A Wow Experience
I remember when I was a kid, oh about 5 years old, my mom and dad got divorced. I took it pretty hard. But I remember making a decision back then. I thought, “well dad is no longer going to be around so I better step up my game”, something like that. Probably not the usual thought for a 5 year old. But I knew that I had to somehow grow up if I was going to “make it”. It became an opportunity for me to build my character, to challenge myself. As adults we get blindsided by all kinds of unforeseen challenges that seem insurmountable at the time. But they are opportunities to build our character and strengthen our resolve. So….. this is the hard part….don’t resist them. Believe it or not…. Invite them in. You have a better chance of dealing with them and turning them into opportunities of growth and not moments of quiet desperation.
The first thing he had them to do was called the “Fall of Faith.” This is where he would ask them one by one to climb to the top of a ladder and fall backwards into the arms of some strong cowboys. Now you have to remember these kids have been abandoned and neglected by the very people who they thought loved them and now you want them to trust total strangers to catch them. But something amazing started happening. The first one went then another and then another. Oh it wasn’t instantly it took time and it took encouraging them. There were a couple who would have nothing to do with it. One girl wouldn’t even touch the ladder and even asked “Why should I trust you, I don’t even know you.” So true a statement. But by the end of that day she did trust a little more than she did when she first arrived.
The kids had to clean stalls and feed the horses. I would have thought the way teenagers hate to do chores that this would have angered them but you know what? They loved it! They jumped right in and some of them picked up horse poop with their hands! Amazing! Then after much hard work they were now ready to ride these beautiful creatures they had just cared for.
Some of the kids jumped right on with excitement still others were terrified and didn’t even want to touch a horse. But slowly one by one they all rode. They even learned how to lead a horse. I stood to the side and watched with tears streaming down my cheeks.
At the end of this glorious day the kids were brought into the church part of the ranch to just sit and share. The adults who had worked with these kids all day began to share what they had learned and how certain kids in their group had touched their hearts. Then slowly the kids began to stand up and share. Remember, these were the same kids that when they first arrived just six hours ago had attitudes and really didn’t want to be there. Now they are standing with tears in their eyes saying, “ I don’t know why you guys did this for us today”or “ I don’t understand how you can love us when you didn’t even know us, but thanks.” “But thanks,” “But thanks” over and over we heard thanks. There was not a dry eye in the place. They stayed for the church service that night and five of them raised their hands for salvation. Now that my friend is what it is all about!
I told Michael McMeel that only God can do such a wonderful thing. Yes, God uses Michael and his love and compassion for these kids that others just often overlook and throw away, but without God’s touch on his life none of this would be possible.
I want you to know that God loves you too. He has a special plan and purpose for each and every one of us. Just because we have problems or short comings does not mean God throws us out. I want to ask each of you reading this article to stop today and say a prayer for Inner City Slickers. I want you to contact me if you live here in the area and have horses or love kids and want to help Michael hold a camp just like this one right here in Tennessee. He has the ranch we just need people to help! I am telling you I came back a changed person after being a part of this and you will too.