In early February of this year, Chris and I both finally felt a sense of release when it came to sharing the vision of Risen Ridge Ministry. Of course, we have shared with friends, family, and our church family, but we had not made an effort to publicly share the vision because we had not sensed that God was giving us favor in that area. After meeting with our board of directors and our team, we created a flyer that shared four points; the vision of RRM, what a horse ministry is, what RRM is actively doing right now, and what our immediate needs were, namely, a location.
Our hometown, Stuarts Draft, has a sweet little facebook page called, In the Draft. It is written by one of our local mail carriers and highlights gas prices, events happening around town, and great information that we, as local residents, benefit from. Most weeks, she writes an article about a person or people from our town and what they do. It is called the In the Draft Person of the Week. When we created the flyer, I immediately thought of the In the Draft page so I contacted her. I was not sure if our flyer was something appropriate to share on the page or not, but it sure wasn’t going to hurt to ask. She responded by asking if she could come speak with Chris and I about Risen Ridge. We had a great time sharing and getting to know our new friend, Roxanne. She graciously said she would have something ready by the following Thursday. She wrote a great piece and featured Risen Ridge and Chris and I as the People of the Week. You can read the piece here.
Less than 4 hours after posting the article, local resident Cynthia Miller messaged me on facebook. She and her husband have a farm and a vision and wanted to talk with us about possibly using their facility. She and I quickly realized that we have a lot of friends in common, which helped establish some trust right away. Chris and I went to the farm that very afternoon to check it out. It is less than 10 minutes from our house and in a very central location for people to come. As soon as we saw it I knew this would be where RRM starts. It has a 5 stall barn with a tack room (that is all set up with saddle racks, bridle racks, and shelving!), a riding arena, and two large paddocks (a few acres each). It is clean, well kept, and has a comfortable feel. We set up a meeting with the Miller family for the next day.
Side story: Risen Ridge Ministry is rooted in Psalm 23. Chris and I had recently spoken about having a sheep to have a talking point to share about God as our shepherd. Would you believe that the one and only farm animal on the property is a single, solitary sheep? That was a such a comforting confirmation from God.
Our meeting went great! We shared the vision God has given us for the ministry and they shared what God has put on their hearts. They shared that when they purchased the home, they hoped that it would be a sanctuary, a place of rest and restoration. God is so good! When we left the meeting, we simply said that we would take the weekend to pray about it and be in touch. By Sunday evening, they contacted me and said they were excited about moving forward!
The next step was to have our board and members of our team come to assess the property and meet the Miller family. Once again, everything went smoothly! About ten of us went to the farm on a frigid Wednesday afternoon to walk around and then scurry inside to the warmth of the home to sit down together. We were all able to ask questions and discuss a few things. This is new territory for all of us, so open communication is very important, and thankfully, very easy! At the conclusion of this get together, we decided that having some sort of agreement in writing was a good idea.
The following week was our regularly scheduled board meeting. We spent much of our meeting working on a land use agreement. After much prayer and some revisions, we shared it with the Millers and set up a meeting to talk about it and hopefully sign it.
Our meeting was Friday, March 22. My prayer all day had been that if this is where God wants us to start, that the meeting would be easy. We wouldn’t have to revise the document and go back and forth, it would just be easy. God delivered! It could not have been easier!! The agreement was signed with joy, excitement, and thanksgiving!
Next week, on Wednesday the 27th, we have a team meeting. You are welcome to come!! It is at 6:30 at Common Ground in Fishersville. One of the main items on the agenda will be talking about our next steps. We do know that the next stage will, again, take some time. The farm needs to be prepared, we need to acquire just the right, very special horses, we have to get to know the horses, and we need some hands-on training. As of this moment, we have nothing but willing hearts and a heavenly Father who loves us and clearly wants to see this ministry in the Valley. The needs are great but our God is greater and we have been shown over and over that He is faithful and will provide!
For this weekend, I am just going to rest in thankfulness, awe, and wonder at the amazing God that I serve. The way He has led us and is shaping this ministry is just beautiful and beyond anything that we could do ourselves.
Before I close, I want to share a few fun things that came about because of the In the Draft article...our facebook page gained 44 new followers, our website has 16 new subscribers, a local restaurant owner offered to cater a function for us, and is willing to lend his experience with canning should we ever hold a class on that (we hope to!), and we now have a location to get started. We were patient, although I'm working on being graciously patient, and we were obedient to God's direction. He is growing this ministry through us and I can't believe how blessed I am to play a part.