Roger Marsh: Welcome to Family Talk, a division of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh. At nine years of age, Kim Meeder became an orphan in the sudden horrific blink of an eye. After she and her two sisters moved in with their grandparents, Kim's spirit slowly began to heal through the discovery that there was a God who loved her unconditionally. Later, as Kim was discipled through a neighbor's evangelistic Bible study, she found an indescribable solace in the presence of her new horse.
As an adult, God led Kim to replicate the Christian healing that she experienced by founding Crystal Peaks youth ranch in Bend, Oregon where she paired rescue horses with broken children. Of the more than 8,000 radio interviews that Dr. Dobson has conducted over the years, his first visit with Kim Meeder remains one of the most popular.
As you listen to these two friends dialogue about God's goodness and her new book Revival Rising, you'll discover why it's always special when Kim is in studio with Dr. Dobson. Now today and tomorrow's programs are intended for mature audiences. So please use discretion. With that, let's begin here on this special edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Nearly 20 years ago, a publisher told me about a ranch near Bend, Oregon that was using horse therapy to minister to hurting kids and vice versa. And I was intrigued so I asked my team to book an interview with Kim and Troy Meeder, and they are the people who founded and run this ranch. What we did that day continues to be one of the most popular interviews out of 8,000 programs that I've done through the years.
The Meeders have been my guests many times since then and they remain close friends to Shirley and me. Their organization Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch has blossomed into a thriving place of hope and healing for both the young people and abused horses. Now about 10 years ago, Shirley and I flew to Oregon, right near Bend, to visit this ranch. We brought a camera crew. And let me tell you, the Lord is doing incredible work through that ministry.
I've seen it firsthand and what an inspirational day that was to us. I wish all of you could visit it and see it because it would bless your soul. Well, Kim is with us today to give us an update on their ministry and to talk about her new book Revival Rising. I'm excited about that. And I can't think of a more important topic to discuss during these volatile and unprecedented times. And let me tell you a little bit more about Kim Meeder before we begin.
She is a popular author and a highly sought after international speaker. Kim and Troy started Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch back in 1995 and they have witnessed firsthand God's blessing on their work. I remember, I think when we started, they had a 10-acre ranch, which wasn't enough. They now have a ranch of over a hundred acres and good things are happening all over the place. Her first book was Hope Rising, which was so well-received that the ranch was awarded the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award. Kim and Troy have also helped start over 200 similar ranch ministries all over the world. And Kim, my friend. It is so good to see you again.
Kim Meeder: I'm crying already and we haven't even started yet.
Dr. Dobson: Telling your story would take the whole program. It's amazing what God's done with you and Troy.
Kim Meeder: We serve an amazing God who can do amazing things through anyone who just says, "God, here I am. Will you send me?" And look what he can do.
Dr. Dobson: We've experienced much of the same thing. You know, we didn't have the money to build a ministry either. That was 44 years ago when I started Focus on the Family and we got a $35,000 grant from Tyndale House to get started. We ran out of money there, we were about to close and we got together and had prayer, my mother, my wife, and a friend, and we said, "Lord, we thought we were doing what you wanted us to do, but we're kind of in a hole now. So if we did hear you correctly, this would be a real good time to hear from you again."
And the next month, nearly $60,000 came in. It is amazing. So, we've experienced God's blessing, just by depending upon Him, how'd you get the money to buy that hundred acre ranch?
Kim Meeder: The ranch has expanded in a way that only Jesus Christ can do. We serve a God that can't be bound by what we think or our understanding or our logic or our education or our experiences. He's a wild God and He colors outside the lines of who we are. And so we were having a ranch fellowship where everyone who wishes to come. We all crowd into a little barn. We feed everyone who comes-
Dr. Dobson: You don't charge anybody anything?
Kim Meeder: No, we don't. And this year on July 4th, the ranch celebrated our 25th year of doing ministry for children with horses that have been rescued. And in 25 years, no family has ever been charged to come to the ranch and experience the love of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Dobson: Tell us about the little girl that came up to you. You told me the story before we went on the air.
Kim Meeder: Yes. So, it was right after a fellowship and fellowships… they started for people who maybe have difficulty going to church, or maybe they're afraid or have had an unfortunate experience or for whatever reason going to church is difficult. Coming to a barn seems to be okay and what started out as a couple of families is now up to 400 people that are being fed and gathering, and worshiping God. And then we share just a really simple message with one point, because even I can remember one thing.
And so, I happened to share this particular night and everyone was leaving the ranch in this great wave of humanity that was kind of siphoning down the driveway. And on that day, this little group of 4H girls had come down from Washington State and they said, "We had this bake sale and we wanted to earn some money for Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, and for other kids who need help. And so we wanted to come down and give this to you ourself. And we wanted to volunteer at this place that means so much to us."
I'm just so humbled by such kindness. And so they were asking me this shotgun question of all these horses and, "How come that one has one eye and this one's scarred and what's that one's name?" And finally I said, "You girls can't drive all the way home tonight. It's too far. Where are you going to spend the night?" And this little girl in the very front who was kind of short and kind of chubby and she hugs herself and she said, "We're going to be camping and it's going to be really cold." And I just laughed and I said, "You know what? I just think that a day is coming when we're going to have enough room so that when groups like you come, you can stay here with us. Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
And in this sea of people behind this little group of girls, an individual turned and looked right at my face. And that individual called me the next day and they said, "I have to meet with you and Troy right away." And my first thought was, "I'm going to go to the principal's office again." And, accountability - I'd spoken that night and that's such a good thing. And this is someone I know and love very much. And so we met in my husband's office and this blessed individual said, "When I heard you say you needed more space, that's when I heard God tell me, 'And you are going to buy it for them.'"
And this individual reached in their pocket and they pulled out a real estate flyer that I know well and they laid it down on Troy's desk, and they tapped it in and they said, "God has told me to buy this for you." And then they wrote a check for $2 million and paid for everything. And in one moment-
Dr. Dobson: And it's contiguous to the ranch that you had then.
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. It is.
Dr. Dobson: It's just the piece of land you needed.
Kim Meeder: It was the piece of land we needed. Crystal Peaks existed in a rock pit for 17 years. A literal rock quarry and this property is down the hill, across the street. The property lines are touching in the street, and it's farmland. It's bottom land. It has hay fields and pastures and arenas, indoor and outdoor and a two-story home. And it has water rights. We have reservoirs that we pump the water out onto the fields. It has soil. It grows crops. We just planted 200 fruit trees and 500 blueberry bushes.
Dr. Dobson: Kim, those kind of things don't happen. There had to be a divine presence involved in that. They hand you a check for $2 million for what you desperately needed. I wonder if you remember a day and Focus on the Family when you were there. And after we'd done the program, I said, "I want to tell you listeners something. I believe in this ministry-"
Kim Meeder: I'll never forget that.
Dr. Dobson: "I know what they are doing and they need more land. Would you provide it for them?" Do you remember that day?
Kim Meeder: I will never forget that day. And what you need to know, Dr. Dobson, is that after 17 years, God answered your prayer. And two years later, He did it again. And the ranch was increased again from someone who believes in the ministry of Jesus Christ in this place. And the ranch went from 8.9 acres of rock pit to about 110 acres of farm land. Only Jesus can do this.
Dr. Dobson: We're going to talk about your book, I promise, but I'd like you to explain the science behind what you do. Because what is there between wounded, broken people, especially children, and horses. What is the connection between them and how did you discover it?
Kim Meeder: That discovery came in my own life when I was nine. And at nine years of age, that's when I would look at my parents and want to be just like them. My mom was the most beautiful woman I ever met from the inside out. And she was kind and gentle and loving. And my dad was a wild child of the wilderness. And in my mind, he wore a cape and flew. And there was nothing that my parents couldn't do. And I grew up in the combined castle of their love for me. And it was during that season in my young life that my dad's best friend picked me up at my little school and drove me to my grandparents' house with my two older sisters.
And the house was full of all these grieving wailing people. And I was just shoved into the arms of a woman that I recognized, but did not know. And she was crying so hard that she sounded like she was choking. And she just kept going around and around in this horrible cycle of "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to tell you. I'm so sorry, but your dad has just murdered your mother and taken his own life. And I'm so sorry."
And I remember thinking, "Wait a minute, my dad loves me and he loves my mom and you're a liar. And I just popped off of her chest and I ran out the back door in this nine-year-old effort to outrun the unthinkable and just ran and ran and ran until I just fell down in the dirt. It was actually, it felt like miles and it was a very short distance, and was inhaling dirt and choking and retching and crying and screaming. And I could hear my own voice saying, "Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me. I need you now."
And I wasn't raised in the church. I didn't even know who Jesus Christ was. To my knowledge, I'd been to church twice at nine years of age. And all I knew about Jesus is I think he's the guy on the cross. And all I know is that he's the only one who can help me right now. I did not know the power of Romans chapter one, that declares that everyone has within them that place to know God. I didn't know the power of Romans 10:13 that declares "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
All I knew in that moment was that there was a pop in my heart and an ignition of hope. And the knowing you will get through this and you are no longer alone.
Dr. Dobson: At nine years of age, you became an orphan, out of a stable two-parent family. In one episode, one day, all of a sudden you have no family.
Kim Meeder: The world changed.
Dr. Dobson: How in the world you became the woman I see today. The Lord had to have done a miracle just to help you survive.
Kim Meeder: He has done many, many miracles in this life.
Dr. Dobson: How did you come to know Jesus?
Kim Meeder: I've met Jesus in that moment, but I came to know who He was through a woman who lived a mile down that road. And this woman had nothing. And by the world's standards, she was so poor and she lived in a falling down house, and yet she had everything because she had Jesus. And every Friday, anyone who wanted to know about Jesus could get off the bus at her house. And this woman who was so poor would just make cookies and punch appear and we would play Annie, Annie Over. She would give us a rag and we'd throw it back and forth over the house and run like race horses until we were all worn out. And then we'd come bursting in the house sweaty and filthy and we would just chug down all the cookies and Kool-Aid, and then we'd go, "Okay, now we're ready."
And we'd all go in on her orange shag carpet and she'd find this banger guitar and she would teach us songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "It Only Takes a Spark." And I remember sitting on her carpet one day and she said, "Kimmy, do you truly know how much Jesus Christ loves you?" And my answer was just shaking my head that I don't. And she said that, "He loves you so much, that He gave his life so that you could live with Him forever. And He begins that process when you ask Him to come in your heart."
Dr. Dobson: Now what's the connection with horses?
Kim Meeder: The connection with horses happened during that same season. My two older sisters and I moved in with my grandparents and my beloved tiny little grandmother had the wisdom to buy a little horse for me. And between the friendship of a little wild horse and the love of Jesus Christ, this wild child's heart was redeemed. And that's how I came to know the power of God's Word was on the back of a horse. Everything that I was reading on the back of a horse is where I felt the most safe in all the world.
And I didn't know that all those years of finding solace in the presence of a horse and understanding the power and freedom and love found in God's Word were always meant to go together. Always. And I didn't know that those years of me learning that were like a figurehead of everything God had coming in store. "I'm going to allow you to go through this valley of the shadow of darkness, because I'm calling you to help others find their way through, just like you did, in the presence of a horse by the power of my Word and my love for them."
Dr. Dobson: So you were discovering something that already was, which is an emotional connection between a broken child and a wounded horse.
Kim Meeder: Only Jesus Christ could make that happen. Jesus loves horses in a way that we don't understand. When He returns, He is not coming on a dolphin. Of all the things, of all the animals that He has created, He has chosen a horse to carry him into victory. And all those who are following Him are also riding horses. And so horses in a way that are not fully understood in this realm are very precious to the Lord.
But I must tell you, and Dr. Dobson I know you know this because you're a horseman as well, that when we are around them, their quiet strength and their willingness to carry us in our frailty and in our brokenness, and to yield their power, to carry our weakness, changes us from the inside out.
Dr. Dobson: They are magnificent animals. How you could look at a horse, the way it's designed and the purpose that God had for him and humanity is no accident, that did not evolve. That was a conscious design there. Not only for the way they're built and structured to carry a man and woman or child, but the temperament of a horse. Why that big, strong individual would yield his will to yours. I've never fully understood.
They serve. They serve throughout their lives. I mean, it is amazing. And somehow you have linked those two together in your ranch and you bring these kids in that are broken. How long does it take them to bond with a horse?
Kim Meeder: Every situation is unique and separate, but typically very, very short amount of time. A very short amount of time. Only Jesus could know that this bonding with a horse helps our heart find peace and relax so that we can receive His redemption and His salvation. The horse would tell you, "This isn't about me. This is about the One who made me. Let's discover His love together." And that's the foundation of what the ranch does is pairing hurting children and hurting families with horses that have also been rescued from their own wreckage.
Dr. Dobson: We're running out of time for today's program. Truncate a story that you told the very first time you were on my broadcast, back in the Focus on the Family days, about a little boy who was so utterly broken, shattered, he had been abused terribly, and you introduced him… Well, you tell the story. We got about three minutes. You think you can tell it?
Kim Meeder: I can do it. And so this young boy came up with a counselor and they were unannounced. All the horses were in use but one, and the counselor said, "Can you help us?" And I said, "I think so." And so I told this little boy, I asked him, first of all, "Hey Adam, have you ever ridden a horse before?" And he just looked down and shook his head. And I said, "Well, would you like to today? And I have this pony in the back of the ranch that would very much like to meet you." And he looked up at me and he flashed this little grin and he took off running. And from any other perspective, that would have looked wonderful. And from my perspective, I was horrified because all of his teeth were broken out by his own dad.
His dad would get drunk and he would beat his son so badly that every tooth in his face was broken. And then he would shoot at him as he ran away in his yard. And the counselor told me "it's a miracle he's even alive." And so we brought the pony out and I helped this little boy do everything by himself, by just putting my hands over his hands and giving him that victory of accomplishment. And finally, we had the saddle, the pony's groomed, now it's time to put on the bridle. And I showed him exactly where to stand and where his hand should be to position the bit and move the bridle up over his ears.
And then I stepped back and as he stepped toward this pony, this little blessed Hobbs reached his neck around so tightly that he held Adam in his neck so tight that he couldn't raise his arms. And he was afraid. He just rolled back and looked at me and his eyes were so frightened. And I had never seen this pony do that before since, and I just blurted out what I thought. And that was that, "Oh my goodness, Adam, you must be so special. This pony is giving you a hug. You're so special. He's hugging you." And you could see his face relax and his eyes start to move back and forth as he's understanding.
And then he turned toward this pony and I could hear this little whisper. And as I leaned in, I could hear this little battered boy whispering in this pony's neck, "He likes me. He likes me. He likes me." And then he starts scratching his neck. And then he turns around and he looks at me with these brilliant shining eyes and he declares out loud, "He likes me. He really, really likes me." And those broken little teeth could have never been more beautiful in that moment. And that's the foundation of what we do at the ranch every day.
Dr. Dobson: You still cry over that story, don't you?
Kim Meeder: I do.
Dr. Dobson: And so do I.
Kim Meeder: Someday-
Dr. Dobson: I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have seen that.
Kim Meeder: Someday I hope for a strapping young man to walk up my driveway and say, "You will not remember me, but I will never forget you. My name is Adam and I'm alive and I'm okay because you introduced me to the love of Jesus in this place."
Dr. Dobson: Oh my. Kim, you have flown here to Colorado Springs to be with us. Don't you dare move. We're going to close this program and we're going to keep talking. And we'll let people hear tomorrow what we're about to say.
Kim Meeder: Yes, sir.
Dr. Dobson: I appreciate you being here. You are a great lady.
Kim Meeder: Thank you, sir.
Dr. Dobson: And you got a great husband named Troy. God be with you, friend.
Kim Meeder: Thank you.
Roger Marsh: Well, what a story. We hope you've been touched by Kim Meeder's testimonial of her inspiring experience with that battered boy who was transformed by the hug of a pony and the love of Jesus Christ. You're listening to Family Talk. And if you're like me, the folks in studio aren't the only ones crying over God's touching ministry through rescued horses paired with broken children. Please join us again tomorrow for part two and the conclusion of this powerful conversation.
If you'd like to learn more about Kim Meeder, Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, or to get a copy of her new book Revival Rising: Embracing His Transforming Fire, please visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org and then click on the broadcast tab. That's drjamesdobson.org. You know, we'd love your feedback about the broadcast and about our ministry. And you can write to us directly with that information at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, P.O. box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the zip code 80949. Again, that address is the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, P.O. Box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80949.
Remember to tune in again tomorrow for part two and the conclusion of this powerful interview featuring Dr. Dobson's conversation with Kim Meeder. That's coming up next time right here on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.