The Future Looks Bright
By Catherine Finch
Joseph* is an outstanding leader at Boys Ranch Town (BRT). His passion for the campus, ministry and programs is evident in the way he talks about BRT and his hopes and dreams for the future.
Located on a 145-acre ranch outside of Edmond, Oklahoma, BRT is a child-focused campus, where up to eight boys are placed in a cottage-style home, under the supervision of a husband and wife serving as houseparents. These boys enjoy day-to-day life together, from meals, to activities, chores and homework.
BRT offers many activities including 4-H, animal programs, sports, crafts, trail rides, campouts, rodeos, auto mechanics and a welding program. These programs teach boys responsibility, patience and compassion.
Before he arrived at BRT, Joseph was in an unstable home environment. He lived with his mom, older brother and sister, but they bounced around from home to home and never stayed anywhere long. Joseph got in fights, missed a lot of school and was exposed to drugs, alcohol and tobacco at an early age.
“I don’t want to say I was a really bad kid,” said fifteen-year-old Joseph. “But to be honest, I was a bad kid.”
When Joseph arrived at BRT he was apprehensive and hesitant to trust the staff. He assumed he would not enjoy living at BRT and hoped to leave as soon as possible. However, life on the campus was not what he expected.
It took some time, but Joseph began to let his guard down as he realized the staff at BRT truly cared for him and wanted him to succeed. Once he had been on the campus for about six months, he felt safe and comfortable and knew BRT was where he was meant to be.
“I started seeing BRT as my home,” said Joseph. “My trust for those at BRT continued to develop, and I now know everyone here wants the best for us. And I believe everyone here has the potential to make changes in their life and do better.”
An Eternity Impacted
For Joseph, a turning point in his life was the night he decided to follow Christ. The on-campus Bible studies and discipleship of godly mentors and staff at BRT impacted him and paved the way for his heart to be softened to the gospel.
“I couldn’t ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit,” said Joseph. “From that point on, I have tried to pursue Jesus every single day and live my life as he lived his life on earth.”
After Joseph became a believer, he began to lead out in on-campus Bible studies. As he led Bible studies and read the Bible more and more, Joseph felt the Lord calling him to surrender his life to ministry.
“After I led a Bible study on Ephesians 4, I couldn’t stop thinking about the passage,” said Joseph. “I would wake up in the middle of the night and just lie awake for hours and think about the passage and what it meant. I knew the Lord was calling me to serve him in some way, and after talking with a mentor on campus I surrendered my life to ministry.”
Joseph has shared his testimony and preached in various settings. He continues to lead out in on-campus Bible studies and is currently learning Greek. Additionally, Joseph uses his experiences to relate to other boys on campus and share how the gospel has changed his life. His passion for the gospel, evangelism and ministering to others is inspiring and encouraging.
When asked about his interests, Joseph’s face lit up as he started to explain how he likes to weld and work on vehicles, specifically, his mom’s car when he visits her. Joseph is passionate and eager to pursue his interests and see those interests realized in the on-campus programs. He has talked with the staff and leadership at BRT about bringing on more on-campus programs. For Joseph, the idea of adding to all that BRT has to offer is exciting, and he wants to be a part of making others feel as comfortable living there as he does.
Joseph’s goal is to become a bi-vocational minister who welds and serves in the church. After high school, he hopes to attend a school where he can learn welding and take Bible classes. It is clear Joseph has a strong desire to continue to follow Christ and lead out on campus and beyond.
“I’ve lived here for a little over a year now,” said Joseph. “I love it here. I love how I have role models on how to follow Christ, what it looks like to have a godly marriage and how to work hard and show compassion.”
“Being at BRT has helped me so much, and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and use it to help others.”
*Name has been changed to protect their privacy.