It is hard to read some of the words used to describe the children who come to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. These children are brave trauma survivors who have done the best they could in their situations. Abused, neglected, troubled, abandoned, and at-risk are the nice words used, and even those are difficult to hear.
Other words, from the people who did the abusing and neglecting, or from those who don’t stop to understand, are descriptors like incorrigible, stupid, rotten, losers, bad seed, crazy... the list goes on and on. So many ways in which some try to separate these children as different... as less than.

All these words came to mind when I read a reflection written by Catholic priest Father John Muir. Fr. Muir writes, “Our national pastime isn’t baseball. It’s what the Bible calls ‘condemning the world.’ We generally enjoy pronouncing curses upon those we see as trouble, wrong, or evil... Listen to almost any podcast, cable news network, or social media platform to hear it... Condemning seems like our best path to saving what is good.”
Muir goes on to remind us, “What a shock then, to hear Jesus announce: ‘For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him’ (John 3:17).  He comes to save the world, as we all want, but he will accomplish it without an act of condemnation.”

And that leads me to gratitude for you. Thank you for seeing these children as God's children. Thank you for believing in them and their potential. Thank you for stopping to learn that they are NOT their behaviors. Every day, friends of the Ranch and our children tell me of their prayers, support, and hope. Every day I meet people who reach out to these precious young people in mercy and love... not condemnation. Thank you for choosing to bring love and healing into their lives.
Please continue to keep our children and staff in your prayers.

In His love,

Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Sign up today to receive ministry updates and stories about our precious kids directly to your inbox!

Share this Post: