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By Jamie Warner – 
The Mighty Oaks Legacy season is in full swing. Last week, we completed our second Men’s Legacy Program of 2018 at SkyRose Ranch in San Miguel, California.
Often times, story tellers use weather to create the mood and the atmosphere for the tale being told using external forces of nature to mirror the feelings and struggles of the protagonist. Last week’s Men’s Legacy Program was no exception, as the Master Storyteller, the Creator himself, penned a brilliant tale of transformation.
The day of arrival brought a light, much needed rain to the thirsty California landscape. Cloudy skies mirrored the solemn mood of the Warriors arriving at the ranch. Like so many, the trials and tribulations of life had caught up to these men and brought them to this place in search of hope. Not sure where to turn or when it all went wrong, but knowing that something needed to change, these men prepared for what may come.
Monday’s classes came right out of the gate challenging the men with questions like Are you a man? What defines a man? and If what you have been doing isn’t working, why not do something different? Typically, the Warriors go to bed that night feeling like they just went three rounds with the Truth and didn’t fair too well. For some, it may have been a split-decision, but for most they lost by knockout.
But as Tuesday rolled around, we were greeted with sunshine and bright skies. New glimpses of hope on the horizon of their lives as they listened to Why Men Need to Fight and what a true man of Character looks like. The warmth of the afternoon sun was a welcomed respite as we built community while on horseback, loping down the trails of the Work Family Ranch. Later, back at SkyRose, the evening continued as the need for authentic Brotherhood was laid before them, and the night was closed with a powerful testimony about the lasting effects of suicide on those left in the aftermath.
Just as the drought plagued California land thirsted for more rain, the Warriors of last week thirsted for more Truth. Wednesday night brought the full storm of wind and rain to the dry and dusty land, while the rest of the program classes and meetings stormed against the Warriors’ strongholds that had prevented them from moving towards becoming the men they were created to be. As the Master Storyteller continued to create the atmosphere: wind blowing debris, rain washing across the land, the storm raging inside the Lodge brought metaphorical wind to blow open the doors to their hearts and rain to quench thirsty souls and wash clean the slates of life, flooding their hearts and minds with the streams Truth and Purpose and Life… and Hope.
As always, the leaders come away blessed by the work done during a Legacy Program. Team Leader Travis Gitthens shared, “[This was] the most powerful Program for me, even as a student. The things they shared and seeing their hunger really stoked the fire in me to dig deeper personally.” And the entire staff agreed that there was a hunger amongst the students, as a whole, that was palpable from the Ice Breaker to the graduation.
There was a temporary reprieve from the rain Friday afternoon while we baptized eleven men, signifying their public alignment with Christ and the life they were created to live. Then the rain and the storm returned, yet another Godly metaphorical reminder that the storms of life don’t go away just because you align with the Savior, but now the promise of never weathering the storms of life alone provides a hope that casts out all fear.
Thank you for partnering with Mighty Oaks in prayer and support. You are making an eternal difference!