Protectors' Peak at Shiloh Ranch:
A New Chapter
Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into
your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nate has always been the dreamer in our relationship, I was the realist. When we first got married, I was both intrigued yet slightly irritated by the many plans he had cooking in his brain. I liked to play it safe and live a risk-free existence, so the less change there was, the better. I liked roots, he liked wings. However, I very quickly realized that I married a go-getter and decided to embrace his adventure-seeking ways instead of fighting it. Slowly, it got in my blood and my realist nature began to fade.
Our shared dream at the very beginning of our marriage was to open a place of hospitality. Nate enjoyed cooking for people and I enjoyed talking and connecting. So it seemed natural that one day we'd open a bed and breakfast with a Victorian flair in the south somewhere (we were Texans at the time) where the really cool houses lived. We sat on that for a few years and dreamed about what that would be like. I pictured myself decorating our old, restored, and historical abode while Nate would be busy in the kitchen cooking quiche for our guests. It would be lovely, perfect really. We both agreed the place would be called The Harder Haus B and B. It has a nice German ring to it, wouldn't you agree?
Then we moved to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho which in our opinion is the most beautiful place on earth. Yes, we're a little biased, but that's where we fell in love with the mountains. Our dream of owning a Victorian B and B in the south slowly began to dissipate and morph into something else. Perhaps a rustic mountain retreat might be a better venue instead. Of course, this whole time we weren't super serious about pursuing this, we were too young with four little girls that needed our attention. It was always a "someday" dream, but not a "now" dream. Life moved on as it always does and we moved to a few more places, met more interesting people, and pursued different jobs. We didn't realize at the time, but these connections we made and the friends we met along the way were the result of God's supernatural networking and strategic purpose-filled plans.
With time, our dream began to transform and layer itself through each season we walked through. We came to the conclusion that the dream that we had was not ours, but God's dream for us. And as He began to reveal and unfold it over the years, a depth and breadth began to emerge. This special place would not just be a generic place of hospitality, but instead it would be a sacred haven of rest for those who served others. We focused in on several groups we'd like to serve: law enforcement, first responders, military, pastors, and missionaries. These are the spiritual and physical caretakers who always take care of others and rarely take care of themselves. We knew this because we saw it as a LE family. We saw the toll public scrutiny was taking on our friends in the field. As a family of faith, our pastors were very dear to our heart and although they'd never say it, we sensed that they had a very large burden to carry. We decided to include missionaries in our vision as well and provide a place of rest when they came back to the US on sabbatical. Bottom line, we decided to serve those who always served others.
I give you this lengthy background for a reason. Nate and I will be married for 23 years the end of this month. We've been dreaming for 23 years. We've been actively searching for the perfect place for the past 5 years. Last Spring, we bought a piece of land that we thought would work-one that would be just perfect for Protectors' Peak. We'd build slowly and get donors and eventually it would come to fruition. But that wasn't God's plan. There's been more twists and turns on this journey than I care to share, but I'll spare you the details. Just know, this has been an emotionally exhausting, frustrating, and at times exasperating journey. But we've learned, been stretched, and have grown in the process.
We've found a ready-made, ready to go place called Shiloh Ranch. Here's the story, best told by Nate who discovered it.
"Last year while I was researching cabin building information for our land, I also did a search on retreat centers to see how they did their programs, cabins, etc. I came across an article from a newspaper that talked about an author doing a book signing whose name was Barbara Lovett. The book was about how her and her husband Norm built their Christian guest ranch called Shiloh from scratch and ran it for 25 years until it was given to a church when they could no longer manage to run it. I looked her up on Linkedin and was able to message her because I wanted to read her book since it was exactly what Becky and I wanted to do. One of our board members lives in the same area she does and is very involved in missions and churches in that area. I reached out to him and asked if he had ever heard of Shiloh Christian Guest Ranch or Barbara Lovett. He laughed and answered, 'Yes, I know Barbara, she's my neighbor!' It became apparent that God had answered my prayers when He connected us with the Lovetts. With Barbara's help, we were able to find out that Shiloh was given to an area church who then gave it to the Solomon Foundation who currently owns it. Barbara and Norm were instrumental in us being able to get n touch with Solomon and negotiating a lease. Both of them have supported us in prayer, encouragement, financially, and even hosted an event for us to raise money and awareness of this ministry. My prayer has always been, 'God, bring us the people and place to make Protectors' Peak a reality.' God is answering this prayer and we are so excited to see what He has in store for Protectors' Peak at Shiloh Ranch. After talking with the Lovetts and hearing their stories about Shiloh and their mission, it is obvious that the legacy they left needs to be carried on. A new chapter at the Shiloh Ranch will soon be written."
We have no doubt that God used His divine networking skills and orchestrated the placement of Norm and Barbara into our lives. We couldn't be more thankful for them and see them as godly mentors to help show us the ropes of how to run a retreat center. I love the fact that God cares about the desires of our heart and places people and resources in our path to guide and lead us toward the goal. He is a good God and He loves us so much!
Dare to dream.
Be open to what He has for you.
Allow Him to lead you and work out His perfect plan of purpose in your life.
We still don't know all the details of how this is going to look. We are waiting on God to show us the next steps. But our faith has been built stronger and deeper over the years. We believe that God will work everything out for good just as He's done through the past 23 years. We serve a very big, mighty, creative, and resourceful God. Our trust is in Him.
Norm and Barbara Lovett
Founders of Shiloh Ranch
Nate and Barbara
walking at Shiloh Ranch