• Erin Austin

Something to Celebrate

“The goat came back!” As odd as this may sound, this was a common phrase heard around campus all last week, and it was said with much excitement and more than a hint of shock and awe.

We have a new Pygmy billy goat on campus. Everyone calls him something

different, from Smoke to Reese (after the

candy). Truthfully, his name should be Houdini because he can get in and out of anywhere due to his size. A week ago Saturday, the same day he arrived, he escaped his pen in the middle of the night after getting bullied by our largest goat, Valentine.


We spent all day Sunday looking for him. From posting on Facebook to going on multiple hikes around our property and through the woods, we couldn’t find him. After three days of being gone, we honestly thought the coyotes got him. Yet Wednesday morning, he showed back up outside the pen wanting to get back in and be fed.

Needless to say, everyone on campus was thrilled. I think at some point that day every person on campus made the trek out to the goat pen to welcome him back. Although he’s still a little skittish, he’s loving the attention.

As I’ve watched this goat get acclimated to living on the Ranch over the past week, I can’t help but think how often we see this story played out. It can be scary coming to a new place, and adjustments have to be made for all living together. To be honest, there’s often squabbles amongst residents as they figure out how to adjust to life with another person in the cottage. Residents who’ve been here awhile may feel threatened by the new kid on the block, and the new guy just wants to fit in. It’s scary, and they’re not sure if this is where they want to be. The house is different, the people are new, and the food isn’t what they’re used to eating. Although none of this is bad in and of itself, to a little person who’s been through trauma, the differences are magnified. So, sometimes they lash out with their words. Sometimes they stand away from the group refusing to talk, trying to keep their head down. And sometimes they hide in their room, the closest thing they have to a safe place.

Yet, as we slowly show our kiddos that we’re safe and can be trusted, we start to make headway in seeing the wonderful person God created them to be. We learn their likes and dislikes, the secret talents that sometimes even the residents didn’t know they had. We hear the beautiful sound of laughter as they tell goofy jokes. They become a part of the family.

Even better, as our kiddos learn about God and His love for them, they sometimes make the choice to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Just like when the goat returned home, the whole campus rejoices, for what was lost now is found. And that is worth celebrating!

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” ~ Luke 15:10


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