WE MADE IT!

Our drive to Protectors' Peak began in the wee hours of the morning-2:00 a.m. to be exact. I'm not sure why I let my husband talk me into these things, but it was his desire to drive straight through, all 21 hours of it. At 1:30 am, suitcases were shoved in the back of our Traverse by sleepy girls whispering their displeasure of being awoken so early.  I had my coffee gripped in one hand as I closed the lift gate with the other while each traveler situated themselves in their cozy nests they would occupy for the next almost 24 hours. A prayer was lifted up for safety and protection and heads quickly snuggled into pillows to catch some more z's before morning came. 

 

We were off. 

This was it. 

We were really doing it.

Before I knew it, the morning turned to day, day turned into night, and we were driving on twisty turny mountain roads in the dark of night followed by a long stretch of a dusty dirt road. I didn't realize it, but my hands hurt from white knuckling the steering wheel as I clenched tightly to it.  Just about the time I thought we'd never get there, we took the road that lead to Protectors' Peak.  Nate had been there only once before yet miraculously found it in the dark. It's at times like these, I'm appreciative of his strong sense of direction and his ability to make things work out.  I stepped out of the vehicle and into a star-blanketed night.  Here we were....

 

WE MADE IT!

After exiting the vehicles, we found ourselves exhausted and quite frankly, cranky as heck. Nate signed the lease on this property only a few days before, so we had complete access to the lodge. I only remember stumbling into bed after cracking the window to get a whiff of the clean, crisp mountain air. There would be a lot to explore throughout the week, but it could wait until we all got some rest.

The week flew as we enjoyed the beauty of this property. There was no wifi and the nearest town was 45 minutes away.  The phrase "in the middle of nowhere" is an understatement. It took the girls and I some time to adjust to this new way, but the beauty of the outdoors and the coziness of the lodge warmly invited us to savor each moment.  We played games, gathered around a campfire, hiked, tubed, talked, laughed, fished, waded, and even went to town a few times to shop and eat breakfast.  It was divine and special and sacred. Early mornings on the big deck with a cup of hot coffee, amazing views, my Bible, and God were definitely my highlights.  I've already found where my special "God time" will be as I basked in the beauty of the mountain views surrounding me.  It's there that I feel closest to Him-the mountains feel like His temple here on earth.

When the desire or dream you've held in your heart comes to be, it's exciting but scary.  I couldn't help but feel unsettled at all the loose ends that will eventually need to be tied up.  There's so much to do, so many projects to complete, and many details that need tending to. My overwhelmed soul called out to God many times over the week and I kept hearing Him say, "Do not fear.  I am with you.  I've taken you this far and I won't leave you."

It's Nate and I's hope that Protectors' Peak will be a special place where our weary visitors will receive rest, renewal, and refreshment to their souls.  The reset button needs to be pushed in all of us at times and being surrounded by God's beautiful creation has a way of pushing that button.  I know it did that for my family and me. 

 

Sometimes, the very best things in life are the simple things like walks with the family, eating a delicious dinner together, and connecting over a hot drink while watching wildlife outside on the deck.  My prayer is that everyone who enters the doors of this place will feel loved, heard, and understand how much God truly loves them.  For now, we will continue to pray and ask for provision for what's ahead, and I do believe it's coming soon.

Peace and Blessings to you!

Becky Harder

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.

Ephesians 5:20

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

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