With all the grief counseling and support groups I went to in dealing with my son’s death, nothing helped more than spending time at your ranch with the horses. I was able to make peace with things some how. What you do makes such a difference.
I am a live in missionary and have been serving for 4 years at the Phoenix Dream Center. I specialize in trauma, abuse, sex trafficking, exploitation and I am the Director of Women’s Development which oversees the leadership that gives care to the clients the Dream Center serves. When I met Bob and Vanessa they welcomed me onto their property and allowed me to come out and rest and regroup. Rancho Milagro became my reset and the horses a healthy emotional release. When you see the things I’ve seen and walked with the clients I have walked with you can’t help but to absorb and to take on some of their stuff. Being with the horses and out at the ranch has become a necessary part of my routine. Rancho Milagro gives me the refreshing I need to help me better serve the people in my life. It is very important to take time out for self care when providing care for others. May that be in ministry, in the work force, social services, or any other setting. Rancho Milagro had been key in teaching me that and I hope I can be an echo that continues reteaching and encouraging others to take time out, reset and rest. The people you serve and love depend on it.
Bob & Vanessa Kohnen: I just wanted to thank you guys again for what you did for our children yesterday! We already see the fruit of Ranch Milagro Youth Camp! Hearts are lighter, there’s more laughter and joy! Something broke in Kutter big time! It’s like I got my son back ? Logan has his sights set on Goliath and won’t stop until he takes it down! Kaydence is more engaged and aware of the next generation that she plans to lead. Taylor is working out what’s in her heart and is practicing stepping out from her sisters shadow while also practicing guardianship under submission. And Tatumn is stepping out in more confidence to be the silly ball of joy that she was created to be. She an atmosphere flipper so we really have to watch that one ? I’m bummed trinity didn’t make it out!
My kids went in a little nervous for what the day would hold but Tyler directed them to walk in confidently and with authority (he was referring to the horses) but they followed his lead and walked into face Goliath with more confidence knowing that that was their dad’s direction. It’s amazing to see that what the Father speaks over us can so practically be walked out. Go in confident and that thing will submit to your authority! My kids are called to do crazy huge things and this weekend set them up to face those things that stand in their way!
It’s amazing to tap into the family that God has given us in order to sharpen ourselves more! I feel less overwhelmed trying to raise this small army because I know I am not doing it alone – the weight is definitely lighter after this weekend because of all that you guys did! I so love and appreciate your hearts!
This was the beginning of an awesome day at Rancho Milagro. So much happened! What was really amazing is how the horses and the dogs all worked together to accomplish the eternal effect. The Lord was using the animals to reveal His heart and His design for wholeness and renewal! What a wonderful concept.
Lilies of the Valley, President/Founder Julie LeClair
I came to Rancho Milagro in the hopes of improving my riding skills. Although the ranch is not a riding school, Vanessa (CEO/Founder) agreed to show me a few things. During our trail rides, we would talk about the mission of the ranch. I gradually started volunteering and became more and more familiar with equine therapy and the ministry of the ranch. I’ve done everything from mucking stalls to receiving equine sessions in the round pen.
I am now caring for the the horses, planning events and creating new programs. As a survivor myself, I find comfort in being surrounded by not only other survivors, but these wonderful beasts called horses that exist in the utmost pristine manner that God created them. I encourage anyone struggling with deep issues such as trauma, depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc., to stop by the ranch and just hang out. We can feed the horses, brew some coffee, walk the property with the dogs and discuss a plan for success. It’s a safe and comfortable place to hang your hat and speak openly without fear of judgement.
We take our Christian principles/values seriously and you can trust that Rancho Milagro is a safe respite from a world that isn’t always so kind. Please do not wonder whether or not you will qualify or fit into one of our programs. We may actually create one just for you!
Growing up I was born into a very abusive family. At age of 6 I was being sexually abused by my father and by the age of 11 I was sex trafficked out of our home. This went on until the age of 18 when I was able to get away. All the abuse laid the foundation for my unhealthy coping skills. When I first got to Rancho Milagro I was very scared had no confidence. I was going through the motions of everyday life. After being out on the ranch I have learned new coping skills. Through the horses I have learned what it means to be confident. In the beginning I was scared and unsure of the horses. Now I ride horses bareback and with no hands. Through the horses I now know what it means to be free. Rancho Milagro has become my safe place where I can come be who I am and I know there will be open arms.
I experienced leadership and what it means through the eyes of horses. I feel like the Lord healed my heart concerning the fact that I have been through so much brokenness as a pastor because of the rejection from people that I seen clearly what it meant to have the spirit of unity among me through the horses. Especially, Ruby. We connected very deeply because I felt her pain and I shared mine with her. We both Experienced oneness in all of its fullness. I was literally baptized in the dirt. It was awesome!!! Thank you!
To Vanessa and the Rancho Milagro Foundation, I thank you truly for all that you do and all that you are.
Julie, I will just say personally I experienced a breakthrough as a leader. The experience I had with you & I leading Ruby was incredible. I felt my confidence raise to a level it has not been before. Also a learning to trust in you as my partner, that we could do anything together and lead was huge! I, also, had even more stripping of the old mindset that my thoughts or opinions don’t count or are not important. That they must have someone with a “higher discernment or intellect” to approve of them before they can be spoken to others.
Love you! ??♀️❤️
I have been in abusive situations my whole life at so many levels. I’ve been through so much betrayal, physical and emotional abuse and paralyzing fear to the point when I woke up in the morning, I would have a knot in my stomach, making me feel like I wanted to get sick. Because I didn’t know what kind of day I would have, I was addicted to pain pills for many years and put my children through the pain of having to see me in this way and the shame and guilt that that brought me. Out of six children I have seen my daughter diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis at the age of thirteen and watching her go through many attacks that never left her the same. A son diagnosed with Fibro’s Dysplasia and I had to helplessly sit back and watch him go into the operating room to have a tumor removed from his brain. Then getting the heartbreaking diagnoses for my son and daughter (only sixteen months a part) that they had Autism, (which I like to call God-tism). Then my daughter who didn’t seem to have any health problems was secretly battling anxiety and panic attacks.
The stress and lack of sleep took a toll on me to where I was now having Grand Mal Seizures. As I was still struggling with many other things, like not being able to forgive my Mother for committing suicide when I was only nineteen. My sister dying from a prescription pill overdose along with many other family members. I could write so much more of the struggles my family has been through. But! That’s when I had the greatest encounter of my life with Jesus! In the last five years he has radically changed me at so many levels. He has brought so much healing and love that I never knew existed. I recently went through the biggest battle of my life in the last year. I had to learn how to forgive the one thing I told God I could never forgive someone for. But through that pain I found freedom! As I leaned into Jesus even more, this newfound thirst and hunger rose up in me and I wanted more, so much more. Knowing that there was a deeper level of healing that he still wanted to do in me to make me completely whole. And he did just that at Rancho Milagro.
I came to Rancho Milagro with great expectation. What I encountered through the horses far surpassed any expectation I could ever hope for. Even though I have come so far and have had so much healing, I knew that I needed a touch from heaven to bring more healing from the struggles of my most recent season. And I received just that! I literally got a touch from heaven and Holy Spirit completely wrecked me with his unconditional love through one amazing kindhearted, beautiful, loving horse. I feel like I have gained more wisdom and understanding of who God is and my identity in him because of The Rancho Milagro Foundation. I learned that God uses ALL of creation for his Glory and I can’t limit him in any way. And he can and will use anyone including horses to bring healing and complete wholeness to a person. I had the most amazing experience through all the horses along with Vanessa, Bob and Dave. I love how they allow Holy Spirit to do what he wants, when he wants and how he wants, to bring complete wholeness. Never in my life would I have ever thought that I would see the face of Jesus through a horse. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
I have to say thank you for bringing up starting a relationship with God during our last session. I have been working on changing my idea of God to a mature, new and healthier version. I have been praying for guidance this last week and feel the ice melting off my heart and soul.