This morning I walked by the area where the cross is located at the ranch. It just happened to be “mow day” here. Each week, a group of volunteers affectionately known as the “Lonesome Dove Lawn Boys” shows up to take care of the property. They are mostly retired military with a few businessmen sprinkled in. I heard the lawnmower shut off, which caught my attention. When I turned back toward the cross to see what was going on, I saw that one of the veterans had got off the mower and knelt in the dirt by the cross, to pray over the rocks kids have left there over the summer.
Those rocks have heartbreaking, but hopeful words written on them. These are little kid’s (6–12-year-old) words that express a deep desire to recover from mindboggling physical and sexual abuse. These words are often desperate pleas to be adopted. They want to be in a forever family instead of a system that bounces them from house to house. These words and these rocks are the cries of the innocent, left at the foot of the cross and given to Jesus as an act of faith. Many of them, for the very first time, give their lives to Jesus at this moment.
At this final and climactic moment of camp, we make them a promise. They will not be forgotten by God or us. Every time we see these rocks, we will pray over them and what they left there.
When I saw this veteran, kneeling in the dirt at the foot of the cross praying over these kids, my heart was deeply moved. I literally wept. He had no idea anybody was watching. He was simply keeping our promise and crying out to the only hope these kids have: Jesus and His church mobilized to make a supernatural difference.
In that moment, I was reminded what makes this place possible. People like him….the praying, lawn mowing vet that nobody ever hears about. It’s the little grandma on a fixed income that gives $10 a month. It’s the business man from Arkansas that took a month of vacation time to serve 3 camps because he wanted to be a “father” to kids that don’t have one. It’s the business owner whose business was struggling, but as an act of faith the business sponsored an entire camp. It’s the pest control business and its employees that service 120 acres and 13 buildings (on their day off!) for no charge. It’s the firefighter who volunteers to take care of the pool after he gets off his shift. It’s the automotive shop that won’t let the ranch pay for mechanical repairs.
It’s these unknown, unsung heroes (and others like them) who serve and give sacrificially that are making the most difference in the lives of these children.
I’m simply writing to say “Thank You” to all of you. We’ve heard more from foster parents, recently adoptive parents, and case workers this year than any year in our history. They are overwhelmed at the lingering and lasting impact that our programs have on these children. It was the most challenging and costly year ever, but also the most impactful. None of the obstacles would have been overcome and none of the impact would have been made without you. Thank you for being our partner in a priority that matters most to God: healing hurting children.
You can follow this link lonesomedovetexas.com/camp2021 or scan the QR code below to see a brief video review of camp. The kid’s faces are blurred for their protection and to comply with restrictions put in place by Child Protective Services.
Again, I don’t have the words to express the dept of my gratitude. I simply ask our very gracious and generous Father to shower His goodness on you and everything you set your hand to.
Dr. Bryan Jarrett
PS. The need is still great and your partnership is still vital. A one-time gift or monthly support makes an eternal difference.
If you would like to use traditional mail, make your check out to:
“The Water Tower Network” and send it to PO Box 99 Wylie, Texas.
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