Many God callings are not individual. As a family we can serve the Lord together in our ministries. There are unique considerations and we pray you are encouraged in this sharing.
I was so thankful for the Coulter family’s sharing (see Sisterhood Sunday video—you don’t want to miss it!). They are Living The Dream as a family. Their God-callings include homeschooling and fostering and they exemplify a family working so well together and glorifying the Lord! It is my pleasure to introduce to you my dear friend, Conny and her family.
When we walked into our first class for fostering I cannot tell you how thankful I was to see her familiar and smiling face. Even more so as the classes progressed and the realities of a broken world set in, her and her husband was and continues to be Christ-centered pillars that we lean on.
Be inspired as this family shares their God-callings!
Conny, thank you so very much for your willingness to share. I’ve been in your home and in it abounds with love, life, and a welcome to stay. You are a homeschooling, fostering Mom and you all run a ranch! You have chickens, grow your own vegetables and churn your own butter. You make the best hummus and guacamole. There are horses to feed and muck to muck up! And all the while you are schooling and mothering!
Cindy: Your ranch is called Redemption Ranch. Please tell us about your ranch. Can you share with us how you all made the decision to offer such an opportunity.
Conny: We were at a crossroad back then. I was 6 months pregnant with our youngest son, Riley. My husband, Mark, was working at Chrysler at the time and was offered a buy-out package like everyone else employed there. He felt God leading him to leave Chrysler, defying all logic, especially since I was expecting and there would be no health coverage or any other job lined up. We took this step in faith, not knowing what God had in store for us in the future. However, within a very short time, He brought our attention to a ministry in Oregon, called “Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch” and we fell in love with the concept of reaching out to the needy children, youth, and families in our own community. Over the course of two years, God provided two beautiful horses that were in need of “rescuing”, a 5-acre-property – pony included, a horse trainer to work with some of our horses and also the children who came, and family and friends to support us in this endeavor. And so, 5 years ago, Redemption Ranch was born. The name was chosen in light of the two-fold purpose of this ministry: to rescue horses and offer God’s hope and healing to the children and families that come here.
Never in our life could we have guessed that God would use this adventure to open our eyes to the stark reality of broken homes, families and lives around us. We were appalled and devastated by the stories of these precious children who visited our ranch and who found so much joy and healing here. And slowly, little by little, God opened our hearts to something even more radical than just running a ranch – fostering!
Cindy: Fostering is a family affair. Can you please share with us how you came about with your decision to foster? You have determined to provide a home to teenagers, what brought you to that decision?
Conny: We thought reaching out to some of these children on a weekly or less-regular basis was what God wanted us to do. But then we were confronted with the instructions in the Bible that commanded us to care for the fatherless, and for the distressed and oppressed, etc. We knew that we had to open our home and hearts to God’s leading. We started out opting for teenagers, since they are the neediest age group in our county, and homes are scarce and hard to find. However, with each desperate phone call we have received from the agency (looking for a home for the children); we realized that ALL children need to experience a home where God’s love is evident and abundant, and where grace is extended freely. We’ve had children of all ages and backgrounds in our home, and with each come different joys and challenges.
Cindy: Can you share with us what the Lord has shown you and your family in your experience with fostering?
Conny: We have only fostered for about 2 ½ years, but we have felt a passion grow within us for these children that can only come from Jesus. Do we always like fostering? Absolutely not. It is hard, sometimes desperately hard. However, with each struggle came strength from God, with each valley came immense blessings. God is showing us over and over that He adopted us into His family, even though we didn’t deserve it and still don’t deserve it. He has shown us that His grace is never-ending, no matter how often we grieve His heart. Out of gratitude for Him, we long to pass on this same love and care to the children who have no one and be family to them.
We have learned that God does often give you more than you can handle. And He does so intentionally so that His strength and His power can work in and through you. He does it so that we can learn to fully depend on Him and pray to him about everything. He deserves to get all the praise and glory!
On a more practical level, our parenting has improved since we had a chance to deal with behaviours and issues that we would have never encountered, had we only ever had our own biological children. Our three children have learned how to extend love and grace to children who are so very different from them. They have truly shown the heart of Jesus to these kids. They also learned to stand up for themselves and draw lines and stand up for the truth.
God has also stirred in us a desire to raise awareness among His Church. Too many Christians are completely unaware about His special love and passion for these children, and about the dire needs around us as well as around the world.
And slowly, little by little, God opened our hearts to something even more radical than just fostering – calling Christians everywhere to wake up and defend the cause of the fatherless! To show the world that we are His disciples by the love we have for these His little ones!
Cindy: Do you have a favourite Scripture verse behind your heart motive to be a conduit of healing for so many?
Conny: There are so many verses that come to mind, it is hard to choose one. I would have to say that the following two passages are probably the most compelling for us:
Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before Him – His name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:4-6)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
Conny, thank you so very much for sharing. You and your family are an incredible blessing! God’s best to you and yours!!
Conny is a homeschooling mother of three children, foster mom, and farmer in Amherstburg, Ontario. She and her husband of fifteen years are passionate about the calling of God to care for His forgotten treasures – orphans and foster children. They are actively involved in their church, have been on several missions trips throughout the world, and are following the Lord’s direction to raise awareness and mobilize His people to defend the cause of the fatherless and those without a voice.