In June, according to the CDC, one out of every four young people seriously considered suicide. This is a 25x increase from the monthly average just two years ago. Health fears, isolation and loneliness, disrupted lives, and loss of purpose are among the many likely causes for this recent spike. The situation surrounding the pandemic has affected everyone, and the statistics reveal young people are impacted the most.
The Ranch exists for these very young people. This includes victims of racism. And youth who’ve been trained to be racists, and youth who’ve been trafficked, and who’ve been trapped in the opioid crisis, and on and on. Each of these horrible crises spotlighted in society this year reminds me of Ranch students I’ve known, people who have lived through each of these.
In this broken world, the Ranch is terribly, awfully relevant. I dream of a world where the Ranch is not needed, where there are no stories of trauma, abuse, and evil. But I know this will not be the case until the advent of the New Heavens and the New Earth, which is surely coming, when God will make all things right.
And so, we will keep our doors wide open, and we will tell of the healing power of the love of Jesus.
I hear people say, ”We need a place like Christian Encounter in every city in America.” Yes, we do. But there are far too few safe places for struggling youth, and even fewer that teach of Jesus’ love, offer professional counseling, personalized education, and thoughtful structure. Still, in every city, there are people who love Jesus and whose hearts have in turn been filled with His love.
And so, I turn to you. Be involved! God wants to use you. Pray. Find someone to listen to and to mentor. Volunteer at a good organization near you. Give to the Ranch! As you touch your neighbor with kindness and love, hearts will change.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” -Ephesians 4:16, NLT
Nate Boyd, Executive Director