By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
A Series Highlighting Our Wonderful Volunteers
From the early days of Reba’s Ranch House, the heart of volunteers beat throughout the space to bring peace and comfort to all the guests who walk through the door.
This series is our chance to publicly thank our precious volunteers who consistently show up and provide for the many needs we have. The ranch house operates like any home — laundry, meals, cleaning, bedding, prayers.
We couldn’t exist without our dedicated volunteers. Thank you!
“I wonder if they liked my picture, or if my verse helped them?”
These are sweetly innocent questions third graders at the Texoma Christian Schools ask as they color pumpkins, flowers, and chapels on their cursive pages’ borders.
Their teachers, Kathy Lindsey and Twila Thomas, explain to the children that they will never see the person who receives their Bible verse page. But they can pray for them and know the people will be touched by the pages sitting on nightstands in the guest rooms at Reba’s Ranch House.
“We tell them, ‘Before you start coloring and writing your verse down, we want you to pray about that paper you’re decorating, and pray for the person who’s going to receive it, even though you don’t know who they are,” Kathy says. “And they do; they say a prayer for the person that’s going to read their Bible verse and see their coloring.”
For the past twelve years, Texoma Christian School’s Third-Grade classes have adopted Reba’s Ranch House for their annual Care-A-Thon project. Kathy puts out large paper grocery sacks in the fall with a list of things stapled to the sacks that the pantry at the Ranch House needs — from cake mixes to spaghetti sauce — and the children take the empty sacks home to fill them. Once full, they return them, and many ask if they can do another one, excited as they watch the sacks fill the back of the classroom. They’re reaching the goal: filling up the pantry at Reba’s Ranch House! One hundred children have walked through the door at the house for the project over the years.
“I tell them there’s a loved one at the hospital, and they’re tired,” Kathy says. “They need a place to shower and get some rest rather than sitting in a chair all the time.”
The class, with moms and grandmothers along to help, arrive at Reba’s Ranch House, they are welcomed in.
“Marilyn will give them a tour, and they see Reba’s guitars and that the house even has a place for little ones,” Kathy says. “And if we’re really, really quiet and there is an empty room, Marilyn will show them the quilts and the beds where the guests stay. At the end, the moms have pizza delivered, and we sit in the kitchen there with our very good manners.”
When parents and grandparents experience the work that goes on in Reba’s Ranch House, some decide to come back and volunteer.
The children also visit the kitchen pantry where the staples they collected are stored. They present their Bible pages to Marilyn, knowing the pages will go on nightstands of guests staying at the ranch house.
“They get it, that people are tired and need a good place to sleep,” Kathy says. “The children pour their little hearts out for them.”