Coming here from Dallas was an insane difference, it was like another world. Not knowing what to expect I got on the plane and flew to Montana. Me in Montana who would of thought! Coming here was something I had to do for me. My first impression of Montana was a sight of beauty from the mountains to the clear sky, the stars were breath taking and watching the moon come up was magical. Breathing in the pure air of the country was refreshing. Never thought I would feel at peace again so soon. Walking through the door I instantly felt loved. As I got settled in I knew I could call this place my home and you my family.
While I was here I learned that I can be who I want to be in life and I don’t need anyone to tell me to change. And that God is the reason that I’m still alive and that he will use what I have been through for good. I’ve learned that I’m not what has happened to me and I can trust people again because not everyone is bad. And forgive the people that have done wrong by me. Walking in I instantly felt safe and protected. I can’t explain in words what I felt. You have gone above and beyond to make me feel safe and loved. Your ears were always open whenever I felt like I was ready to share my story with you. And the jokes we somehow made up, was what I needed to get my mind off things. I will never forget all the times we just laughed till I almost cried. But while I was here ya’ll helped me get through some hard things. And somehow you always knew when I was having a hard time, like being here through the holidays was hard but you did what you could to make me feel better.
Rick, you are my dad no matter who is my blood. You have been there for me more in the few months I was here than my dad has in all of my 17 years of life. I felt like you understood how I felt even if I didn’t know how I felt. I loved making jokes with you and just sitting down and talking to you, oh and your mac-n-cheese. You never pushed me in to anything I didn’t want to do, you let me be free to make my own decisions. I will miss you and I don’t want to lose contact with you when I leave… I love you!
Patty, you are one of the sweetest persons I have ever met and one of the toughest. I love the home cooked meals and the warm feeling I got when you gave me a hug. I always knew I could come up to you and tell you anything and you would not judge me. You make me smile with the words you come up with (dope) and I loved waking up in the morning and coming down stairs and talking to you about my night. Thank you for everything you have done for me, like making my room feel like my own and teaching me how to cook. I will miss you when I leave and I hope we stay in contact… I love you!
Dear Rick and Pat,
I want to thank you for your investment into my life and countless others. The first time I met you I was an angry, rebellious, hard -hearted girl. I was scared and running. The first time I walked through the doors of your home I was struck by the peace that surrounded me. For the first time in years I felt safe. I remember standing there feeling like I could breathe again. And then I met you...
Rick, I was so intimidated by you! I remember sizing you up and thinking this man could destroy a little girl like me. But you were one of the kindest, most compassionate men I had ever met. And Pat the moment you smiled at me I knew I would be safe in your home. And your relationship together was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was not until I met you that I even dreamed of marriage. I wanted nothing to do with it but the both of you showed me that there was a different kind of love and a different kind of marriage out there. For the first time I started thinking about what it might be like to have a husband that loved me the way Rick loved you, Pat.
I have so many good memories of the safety and healing I felt while in your home. I don’t have time to share them all but I did want to share one in particular. I remember sitting at your dining room table and raising my voice, cursing at you both and saying I wanted nothing to do with God and grieving over the loss of my little girl. To my surprise neither of you lectured me, you didn’t kick me out, you didn’t even judge me. I was amazed! Rather you sat there with me and commiserated in my grief. You gave me hugs and encouraged me! That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Throughout that conversation God began to open doors to my heart and resurrecting the woman He had created me to be. It was after that my life started to change dramatically. The healing came in floods, my anger and hate began to disappear, my heart softened towards the God I had once rejected.
Since then my life has been a whirlwind of loving and serving the Lord. Since that time I have gotten married to an amazing man (as you know). We are in the process of adopting a little girl from Russia. We are both licensed ministers now and have been working with troubled youth for the last 3 years. And we are in the process of planting a church.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge you and your investment in my life. I know that I am one of many who share fond memories and gratitude for your time and sacrifice. You have allowed God to use you and have changed the lives of so many.