About three years ago, I went to a boy’s home in Tennessee, called the Shenandoah Ranch Academy. It was for struggling teens (oftentimes runaways, addicts, or worse). I needed it.
The nine months I spent at the Ranch contained some of the hardest months of my life. They also contained some of the best. Several were both.
The regulations there were strict (among the most prominent was the outlawing of all interaction with girls. Period.), but we needed that. The guys there and the staff became some of the best friends I have ever had (have amazing friends, so that is saying a ton). They loved me, and I loved them.
But many (most) of the guys hated the Ranch. It was hard. It was difficult. It was constraining. They ran into every rule. They got into trouble.
I didn’t. At least not as much. I loved the Ranch.
When I went into it, I had a mindset that was new to me: I had forged it through many prayerful and tearful nights and days in the weeks previous. I was destroying my whole set of habits, attitudes, and worldviews, and re-building from the Bible up. One of the principles that I adopted was that I would obey my authorities, regardless of whether I thought they were right or wrong. That decision carried me through the Ranch, and I rarely got in trouble.
But it wasn’t me that did it. It was God. Just weeks prior I had been stubborn, rebellious, filled with wickedness and despicable sins. The difference was that I had been saved. God was doing dramatic and wonderful things in my life.
The staff there guided me in my life, forming new habits of humility, honesty, and strength. But mostly diligence and persistence.
Their Biblical teachings and counsel were invaluable to me, and carried me through a lot.
The Ranch has gone through a lot of tough times. Over time directors have come and gone. Boys have come and left. The campus has changed. The rules have changed.
But something has stayed.
It is a place where parents can send their sons to be helped Biblically, and where they really will be helped.
I left to go to my family, and we left to go to Ireland, and I miss the Ranch. I still keep in contact with my friends there, even those who have left (insofar as I am able). I call back and encourage as I can. I do this because they are special to me, and I want to help them.
So why am I telling you all this?
Glad you asked (now I am starting to sound like a salesman).
One of the crucial roles at the Ranch is that of Dorm Monitor. This vital part of the staff is a mature young man (over 21, so he can drive the van) to help lead by example, tend the grounds, and monitor the dorm. The guys need someone who is like them who they can look up to and model their lives after. They need someone who knows where they are and who has overcome. They need someone who is a spiritual and a physical leader, who will not cow to their whims.
They need a rebelutionary.
I was blessed to be there when a young man named Phil Dunlop (actually one of the sons of the author of the Terrestria Chronicles series, and yes, I did meet his dad. 🙂 ) was dorm monitor. But he is away at college now, and they need a good strong dorm monitor.
I told the Director (his name is James Scott, a friend who is like a father, an uncle, and a grandfather all in one to me) that I would ask my rebelutionary friends to see who would like to offer to take this job.
It pays. It is hard.You would need to go live in TN, hopefully for at least a year. It is definitely worthwhile.
If none of you guys are able to take this opportunity of ministry and service, pass it on to someone you trust. Help me help these guys. They need to hear our heart’s cry: the battle call of the Rebelution.
Thank you so very much for passing this on!
With joy and peace in Christ,