Roger Marsh: It's no secret that only God could pair rescued horses with hurting kids. Welcome to Family Talk, a division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, and on today's program, we continue with part two of Dr. Dobson's touching conversation with Kim Meeder, the founder of the 100-acre Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Oregon. Through the unconditional love of a horse and the mercy of God, Kim's hope was restored after tragically losing her parents at the tender age of nine. In the decades that followed, God has brought healing into the lives of thousands of equally hurting children.
Providentially, 200 similar ranches around the globe have been founded to connect horses with children for the glory of Christ. Today, Kim Meeder will share with Dr. Dobson how God uniquely designed the horse, more than any other animal, to minister His gentle grace. Plus, they'll discuss her new book, entitled Revival Rising: Embracing His Transforming Fire. Here now is part two of Dr. James Dobson's conversation with Kim Meeder on this special edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Kim, it was such a joy to have you here yesterday. You had me in tears and it's not the first time you've done that. You're really good at that because-
Kim Meeder: Oh, dear.
Dr. Dobson: ... I tell you what, the Lord has a way of breaking into our conversations. And He has done that from the beginning, more than 20 years ago when I first interviewed you.
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: I want to give an overview of what we said yesterday about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon for the benefit of those who didn't hear yesterday's program, and there'll be many of them because every day there's a turnover. Take just a minute or two to talk about the ranch and what its purpose is, what its mission is and how you link wounded horses and broken individuals.
Kim Meeder: Absolutely. Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch was founded 25 years ago, and we exist to pair rescued horses with hurting kids free of charge and we've done this for 25 years. And that is not a testimony of how great an organization is, it's a testimony of how great our God is.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah, His blessing has been on it.
Kim Meeder: His blessing has been on it. And the foundation of what we do is to rescue, mentor, hope, and empower. And what that means to us is that our ranch was founded on rescuing horses in need, and then we mentor the children that come to the ranch. We have programs that bring hope to the family, and we have helped to empower into existence over 200 other similar ministries in the United States and Canada and many in foreign countries.
Dr. Dobson: Let's pick up on that. How have you been instrumental in starting in 200 other places the kind of ranch and the kind of ministry that the Lord has given you? Tell me the story. There's got to be a backstory to that?
Kim Meeder: Well, the backstory to that is you my dear friend. From our interview in 2004, we were inundated with tens of thousands of communications, hundreds of which were people who said, "You are living my dream. I never knew it was possible you could connect horses and children and serve Jesus Christ for both. Will you show us how to do the same thing?" And so, the following year, starting in 2005, we started teaching what we call Ignition. And it is a conference that teaches people how to use horses in ministry, how to - and "use" is the wrong word - how to align horses to walk with the truth and power and redeeming love of God's word. And through that conference, which happens every year, there are now over 200 other ranches, and there are probably twice that many that are in process of becoming a ranch. And even this year, we have had such a huge request for more ranches that we're going to have to hold potentially several Ignition conferences.
Dr. Dobson: And there'll be more coming after today.
Kim Meeder: Yes, yes! Go Holy Spirit go!
Dr. Dobson: Tell me about the mental capacity of horses to recognize that an individual is hurting. How does that take place? Do you actually see it happen when a horse connects with a child or an individual?
Kim Meeder: Absolutely.
Dr. Dobson: What's that look like?
Kim Meeder: It's unique in each situation. Horses as you mentioned yesterday are designed by God in such a beautiful individual and unique way. And the science behind it, a portion is that horses have more mirror neurons than any other created animal on the planet, and that is a neuron in the brain that will reflect back what it is experiencing. And so when we pair rescued horses with hurting children, that horse will mirror back to that child what they're feeling.
Dr. Dobson: You take that relationship between an animal and an individual, a child usually, and use that to teach a love for Jesus. That's an amazing connection too.
Kim Meeder: That's the key connection. Apart from Jesus Christ, horses are just a band-aid, and that peace and safety that a child or an adult feels in the presence of a horse blows away by the time they reach their car. But when we connect what Jesus has created horses for to the Creator, the One who made that peace and who made that hope and who made that joy, we want to introduce you to the Author of redemption and love, and that's what transforms us all. And if we don't give those who come up our driveway the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, then we have failed.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. That is your not so well concealed secret, that when you bring people there to deal with their brokenness in relationship with a horse, you're ready to give them an understanding of the Giver of life.
Kim Meeder: Straight up.
Dr. Dobson: That's what you're there to do. That's your primary objective, isn't it?
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir. Anything less than giving people the redeeming gospel of Jesus Christ's love, is a counterfeit.
Dr. Dobson: Do people know that when they come to you?
Kim Meeder: Absolutely. And the ranch is available for everyone. It doesn't matter who you are, what you believe, what culture you're from, what religion you were raised in, just come.
Dr. Dobson: The title of your book Revival Rising is not only an individual response, the revival in an individual, in a person, but does it relate to cultural revival, the spreading of the good news across the land?
Kim Meeder: Absolutely. It's compelling to me that this book was written a year and a half ago and it came out in the middle of a global pandemic. And the whole foundation of this book is that revival is not something that happens near you, revival is something that happens in you, and it is the ignition of the Holy Spirit within God's people of knowing who we are and what our calling is. And it is one-on-one, it is each individual sharing what Jesus Christ has done for them. And that goes on to the next person and the next person and then it becomes cultural, but it always begins the same. It always begins fueled by love, one heart at a time.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. You talk in your book about someone named Kathy. I thought that was a wonderful story.
Kim Meeder: We were having one of our Ignition conferences, and this woman lives in Canada, a great distance away, and she was so excited to come. And as the enemy would have it, right before leaving, she came down with a virus that left her with severe vertigo, so severe that she couldn't stand. She felt like she was going to have to pass, and yet in all her prayer time, she felt the Lord saying, "There's nothing I can't do in you or for you or through you. Do you trust me? Have faith." And so it was made known to her through doctors, flying was completely out of the question. She wouldn't survive it. So one of her dear friends offered to drive her 1200 miles one way to the ranch.
In that trip, she became more and more ill. They had to stop every 30 minutes so she could throw up. It was grueling. And so they finally reached the ranch 15 minutes before Ignition was getting ready to start. She was so ill that she had to have a walker to move and most of the time throughout the entire clinic, she either sat on the floor or she sat on the ground to keep her vomiting jags at bay. What I loved most about her is, even in this state of illness, she never lost her joy, and she was as bright as the day is long. And day by day, I kept thinking, "Lord, I really want to pray with her. I know you can heal this." And I kept sensing from him, "Wait, wait. I want her to believe that too."
And that faith rose up in Kathy on the very last day of the conference where she pulled me aside and said, "I think I'm ready. I would like to pray." So we drove her in a ranger as high as we could get up on the ranch property up underneath the cross, we have a cross made out of juniper wood, and we started to pray and we started to identify all the fear factors in her life. And she started calling them out by name and bringing them to the feet of Jesus and making fear be accountable to Jesus.
Her arms are in the air, we're worshiping and we're singing and she's stamping and she's dancing, and that's when the Lord said, "Look at her." And she's not leaning against anything, she's standing with her eyes closed and her head back and her arms raised. "I have healed her, not only her heart, but I've healed her body too." And that's when I tapped her on the arm and then said, "Kathy, Kathy." And her arms were raised. And this woman, she opens her eyes and I can just see like half of her nose and her eyes looking at me over her arm, and she looks at me like, "What?" And I said-
Dr. Dobson: What's going on here?
Kim Meeder: "Honey, look at what you're doing right now. You're standing unassisted with your arms in the air and your head back and your eyes closed. Jesus has healed you from the inside out. It is finished." And she's literally got her arms in the air over her head and she looks down at her feet and she just starts to scream. And she's like, "He did it. He did it. Jesus did it." And this incredible release of faith. There's nothing our God cannot do. And in a moment, a simple beautiful hearted woman by faith stepped forward and said, "I believe He can do that." Right up until the moment that He did.
As the conference was closing down, I offered to give Kathy a ride in the ranger and she held her arms up and said, "Nope, I got this. Me and Jesus." And she walked down a very steep path as I drove the ranger down. Her walker was in the back, we put it over by the trash and her friend popped up and looked at me across the crowd like, "Where's my friend." And I just pointed in silence up the road as Kathy was walking down the mountainside, and she screamed and started to run toward her friend, who she had given six days of her life to drive 1200 miles, and now Jesus Christ has met her friend in this place and healed her completely. They met in an embrace and went down to their knees weeping in gratitude before the one who can heal anyone who believes that He can't.
Dr. Dobson: But it's not primarily about physical healing, it's primarily about healing of the soul.
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Shirley and I have been there and we've seen the people that are touched, and I was touched by the children who come. You allow parents to bring kids there when they've been abused. You told a story last time about a little boy whose all his teeth had been kicked in by his father. That's not an unusual situation. You bring whatever children parents want to come and there's no charge-
Kim Meeder: Correct.
Dr. Dobson: ... and introduce them to a horse and the healing begins.
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: You got a million stories, don't you?
Kim Meeder: I do. How much time do you have?
Dr. Dobson: One of them was named Kristian or at least that's the pseudonym you've given to that individual to protect the identity. Tell us about that individual.
Kim Meeder: My dear friend and beloved assistant and I were invited to go to Romania to share the gospel in some of the poorest villages in Eastern Europe, through Romania and Moldova. And during that time, we were invited to a horse ranch that does therapeutic riding, which is very different than what we do. We do equine ministry and they were doing equine therapy, which is working with horses outside of faith in Jesus Christ. They wanted me to come and demonstrate to them why what we do works, but it doesn't work without faith in Jesus Christ. And so they were frustrated with what I had to share because they were steeped in education in that a child must bend and twist and you must do these box after box of checking down a list of how to help a child become more efficient.
They were frustrated that what I kept sharing with them is ask the only One who knows the way. He is the Holy Spirit and the One who leads into all truth and He will tell you what needs to happen, and so, hands on the hips, "prove it." So, we went into a large arena and they brought out a horse and they led in a young man who was 12. He was born blind and he was high on the autism spectrum, and they wanted me to prove what I was saying with this little boy. I took him by the hands and we started talking. He knew some English so we developed a friendship with this horse, and then it came time for him to ride. So they just put a pad on the horse and to satisfy their education, I had him ride the horse forwards and backwards and sideways while touching the horse's head and tail and giving him a good gift of love, which was rubbing the horse everywhere he could reach while the horse was walking. That creates balance, which is what they were steeped in.
But now you need to see what Jesus Christ can do, and so I said, "Kristian, have you ever trotted?" And he said, "No." And I said, "Does that sound like fun or does that sound scary?" And he said, "I think it sounds like fun." So I gave him some instructions and we started off at a trot and he screamed, this horse jumped into a lively trot and he rocked backward and let out this half man, half boy scream, and I looked at him and he was laughing. And what was coming through his blind expression was just pure joy pouring from heaven, and I said, "Kristian, oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness, you're smiling. Your smile is so beautiful." And as he's leaving me in the arena trotting around, he would say, "Ms. Kim, can you see my smile? Can you see it from here? And can you see it from here? Can you still see it?" And I said, "Yeah, I can still see it. It's so powerful and it's so beautiful. Please don't ever stop."
Finally, he comes up to me and I'm weeping and just saying, "You just gave me the best gift in the world. You have one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever experienced." And so he leans down where he thinks I am and he whispers, "Ms. Kim, can you tell me what my smile looks like?" And I said, "You know when you're in your room and it's before the sun comes up and it's cold, and then you feel the sun's rays coming in through the window and you can feel heat coming into the room, you know the sun has risen because you can feel the warmth. Its brilliant rays are literally warming your body. That my young friend is what your smile looks like. Don't you ever stop?" And he said, "I won't." Then he wanted to know what my smile looked like, and so I said, "Why don't you tell me?" So I put his hand on my face and he's feeling all over the contours of my face and he whispers, "Your smile, it's like the best dream ever."
Dr. Dobson: Really?
Kim Meeder: And then he said as... We talked about many things after that and about how his smile and genuine joy comes from Jesus Christ and what a gift he's been given Jesus and that he can give that gift back to Jesus by smiling to everyone he meets. And as quickly as our time began, it ended, and as he was being led away, he yelled back over his shoulder, "Ms. Kim, now, whenever you see the sunrise, you will always think of me and my beautiful smile."
Dr. Dobson: Isn't that neat. That's beautiful. Your book ends, the last chapter, with a story that's difficult to describe, but tell us about it.
Kim Meeder: When it comes to revival, I have often had people explain to me that the great commission is not for this time or for them, and my answer would be through this encounter. I love that Jesus taught through parables, taking something that we could see to illustrate something that we couldn't, and this is how I learn. And because this is how I learn; he teaches me about His Word through everything that I experience. And as we were talking before the show that my beloved husband is not only the CEO of a ministry that's going around the world, he has also earned his license as a merchant marine and his license as a fishing guide. And so we had served our family and friends for a season. There were two days left, we were fishing alone and it was a big bad weather day. The water was 49 degrees, the surge was high, the waves were high, the wind was high. You would be killed trying to go out, and so we ended up fishing on the tidewater, which is ocean water that is rushed up the river.
And we fished until 4:15 and I heard the Holy Spirit begin to urge my heart, "It's time to go. It's time to go. Go now, leave now and return to the marina at once. Now." And so I shared with Troy what I was sensing. We reeled up our gear, put the main down and started streaming back toward the marina. As we made the last turn into a very wide expanse of the river that's about a mile long, it acts like a wind tunnel, and I could see in the distance something that I didn't recognize. Just shapes and colors bobbing in the river where they shouldn't be, and I couldn't make out what I was seeing.
Then it moved, and it was a man in the water and instantly the picture snapped into focus that it was a capsized boat and this was debris in the water and there was a man in the water that was 49 degrees. And I started... I could hear myself saying, "I've got you. You're going to be okay." And I got the salmon net and I'm reaching for him and he's almost unconscious. And through the wreckage, I could see that there were reams and reams of yellow nylon rope floating in the water and they were around his legs, and this rope was connected to the boat and the boat just went under water, and the Holy Spirit was yelling, "Get the ropes off him now."
I pulled him to the boat, "I've got you. You're going to be okay." And his head rocked back, and that's when I could hear him whisper, "But he's not." "What? What?" And as I reached down to grab him by his life jacket, that's when I realized there was a second man in the water who had already perished, because we didn't get to him in time and he did not survive.
Dr. Dobson: You did save the first man.
Kim Meeder: The first man survived. The point of sharing this encounter is that he told me while he and his friend were in the water, not one, not two, but three boats passed them and did nothing. They didn't stop. And because they didn't stop, he watched his best friend die. When it comes to the great commission, there are men and women and children in the water all around us every day that are dying without hope. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, we can choose to become that life ring that draws these hurting in our midst into the redeeming love of God the father, Jesus the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Or we can drive by them and say, "Wow, I hope the next boatload of Christians loves you more than I do because right now I love me more than you."
In such a time as this, in the middle of a global pandemic, people are afraid. Domestic violence is up, suicide is up, alcoholism and drug abuse and all types of addiction are rampant. People are afraid. And for you and I to reach out for them with the hope that we have, that is the heart and soul and the bedrock of the great commission, it is your commission and it is my commission.
Dr. Dobson: You just heard it. The title of the book is Revival Rising: Embracing His Transforming Fire by Kim Meeder. This book is available in all the places where you can find books today. Would you give our regards to Troy? He did a program here with us some years ago, and Shirley and I love you all and appreciate what you're doing, especially your love for Jesus, which comes through in everything that you're doing.
Kim Meeder: Well, I've had a good mentor over the years and he's sitting across the table from me. And I would wish to say, thank you my dear friend for staying the course and for standing unshakably on the power of the word of God and speaking the truth. And because you did that, a generation was transformed by the love of God [crosstalk 00:24:48].
Dr. Dobson: We serve the same Lord. Thank you for your love for the Lord.
Roger Marsh: Well, what a powerful mental image. People are in the water all around us dying without the hope of Christ, and once our eyes are truly opened, we will be compelled to share the good news with them. You're listening to Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, and if you'd like to hear part one of our conversation with Kim Meeder, or to learn more about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon, or to get a copy of her new book, Revival Rising: Embracing His Transforming Fire, please visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. Once you there just click on the broadcast tab and you'll find all that information. Again, that's drjamesdobson.org. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening and be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.