Henry and Ann have been hosting at The Ravines since 2009. They estimate they’ve hosted at least 40 times. That’s a huge time commitment. I asked “why?”
“We had rough times in our own marriage,” says Ann. “We wish we would have had access to this kind of resource 30 years ago.”
They’ve seen amazing progress and they’ve seen heartache, first hand.
“Sometimes couples wait too long to come,” Henry says, “Of course, God can always use a ‘last ditch effort,’ but it can be even harder then.”
In addition to serving meals and keeping the coffee brewing, the hosts pray and encourage. Once Henry was out on a walk on the property and he came upon the wife (of a couple there for counseling) who was struggling and very distraught. She didn’t think she could go on. Henry (who retired as an athletic coach) encouraged her. He prayed with her and said, “You’re not going to quit!” wondering if he had spoken too strongly. It was just what she needed to move forward, face some hard challenges and continue the process of healing.
“We do not counsel,” says Henry. “But it was Friday, and Fridays are days of hard work at The Ravines.”
Another couple was in their 70s and they both were considering ending their marriage. “What kind of legacy will that leave for your kids and grandkids?” Ann asked. “They left in a much healthier state than when they arrived,” adds Henry.
Henry and Ann have recently moved so they’re no longer local to The Ravines. “A two-hour drive won’t keep us away,” says Ann. “We love this ministry so much.”
Many of our hosts are only able to take one-half of a session, but Henry and Ann (and some other hosts) often sign up for the whole time, Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning. “Why?”
“We love to see the transformation from when couples arrive nervous and frightened to when they leave,” says Ann. “We’re strangers when they walk in the door. When we show them the facility, they are always impressed at how beautiful it is, and that gives us a safe subject to begin a relationship. As the time progresses, they warm up and their trust levels increase.”
“We love being there for the whole experience,” says Henry. “You can almost feel the tension leaving the couples because of the hard work they are doing. We get to see miracles happen.”
If you want to be part of the “miracles” Henry and Ann are talking about, they encourage you to consider serving as hosts. “While all the couples are different, they’re still often the same. They all come seeking solutions for marriages that are broken or struggling and in need of God’s grace. They come in frightened and insecure, and they leave us with hugs, and assurance of God’s grace,” says Ann.
“They have a hard time leaving and they’re so appreciative of what we do,” adds Henry. “But we are the ones who are blessed by serving.”