by G. Allen Hires
Without a “pocket full” of miracles we were sunk. The letter in my hand swam in and out of focus as I tried to concentrate on its unbelievable content.
It was terse and to the point. “After July 1st your services will no longer be contracted for by this office.” It was signed by the head of the State department with which we had worked for over 19 years in the housing and rehabilitating of young men.
The need was even greater than when we had begun our ranch for boys in 1962. Furthermore, our record had often been mentioned as outstanding by the courts and agencies with which we worked. Above all we know that the Lord had called and blessed in this particular area so that a regular mission field had sprung up to offer hope in otherwise hopeless situations.
I confess to a mixed “bag” of emotions such as frustration, anger, fear and bewilderment while considering the implications of this new attack as agonizing thoughts rushed through my mind.
“How are we to break the news to the 10 families who had dedicated their lives to this work?”
“How are we going to send the 22 boys we now have back just as many of them are making real progress with the Lord? Are we supposed to close down after all this time? If not, where will we get enough money to carry on? Will we be able to mortgage the ranch to continue, and if so, who would ever loan us the $300,000 we are now spending each year to operate? It looks like we will have to quit. We KNOW we are doing the job far cheaper than almost any other place right now.”
The questions echoed like the crack of doom, and my faithful wife, Freeda, and I sat as though we had just received a death sentence.
That, of course, was exactly what our enemies intended, and for the time being, at least, it appeared they had won. They too thought so, for they notified every referring office in the State that the Flying H was now closed. Even now, three years later, some have never learned differently.
“Has God really called us to this work or are we at last running out of resources?” My mind just wouldn’t leave it alone.
“No, that can’t be, for don’t you remember how foolish it sounded when we went shopping for a ranch with only $50 and no promise of any more funds?” asked my wife, Freeda. As in times past, Freeda was bobbing back to the surface before me and I breathed a silent prayer of thanks for such a faithful partner.
“And then, just think of God’s faithfulness to us over the years. He was in it then, and He must still be in it for He never changes,” she continued. Her words were a distraction, if not a comfort, and I could not help but smile as I remembered how it all started.
We had been asked to help in a “Lifeline” camp which at the time seemed to this preacher, who was not versed in worldly ways, to be a visit to the shores of the “lake of fire” itself! To be thrust suddenly into a situation with 30 boys from the slums of some of the State of Washington’s toughest cities was more than a little “much” and no fun at all.
The challenge had remained, however, and on retuning home the hopelessness of those boys and what they had been sent back to, after spending a week of trying to give them the gospel, was more than my usually over active “forgetter” could handle. We remembered one boy whom we had been forced to deliver right to his home as his parents didn’t come to get him. They were sitting in the yard and never looked up as the boy returned after being away a week. Nor did they speak to him or us. Such a welcome home left us hurting and speechless. The faces of others haunted the quiet hours of night.
While friends got tired of hearing of the needs, a faithful radio listener sent $50 from the settling of her husband’s estate with instructions: “Start a home for children.”
Later we were to find just how difficult this really was when we were visited by one who had $500,000 available to get a home started and was never able to get it going.
In our searching we found a deserted dude ranch in the heart of the Cascade Mountains which the owner wanted to “cash out” so he could buy a hospital. We did not tell him of the $50 limit as we somehow thought that it might not be very powerful attraction to him.
We really surprised the real estate agent handling the deal when we sent an offer to the owner and neglected to enclose a check.
Since his son was a missionary to the Orient, however, and he was interested in what we had in mind, he sent a letter telling us we should have sent the initial $200 with our offer but that he would hold it until we could send the money.
Right then our $50 began to look very anemic and our immediate response was, “Lord, you obviously have a wrong number – will You hang up and dial over?” The wonder of it all was that God was not mistaken even though we could not mention this complication to the real estate agent due to our policy of never telling needs nor soliciting funds. The outlook appeared hopeless until from a very unexpected source God sent in funds that made it possible.
With a sense of wonderment at our Father’s timing, we sent the first check. Within ten years the entire mortgage was paid, a new gym was erected and two neighboring ranches were added to the original.
The whole unfolding miracle was in response to one of God’s many promises assuring His questioning disciples; “Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house…or lands, for My sake and the Gospel’s but he shall receive a hundred fold now in this time, HOUSES… and LANDS with persecution and in the world to come eternal life,” (Mark 10:29-30)
The words: “houses…lands” had glowed as we had tremblingly reminded Him of a time a few years before when we had donated a ranch for His service. “Lord, You know the value of the property we gave You, now let’s see You give us back 100 times as much.” Freeda and I prayed. It had been a challenge but one that strangely satisfied.
God gave us the Flying H and the State of Washington gave us boys. HOW they gave us boys!!! Years later they were to confide, “There was always some ‘do gooder’ around trying to get involved so we gave you the worse we could trust back in the community and sat back to see how you would make out.”
As for us, a preacher and his wife with 9 children of our own, we were not really prepared to cope with 15 delinquent boys, but that’s how it “went down”. Lots of mistakes were made and lots of tears shed, but bit by bit God was able to forge something from nothing and the work grew and prospered.
The boys lost or broke hundreds of dollars worth of tools assuming “no tools, no work” but it didn’t always work that way. Many post holes were dug with a big screwdriver and an old tin can (it works wonderfully in river gravels) and fences were stretched by hand using salvaged corral poles and wire and held in place with “experienced” staples and spikes.
Bit by bit the deep hidden anger of young men became apparent as they began to face the rejection by family, school, society and government officials. Many a boy had wrung tears from our eyes as he sat sobbing facing the reality of his situation.
Now at last could all of this be over? The tremblingly held letter said it was and gave the date of closing as of July 1, 1981. God seemed far away while we felt as those who try to cry out or run during a nightmare – only this was for real.
“Where else could God be leading us?” Freeda probed. She had me there, for there seemed absolutely no indications that God was finished working in the lives of these young men. Since God still hadn’t moved the 22 boys we now had and there seemed no place for them to go, we felt that He still was telling us to continue. Doubts still flashed through my mind.
Couldn’t He see the impossibilities of the situation?
Wasn’t He aware of the solidly impacted finances” Surely He didn’t expect us to walk on water and live on air. How could He be so impractical, or was He?
We had often sighed to be free from outside government entanglements, but now when we were faced with the stark reality of “no entanglements, no pay” we “locked our wheels and sulked”. We felt so sorry for ourselves that our “faithfulness” was being repaid by “neglect” on God’s part! Of course this was not the case, but we weren’t seeing issues very clearly at that point.
“What else CAN we do?” Her questions were even harder than mine. “Who is going to tell the staff?” I shot back. I had to gain the initiative to keep her from having all the “toughies.” “How will they pay their bills and feed their families?” I continued as I pursued what I viewed as a “winning streak” of hard questions.
Well, “we will get paid toward the end of July for the work done in June, so we will be able to continue until at least August.” Freeda still insisted on looking at the brighter side. This gave us a little breathing space and we felt that surely something would happen in July to change the minds of the State. “Maybe it would pay to let the Governor know what is going on,” I mused. “Brother X has connections and we know some legislators.”
The month of July sped by. Absolute frustration took the place of hope as we were brought face to face with the reality that there was nowhere to turn. No one seemed to care and every avenue we tried turned into a dead end street. We faced either closing our ministry or failing our calling for lack of finance; both were unpalatable. The only other alternative we had was trusting God for everything and we did not feel our faith was up to that. The very small faith we claimed seemed to shrink even further.
With trepidation we told the staff; “We have good news and bad news. The good news is the State will no longer be involved with the Flying H.”
Thus we embarked on what some would call a “walk of faith”. To us it was more properly an unwilling leap into absolute darkness. Surprisingly to us there was solid ground where we landed and under each step as we gingerly eased our way forward. Each time we took a stand on a promise of God it held firm and sure and we found the shaking to be in our knees, not in the promises of God. A wonderful comfort at this time was the promise; “though we believe not, yet He ABIDETH FAITHFUL; He cannot deny Himself.” Our safety came from the promises of God to Christ, not our belief in His supply. This became more and more real to us and we began to pray “Lord open the ears of those whom you will use to work with us in our times of need.”
Help did not come all at once. No one person stood ready with open hands to “bankroll” what to us was ministry of life and death. Gifts did come and some were real sacrifices. One precious saint, whom we know to live a life of almost complete sacrifice, sent us $100. Receiving that from her was hard since we knew what it cost here, but if God was speaking to her, who were we to tell Him to whom to speak? We were awed and humbled by such self-sacrifice. Receiving by faith was sometimes harder than giving by faith.
Another precious saint of that time wrote that she cleaned houses for her contribution to her families needs and felt she had little to share, but she sent a gift of $5 with an apology for its size. We felt no gift is small in God’s sight and so we kept track of the particular $5 bill. We sent it to town for some repair parts. The bill was returned with the message; “no charge.” The next day we tried again – the same bill got the response; “We have a special on that today – no charge.” Not until the third time it was tendered was it accepted (do the “Golden Arches” ever refuse money?) Thus when she gave according to her ability, God multiplied according to His ability! What is more, God made a commitment to the givers; “Whosoever shall give a cup of cold water only because ye believe in Me, verily I say he shall receive a reward.” Better still, others hearing of this were encouraged to trust God with their own resources. What a wonderful Companion our God really is.
August was fast spinning away and with it the last moments of “school shopping” when hundreds of dollars had to be expended just to give each of the boys a new outfit for the coming school year. During the summer of 1981 we estimated it would cost at least $2,000 just to give each of the boys a shirt, pair of pants, jacket, socks, underwear, gym clothes and a pair of new shoes. Two million was just as easy to contemplate.
One day while visiting a store where we usually purchased a lot of clothing the owner said, “I have a lot of stuff in the back room that perhaps you could use.” The “stuff” consisted of returns, shop worn, missing zippers or buttons, open seams, etc. The sizes ranged all the way from infant to XXL and our one ton van was sorely tested just to hold it all. Not only was there new clothing for all the boys, but also for all the staff and staff children. On that first day of school every boy was better outfitted than ever before, even down to new shoes. “If God so clothe the lilies of the field…shall He not MUCH MORE clothe you?”
Food is the first thing that pops into most people’s heads, and heads are turned as our shopping cart is loaded with perhaps a hundred pounds of hamburger, chicken and hot dogs with the accompanying vegetable, etc.; they make remarks about a huge picnic or stocking up for winter. We can always assure them it is NO picnic and all this will be used in the near future. Eight chickens are about right for one meal or ten pounds of hamburger or hot dogs.
When there are almost 30 “hollow legged” boys at breakfast the pancakes or French toast seem to evaporate, specially if there is a contest going on quietly among them to see who can hold the most that particular meal. I think 16 pieces of French toast is the current record, but perhaps even that has fallen by now. We thank God for a 48 inch grill and understanding cooks. But WHAT to cook is often a different story.
One particular day there was a need for bread. Six loaves a meal is about the usual quantity used so we prayed, “Lord give us THIS DAY our daily bread.”
THAT DAY a friend asked, “By the way, how is your bread supply?” He had in mind a PICKUP truck load. “Yet your Heavenly Father FEEDETH THEM; are ye not much more value than many sparrows?” The same source has since been responsible for a great deal of canned goods, vegetables, and many other commodities from time to time. Our food has been varied but God always sees that we have balanced meals with sufficient amounts for all.
Not only common things are sent in, but often luxuries as well – and sometimes by the truck load! God also gives us the “finest of the wheat”, “can you use asparagus?” – About a thousand pounds of it! “What about pineapples? We have 8 cases for you.” “Do you ever have any use for artichokes?” They are so exotic here we didn’t even know how to properly prepare them (25 cases of 48 each). “How about cranberry juice? We have 2,000 cases of it.” (12-2 qt. jars to the case). Do you realize that is enough cranberry juice to fill a good sized swimming pool? A market freezer quits during the night and all frozen products contained cannot be offered for sale although still frozen. Thank God for a walk-in freezer that will hold a truck load of ice cream!
And so it goes. When the income stopped, God’s good hand took over and our food budget, despite inflation, has remained at about the 1980 level. None but a BIG GOD could so amply work on our behalf.
Nor does God stop with food and clothing, even though we are admonished; “with…food and clothing therewith to be content…” Other things are needed as well. In the country flooring gets a real beating. One of the staff had kitchen linoleum whose popularity had been legendary. They picked a replacement pattern and color and then waited. They saw exactly what they wanted at a store, but seeing and buying aren’t the same. A better way was to pray about it. This they did, but there seemed no answer.
Almost a year passed with no seeming response when that same store owner committed suicide and the store was closed. Can even God get around a road block like that?
The creditors decided to liquidate the stock at auction and I had a rare free hour to attend. Being totally unaware of our staff member’s prayer I did not even look for kitchen flooring, besides the bids were far above our purse. As I offered an opening bid on one roll after another, I saw it sent soaring out of our price range by other bidders. Finally our bid was the highest on one roll and we found ourselves the possessors of some carpet of a peculiar color.
Shortly after our purchase a man approached with a strange question, “Did you just buy that roll of floor covering?” He hastened on, “I also bought a roll and I am sure there is not enough for my needs. Will you trade?” There is a way to handle these things, so I replied, “How much will you give to boot?” He gave it serious consideration and then said, “How about a hundred dollars?” That would just about give us his roll for free so a trade was arranged. On bringing the traded roll home there were two surprises waiting; 1. It was the EXACT roll the staff had prayed for, 2. It was the first time we knew any at all had been prayed for. Thus God used a suicide, bankruptcy sale, and a dissatisfied purchaser to give us what we didn’t even know we wanted!
At the same auction I purchased another rug to replace a donated one that had lived its life in two places. All sale items were sold “where is – as is.” Thus it was a real thrill to get home and find that not only the color and pattern were acceptable to friend Wife, but that it looked long enough to cover more than the one it was to replace. Actually, when the first piece was cut, we found the remainder was 3 inches longer than the piece cut. As two pieces were needed to do a complete job and it was a six inch pattern, it could be EXACTLY matched and there was just enough for the full job. Isn’t it wonderful that God not only knows the length of a roll of carpet, but the exact need of the floor it is to fit? Nothing escapes His loving care when He is completely trusted.
Questions often arise about staff needs. It is really scary to go from a salary to a guarantee of no stipulated income.
At the present, this is solved by putting all undesignated gifts into a fund and then dividing them equally among all the staff at the end of the month. At first we put all designated gifts on clips on the office wall and the location immediately became known as the “manna board.” Of course this was and is watched very carefully. God has often intervened in the seeming “nick of time” by sending in just enough for the need of the hour. When a visit to parents called for the expenditure of a large sum of money to transport the family, the last large need arrived for these staff members the day before departure. Other things not so spectacular, but just as real happen from day to day.
“I need some cooking oil for supper,” said the worker thinking of a need for that immediate day. There was no money with which to purchase any at that time. Later on that day while picking up some other items already arranged beforehand we were told, “and let’s see, there is some oil here for you.” (72 gallons!) That was surely enough for that meal and many more to boot. “Your Heavenly Father KNOWETH ye have need of ALL these things.”
Of course there are bigger things that do not really qualify as “manna for the day.” Things like roofs, appliances, furniture and cars do wear out despite careful handling. What can be done about these? Must we measure God by our needs or our needs by God? One preacher once said, “Look at God through your problems and you may never see Him. But look at your problems through God and they are small indeed.” His meaning is very clear.
When problems are the measure of need, then God shrinks to that size, but when God is the measure of supply, then needs shrink proportionately.
Thus when a worker needed a new range, having been forced to leave theirs behind when moving, it became a thing to commit to God. The very next trip to town revealed one to be given away that exactly fitted their need even to the size specifications of the one they left half way across the nation. A refrigerator met a need for things to be preserved and good furniture replaced worn out chairs. Any one of these “tokens” of God’s watchfulness could have been interpreted as just “happen so” by the casual observer, but when they occur several times a week and they are always just what is needed, the cumulative effect is a demonstration of the “watch care of God.” Spectacular things do happen from time to time and we always rejoice in them, but the very fact of “day to day” support is far more evidence of God’s loving concern than all the spectacular things put together. Christians often are too much involved in watching for the miraculous rather than seeing a loving Father’s constancy.
Debts are a real problem to some and during the days of small salaries they sometimes mounted. Since all salaries have been discontinued, however, not one debt remains unpaid, to our knowledge. This is partly due to refocusing our attention to our business affairs and partly due to the admonition to “owe no man anything” which has often been the deciding factor in the purchase of some cherished possession.
It was very apparent from the start that if a lasting work was to be done with the boys, something had to be done with the families of the boys as well. For years this had to be limited to an occasional visit by or to one of our social workers. This left great gaps in the follow-up we felt to be necessary. To combat this, our Social Services Director planned a “Family Resolve” conference to be held on the ranch at least twice a year.
The beginnings of this were very frightening as we invited parents to come for two nights and take part in seminars that dealt with the problems the boys and their parents had experienced. We know that both staff and parents approached the first one with real trepidation as it was another step into the unknown. Also, no one likes to publicly deal with failure but, after all, it must be dealt with. Consequently we set up discussion groups that would have certain prearranged questions to discuss and then report to all upon returning to the main group.
The group was split into smaller groups composed of both parents and boys although there was to be only one member of each family in a group. Thus no boy discussed his feelings before his parents or vice versa. This makes for greater freedom and clearer expression on the part of all and thus many insights into like problems are gained. At the end of each day a pertinent message from the Word of God is given and before breaking up, all family units are seen on a private basis by one of our social workers.
A great deal of favor has been shown for these “Family Resolves” since the first “cold plunge” into them. Now they are eagerly looked forward to by the vast majority of those who have participated before. In fact, we now have to limit those who can attend to current parents or 125, whichever comes first.
Much healing takes place at this time and problems thought un-resolvable at first seem to melt away. When the 49 hours of intensive ministering are completed, the weeks of preparation and tensions of the house usually catch up with the staff and the worn our workers slump into a semi-conscious state for a few hours. It is agreed however that the ministry has been worth it all.
One of the ministries to come out of the A.C. (after contact) period has been two Christian schools. One is a full-blown academy on what was known as our Boyville facility and the other is a Christian day school held on the Flying H. Boyville suffered the same fate as the Flying H by losing their contract with the State some 18 months later. We realized that in a school setting we could handle the same type of problems better and give a high grade of instruction in school subjects without the limitations the State placed on a group home. It is apparent that this same type of alteration would be very advantageous to the Flying H as well. This plan is still in the prayer stages, thus the challenges always far outstrip the programs and our vision must be expanded to see just what God has in mind.
The spiritual freedom of the staff has been worth all the sacrifices demanded of them by the new financial policies. No longer is it necessary to expect trouble over giving Christian instruction. Also the boys respond much better when they realize beforehand that the program is centered around the Lord’s love and are offered help while devotional and church attendance is expected of all. They are also told that they will be expected to act in a way compatible with Christian ethics. How much more restful to be living under the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father. It is a rest that has to be experienced to be understood.
We went through some testing times before when we added 3200 sq. ft. to our lodge designed to provide new sleeping quarters for the boys.
The plans had been made and the plumbing buried when it was learned there would be no more funds forthcoming. We did have enough money for the foundation and the floor. Long before it had become evident to us that the walk of faith often demanded taking the “last” step possible before any light or supply for the next step would be given. With this principal firmly, if tremblingly, held, the forms were placed and the order given for the delivery of $2,500 worth of concrete.
When the trucks began to arrive, there was no time to even think as all of us were busy “pouring and finishing” the floor. A seeming endless slab of concrete began to emerge with pipes sticking up here and there to indicate the future setting of plumbing.
The concrete was hardly set when God provided a big load of concrete block that sat rather forlornly on this vast expanse. A wonderful neighbor, who had been an official in an eastern city before retiring, offered to “lay up” the corners. This is a very technical task and day by day he carefully placed each block, often tapping it into place for several seconds before he was entirely satisfied of its accurate placement. We heard he had never received Christ for his own although he had a faithful wife who prayed daily for his salvation. Thus our greeting often was a variation of “How do you like working for the Lord?” A grin was the only answer but shortly thereafter he publicly confessed Christ as Savior.
Another neighbor took his vacation at that time and spent it laying the blocks and wiring the building, so rapidly that walls took shape. May God reward those two men a hundred fold for their faithfulness.
God says, “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints,” and thus it proved when a Christian was “promoted” leaving much of her earthly goods to us to do His work. So it came about that as one of God’s own moved from a “tent” to the “mansion” prepared for her that a memorial was erected to her faithfulness and generosity many miles from where she had lived her testimony.
So with no “sound nor fury” nor any telling of needs nor solicitations the building moved to its majestic completion to the glory of our heavenly Father alone. Actually, we never had one day’s delay due to lack of materials or workmen, though at no time could we have told who would finish the work nor with what they would finish it.
When it was completed, we found the costs were less than ¼ of comparable construction in the regular world. The most thrilling of all, however, was the way God fitted everything together in harmony and simplicity until for the first time boys could move from a 10 bed dorm room to a 4 bed room with more of everything that goes to make a bedroom restful. No “hitch” was permitted to cause anxiety and again we were reminded of the scripture, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it…”
As the building drew to completion, one snag seemed to develop. We had the rug, but no one who felt free to lay it. So, as we brought the matter to the Lord, a total stranger came by who wanted to spend a week of his time working for the Lord. He was willing to tackle the job and by the end of the week the rug was in place.
Another thing that stands our about that time was the acquiring of suitable doors. Fire regulations were strict and each one had to be of “one hour fire-resistant construction.” Such doors cost a minimum of $100 each and had to be specially ordered.
A former “boy who had gone into construction stopped to tell us of a remodeling project in which he was involved at one of the hospitals. Among other things he was responsible to dispose of any salvage and among this salvage there were a lot of doors. So we purchased used door of two instead of one hour construction and 48” wide instead of 36”. Instead of the $200 such doors would have demanded on the market, we got them, with the best hardware attached, for only $10 each. In this way God has often supplied by sending the needed item instead of the money for the item.
Day by day that first year after our contract was cut, God sent in special things or people to meet our needs until to date we have become almost “spoiled” by His constant watchfulness. When there was a real dearth of funds we were asked if we would lease our mineral right. An oil company had been drilling an exploratory gas well in the area and had generated a lot of speculation by burning some excess gas for a few nights. Since we had some choice land, we were able to get very favorable rates for our leases and thus God unexpectedly provided the cash to continue the ministry for a few more days. So God continues day by day to satisfy our every need.
As the end of the first year approached we prayed that we would be able to end the year with no unpaid bills. During the month of December there are often extra gifts that come in, but that year these were all designated for the workers. Thus it was that on December 30th we still had some unpaid obligations. On the 31st of December, however, the mail brought a designated gift that covered all indebtedness of that as the new year arrived we could thankfully say, “we have NO unpaid bills.” How graciously God meets day by day.
What was true of the work was also true of all but one worker. We were very concerned about this one but since that time special gifts have arrived so it is now true of all. The Bible says “the borrower is servant to the lender” and we wish to be servant to Christ alone.
A bank president called with a sincere offer to help. We would have liked to interpret this offer as a real opportunity to do something about our faltering personal economy.
A quick prayer, however, resulted in our involuntary “deliverance from evil” and instead of pouring a list of material wants into his sympathetic ear the following dialogue transpired: “Hello, this is your friendly banker in________________ calling to see what we can do for you;” followed by an expectant pause. A quick thought crossed my mind, “I wonder if this guy is for real? Boy, what an opportunity! A banker wondering he can do! Does he, like supermarkets, have any samples he could spare?” But the thought was immediately superceded by the realization that God was not joking but rather sending someone to share the load with us. I answered, “Can you get 50 people to pray one minute a day for us?” There was a mystified pause during which I am sure he was asking: “Boy, is this guy for real?” After all bankers tend to think along different lines, but this man I knew to be a devout Christian.
I confess that a lot of material needs flashed across my mind but we were “proving God” and letting Him set the supply so all of our needs must remain unmentioned. In a situation such as this the logical question arises, “what about someone who wants to help and doesn’t know just where the help will do the most good?” There are a lot of different answers to this question and each person must decide between the Lord and themselves just where that line shall be drawn between sharing and not sharing needs.
The lengthening silence on the other end made me nervous. Had I gone too far and scared him off? After all, his help would be appreciated, especially at this time. His answer was reassuring. “Of course, but what can we do for you?” It was obvious he was thinking along standard lines in which bankers are the most comfortable.
“Have those people ask the Lord if He wants them to personally do anything or does He want them to pray that He will speak to those with ‘open ears’ whom He desires to use to minister here” I said firmly. There was a moment of silence as this registered and then he said, “Let’s try that”, and he hung up. The upshot of this whole conversation has been that a real group of prayer helpers have been raised and there have been outpourings of manifestations of their love from time to time. God has honored their commitment to Himself and has used them here in real ways.
Once again, “Father knows best” not only about what we see but also about what we don’t see. The fellowship with that group has continued and God has used them to work His will among us often and is glorified in their service while they have an added sense of His personal leading in their lives.
The work here has grown and expanded so greatly that now we have many more requests to place boys than openings for them and we must refuse an average of about one boy a day. This is very traumatic to us. How do we explain to a weeping mother that we have no room for her boy even though we know she has tried desperately just to find any help at all. All the while she is assuring us that we are her last hope. I confess those parent’s discouraged tones haunt us for many nights.
On the other side of the coin, God still is working this MIRACLE and we have become so positive of His goodness that though we still stumble and sometimes tremble, we yet rejoice with a great joy at seeing Him continuing the construction process He has begun.
People often ask; “How can we pray for you when you don’t tell us your needs?” It seems like such a good question and there are some very good answers.
First: This is a spiritual battle and all the warriors here need the support that only God can give. He has chosen to use the prayers of His people as demonstrated by the battle between Israel and Amalek when the deciding factor was Moses who was on the sidelines with lifted hands in intercession for Israel. Although Joshua fought valiantly in the valley it was very apparent that the intercession of Moses determined the outcome. Anyone who has ever “locked horns” with a rebellious teenager knows what a spiritual battle can ensue. Imagine yourself in a roomful of such people and you will see why spiritual power is necessary. James says, “Tremendous power is made available by a good man’s earnest prayer.” (James 5:16 Phillips)
There is a constant need for workers and God has ordained workers to go into the field by the prayers of God’s people. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest field!” They are supported by the same means.
There is a constant drain on physical strength of the workers. This is promised by our Heavenly Father and claimed by us both for ourselves and other at the Throne of Grace.
Of course there are material needs and they are many and on-going, but God supplies them. Often He supplies by opening the ears of those with resources which they share. This must be the work of God. Some feel they are not involved in missions unless they have some material gift. We would be the last to discourage that view, but still, GOD DIRECTED GIVING IS GOD BLESSED GIVING. Paul spoke of those who “lacked opportunity” and indicated they shared in his ministry as they gave. God assures us “a man is required for what he hath, not for what he hath not” and all have time to pray sometime. It is just as important to have those who are open to the leading of the Lord in areas other than material giving. How wonderful if we prayed, “God show us how to pray that others as well as ourselves are moved to involve themselves in God’s work. Whisper in their ear what you have for them to become involved in your work.”
Most of all there are the boys themselves. Since the closing of the contract our size has INCREASED by about 25%. Over the years more then 625 boys have been on the Flying H. Many are back in the mainstream of life remembering what they learned here as they seek to apply these principles to the day-by-day walk. About 90% of them have found the Lord as their Savior, and many have walked with Him since that time. It is common for us to receive a call from a long departed boy telling us he met the Lord while here and is striving to walk with Him in the new areas of life in which he finds himself. The tragedy of this work is many live near the “edge” of life and so a far higher death rate than would ordinarily be expected is noted among the boys who have been here. Just recently we were told of one who had come to us before he was 12 years of age and had stayed almost two years. During that time he found Christ as Savior but on going home found no support for his new found faith. He had later been sent to another group home. In the next facility he found little support and the other inmates set out to “get him.” They took him to the woods behind the house, clubbed and stabbed him with a screwdriver. As, after two hours, he was still alive, they went back to the home, got a butcher knife and finished the murder. They then returned to the home once again and got a shovel and buried him. No one made any search for his body for nine months until one of the girls involved could stand it no longer and told the story. The body was exhumed, thus confirming the story. Thus the world deals with these problems. Surely Christians have better solutions at the “throne of grace.”
Our greatest surprise over the years has been the disinterest demonstrated by most churches for this field. Perhaps it is only important to a few because of lack of knowledge or maybe the press of other things crowd out any new vision. We feel however, that God has shown His interest and continues to construct this miracle right under our “noses.” Every day this work remains active confounds our enemies and adds to the exciting things God is doing here. As this is being written we are being solicited by the state workers to take an abandoned 14 year old boy. What answer would you give them?
Brethren, please pray for this “Miracle Under Construction!”