A Place to Call Home
Imagine getting a desperate phone call from someone pleading for help. They’ve lost their job, their spouse has died, their child is hurting, and they don’t know how to pay their electric bill. They are at the end of their rope. This is a common story for us at Joy Ranch. The details may vary but the story is the same. “Our family is broken, and I don’t know what to do.”
"Our family is broken, and I don't know what to do."
So many times there’s little we can do but offer a listening ear. For me, one of the most heartbreaking parts of this ministry is knowing that we can’t help everyone. Some children don’t want our help, some need more help than we can give, and sometimes, we simply don’t have an available bed. Yet even in those times, their stories stay with me. I’ve personally found myself regularly praying for a 14-year-old boy who didn’t come to the Ranch. I never even heard his name, but God keeps bringing him to mind when I pray.
Prayer is of vital importance when we consider who to place at Joy Ranch. As much as we’d like, we can’t place every child who is referred to us. Our staff regularly prays for the children who will come here because to us, we know it’s not just an empty bed to fill. Each bed represents a soul – a hurting child who needs to know what it means to feel safe and loved in a healthy way. When we get a phone call asking if we can take a child, our staff looks at the information we’ve been given, then we pray, both individually and corporately. If we agree to move forward, we then meet with the kiddo and their guardian. Then, we pray some more. If we’re in agreement, we then place the child in one of our cottages.
It may seem excessive, but experience has taught us that some children need a different home than Joy Ranch. The last thing we ever want to do is to unknowingly inflict more pain on a child who’s already hurting. It’s not healthy for anyone to bounce around from place to place. We don’t want to be just another stop along the way for a child. We want to be a home.
We want to be a home.
So, this is our prayer for each precious child we have the privilege to know and love: