Thursday October 15, 2015
Changing Gaits Christian Ranch
Brook Park, Minnesota
ccm Cross #0088
Additional photos after Testimony
3914 cdd Changing Gaits
Cyber Daily Devotion
Today’s Author: Pastor Bill
Scripture: Psalm 18:16
“Me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning” MSG
“Hi, my name is Guy Kaufman and this is my Cross Testimony of how I’m a new person in Christ. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. When I entered high school I started drinking to “kill the pain.” I continued drinking graduating High School in 1978. Right out of High School I started working in the construction industry which lead to a job with the local electric utility. I was married five years later in 1983. We had two children and I kept on drinking. Six years later my drinking had spun out of control.”
“In 1989, I stopped drinking on my own strength, for five years. But the addictive attitude and behaviors were still there. Five years passed and I started drinking again when my marriage became too rocky to handle. That was in 1994. We divorced in 1996. The turmoil and excessive drinking in my life drove me to twice attempt suicide. August 31, 1998, I took my last drink. I checked myself into a substance abuse treatment center the next day. As I was leaving home that morning, my neighbor handed me an abbreviated Bible which included the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Psalms, and Proverbs.”
“I checked into the substance abuse treatment center and had some free time. I sat down and started reading where the abbreviated Bible opened — Psalm 18:20-24: ‘God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to Gods ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.’”
“That was truly when I felt the power of the Holy Spirit lift me from my alcohol addiction. Jesus came into my life right then and there. My life was changed forever! Twenty-eight days later, I left the substance abuse treatment center becoming an active participant in a recovery program. I started attending church and went back to my job with the local electrical utility.”
“In the spring of 1999 I sold my home and spent the summer commuting to work from a series of campgrounds. I lived in my motorhome/camper.”
“That summer I drove into Wild River State Park looking for a camp site to stay and spotted Wild River Horse Stables. I parked my motorhome/camper and went to talk to Hank the owner. Once again the Lord was changing my life forever. I had only been on a horse once in my life. Hank asked me if I could ride, I said, ‘sure I can.’ Dressed in a pair of shorts, cowboy boots and a hat, he put me on an Arab horse named Shadow. I took off racing with a guide and after 3 hours I had blisters on both legs and could hardly walk.”
“I found my new addiction — riding horses. I began riding on a regular basis becoming friends with Hank’s family. I attended weekly bible studies as Hank took me under his wing — literally helping build a relationship with Jesus Christ, one day at a time.”
“I spent the next few years living as a caretaker in a home inside a local Minnesota campground. I was busy as the campground caretaker while still working a full time job for the local electric utility. I worked my way up to the lead guide at Wild River Horse Stables. And I continued to build my relationship with Jesus as Hank taught me from my Bible. I grew closer to my kids beginning a rebuilding program in our lives which restored our relationships. The Lord is so good allowing me to do all this as I continued in my recovery program. The closer I walked with Jesus the more my heart began to dream of using horses. Using horses to help people with substance abuse recovery.”
“As the lead guide at Wild River Horse Stables I exclusively rode Shadow. We built a special relationship. Shadow is a smart, strong, enduring horse. We melded together and struck a bond of friendship I had never known.”
“In the fall of 2000 I asked to buy Shadow. Hank, for all of the work that I had done at the stable, gave me Shadow. Over the next few years thru the preaching’s of my Pastor at church and through Bible studies with Hank all the while working my recovery program, I grew deeper in love with Christ. I continued dreaming of how I could use horses to help people struggling in their lives, not knowing that God had planted the idea in my heart to fulfill His plan for my life.”
“On December 26, 2003, my life would once again change forever. I woke up feeling lousy that day, I noticed that I had blood in my urine, but ignored it. I went to work and a couple hours later I had some incredible pain. I went to the emergency room at the hospital and was diagnosed with kidney stones. Not just one or two of them, but 18 kidney stones. The doctor blasted two great big ones into many small pieces, and then I had to pass all 18 of them. Ouch! Because of my addictive personality, I wouldn’t take any pain medication. I was lying there, in incredible pain and asked God ‘What do you want me to do with the rest of my life?’”
“The answer came crystal clear to me ‘Horses and kids, Horses and kids.’ I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. A week later a friend of mine, from church, told me about a book called ‘The Dream Giver’. I just happened to pick up my daughter Amanda that night at a bookstore, so I bought the book. I read the book until 4:30 AM in the morning, I couldn’t put it down. I knew God was calling, it was time to go get that dream.”
“A week later a friend of mine told me about a substance abuse recovery program in Nashville, Tennessee, that uses horses. I was overwhelmed how fast God was moving! I signed up to attend the EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) conference in Nashville, in March. I gave my notice at the local electric utility where I had worked for 21 years. I told my boss I was going to work for Jesus the rest of my life. She, being an active alcoholic herself, thought I needed therapy immediately.”
“One week later, I hit black ice on the highway, rolling my four-wheel drive vehicle two times. I slid down an embankment and landed in a ditch.” “The last thing I said before I hit the ditch was, ‘Lord let me live.’ A calming peace came over me, I was un-injured, but the vehicle was seriously damaged. Somehow, repairs were made just in time and I left for Nashville in the middle of a winter snow storm.”
“Nearly 24 hours later I showed up in Nashville, Tennessee, to attend EAGALA. While in Nashville, I took notes, taped the horse sessions, talked with everyone I could and watched models of therapeutic exercises using horses. The Holy Spirit began clicking ideas in my head. He inspired me to begin devising my own exercises with a horse — a strong, powerful, intimidating animal, representing a person’s drug of choice. The Holy Spirit revealed that through verbal and non-verbal communication, personal strength and ingenuity, it would be possible to begin to control the horse, the root of the addiction.”
“The Holy Spirit model for Changing Gaits was born. I went through training and became certified in EAAS (Equine Assisted Addiction Service). Another obstacle presented itself however.”
“Shadow, my companion steed was always with me. Whenever I now look into his eyes I see the miracle that Jesus did for us. Upon my graduation from EAAS it was the Lord, me and Shadow. Together we made a pact, a covenant — a faith promise if you will. Together we would develop Changing Gaits. Shadow was the horse part and kids were a part and setting people free of addictions was the other part.”
“Shadow had always been a part of the Changing Gaits dream. As plans continued for development of Changing Gaits sudden tragedy struck. I went to Wild River Horse Stables one day and found Shadow near death. Twine had somehow worked its way around his throat. His eyes were bulging out — blood and mucus ran from his eyes — and his head was swollen to ‘hippo’ size.”
“I started praying and called a veterinarian. When the vet arrived he said the horse had to be put down. I explained to him that wasn’t possible, Shadow and I had a deal with Jesus to save kids and set the captives free. I talked the vet into performing an emergency tracheotomy, right there in the field. This 24 years old veterinarian, just 3 weeks out of college, without any anesthetic cut Shadow’s throat. A half hour later, sitting on an upturned bucket in a horse trailer, I held my hand inside Shadow’s throat holding on to a make-shift tracheal tube, keeping him alive.”
“An hour later, we arrived at the veterinary clinic. Terry, the owner, informed me that Shadow needed to be put down. Again I refused and I told him that faith as small as a mustard seed could move a mountain. Again I spoke that Shadow and I had this deal with Jesus to save kids and set the captives free. Then I told him that Shadow wouldn’t be going anywhere. I went home that night and prayed.”
“I fell asleep while praying with the Bible on my chest. I woke up between 1:00 AM and 1:30 AM in the morning. I immediately began praying again and reading my Bible falling asleep again. I woke early arriving at 4:45 AM in the morning at the vet’s office. The vet tech that stayed overnight with Shadow greeted me at the door. He informed me, ‘You’re not going to believe what has happened over night? At about 1-1:30 AM this morning Shadow started eating and drinking and ultimately urinating. Three quarters of the swelling was gone, but his eyes were still shut.’ The vet pointed out Shadow’s firebrick red gums, saying they were an indication of lost brain function and motor skills. He again recommended putting Shadow down. Of course I said no way! As the days passed, Shadow continued to gain strength. Ten days later, I arrived at the vet clinic to bring Shadow home. Terry the owner looked at me and said ‘you know you have a special horse here’ and I said, ‘I believe your right.’ He then looked at me and said, ‘no I don’t think you understand Guy, Shadow is one in a million and you got the one!’ And without any hesitation, I looked at Terry and said, ‘I wonder if the other 999,999 have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ like I do?’”
“Shadow has completely recovered. PTL! Determination for not quitting as we were walking in the true power of the Holy Spirit. On June 4, 2005, Shadow, two more horses and I moved in establishing Changing Gaits. Since then groups and individuals from various treatment centers have participated in sessions setting them free from addictions. Children, teens, adults, and families have come to work with the horses and work through their problems. We connect with all of them, big time. Our love for horses, our belief that people can learn from them, and the power of the Holy Spirit continues to change lives.”
“We are earning a reputation for positive results as clients come from not only the state, but from around the country. At Changing Gaits we network with people who are interested in supporting a Holy Spirit driven recovery method that deals with society’s woes head on.”
“We call this place Changing Gaits, as a symbol of my own life and the changes prompted by the Holy Spirit. Faith keeps us going. Faith in God. Faith in other people that the same Holy Spirit changes them that set me free will take place in the hearts and lives of those who come for our services.”
“We use some very simple words at Changing Gaits:
HOW is: Honesty Open mindedness and Willingness?
GOD is: Good Orderly Direction. And my favorite is,
JOY which is: Jesus first, Others second and Yourself third.”
“Changing Gaits uses horses, as a tool, to provide equine assisted addiction therapy to troubled people of all ages through the power of the Holy Spirit.“
“Changing Gaits sits on an incredible 77 acres of land in Brook Park, Minnesota. We have a beautiful indoor arena with seven horses. Though the road has been a tough one the Lord has been good as we stand on His promises. Philippians 4:13 says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’” NKJV
“In 2011 we were approached by the local county to begin a sober House for men. What a blessing and challenge this has turned out to be. Since inception we have had more than 80 men live at the ranch where they work on themselves, their walk with Jesus and they assist in taking care of the Horses and the ranch. The men also do volunteer work outside the ranch throughout the community and on Fridays a nearby school district brings their Special Needs Kids out to the ranch. This is when we give back to our community and put these beautiful kids on Horses.”
“We have been blessed by doing work off site with Gods Horses by doing pony rides for churches, carnivals and parades as well as festivals. Our graduates return to society with a new gait (walk) in their hearts. Those that hold on to Jesus and the Holy Spirit live the scripture, 1 John 4:4 ‘Greater is He who lives in me than He who is in the world.’ Jesus becomes the center of their lives.”
“The memories and testimonies are piling up and what an Honor it has been and continues to be as a servant of THE MOST HIGH God. Shadow and I are blessed to have the privilege of being used by Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives. We give ALL THE GLORY and HONOR TO GOD.”
“My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:31b ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’” NKJV
“8/31is also a special date in my life — my set free day from the bondages of alcohol — PTL! It’s my sober date.”
“What the Cross means to me. The Cross is not an idol, it is a representation of what Jesus Christ did for me when he set me free from all my sins.”
“This set of three Crosses is set at the entrance of our prayer sanctuary. It is the heart and soul of Changing Gaits. This is where we are set free from all our afflictions. In the process we take our burdens to the Cross while meeting Jesus Christ one on one. There is precious power in the blood of Jesus.”
“These three Crosses remind me of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Father forgives us
The Lord Jesus Christ sets us free
The Holy Spirit empowers us with strength to overcome”
“Here at our prayer sanctuary we hold our Sober House meetings, here all the children on horseback will pass to rest and pray, here we will hold weddings and here the public will see the power and strength behind all we do — The Lord Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Bill, thank you hardly says it — the joy these Crosses bring is the Crown of our ministry here. THANK YOU and your readers.
Prayer: Father thank you for places such as Changing Gaits where The Father, The Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are real and lives are set free. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Entrance to Changing Gaits
Changing Gaits indoor arena
On our way to plant the Crosses we stopped at the local lumber yard to pay for materials
Meet George Carlberg who volunteered to notch the Crosses.
George was instrumental in the beginning of our Cross ministry as he
designed and implemented the Cross design. That was 87 Crosses ago!
Pastor Gary from Friendship Church in Braham, Minnesota stopped by to lend a hand.
Our granddaughter Sarah joined us to film what we
were doing and here she is working with Kenny attaching bolts
Some of the local children came to see all the action and helped
us clean up in preparation for moving the Crosses into position
Scott drove the Changing Gaits 1950 Farmall tractor
helping move Crosses into position as Jeremiah looks on
While the Crosses were being prepared
the three holes were being drilled by Dustin
When all was ready the tractor broke down. We said a short prayer and Scott removed the transmission
linkage finding the the damage. With Farmall parts not available Scott using his Leatherman found odds and ends in the garage and made a makeshift linkage.
In place of using the disabled tractor to move the Crosses into place.
We used a lawn mower to move the Crosses into place.
Pastor Bill and George survey the Crosses in preparation to lift them into place using ropes. Just then Scott and the Farmall Tractor arrived like the Calvary!
FIRE IN THE HOLE #1
FIRE IN THE HOLE #2
FIRE IN THE HOLE #3
Then we adjusted each one into proper position
Left to right: Pastors Carol and Bill, Sarah, Deb, George, Kenny and Marie
Left to right: Scott, Jeremiah, Dustin, Jayden on Shadow, Guy, Renee and Don
Attaching the plaque
The plaque “Giving God Glory” for setting the captives free
Changing Gates Website Click Here
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