Rachael Mirabella is a recent UGA graduate and part of our first Protege team where she will primarily work with our high school and middle school girls for the next two years. Here's the story of her summer:
I am spending my summer on a dude ranch out near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. For those of you who don’t know what exactly a dude ranch is, neither did I until I got here. And I don’t think words can ever totally describe it; this is a place you must see to understand. Beka Adam, Jonathan Thiel and I have been here since May 22nd working hard, playing hard and entertaining hard in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains.We have around one hundred horses here, and I could write an entire blog on what I have learned from their upkeep and personalities. We have around fifty staff here, and I could write for hours on the numerous individuals that have changed me just by their dynamic personalities.But what I want to share is about the guests (“dudes”) we have hosted at Vista Verde Ranch. I was slightly disenchanted when they showed up the first week. Since our ranch costs about $3,000 per family member for a week, it is a very select group of people we are entertaining. Sometimes I lose heart when I’m around people with a lot of money - I tend to think they are demanding, have high walls around their heart, or are uninterested in what a twenty-something has to say about anything.However, our managers assured us that by the end of each week, we would see a change in our guests. They promised us that as we worked hard to serve them and genuinely get to know them, they would be more grateful for us than for any activity we offer (rock climbing, horse back riding, hiking, biking, fly fishing, hot air ballooning, kayaking, rafting, etc).It has been incredible to watch it week after week. Not all of our staff are believers, but many are, and even those who aren’t have a servants’ attitude and make conversations about the guests rather than about themselves. Our guests blossom at our ranch. They feel loved, served and at home among us. Every Saturday night, our guests’ last evening, they share how meaningful the relationships were they created in such a short time. And it keeps them coming back.This is what we have as believers to offer people - rich or poor, for the Lord created them both. Relationships. Showing people they are worthy of being loved and served. Being full of life and vigor. Inviting them to be a part of our world and purposefully becoming a part of theirs. This is what I’ve learned this summer, and plan on continuing to live out as I return to Athens and Christ Community! Can’t wait to see you all.