In late 2018, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch hosted a Faith in Action Mercy Conference on its Fargo campus. Attendees were inspired and energized to be a part of God's mission to bring hope and healing to the world.
They packaged 1,662 meals for people in Africa, rekindled their passion to help people in need, learned about more than 20 ministries of care, and experienced healing and release with Eddie the Comfort Dog. Conference attendees also learned about ministries that are building boarding schools in Africa, feeding and clothing underprivileged people on all continents, healing and educating children in North Dakota, and more.
The engaging keynote speakers, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison and Dr. Rob Stadler, opened participant's eyes to new possibilities for Christ-centered compassion and drew hearts toward practical ways to make a difference in the lives of others.
Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS) and author of several books, spoke of the role of mercy in the church. With more hurting people around us than ever before, God's people are called to get off the sidelines and lend compassionate care to those who are hurting. That is what Jesus did, and it is what followers of Christ are called to do today. Harrison cited Scripture to illustrate how Jesus walked toward people in need, while everyone else was walking away.
From the time of the early church until now, mercy has been a part of the church. Harrison encouraged Christians to rediscover ministries of mercy for a new generation.
Stadler, author of "The Scientific Approach to Evolution," recognizes that our focus on providing mercy can be inhibited when the foundation of our faith is attacked. The growing conflict between science and faith, centered upon evolution, has turned many away from God. Stadler explained his approach to resolving this conflict, which is to appreciate different levels of confidence in scientific evidence. When evidence that provides high confidence (evidence that is repeatable and obtained through planned experiments) is properly prioritized over weak evidence (evidence that is not repeatable and relates to singular events in the distant past), the theory of evolution breaks down. With high confidence evidence, science and the Christian faith are in full agreement. By resolving this conflict, our faith in God's Word and our focus on mercy can be restored.
A forum to discuss how society cares for its most vulnerable citizens seems to be more important now than ever. The Ranch is grateful for the opportunity to bring people together to explore ways we can all be the hands and feet of Christ.
"Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is just one part of a much larger call to care for the needs of people around us," said Chaplain Rick Jones, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. "We are not alone, and the work of all ministries represented at the conference is important and valued."