Closing the Season
2019 has been a year of many firsts for EMBRACE. As we close our season, this author finds herself reflecting on those firsts. Any door we open in ministry leads to an inevitable door opened in our own hearts that God wants to address. As our all-volunteer staff has learned, we can only lead others where we are willing to first go ourselves. For me (Sam) this was something I experienced often in 2019 through this ministry.
The last ten months involved many changes. In addition to our twice-aweek sessions we added a monthly session for Children’s Village, an emergency foster care home in Coeur d’Alene. I was elated to be able to serve this vulnerable population, and I was entirely unprepared for the way the Lord would minister to my own heart through serving them. The unresolved hurts of my own past, many of which took place as a child, surfaced without warning. The Lord is eternally gracious, and even as I was able to love on and serve these beautifully broken kids, he ministered to my own heart. Rather than shut off the pain and run away, I did what I encouraged the children to do and brought it to Jesus. As I practiced this, I found myself able to offer hope and encouragement to them each month.
We hosted our Faith-Based Equine Assisted Philosophies training seminar, certifying EMBRACE staff to lead EAL sessions. It was a large personal investment on many of the staff’s part, and it wasn’t a decision that anyone came to lightly. The financial investment required me to answer the question I felt God was asking: how much do you believe in what I am doing through you in this ministry?
Doing ministry requires an enormous personal investment on the part of every volunteer, and sometimes the only return anyone receives is the peace in our hearts of knowing we’re doing exactly what God has called us to do. We’re right where we’re supposed to be, investing in his kingdom. Sometimes we’re blessed to see people change, to witness someone come to Christ, to watch as revelation lights up their eyes or to see a teenager drowning in depression smile for the first time in weeks. The personal decision to invest in the EAP certification was, for me, solidified my conviction that having the tools to better reach the lost was worth any cost.
We hosted our first horse day-camp for children ages 7-12 and it was a hit! We were not only able to teach ground work, arena work and trail, but we were able to share the gospel in a new and fun way that connected horsemanship skills to the kids’ relationship with the Lord and with others. It served as a fundraiser for our ministry and it was an opportunity to serve children and their parents in a demographic we don’t usually get to reach. Our team is looking forward to doing another day-camp in 2020, so keep looking to these newsletters, our website and social media platforms to stay in the loop!
2019 was the first year our ministry went entirely mobile, operating completely from the cargo trailer we purchased last year. We’ve managed to fully operate out of four locations because we had everything we needed for sessions and crafts in a place that could be mobilized at a moments notice. We continue to pray for a ranch to call our own someday, but I am reminded of Jesus’s message to the man who said he’d follow him wherever he went: “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20, NLT). Always, his heavenly Father provided everything he needed, and we depend on him for the same.
2019 was also the first year we put out a newsletter to share with the community how your prayers, financial and material donations and general support makes a real difference in the lives of the people we serve. As a writer, this was a particular blessing to be able to use my gift in another way to share the good news of what God is doing right here in north Idaho. Revelation 12:11 tells us that we defeat the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, so we shout the testimonies on the pages of these monthly newsletters.
As we close 2019 we are both sad to see it end, and grateful for what the Lord has done in these short months. However, though our season of public service is over for 2019, EMBRACE will begin receiving training from professionals within the community to better serve our participants in 2020. As we grow and learn individually, and as a team, the Lord is equipping us all to meet the needs of others, one person at a time. We are just beginning.
If you’d like to see the numbers for 2019, December’s newsletter will have an update with details about the people served and where your donations have gone to support them in 2019.
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