Around the world, Covid-19 is highlighting fragility and need in society, and not just with medical and economic systems. Social disruption, family chaos, and emotional fallout are evident too, and underneath all lies a gaping spiritual need. For 50 years, Christian Encounter Ranch has been devoted to addressing these very issues. You can help us do this by signing up for the Agony Ride today.
Despite the unknowns of the coming months, we will still be hosting the 38th annual Agony Ride at the end of July. We plan to ride in the Sierra Valley as usual. If gatherings that size are prohibited, we have contingency plans, such as subdividing into smaller groups. Even if tight restrictions are in place, you can still participate: our team of tech volunteers is creating a whole set of fantastic new tools that allow a virtual option. On July 24-25, you can ride wherever you are, anywhere in the world.
Due to quarantining, this year we're more aware of our hunger for caring and authentic community than normal. The camaraderie of the Agony and the demonstration of Christ's sacrificial love that takes place in that valley cannot be replaced. If our gathering is limited, there will be loss.
But the virtual option will result in new joys and opportunities. It allows people unable to travel to participate--maybe for the first time. It creates new opportunities to recruit friends in other locations. It gives people with tight work schedules the ability to ride too. The Agony will still happen, life-saving money will still be raised, and you can be part of it.
The purpose for the ride stays exactly the same: overcoming the cycles of brokenness, one story at a time. If anything, the lapse in societal structure makes the Ranch program for struggling youth more strategic and necessary than ever, and the economic downturn puts our scholarship fund squarely in the spotlight. We are so grateful for our Agony riders, who allow us to give scholarships to 100% of the young people who come to us for healing and a fresh start.
Sign up today to be part of a worthy cause: saving lives and giving hope. In the meantime, build your immune system and strengthen your lungs by going on a bicycle ride today!
For more details, check out the FAQs on AgonyRide.org. We will keep you posted as restrictions change and plans in line with state and local guidance develop.
Your partner in this good work,
Do you know someone looking for a gap year program? Or someone who wants to serve on the mission field? What about that incredible young person helping out at youth group? We’re asking for a minimum three-month commitment and that applicants be at least 21 years of age.
Excitement is building, plans are firming up, a schedule of events is set, and there will be plenty of time to relax and reconnect with friends from the past 50 years of Christian Encounter Ranch! Here’s what you can expect.
Friday, Sept. 18: Check-in begins at 4 p.m. followed by dinner, a fun family “game show” with a campfire available for any who like.
Saturday, Sept. 19: Activities (zipline, archery, boating, etc.) will be open and the current Ranch family will challenge the formers to an Ultimate Frisbee game on the new athletic field. A barbeque in the meadow will fill folks up, and music through the decades and a slideshow will complete the day.
Sunday, Sept. 20: You won’t want to miss Church in Angels' Meadow, the afternoon Ranch Family Jeopardy Game, further opportunities to fellowship with friends, and an Untalent Night to remember!
Tent sites and cabins are available at the Ranch (reserve now!) on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge for the event. If you prefer a local motel or hotel, we urge you to reserve your rooms soon.
Accommodations are available at discounted rates at two local motels: The Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City (530-265-5824) and the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Auburn (530-492-5656). Reservations must be made 30 days in advance.
Below, the three staff riders that comprise this year’s Team CER share their motivation behind riding. To sponsor a rider, visit agonyride.org. This year’s Agony Ride takes place on July 24-25, 2020.
Zoya Lee, Communications Coordinator
Mileage goal: 300 miles
In 2010, I came as a one-year intern, stayed for two, then asked if I could hang around to help update our publications. One year later, I joined the staff team. The bonus to sticking around for a decade is getting to catch a glimpse of the expansiveness of the Ranch family as people return to visit - staff, interns, and students alike. The testimonies of lives changed is undeniable. But the best part of my job is getting to sit down with our students - those here now, who are in the muck and mire of seeking change in their lives - and telling their story, testifying to God’s power and great love. There is no better story to share - stories of transformation, of healing, of hope. Please partner with us so that these stories can continue to be rewritten and that lives can continue to be changed.
Sharon MacLean, Accountant
Mileage goal: 275 miles
Nearly ten years ago, I was drawn to Christian Encounter because I desired to be a part of helping others close the gap between where they are and where the Lord calls them to be. I wanted to partner with Jesus to see the full capacity of Isaiah 61 on the earth. Each day at the Ranch, the Good News is being proclaimed. Each day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, young people take courageous steps from bondage toward freedom, brokenness toward healing, mourning toward joy, ashes toward beauty, and devastation toward restoration.
This year, I find myself excited to ride in the 2020 Agony, because by riding I get to partner with Jesus to bring freedom, healing, joy, beauty, and restoration to the students’ lives. Will you join me?
Jensen Near, Director of Student Life
Mileage goal: 300 miles
Serving at the Agony Ride has been one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve ever had. These last two years it has been incredible to get to sag at Beckwourth, getting to do the behind-the-scenes work to support our riders as much as possible. For 24 hours, 200 brothers and sisters unite behind one cause to bring hope and healing to hurting young people.
And now, it’s my turn to ride. I am so excited to undertake the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenge of riding as a part of the staff team this year. The students are always deeply impacted to see the physical display of love and sacrifice of all the riders on their behalf, and I am beyond excited to get to serve as one of those people this year!
In a short time, Covid-19 has upended the world as we knew it, bringing disruption, distance, and tens of thousands of deaths. Even many of those staying healthy have felt a life-altering impact. Some struggle to meet daily needs.
Millions of people sheltering at home are, ironically, feeling exposed. The places we have looked for security are teetering. Paychecks, grocery essentials, and retirement accounts are all in jeopardy, even as our physical health is threatened. At a time when we need the comfort of community, we’re told to distance ourselves.
As some hopes fade, one transcendent Hope becomes ever clearer. There is one rock that is a sure foundation. There is one source of security that never fails. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will lead us through--even through the valley of the shadow of death, whenever that day comes.
Today, life at the Ranch continues. As an “essential operation housing a needy population,” we keep serving our students, while modifying operations to follow CDC guidelines. For many of them, coronavirus is (rightly) the least of their fears. Too many times over the years I’ve heard them say: “I never thought I’d live to be 18.” But every day, they learn of a new hope and a future worth living.
As a donation-based ministry, the Ranch is already experiencing the effects of the economic fallout from the coronavirus. At the same time, schools, after-school programs, gyms, and parks are closed, leaving young people across the country with less structure and support. Experts expect (and early reports indicate) mass quarantines will result in increases in child abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, and substance use. All these are common with our students. If anything, the Ranch is needed now more than ever.
In this time of fear, we can give to others the security that is only found in Christ.
Will you help us?
Nate Boyd, Executive Director
GIVE - The economic hit on non-profits is expected to be massive. For the 2020 tax year, the CARES Act allows households to take up to a $300 tax deduction for donations to nonprofits even if they take the standard deduction. (Give)
RUN - Invest in the Ranch students and your health at the same time. Participate in our Virtual Rescue Run. Run in your neighborhood or even in your home! (Learn more)
OFFER HOPE - Help turn a life around by spreading the word to young people who are floundering at home and stalled in school. (Student program overview)
BUILD - Help us build our youth care team by spreading the word to maturing young Christians who want to make a difference. (Youth care internship overview)