappled with understanding what she called “tough love” at home. “I’d cry myself to sleep every night,” she said, “because it was either me that was getting yelled at, or it was someone else in my household. And I’d be the one that would be the punching bag.” The stress mounted, and Savannah often awoke sick in the mornings as her body reacted to the emotional strains. Before long, she found herself craving anything to help ease the stress, and she turned to alcohol and marijuana. When those attempts to cope were discovered, she was faced with a choice: complete a recovery program, or spend time in a juvenile detention center.
Note: The Igloo Trip is our bi-annual single-gender four-day winter camping trip that takes place in the Sierra Mountains, during which the participants work together to build igloos and other snow structures to protect them from the elements.
2 year intern
Hometown: Tracy, CA
Future plans: Pursuing teaching credential
I have a naturally patient personality. I’m willing to be there for people and explain something differently if they don’t get it the first time. I want people to learn. I feel like going to school to get a teaching credential is the next thing. Coming alongside others is something I naturally do.
Amanda (Polejewski) McIntyre, CEM 2007 graduate, shares about her journey since leaving CEM and the importance of giving back.
When I came to the Ranch, I had very little education and I had been living on the streets. I call it “broke, busted, and disgusted.” I was really rough, unlovable, and I acted out a lot. I was a terror, really. [CEM staff and interns] just loved on me. They helped with my education. They talked about Jesus and how He loved me. They showed Jesus through their actions. That was hard for me. My own mom gave me up. If my own mom couldn’t love me, how could anyone else love me?