When Ed and I tell people about our plans to open a ranch in Colorado for homeless young adults inevitably one of the very first questions they ask us is "Why Colorado?". I know what they are thinking....why aren't we opening a ranch here in New Hampshire or somewhere in New England? After all New England has homeless young adults that need help too and we have lived in New England all of our lives. All of our connections to friends, church, family and work are here in New Hampshire. So the question, "Why Colorado?" is a good question and the answer to the question is also a good one.....because God said so. When we tell people that Colorado was not our idea, but God's idea, that is when we really start to get strange looks. People look at us very politely and respectfully but nevertheless we see the looks that make us feel like aliens or that we have completely gone off the deep end into an unknown world. We get these looks from people who have no belief in God as well as people who are believers in Jesus Christ. The people then want to know how God spoke to us, what was it like, how did we know it was God speaking to us, did we actually hear a voice? Let me be quite clear that, no...we did not actually here an audible voice speaking to us but I have no doubts whatsoever that God gave us clear direction to go to Colorado and help the homeless young adults there.
Here is my story of how I received this direction from God. It was about 10 years ago and I was driving to my job in Concord, New Hampshire on Interstate 89. It was my usual practice while driving to work to have praise music on in the car. I would use this 45 minute drive to work to pray and to praise God. That morning, I distinctly remember that I was thanking God and praising God for the beautiful state of New Hampshire that we were blessed to live in. We are surrounded by majestic evergreen trees, mountains, lakes and minimal traffic on the way to work! As I was praising God, this thought came over me...it was almost like an interruption into my joyful praise...that I was to enjoy the time that we had in New Hampshire but I was to be prepared to move to Colorado when we retired. I did not like this thought and I remember that I stopped my time of prayer and praise. I wanted no part of moving to Colorado. I loved beautiful New Hampshire and I did not want to live anywhere else. I dug in my heels and thought to myself that I would just dismiss this crazy idea and not mention it to anyone and that is exactly what I did. For an entire year I did not mention this thought to anyone, not even Ed, but the thought never left my mind. I wrestled with it. I tried to dismiss it. I tried to make sense of it. But nothing could deter me from the fact that I was suppose to retire in Colorado and open a ranch for homeless young adults. Ugh! That was the last thing I wanted to do! Finally, I gave voice to the idea of moving to Colorado and told Ed about what God had said to me that morning as I drove to work over a year ago. I thought for sure that Ed was going to think I was loosing my mind or at the very least he was not going to be happy at all about dealing with this crazy idea. I was SHOCKED by his response!!!! He told me that God had told him the EXACT SAME THING!!!! Furthermore, I was shocked to hear that Ed had asked God to tell me Himself about this plan to move to Colorado because Ed knew that I was not going to be happy AT ALL about this idea. And so, God answered Ed's prayer and spoke to me on that morning Interstate 89 as I was driving to work.
And so that is how Soaring Wings Ministries came to be. There is the answer to the question..."Why Colorado?" It was definitely, without a doubt, totally and completely God's idea. God clearly spoke to Ed and God clearly spoke to me with the exact same message. We are to go to Colorado and start a ranch for homeless young adults. There is no room for doubting or questioning what we are suppose to do. It isn't like I thought up this idea and then talked Ed into going along with it. It isn't like this is something that I've always wanted to do or something that Ed and I have always dreamed about doing. In fact, it is quite the opposite of how we envisioned our retirement. And so, because we believe in God, because we believe that God is active in our lives today just as he was in the Old and New Testaments and because we desire to live lives that are pleasing to God we are making plans to "retire" in Colorado on a ranch with homeless young adults. God is amazing and also very, very patient with me. I have gone from wanting no part of moving to Colorado to.... I can't wait to move to Colorado!!!!! No, I have to rephrase that... I now LONG to go to Colorado. I feel a restlessness in me to get going, to move forward to get on with what God has called us to do and to help the young adults who are living on the streets somewhere in Colorado. How God spoke to us is not the most amazing thing about this whole process even though people get fascinated by the story of how that happened. The most amazing thing and the story really worth telling is about God's love. God truly loves the homeless young adults in Colorado. He loves them more than Ed and I do and loves them so much that He has called two "older" people to give up their lives in New Hampshire and move to Colorado. I think from now on when people ask me "Why Colorado?" instead of saying because God told us to...I think the more appropriate answer will be because God loves the homeless young adults in Colorado. We want all the glory for Soaring Wings Ministries to go to God. He alone is the one who deserves all the praise. Soaring Wings Ministries is completely, totally and 100 percent God's idea!
"Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; praise Him, O you servants of the Lord!" Psalm 134:1
His joyful servant,
Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the word "home". I know what comes to my mind when I think of our home. I know that I love our home and I love being home. It is a place where I feel comfortable to be myself. It is a place that I can share with family and friends. It is a place where I can be safe, escape from the pressure of the world and recharge. It is a place where I can nurture myself both physically and emotionally. It can sometimes be frustrating to maintain a home, especially when something breaks or needs to be repaired, or when it seems that something always needs to be cleaned; however, even when things aren't perfect it still feels really good to be at home. Ed travels a lot for his work and he always tells me how much he can't wait to get home. I know without a doubt that Ed and I would not be able to handle all of our responsibilities without the opportunity to be at home and recharge. When ever we are gone away from home for a while, especially after working, there is nothing like walking through the door into our home and inevitably one of us will say "it sure feels good to be home". I can't think of the word "home" without thinking about the word "homeless". To be homeless not only means that you have to sleep on the street, in a shelter or in a car, but it also means that you don't have a place where you can be comfortable to be yourself. Being homeless means that you do not have a place where you can recharge. You don't have a place where you feel safe. You don't have a place where you can nurture yourself and nurture your loved ones. It means that you don't have a place that you look forward to going to at the end of a hard day. When I think of how much "home" means to me it makes me want to cry when I realize that there are literally thousands of young adults who have no idea what "home" means. Obviously God feels burdened for the homeless as well because He has called us to do something to help these young adults. God has called us to create a home for homeless young adults in Colorado through Soaring Wings Ministries. There are many times when it makes me sad to think of leaving our comfortable home in beautiful New Hampshire, leaving family, friends and the East Coast to head out west to Colorado because in the leaving we will be "homeless" for a while until we can establish a new home in Colorado. But, my sadness only stays with me for a few brief moments because the joy comes when I realize that a homeless young adult will have the opportunity to truly experience what having a "home" means. I have had a warm, caring home all my life and I will gladly give up what I treasure so that someone else can also know "home". For possibly the first time in their lives a homeless young adult will have the opportunity to know how great being at "home" can be.
Through Soaring Wings Ministries we will create a home for homeless young adults. Our goal is to provide each homeless young adult or family with a cabin of their own. Each cabin would consist of a small bedroom, bathroom, and living area. These cabins will be their "home". It will be their place where they can go to nurture themselves, It will be a place that they can decorate as they wish, a place where they can go to recharge, a place where they will be safe and hopefully after a hard day when they open the door to their cabin they can say what Ed and I have said so many times in our lives...."it sure feels good to be home".
His joyful servant,
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries