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.
Luke Brouwer finished his internship last month, but living locally he continues to devote his days to the students twice a week. Below Luke shares excerpts from his daily journal log kept during his internship.
Journal - Day 144, Saturday: I am sure glad that we serve an infinite God, because I am so bad at encouraging and comforting, but He keeps strengthening me and empowering me to keep plugging away.
Journal - Day 161, Tuesday: One of the students ran out and I went after her, and she asked me why I even tried anymore, because this was like the eighth time I tried to cheer her up when she was hurting, and obviously “she was a hopeless case”. And I said it was because I believe that everyone needs someone who will never give up on them.
Journal - Day 200, Saturday: Well here we are. 200 days of not quitting. 200 days of never giving up. 150 days past the point where I thought it humanly impossible to continue. Also, God gave me the privilege of being the vessel that was used so He could work magic in a student’s life. I was just there, and got to see Him work.
Just a couple of months into my internship, one of our students chose to leave the program voluntarily. After his departure I struggled for months with grief and sorrow, a pain I was unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. I began to withdraw and struggled to engage fully in relationships with the students and others at the Ranch. I didn’t know what God expected of me and was unsure if I wanted to continue my internship past three months.
After much wrestling, I decided to recommit for three more months until graduation. In those three months I saw God move in amazing ways in my heart, life, and the lives of the students. He began to show me that my pain had a purpose. I experienced God’s patience and heart towards me. He didn’t expect me to fix myself, He wasn’t in a hurry, and He loved me in my sorrow as much as He did in my joy.
As I continued to reflect on this difficult time of internship, God brought me to the question “If you knew the outcome, would you have done anything differently?” After thinking on this, I realized that if I had known God was calling me to be obedient to show love to someone who would be so temporary I would have held back a lot. I would have loved differently knowing the pain it would bring after the loss. In realizing this I was led to a powerful truth of who Jesus is and the choice He made in loving us.
Olivia Crissman, one-year intern
(L to R) Back row: Zach Garrett, 23, Suffield, CT; Luke Brouwer, 23, Nevada City, CA; Shannon Kiley, 25, Lincoln, CA. Front row: Cathy Gao, 22, Beijing, China; Olivia Crissman, 21, Winston-Salem, NC; Holly McClain, 25, Grass Valley, CA; Emma McDowell, 23, Chambersburg, PA; Kim Beisel, 26, Upland, CA.
Elizabeth (Kemmerer) Suarez (Intern ‘15) and her husband Kevin were married in November ‘17 and currently reside in Lynchburg, VA. Elizabeth completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling through Liberty University in December and is pursuing licensure as a licensed professional counselor.
Following her internship, Kaitlin Dinkelacker (Intern ‘14-’15) moved to New York to work with 14-21 year olds in foster care through Mercy First Foster Care Agency, leading job skills workshops and assisting youth aging out of foster care to find housing, amongst other responsibilities. After a year in New York, Kaitlin moved back home to Ohio where she began working at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health with 16-22 year olds with mental illness. Kaitlin is currently enrolled at Ohio State University, pursuing a doctorate in Occupational Therapy, with a desire to return to the mental health field.
Kate Jeffcoat (Intern ‘16) moved home to South Carolina after internship to continue education in physical therapy through Midlands Technical College. She returned to Grass Valley last fall and is currently working at Uplift Family Services in Sacramento, a behavioral and mental health treatment program, as a behavior specialist.