The land was purchased in 1987, and a modest log house and pond were added for the purpose of a family retreat for hunting, fishing, and relaxation. Gradually other structures were added which included a large log barn to function as support for farming activities and the occasional square dance and picnic. But God had other ideas, and even before completion, it began to house retreats and teachings and praise and worship meetings. The hayloft and workshop and stalls and tractor bays never received their intended occupants (except for one cold night when our ewe, Mary used a stall to give birth to Peter and Paul. And we later found it wasn't even needed as they did better outside!) Because of its new usage, we created a foundation. The True Vine, and later deeded 70 acres to set aside the property for Kingdom use in perpetuity.
We've been blessed by many wonderful organizations and groups using the facilities - from large contingents of 150-200 to small elders retreats of 5-10 - from high-school teams, to youth groups doing community outreach, to Special Operation Forces Wounded Combat.
In 2000, the first of 20-something Outback America weekends for parents and teenagers took place and continue in spring and fall with 150 to 250 campers and staff. When our barn found itself no longer available for farm use, we built a large shed for this purpose which had stalls and feed and tack rooms and a forge. During the course of an Outback weekend Bruce Johnson, the founder of JH Ranch and Outback, suggested that it would be nice if they could use the shed for meals and meetings, and that structure also began its transformation. A commercial kitchen was added, and the horse stalls were converted to shower and commodes, and the tack and feed rooms two bedrooms.
In January 2009, the LEGACY School of Discipleship began its second eight-month long season with three months on site with 20-or so students and staff. In preparation the barn - horse stalls and workshop - were converted to bedrooms with heating and cooling installed. To provide separate quarters for females, bedrooms in the old shed (now dining room) were created, and the bathrooms and bedrooms insulated and heated, and the bathrooms segregated.
AND SO - nothing has ended as we intended. For God had the plans, and we could never have imagined them, even in our wildest dreams. But isn't it just like Him, that what we imagined and built, He changed to suit His purposes, and we can claim no credit.
There are so many wonderful stories of God's provision and blessings - the story of how the Odyssey high ropes course came about, the affirmations of His Word in Isaiah 54:2 and 55:11-13 and countless others.
At one time we earnestly sought from the Lord a plan for what He wanted to take place, so that we wouldn't mess it up. His answer was crystal clear! If He gave us such a plan, we'd surely mess it up, so He'd tell us step by step. And SO - we wait for the next step - with awe and excitement.
-The McRae Family