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  Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy  
Transforming Lives
N e w s l e t t e r

Bearing Fruit

Outside the Box!

Special Thanks


Summer 2002 Issue
By Patti & Randy Mandrell  

"In his heart a man has plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

God's work is never done! About one year ago, God revealed His current agenda for Refuge through an analogy. Remember, the parable of two trees. God desired for Refuge to be a long-living, strong tree that could withstand many storms vs. a quick-growing tree with many branches that are fragile and weak. In that season, He instructed us to focus on our root system and growing a firm foundation by building a strong and deep support system around us. With this newfound insight, we set forth to do just that. We began to focus on building our self-confidence in the work God had instructed us to do by growing the root system for the strong tree we were to become.

A year later, I see this tree having roots that run deep and with fingers spreading far and wide. The last year has included educating the public, colleagues, and friends as to the great benefits and miracles we are seeing in therapy using the horses. We were asked to present at the Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) National Conference in Columbus , Ohio. We presented to over 200 professionals across the country who are alos using EAP with their clients. We copyrighted ou CHAMPIONS curriculum designed for the at-risk adolescent groups that we have continously run for over 2 years. We sold over 100 copies at the conference alone. Now our curriculum is being used around the country. WOW! We were amazed a the national support we gained as a result of us speaking out about our passion and experience in building our ministry. At this conference, we were awarded level-3 instructor status, the highest certification level of training available, allowing us to provide our first national workshop back in March, and it was a HUGE success! Clearly, spring came and our tree began blooming! Now, it is bearing fruit as fast as we can pick it!

That is a lot of activity and growth, yet it is only the begining! I would have to say the pace of life kicked up another notch around December of last year. We had a stedy increase in regards to caseload with Refuge. However, this increasing load was taking Randy to his breaking point. He was still working full-time elsewhere and then adding an additional 4 to 5 hours for Refuge after a full day's work. He was quickly heading toward burnout! So, in December, we began crying out to the Lord for relief. At that time, we began to feel for relief. At that time, we began to feel the gentle tug of the Lord telling us it was time to move to the next step. We automatically assumed that meant we needed to get our own facility because we had reached the point that further growth was limited because of space and confidentiality issues at the current facility we were using. At this point, we had developed a relationship with a local foundation that was interested in funding a facility for us. That was exciting! We got so far as having a contingent contract on a facility, and then it sold out from under us. Several other land negotiations fell through as well. So, the doors kept closing in our faces.

Board of Directors:

Dewayne Proctor, President
Ronny Wall, Treasurer
Randy Mandrell, EAPIII
Dr. Don Bartley
Angie Alspaugh, LPC

Around this same time, we conducted our first national EAP workshop. In attendance were the owners of Spring Creek Hourse Farm of Houston, Texas, whom we had met about three year's prior at the first EAP National Conference. They told us about their venture of opening a new adolescent inpatient treatment center and asked us if we would be interested in coming to their place and running it or if we knew anyone that would be good. We gave them some names and just blew off the job offer as our business was growing in Lubbock. We met up with them again a few weeks later ar the conference in Columbus. They approached us again with the offer. This kept coming back to us, to we decided we needed to take them more seriously. We shared our vision for Refuge, and they share their vision the Lord had given them for Spring Creek Horse Farm. The two visions complimented each other very well!

We walked into paradise --a 175-acre facility of wooded areas, creek, stocked ponds, and green grass everywhere! It was like looking at a picture of what we had always envisioned for Refuge. The facility is all new. It is a 24-bed Christ-based inpatient treatment center. The target opening date is August 1, 2002. The main form of therapy they wanted to do is EAP. They currently have about 30 head of registered paint and thoroubred horses. They see a great need for family involement in treatment and are interested in family retreats intensive family therapy as a component of the treatment of the adolescents. Their proposal to us was for us come run the facility. A merger in our two visions. After catching 6 bass in less than 45 minutes, Randy and I decided it would be real easy to live here. But we wanted to make sure this was God's will. So we came home and continued in prayer over this huge opportunity.

Three days after our return to Lubbock, I recieved a call from the only remaining land owner we were negotiating with to hear him say that his family had decided to not sell the land after all. Well, that was just confirmation to us that we had exhuasted all the options we could see available in Lubbock, and all doors were remaining closed. Also, conformation #2 was the Refuge calendar. Our calendar was packed full in June with camps, leadership workshops and individual clients. However, we had NOTHING on the calendar after June 30th. This time last year we were already scheduling events into the winter. We had many proposals out but none confirmed. And to this date, all of those proposals have fallen through without our intervention. Coincidence? I don't think so!

We told Spring Creek Horse Farm that we wanted to come visit again and discuss details. We felt like God was leading us in that direction but wanted to be sure, so we scheduled a second meeting to dsicuss details further. We agreed on everything! They They were more generous than we could have expected. Wea also found a house that weekend. Randy is so excited about the new location of the house because he can ride his horse to work! The place came up for sale 2 days after our first visit. Just a side note on the previous hom owners, they shared that the morning before we came to look at the house, a lday from a local church came by thier house to pick up some things they were donating to missions. They began discussing their need to sell their house and their farm, so could purchase another piece of property that they were moving to. So, the lady prayed with them. Fifteen minutes later we called to come see the house. The next day, his farm sold. By the end of that weekend, the homeowner had sold his house and farm and closing on his new property. God never leaves any stone unturned. His plan is always good for all! This was once again conformation for all of us that we are in God's will.

Number of children & families lives impacted:

Year 2000 -------------------- 196

Year 2001 -------------------- 267

Year 2002 -------------------- 259

Since the decision to move has been confirmed, Refuge Services has recieved 3 grants to cover IN FULL the reamaining activities here in Lubbock. Praise the Lord for that! This will take a huge stress off our shoulders to not have to come up with the funds to counsel approximately 100 kids for the month of June. This also is an awesome farewell and thank you to all the agencies that have been so faithful to send their kids and pay for services for those troubled kids. It was so exciting to be able to these agencies and say, "As a thank you to your involvement, we would like for 10 of your kids to attend our summer, therapeutic Christian camp for FREE!" We thank the Betenbough Foundation, Lubbock Area Foundation, and Jr. League of Lubbock for making this happen. So on July 5th, Refuge Services moves to Tomball, Texas, approximately 20 miles north of Houston. We are full of questions regarding details of how all this will fit together, but we are reminded of what God spoke to Randy and I that first visit to Tomball when we were both asking how this would all work. God said, "Stop planning and questioning. The only question you need to be asking right now is do I want you here or not? I will take care of the rest." We strongly feel that He does want us there, so we hold on to His promise as we step forward in faith.

I see our journey with Refuge, just as Gary Smalley describes a marriage, as a fruit tree, which requires all 4 seasons to bear good fruit. The tree may have to tolerate many long, hot summer days but can look forward to pleasant, enjoyable fall days. However, the tree must endure harsh, cold winters to rid itself of all the parasites that could destroy the fruit production. Only after a cold, hard winter can the tree bear beautiful fruit.

So, this brings new light to the parable of the two trees. Refuge has endured our first winter season. We survived and are now growing new fruit. As we spring with new growth, we must not forget to keep watering and fertilizing our tree. Our tree is still young but growing strong.

What season is your tree in? Is your tree in shape to withstand a cold winter full of many storms? It is not too late to start watering and fertilizing your tree?Luke 12:22-34


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