All the activities were pretty challenging and scary, so I really had to put a lot of trust in my dad and in the Lord. Something I learned quickly during the activities was that God will always catch you if you fall. I remember it was the 2nd or 3rd day at the ranch and our team, Blue Crush, was at high ropes. I was not very scared before I started, but that changed pretty fast! There was a tree with staples in it so you could climb up and then at the the top there was a zip line to go down or you could jump across steps high in the air to the next tree. My plan before I started was to easily climb up the tree then just leap across the steps and then go down the zip line at the next tree. I got about halfway up the tree, and then it started getting hard. The staples in the tree were far apart, and I was pretty high up so the fear was kicking in! I finally got to the top, and I honestly really wanted to go ahead and get down but I told myself earlier I was going to go across the steps. I did not want to give up because I knew if I got down I would have regretted not going to the next tree. I was clipped in and ready to jump, but it took a while for me to actually do it… everyone on the ground was encoring me, but my feet would just not move. After about 5-10 minutes of standing on the platform, the counselor at the next tree asked if she could pray for me. Of course, I said yes because I needed something to help me get on these steps. She prayed and what really stuck out to me is when she said, “God just let Mae know she can make it through this and even if she falls you will catch her.” Right when she was done praying I was ready to jump! Her prayer gave me so much comfort and took away my fear. I jumped across 2 steps, but then I got to the longest step in the middle. I stopped for a minute because I started getting scared again, but then I remembered the prayer and did a big leap. After that, I made it a few more steps across and went down. Once I got down I was so happy I did not give up and thought about how I could apply that to my life. In life, things are going to get hard, and even if there is a chance you will fall just keep going because it will be worth it in the end; and if you do fall God will catch you and help you back up if you put your faith in him! Each activity we did taught us a lesson like this, so the whole week was a great learning experience.
This past week I got to go to pretty much the best place everrrrr! My dad and I went all the way to Etna, California to get to JH Ranch, but it was so worth it because it was one of the best weeks of my life. I was super nervous at first, and we got there late so everyone was in bed asleep. I met everyone the next morning, and they were literally some of the best people I have ever met in my life. All week we were challenged and did activities that really improved your relationship with your family member and with God.
Everyone I met was so encouraging, positive, and were all such good influences. At home, it’s so easy to get caught up in drama with your friends and school and not focus on the important things like God and good relationships. Being in this undistracted environment allowed me to get to know so many amazing girls who I will be friends with forever. Everyone’s love for God was so inspiring and made me want to get to know the Lord even more. Being at the ranch really test your trust in God but being there with my dad also tested my trust in him. In so many activities we had to help each other. I would have to count on him to hold me up, not let me fall, lean on him, etc. but he would also have to put the same trust in me. It really helped strengthen our relationship and I know now more than ever I can always count on him to help me and talk to my dad about anything. Every night at JH we went to Big Top. Big Top is a big tent where everyone comes to worship. You sing you hear talks, and you pray. The presence of the Lord at Big Top is incredible; you can just feel him in your heart and see him in everyone else.
If you are even thinking about going to JH Ranch, with no question GO!!! You will not regret it. I don’t think it’s even possible not to have a good time even if you try. I am going to another session next year called second wind. It’s a two-week student leadership program, and I could not be more excited to go back!