“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” - Hebrews 12:1
Since we don't "rodeo" or "show," we've been asked the question, "So, what do you do with your horses?" I have to smile. Where do I begin? 'Cause it's been a "ride" for sure—pun intended. The Lord has sent us to adventures we would have never dreamed possible with our "Boys." All four of us just simply walk through the doors he shows us.
When the Lord told me (Shara) that a living-quartered horse trailer sat "on the horizon," we couldn't possibly have known what was in store. Finances for the trailer (and a truck to pull it) were given to us seven years after the prophecy. Shortly after the wheels hit the ground, we hit the road with our two geldings, Tari and Nocona. The Lord immediately gave us opportunities to use them.
One of the first things we did was include them in Sunday School lessons with the kids and adults. Analogies abound while working with a horse that exemplify the Word of God. The horses proved a wonderful visual as we taught God's Word in an understandable and enjoyable way. And, of course, "pony" rides are usually a given at the end of the lesson. :)
Shortly after we "hit the road," however, Tari passed away from a heart attack (he was 25), leaving Nocona to carry on. 2-1/2 years later we bought Rocky (read The Story of Rocky-Trail Tails 2010), and the adventures continued.
After we bought Rocky, we found out that his previous owner had stage 4 cancer. Through countless people getting to know Rocky on Facebook, many prayers were lifted up for this man. He is now cancer-free.
God is all about a relationship with people. He uses us and our Boys to help people (and ourselves) deepen that relationship with Him. Even if they're pasture ornaments for a short period of time, they are always examples of God's love toward us.
We've worked cattle on ranches which in turn sparked a relationship with owners and cowboys/cowgirls alike. One such time opened an opportunity for us to give a concert in a ranch's cookhouse. The Spirit of God touched many lives that night.
The places where we've camped: an actual camp, a ranch, or someone's backyard, always provides amazing opportunities. There's just something about a horse that makes the walls come down. When we trail out, profound and heart-changing conversations take place among the pine trees and sage brush. The hanging-out time when we unsaddle is a time to further build relationships with people.
In the mix has been riding for a ministry drill team, singing the National Anthem, carrying the American Flag, The Dance (riding to Native American praise and worship music in honor of a Native Prophecy—see "The Story of the Dance-Trail Tails 2011), parades, "pony" rides, and official horseback riding lessons. And, of course, teaching the Word of God with them is still part of the "resume."
In the quiet times when the Boys aren't "officially" used, the ministry continues … even without us (Bruce and me). While camped at a church cowboy camp one weekend, I peeked out the door toward the portable pen Nocona stood in. A teenage girl had quietly slipped up beside him. She had her arm around his neck. He had dropped his head and had her in a "hug." For about a half an hour, they stood … just like that. We knew this girl was troubled and God was at work, healing her hurts.
Sometimes when the Lord sends us to particular places where the Boys just "hang out," God still has a purpose for them. These stables or areas where God sends us to minister to someone would not have even been "on our map" if we didn't have the Boys.
And, of course, the Lord has given us the desires of our hearts, not only ministry-wise, but to just plain have fun (well, it's all fun). But in this instance, the Lord made it possible for us to go on an incredible pack trip where we camped out with our own horses in the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho for 10 days with some dear friends of ours. A childhood dream-come-true.
It's all been an adventure, for sure. And we look forward to many more down the trail. Who knows? We may meet up with you somewhere along the way. And that would be awesome!