A shepherd, of sorts, overlooks the beautiful rolling hills at the beauty of God’s creation.  He breathes in the clean, country air and reflects on his life.  This was the place where he attended Christian summer camp for so many years and later served on staff.  He saw God move in extraordinary ways, and God was so real to him.  Now, he lives on the grounds with his wife and four children, while he serves as Executive Director of the camp.  He feels such peace and purpose in his life, and it is truly amazing how he got here.

Ron left high school and went directly into the military.  Four years into his service, he was selected to the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets).  He was one of 40 men out of 380 who tried out.  This led him into a fast-paced, very distinguished military career for a man of his young age.  However, after few years of serving, he began to see the demands of this military life, being gone six months out of the year, with very little time for a normal life or a family.  He came to the conclusion that he wanted to leave the military.  Interestingly, he left the military right after 9-11 happened, one of the last Green Berets allowed to leave.

He had a new wife, and they moved to Colorado to start a new life.  However, the transition into civilian life was not easy.  He felt lost.  Spiritually speaking, he attended church to check the attendance box, but he was not really seeking much of a relationship with God.  His identity was in being part of the Special Forces, and that was it.  About that time, he was contacted by a friend who told him the government was looking for men with his skill set and background.  Soon, he was contracted to go overseas, supporting strategic initiatives abroad during the War on Terrorism.  He spent most of his time in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it was 3 of the most dangerous years of his life.

During his previous military career, he had always felt like God was near, like a caring shepherd watching over his flock.  Even if Ron wasn’t paying attention to the shepherd, God always had His eye on him.  However during, this tenure of danger, Ron felt the furthest he had ever been from Christ.  A big turning point came when God guided Ron and his wife to go through the Purpose-Driven Life series.  It really challenged him to think about his life and consider God’s plan for him.  In 2004, on one of the most dangerous trips he had encountered, he decided it was time for a change.

He and a good friend, during all their missions, had noticed the need for armored vehicles which blended into the local environment.  They started a company making “Purpose-Built Armored Vehicles”, raised investor support and immediately struck success with several government contracts.  They built the company up with a large manufacturing facility, 60 employees and unlimited potential.  However, in 2010, Ron’s partner, a former Navy SEAL, was overseas for a trade show and killed in an accident.  This was a bombshell to Ron.  He experienced grief, torment, and accusation and was forced to rely on God like never before.  He wanted to honor God in the way he responded to this tragedy and in the way he interacted with his partner’s widow and 3 kids.  He left the company and was praying about what God had next.

God led him into a conversation with the director of the Christian camp where he had spent so much of his youth.  Ron was a financial supporter of the camp, and it was still close to his heart.  He posed the question, “How do you know what God has for you?”  The director jokingly responded, “Have you ever thought of running this ranch?”  All those years in the military and even in his successful business, Ron felt he was made for something more meaningful, and the director’s words somehow resonated with him.

Ron and his wife took an exploratory trip to the ranch to consider this possibility.  As they toured the grounds and contemplated this life where they would live out in the country away from the big city, they were 99% sure this was not for them.  However, Ron decided to be open to that 1%.  He prayed, “God, if this is your will, open our hearts to this.”  The next day, God took Ron back in time to his days at the camp as a kid and later, on staff.  Vividly, he remembered key spiritual moments and actual places where breakthroughs occurred.  He felt God calling to him, saying, “I have you taken care of.  Trust Me!  If you don’t take this step now, you never will.”  His wife’s heart was opened, as well, as she agreed that God was calling them to this move.

Ron took this huge step of faith, responsible for this Christian camp with a vast spiritual heritage.  He knew he could handle the administrative challenges, but he felt ill-equipped as a spiritual leader.  His brother-in-law had produced some videos for Influencers and told him about The Journey.  When he learned it was a journey to “intimacy with Christ,” he was ready to sign up.  He knew this was his heart’s desire and the only way he could learn how to lead his family and his ministry.

He went on “The Journey” and for the first time in his life, things began to start making sense.  As he drew close to the Lord and walked with Him, he understood how much God loved him and had prepared him for his place in life.  He pressed into God and hungered for everything God would give him.  In the midst of his Journey, he and his wife found out that the baby she was carrying, their 4th, was going to be born with a Cleft Palate.  This gave him yet another opportunity to trust God and for the Father to show Ron His trustworthiness.  And Ron was changing.  He began to talk differently and act differently, even in the way he treated his family.  He became a more loving Daddy.  His wife was so moved by the things she saw in Ron’s life that she joined a Women’s Journey Group.

As Ron looks at his beautiful camp and his life, he sees his good, loving Shepherd, the same One who was with him in battle, still right beside him.  He feels like a blessed man, though the blessings look different than what he would have conceived.  He sees the blessing of leading this camp and how God had used this situation to give his marriage and his family some much-needed quality time.  He knows now that God is someone he can follow blindly in personal abandonment and absolute trust.  He never thought his worldwide tour would bring him to this little obscure place, but isn’t it always in the quiet, secret places that God births greatness?

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