I am writing this at the halfway point of the life skills training program at Battle River Camp and many wonderful surprises have happened since coming here. But first, a little about my background and how I ended up at the ranch. I grew up in a dysfunctional family where my father had serious addictions to drugs and alcohol, which led him to leaving me and my sister. My mother also had her addictions so life was hard. Thankfully, today my father and I have a better relationship. Praise the Lord! He has been clean since September 2 of 1995. My mother unfortunately has been continually struggling, and so I pray for her and ask for your prayers as well.
At age 13 I began smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol and getting into trouble with the law! I was a troubled teenager having the, ‘‘I don’t care attitude,’’ disrespecting authority, elders, myself and not only that, our wonderful Father who has created me. I would only get worse from then on; eight years of probation for my crimes and always going to the extreme of trying all kinds of drugs. These drugs would bring me to my bottom of bottoms, hurting people to get my next fix, begging people for money in downtown London, Ontario. Stealing, lying—anything to get what I wanted and when I wanted it. I became so broken inside, seeing what I was doing to myself and to others. When I was serving more time in jail for another crime I had committed in January, 2012 I had started to pray to God again. I began asking Him to show me and guide me on the right road. I had been learning and also knew inside my heart that God could somehow change me. I had read other testimonies about people way worse than me being totally set free by His divine power. I could feel it, but knew that was a commitment I had to be totally ready for. I was selfish and didn’t want to let go of everything. I thought to myself, “I’m still young. I want to have fun.” Well, shortly after I had miraculously been released from jail I was straight back to what I knew best. While I had been in jail, though, I met a man named Tim H., an aftercare worker for New Life Prison Ministries. Tim would try to meet with me on a regular basis; he would always show me the love of Jesus. Knowing he was a faithful man of God, when we would meet I would be so convicted I knew I had to change! I knew that I wanted to be like Tim one day!
So I started to make contact with Teen Challenge Saskatchewan. After previously leaving Teen Challenge in London, ON before completing the full program, thinking I could do it on my own, I knew I couldn’t go back to London TC. So I left Ontario knowing that if I was far away and had no distractions whatsoever, that I could spend one complete year at Teen Challenge seeking God so He could raise me up and use me for His Kingdom. So I battled through the tough times at Teen Challenge learning how to cope and use my skills. Learning how to deal with life skills in a more positive way always being in communion with Christ. Having good fellowship with my other brothers that were making that step to living the new life Christ offers. In my last three months, as I was getting close to finishing my program I began to search out opportunities.
God Opens New Doors
I knew I always wanted to be a plumber, but the door wasn’t opening. I was then reminded of Harold and Diane Stephan from Battle River Ranch, and so my friend said to me, “why don’t you just give them a call and see what happens?” Sure enough when I made that call God had already opened that door!
Well, you’re in for a treat now!! God has blessed me with a new life. I graduated the twelve month program at Teen Challenge in Allan, Sk. and now I’ve been at the Ranch clean and sober for 3 months. I’ve been able to come to the ranch and develop and enhance my skills in the trades. 1 Corinthians 2:9 “But just as it is written, things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” This Scripture blows my mind!! And is truly real! I’ve been places and seen things now that I couldn’t ever have imagined when I was lost and trapped in my addiction. I was blinded from the plans God had in store for me. God has taken me places because I started being faithful. Finally giving up the old life, He has blessed me tenfold and even a hundred fold. I am now halfway into the program and people have asked me, “what can you learn in just a few months?”
New Hope, New Direction
Well, if you put your full effort into the short few months training at the ranch and ask God to help you and guide you, you would be amazed! Piece of cake for Him! Anyways I’m trying to say that I am already training others to do plumbing!! One of the other students here at the ranch has felt led by God to also pursue a career in plumbing. Haeden and I have had the privilege to do our first home together. Setting up all the main water lines, heating systems, shower hookups and currently working on our drainage and that’s what I have learned to-date at Battle River Ranch. Having Harold and Diane’s sons teach me to do something I love doing, in a Christian way as I continue to work on my trade, has truly been a huge blessing.
Well, I now have to think and plan my exit plan from the ranch. I know these months go by fast as they did at Teen Challenge and I only have a few months left. So I am praying that maybe I could stay at the ranch and go to work everyday. I am praying that God will provide a vehicle for me to get to and from my job. The reason why I want to stay at the ranch is because of the great atmosphere here. Coming from a broken life, and living the dark life I was in. Now coming to freedom through Christ, I am not ready to put myself into a situation where I don’t need to be if I don’t have to. I am also praying what great asset I could be to the ranch. So I am also praying that I could possibly be a mentor to the new students coming to the ranch. I would have to be asked by Harold to consider that. Well that is currently where I am at, at the ranch. I have been encouraged in living the life God has designed for me today because of the encouragement I have received here at Battle River Ranch Camp!
All of this has been possible thanks to the generous hearts of supporters and their generous giving. Supporters paid the way for me to do the whole program! In and out of jail and a full year at Teen Challenge; I had nothing. People even sent winter clothes for me to make it through the cold Alberta winters.
I am thankful because I now have a career in plumbing all because of God and people like you. A special thank you to Harold and Diane for being so faithful in fulfilling the vision God had given them. I pray Lord God that you keep them strong because we know this is not possible without You. I also thank God for the people who have blessed us here at the ranch, bringing me where You need me to be. God you are good!