boys ranch for troubled boys

There is a scene in the film Wayne’s World, where Wayne and Garth are using some very amateurish background video effects to pretend as if they are traveling the world from their basement studio. 

They pretend to go surfing in Hawaii. They visit Broadway to see a show, and then Texas to join a cattle drive. Next, the background switches to a bland postcard of Delaware.

They pause, befuddled about what to do.

After a while, Wayne says, in the flattest voice imaginable: “Hello. I’m in Delaware.”

No disrespect to Delaware – I’m sure it has its share of treasures – but most days, if you’re like me, you probably feel like, well…you’re in Delaware.

You get up when the alarm goes off…or three snoozes later if you like to really live on the edge. You brush your teeth, eat your bagel, drink your coffee, fight the traffic to your place of work, clock in, do your nine to five, shuttle the kids to and from sports and school activities, grab some fast food, drive home far later than you had planned, crack the whip to make sure everyone does their homework, shower, catch up on Netflix if you still have any energy, and then, finally, go to bed. If you’re lucky, you get six or seven hours of sleep and do it all over again.

Hello. I’m in Delaware.

But occasionally, adventure breaks in. We pause this regularly scheduled show to bring you…

            We’re pregnant? Again? How?  I mean…That’s great!  Adventure!

            We’re out of flour? Really? I thought I told you me…Oh well. I’ll improvise.      

            Hello, dad. You want to bring the kids to Arizona? Adventure!

            You’re bringing me where? Whetstone Boys Ranch? Adventure!

Adventure is at the core of the Whetstone experience. It is very non-Delawarian. (Again, no disrespect.)  From the moment he finds out he’ll be coming here until the time he leaves, a Whetstone resident is on an adventure of one sort or another. Getting a haircut, eating vegetables, sharing his feelings. Learning a new sport, reading a book, taking responsibility. Watching a black and white film, listening to jazz, tucking in his shirt. These are no small matters for a 13-year-old.

So on every other Wednesday and Saturday, we plan field trips for all 12 boys and 4 staff. Off-campus adventures, if you will.

Among other things, we visit museums, go on long hikes, play challenging disc golf courses, take tours through factories and lumber mills. We’re intentional about it. We plan, organize, budget, and coordinate our schedules. It’s an undertaking to be sure, but well worth the effort.

This past month, we met up with David Pendergrass, found of Sweetwater Research, a non-profit company that exists to “design and support holistic water strategies, ” as well as “improve the effectiveness of water projects around the world in Gospel-centered ministry.”

Talk about an adventure. David’s vision is global in scale. God led him and his family to our neck of the woods because of its unique opportunities to educate the world about water resources. He uses the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, Mark Twain National Forest, state parks, streams, rivers, and ponds, many of which are as close to what God intended as you can find on this planet. He teaches people how to care for these water systems, sustain, preserve, and perhaps most importantly learn from them.

boys ranch for troubled boys

David is inspiring when he talks of God speaking through creation. We need more trained, experienced, and passionate scientists like David to remind us of and to point us towards a loving Creator. Science, as our Father intended, brings  us closer to Him not farther away.

Learning. Discovery. Observation. Experiments. Questions. Theories. More experiments. More questions. Better theories. That’s how it works. That’s how God designed it to work. We didn’t make nature, but we have the awesome privilege of exploring it and discovering what God has put there for our benefit.

So the next time you feel like you’re trudging through Delaware, look up from your phone. Shut down the electronic devices. Go for a hike. Plan a camping trip. Get outside.

Or just start looking at your ordinary experiences as adventures in their own right. See your life through the eyes of faith, and recognize that God is leading you somewhere impossible to imagine in your current circumstance.

It’s happening in front of you, right now.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined what God has prepared for those love Him.”

Let’s shift our attention from Wayne’s World to God’s World.
 boys ranch for troubled boys