Darci Hatley grew up in Conneaut Lake, PA and has been coming to the ranch since she was eight years old. She came as an apprentice in 1996-1997 and returned for a second year in 1998-1999. After graduating, she moved to TX to complete her degree in Equine Science. Since then she has lived in many different areas of the country, training horses,working in the food service industry, coaching wrestling, and serving in various ministries along the way. Darci and her son, Christopher moved to the ranch in the spring of 2016 when she served as the director of Livery for the summer. After the summer camp season was over, she moved into the kitchen where she now serves as the Kitchen Manager.
Dear family and friends,
As many of you know, in the spring of 2016 God made it clear that He was calling Christopher and I to move to Miracle Mountain Ranch, to become a part of the ministry here. After serving in the barn as the director of the ranch’s trail riding program, I was then asked to move into the kitchen for the 2016-2017 school year. While at first I balked at the idea of leaving the barn, over time God taught me to seek Him and His will for my life over my own personal wants and desires. As the year drew on, I learned to like the kitchen; however to say that I loved my job would be an overstatement. When spring came, I was not convinced that remaining in the kitchen for another year was truly what God wanted for my life.
I began to pray that God would let me go back to the barn. As I cried out to the Lord, He began to soften my heart. My wishful prayers of returning to the barn slowly turned into a cry for God to show me what His desire was for my son and myself. Through many weeks of prayer and counsel, God broke my prideful heart to show me that my desire for working in a barn again was selfish and He began to open my eyes to the many benefits of working in such a close proximity to all of the students and staff. By working in the kitchen, not only do I have the unique opportunity to bless every department three times a day, but I also have the ability to interact with each of the students on a daily basis.
Near the end of our summer camp season, I met with our executive director, Matt Cox to discuss the upcoming year. To my surprise, I was offered either job, on the spot. As Matt began to explain what it would look like if I chose the barn, I told him to stop mid-sentence. I knew what I had to do and I was not going to change my mind. And before I knew it, I heard the words that only God could have given me the grace and strength to say. I told him that I was going to be staying in the kitchen.
I am now excited about the year to come. God has blessed me with an amazing team of staff in the kitchen, and two wonderful second year students for the school year. As I begin to make this kitchen my own, I already have hundreds of ideas all waiting to be acted upon. I pray that this fall we will be able to begin implementing some of the many exciting things I have planned.
Not only has God blessed me with a job I can now confidently say that I love, but He has also blessed me by allowing me to become the nurse for the students this fall, now that Patty May has retired. I always prayed for a house full of kids, and now God has given me 31 students that I have the joy of taking care of in this way. It seems as if God feels I am best kept busy if I am going to stay out of trouble!
I suppose God felt that all of my responsibilities in the kitchen and as nurse were not quite enough to keep me humble, because He has also blessed me with an ever-growing little boy to keep up with! Christopher has just started kindergarten at our local Christian School, and he loves it! While he does not turn 5 until October, he was tested in at a very high level into his kindergarten class. Sometimes I feel that he is just a little bit too smart for his own good, but it keeps me on my toes!
New job, new school, it is only fitting to add a new house to the mix as well isn’t it? Right before the school year started, we played the ranch’s version of musical chairs with housing. Christopher and I landed in a very spacious (at least compared to what we lovingly called “the tin can”) trailer located less then 100 yards from the kitchen. Christopher even has his own little room, and is about to become the proud owner of his very own goldfish! He is learning what it is to take care of his own space and his own animals, and is doing a very good job with it. It is clear that he is just about as equally excited about having his own space as I am about having mine! It feels amazing to finally have a place of our own, and it is a blessing for both Christopher and I to be so close to the kitchen. Christopher has a beautiful playground right outside, where all of the staff kids seem to congregate on a regular basis to hold all sorts of club meetings and to defend their ships from an assortment of bad guys.
With Christopher playing all over the ranch, and me juggling the kitchen, nursing, maintaining a household, and chasing said child all over the ranch, our dog Zeke has been keeping in shape as he insures that we are all under his protection. He sure does have a full time job keeping an eye on and running after Christopher.
While there is always something going on here at the ranch, those have been the highlights of Christopher’s and my past few months. We are looking forward to the fall retreat season and seeing how God works in the hearts and lives of the students this year.
Would you join me in prayer as we head into the fall?
- For wisdom leading the kitchen and adviser group
- For continued wisdom raising Christopher
- For finances for Christopher’s schooling
- For effective ministry as MMR’s retreat season is upon us
All of the staff at MMR serve on a mission support basis and must raise their own support to be a part of the ministry here. Therefore, I am now beginning the process of raising support. In order to be fully supported, I will need to raise $1,000 a month, and I am currently at 55% of what the board recommends. Would you prayerfully consider being a part of my support team? If you feel God is leading you to do so, the process is simple. All gifts are tax deductible and should be made out to MMR, then designated for me on a separate piece of paper. Gifts can be mailed to the Ranch at 101 Rodeo Drive, Spring Creek, PA 16436. You can also give on-line, through the Ranch’s website at – www.mmrm.org. just use the links to go to the staff pages. I receive 100% of all gifts designated for me. If you would like any additional information, just let me know. Also, if your church, or someone you know is interested in finding out more about the ministry of MMR, the School of Discipleship, or my part in the ministry here, I would be glad to visit and share my ministry and the ministry of MMR. I can be contacted at the address above. You can also easily find much information about the ministry of MMR by visiting the website listed above. And you are always welcome to come visit and see the ministry for yourself!
Darci and Christopher