By Nita Horn
It’s hard to believe that summer is now behind us. I can still hear the happy-hearted flurry of children running to and from the fishpond, the horse arena, the swimming pool, the rock-climbing wall, and everything in between. That joyous, top-of-the-lungs “PIZZA” shout during their favorite meal of the week still echoes off the walls of the lunchroom, daily transforming a now-empty cafeteria into cheerful memories and the anticipation of their return. I can’t wait to see the crafts and games in the gym recommence; I look forward to watching the campers sing lots of fun songs, reenact memorable Bible stories, and put on puppet shows in the new chapel area. The activities are always such a blast for them, and the great success of sharing the Gospel with everyone of all ages during those weeks are the most rewarding feeling for everyone involved!
Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. I mean that from the bottom of my heart! And because of your support, as of today, we have a couple of exciting announcements.
First, we are proud to reveal a new addition to the campground: a team of therapy riding horses! Carla (a mare) and Marco (a gelding) are Haflingers, also known as the Avelignese—a small draft-horse breed developed in Austria and northern Italy, known for their chestnut color, flaxen mane and tail, and gentle temperament. Carla and Marco illustrated their ceaselessly gentle nature as the Royal Family Kids climbed all over them throughout the summer camps. The kids let us know they loved having something new in the arena. What fun!
MARCO SADDLED UP FOR SUMMER CAMPS!
Second, allow us to introduce to you all the newest member of the therapy horse team: Bon Bon—a gorgeous small Gypsy mare. Gypsies were specially bred to be cautious, mellow, and careful around children, so they are an ideal breed to bring to our facilities here.
BON BON IS A STUNNING, REAL-LIFE “MY LITTLE PONY”!
Third, beyond the equine additions and brand new to the grounds for the 2020 camps, is a 430-foot zipline that spans from the top of the hill across the gully and lands next to the gym. From the stunning view atop the Crow’s Nest (the embarking platform) to the therapeutic finish line, the thrill of the zipline challenges each participant to overcome, let go, let loose, and fly!
BUILDER JOHN BATCHELDER AND JOE HORN PREPARE INAUGURAL RIDES ON THE NEW ZIP LINE!
Fourth, behind the Hacienda, Teen Reach (a “sister” organization to the Royal Family Kids) is adding even more challenge courses, including several low courses for visiting teens to engage in team-building and personal-development exercises. We are grateful to Teen Reach for their assistance in this part of the dream activities here at the ranch.
Doesn’t it all sound wonderfully exciting?
Looking back on the past few months brings joy to everyone at SkyWatch and Whispering Ponies Ranch. We are now enjoying a gorgeous mid-September, having just supervised an overwhelmingly fruitful summer season. These quieter months are put to great use as our staff bulks up and prepares for all the RFKC and Teen Reach groups who have already booked our facilities in 2020. We can hardly wait to see what the campers think of all these additions and improvements!
We are now switching gears and resuming our fall and winter activities: visiting rest homes, popping in to share a “hello” with the special needs kids at the local school, and ministering to God’s cherished souls wherever and however we can. It is in this off-season that we are sometimes privileged to impact someone a little further on in their earthly years, making up the “other half” of the “unadulterated religion” commission from Jesus’ half-brother, James (c.f., James 1:27), so any prayers that you could put forward for us in this endeavor is eternally appreciated.
I felt so blessed to meet so many of our pony sponsors at the recent Pony Sponsor and VIP Banquets held at the 2019 Branson Conference . It was my first time to speak in several years; needless to say, I was a bit tense, but my wonderful husband was there to keep me inspired! Our miniature therapy horses, Blondie and Callie, were also somewhat nervous with all those bright lights and big crowds, but they faced it like pros, meeting their kind sponsors during the unexpected photo shoot. (By the way, Blondie and Callie said to tell you all hello for them!)
Tom and I once again want to convey our gratitude for your support. We are thankful for all of those who have partnered with us in giving of their resources by sponsoring a pony and/or joining the VIP Founders Group, as well as holding us up in prayer that we can complete the wonderful things we have been called to do here at WPR. Articles and updates like these prove that it is because of you that we continue to accomplish, and increase, our original WPR/RFKC dream.
Very soon we will publish how YOU can join us for the 2020 VIP Banquet and once-in-a-lifetime Branson Conference at the Chateau on the Lake! In the meantime, that’s it for now… See ya back at the Ranch!
Nita and Tink