December Praise and Prayer Report
Blessings to everyone;
Well its hard to believe we are about 30 days from 2010. What a blessed year with much to be thankful for. We at ATO ( don’t ever forget that includes you) have once again witnessed God use His great outdoors to bless and love on His children. Once again I would like to share my heart before we unfold the blessings of the November hunts.
While sitting in a huge cottonwood tree in southern Kansas, a bowhunting trip I have been taking for 6 or 7 years now, I thanked God for seasons that come and go. Most of the trees had shed their pretty fall foliage, the grass dormant, the color of wildflowers gone and not to return for months. To the eye it looks as though not much could be happening in this lifeless setting, but below the surface the roots are shouting and singing because this is their season. CHANGE…… we sometimes can’t see it, we don’t always understand it, it comes at times we are not ready for it and most of the time we try to resist it. Just as the seasons change so will many things we encounter in this journey that God has placed before us. So many things change; people, generations, cultures, economies, laws, jobs, clothes, our circumstances, our priorities, our age, the list is endless. Change is everywhere, it is all around us, it doesn’t care if you are ready for it and I assure you, we can’t hide from it. Now for the good news; GOD WILL NEVER CHANGE………HE is the same today as He was in the beginning. GOD has not, will not and cannot change. His truth will always be truth, He will always remain faithful, His character will never change, His mercy and grace will always abound, His love for the world will never weaken and the greatest is His agenda will always be about a relationship with you and me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excuse me, I think I have to get up and dance or shout. How awesome is that. Now my prayer for us is that we; BELIEVE IT, TRUST IT and WALK IN IT !!! We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow. ( I want to encourage you, if anything in your relationship with God has changed, it wasn’t Him ).
We were blessed with three great hunts in November. All three hunts went great in every aspect. God loved on our hunters as well as many family members that were included and also provided great deer for each of our hunters. God truly is good ALL THE TIME.
Our first hunter was Brad Cusenbary, a native from Graham Texas, who now lives near Steamboat Springs Colorado with wife Laura. Our connection to Brad was Jay Presti, a neighbor, guide and close friend of Richard and Myra Harbin owners of The Triple Cross Ranch. Jay dates Brads sister Lee Ann. Brads dad, his brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephew were all present at some point during this hunt. They don’t see Brad as often as they want so this hunt was great family time for them all. Brad was diagnosed with brain cancer about a year ago. The cancer was not a mass but rather entertwined in the brain making it inoperable. The biopsy they tried was not successful in determining the type of cancer they are dealing with. They have tried treatments with little or no success and the cancer is growing and causing seizures. He has suffered nerve damage in his right arm which has created a new challenge of learning to shoot left handed. They are talking with doctors now on their options and when to start them. From what I understand they need a good biopsy so they know what direction to go with treatments, PLEASE PRAY!!!!! Brad is so positive and full of life that I was constantly reminded of my hero Kyle Ogle. It is truly life changing to encounter this positive, fearless and selfless mindset of people like Brad and Kyle. Brad harvested a great deer, enjoyed time with family and ATO was blessed to be a part of these memories.
The second blessing of the month was Daryl Bayer, he is 50 yrs. old and lives in FT. Worth Texas, who I met through Brian Walker. Brian is the dad of Brandon, our first hunter this year. Daryl was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two years ago and after treatment the cancer was gone. With the cancer in remission Daryl was going in every three months for check-ups when they discovered spots on his lungs. Daryl now has stage four lung cancer and he is taking treatments again, Without a true miracle from the Lord, Daryls time looks very limited. Daryls attitude was awesome and he was sincere when he said that he loved God more and more everyday. Daryl shared with me that the largest deer he had ever harvested was a basket racked 6 point twenty-five years ago. Well Daryl can’t say that anymore, the Lord blessed him with a 14 point buck, one of the largest this year. Pray for Daryl as he is truly touching many lives as he walks out his journey trusting God and with undeniable joy. I really believe he is making God smile as he displays a true sonship lifestyle regardless of his circumstances…….WOW !!!!!!!!
Our third hunt was a local young man from my hometown of Weatherford Texas named Douglas Barksdale who is 19 years old and has Downs Syndrome. His parents Bruce and Sheila and brother Michael were along for the hunt. My friend Eric Owings introduced me to Douglas and it was evident this one would be intense. Douglas’ high energy level along with a personality that will capture your heart was a 48 hour adrenaline rush. Me and Douglas poked fun at each other all weekend like two brothers and believe me he can dish it out. Douglas was very patient with me as I struggled to understand his speech, with Sheila always nearby to help me. I don’t know that I ever have or ever will hear a more beautiful prayer than the one I heard from Douglas. We had prayed before our meal as we do, then about half way through the meal I heard Douglas saying something. I turned to look at Douglas, as that usually helped me understand him, he had hands clasped together, head bowed and eyes closed thanking God for many things, only a few that I could understand. I heard I love my mama, my daddy, my new friend Bo,(as he reached over and patted my arm), thank you God for my buck and my doe, thank you for this food, I love you God and much more that I didn’t understand………but God did. What a lesson for us all, it wasn’t done before the meal as tradition has taught us but from a humble heart, a meek spirit with a kindness that I believe put a big grin on Gods face. Think this is about deer hunting…….God constantly reminds me its bigger !!!!!!!!! Douglas shot a great 11 point buck and a doe with emotions and joy that pegged the meter. Pray for the Barksdale family, Douglas has severe back issues that at some point will require surgery, his dad Bruce has emphysema and pray for Sheilah as we know moms are the glue that holds things together in times like these.
PRAISE YOU GOD, BLESS YOU JESUS AND THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT
We know God is our rock, but can we just say…..God you rock !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Take time to thank and praise God for the opportunities he has blessed us with. I am continually in awe that the One that spoke and things were created, the One that formed us from dust and His breathe gave life, the One who sacrificed his precious only son………WHY……. so we would have the opportunity to embrace a relationship that is surrounded by Grace, saturated in mercy and covered with real and authentic LOVE. I just don’t get it, so I will not try and understand it, but I will choose to receive it. AMEN
Pray for December hunts, which include Sarah a 29 yr. old lady from Missouri with stage 4 lung cancer. A boy from Stephenville Texas that has cerebral palsy and a couple of boys that their dads were war casualties in Iraq.
We received some awsome equipment from Andy Bishop, a friend of Brigid O’Donoghue and a true Godsend for us. Andy sent us a gun rest device that attaches to a wheelchair and a device that projects what you see in a scope on a small screen that mounts to the top of the scope. These are essential for the hunters with severe disabilities. I have never met Andy but I will assure you he is sold out to Gods agenda.
The Polaris Ranger loaned to us by Glenn McCarty has been so cool. It has made getting around so easy, and everyone, especially the kids think its awesome (and I am one of those kids).
The deer calls, caps and dvd’s from Chris Kirby at Quakerboy Game Calls have been a real blessing to everyone.
The corn donated by Monty Brantley at Merritt Feed has been such a blessing.
So many have invested financially into ATO, I pray the smiles of our hunters warm their hearts and they know that God is doing even more than what we see.
Thank God for the giving hearts of these people and ask His blessings on their households.
God keeps doing this, everytime I am writing this email another hunter is revealed. I just checked a new email, it was from Chad Hennings, a friend of Dudley Halls and an ex Dallas Cowboy. Dudley has mentioned Chad’s son Chase to me before but due to the nature of his illness Chad didn’t know if it was possible. Pray that God give Chad and Chase this blessing to remember. God your awesome !!!!!!!!!
Please continue to pray as I know you have, its evident. God knows our needs we have for stuff, guns, trailers for stands, heaters, ear muffs, etc. and He is aware of our financial needs as well. So mention these as you talk with Him but emphasize that we want to know what He needs from us. How can we be more like Jesus, how can we serve better and love more. We can only glorify his kingdom if we hear these things and then abide in His strength to walk them out on earth.
I really believe we can experience Thanksgiving and Christmas everyday, its our choice.
Thanks so much for serving from your heart. Lets keep making JESUS famous !!!!!!!
Again, Its my pleasure to serve Him with you