Whether or not I can believe it, it’s already been a year since Chuck Boatman retired as CEM’s Executive Director and the baton was handed to me. The completion of the year has felt like a significant personal milestone, so I took some time to reflect on the lessons, victories, and hard times the Lord led us through over the course of this year. One particular theme of memories and thoughts has sifted out: overwhelming gratitude.
It starts with the simple reality that there’s something so very special about the Ranch. I still have a hard time describing the depth of this place, but I do know for certain it’s an honor to be part of it, and especially to know the people here. Each different group involved in this community contributes so much.
I’m grateful for the daily sacrifice of the interns: walking in the steps of Jesus, leading people to the cross. They fight for souls. Long-time Agony rider Carol Douglass once said there’s a special place in heaven for interns. I think she’s right.
I’m grateful for the CEM staff team: the integrity and dedication, the diligence and giving. I’m so glad for their friendship, input, and support. I’ve seen the staff resolutely and lovingly walk through so many times of pain and heartbreak, unwavering in their commitment to do the best they can to care for those in need.
I’m grateful for the students, who are the point of it all. They have the courage and the willingness to be here, holding out hope for something better even when they’ve been through more than I can even understand. If you feel like giving up because you face an impossible situation, come ask one of our students to share their story with you.
I’m grateful for donors who make all this possible. Sometimes when I learn of the generosity of our donors, all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. So much is given: money, and the kindness that comes with it; love; and prayers. These gifts are an expression of hope placed in the lives of our young people, and they provide great buoying power that lifts us up.
I’m also grateful for my family, which has been a source of strength and perspective during the hard days when it feels like for every three steps forward, we take two steps back. God designed families for love and strength, and His design is good.
Loving community is a key part of God’s plan for people, and this flows from His very nature: the triune God is constantly in communion, which is too wonderful for our finite minds to grasp fully. I’m grateful for the taste of this that we experience at the Ranch.
Nate Boyd, Executive Director
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father.”