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Gerald weighed in at 3 lbs. 5 oz. Though his father abused his mother, and she abused her baby with drugs and alcohol throughout the pregnancy, Gerald survived with no neurological or physical deficits. God’s grace.
What if you knew you could have everything you really want for Christmas this year?
Is CEM a camp? A boarding school? A counseling center? A work training program? A church? An intern training center? The answer to all those questions is a qualified “yes!” No one label really describes Christian Encounter Ministries. Each of those functions describes a part of what goes on here, but the goal of every department is the same—to set each young person here on the path to maturity and wholeness.
Some of the blessings of being associated with a ministry are the virtuous people you meet, the deep connections formed by our mutual love for God, and the witness and testimony of each one in the vast and various members of the Body of Christ. As this privilege continues over many years, I have come to appreciate the power, complexity, depth, and sweetness of God’s work around the globe. I started to list all the ministry connections from Grass Valley to other parts of the USA, and I realized I was going to hit most of the 50 states—ocean to ocean, from Alaska and Hawaii to New York and New Hampshire; from fellowships of the deep south of Georgia and Alabama to the Midwest churches in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri; all across the plains to Texas, New Mexico, and the western states—and as my pencil progressed, my excitement for God grew.
Jeremy arrived at CEM with fresh memories of the night he spent under a bridge. He was broken and lost in every way. No home. No friends. No hope. No purpose. The next morning, on his bicycle with a few clothes in hand, he went immediately to an NA meeting. It was the only place to go. With some help from a stranger there, and with never-ending grace and patience from his grandparents, Jeremy grabbed a thin rescue line. That line led back to his sister, Lindsey, formerly a student at Christian Encounter. He looked over at her and tears welled up. He had not cried since their mother’s death five years earlier. Never in innumerable fights. Never in suspension from school. Never in deadly drug overdoses. Never in jail or rehab or on the street. Now, “sweetly broken,” the tears followed this request. “Lindsey, tell me about the Ranch.” For thirty minutes they sat in the rain and talked about work, Bible study, wilderness trips, discipline, and hope. She had found the Lord there…the Jesus that mom had told them about and read to them about. Healing was there, not just in the place or the people, but in real meetings with Jesus. Her testimony and his grandparents’ interventions prompted Jeremy to ask for help.
You can’t find love unless you know what it looks like, according to Lovella. She says that what the world passes off for love is just conditional love—it’s only good until somebody says they like someone better. The conditions change with what you wear; what you look like; how much money, drugs, or alcohol you have. Lovella knows what love is not. It’s not parents who leave you with a friend for months at a time. It’s not parents that don’t protect you from horrible abuse. It’s not friends who tell lies to get what they want. It’s not people who give up because you are angry and hurt by life, never stopping to assure you that you can tell the truth about what’s happened.
“Pick your battles!” a wise person implored. Except that you don’t always get to. Some battles do indeed pick you. Other fights are not worth the time or effort that is expended. Many intra-church squabbles fall into this category. Many a long argument inside the confines of our own imagination are equally useless. And then there are those wars that need to be fought, but no one really wants a piece of it. Such is the fight for righteousness, for holiness, for godliness.
It was a great opportunity for Josiah. For three or four months he was able to work alongside his older cousins at the Christian camp managed by his aunt and uncle. Everyday work had meaning and purpose as he volunteered at the camp. In return, the Word of God penetrated his soul, and the family life warmed his heart. He had landed in their home a few years after his mom passed away, leaving Josiah’s dad with his three siblings at home. Josiah had already begun a steady downhill slide long before mom took her own life, and the darkness became very deep after that loss.
The following article was written by Zoya Lee who served a 2 year internship from July 2010-July 2012:
Josiah has been a student at the ranch for just under a year, and on June 1, 2013 he received his high school diploma from Christian Encounter High School. Read below for a glimpse into his perspective of the ranch and graduation: