Alumni Office Student Worker: Katherine Arch
Everyone has dreams. Most people have a realistic dream. Realistic dreams are the ones people tell their teachers and parents; they are measurable, tangible, and reasonably achievable. Often, people actualize their realistic dreams through education, hard work, and sacrifice. Many people, however, have a deeper calling, a “crazy” dream that they would pursue if they could be assured success. Dissuaded by fears of failure, however, many choose to pursue their realistic dream and disregard their greater visions as impossible. Alumni office worker and Indiana Wesleyan University senior, Katherine Arch (’16) states that her time at IWU has taught her the value of pursuing crazy dreams and not limiting God’s power to achieve these goals.
“When people find out that I’m an English major, many people ask me if I plan to teach. It almost never occurs to them that I would want to do something completely different than my major might suggest,” Arch explains. “But while I’ve been at IWU, I’ve learned the value of pursuing what I feel called to, regardless of whether it makes sense to others.” Arch shared that her crazy dream has little to do with her English major.
“My unrealistic dream is to have a ranch that hires individuals with intellectual disabilities. I want to provide adults with disabilities the ability to pursue independence by giving them a job to do and a place to minister,” she explained. “The original ranch idea is not mine, however. For over ten years, my boyfriend, Jonathan Hager, has sensed the Lord leading him to start a ranch for the expressed purpose of ministering to people from the inner-city. I have felt called to work with individuals with disabilities for the past six years. God is simply merging our visions to show us the potential we have as a team.”
Many crazy dreams, like Arch’s, have roots in prior service experiences. The birth of Arch’s crazy dream initiated this past summer when she worked as an intern at the Shepherd’s College in Union Grove, Wisconsin. There, she worked as a para-professional and a resident life assistant serving a student body comprised of adults with intellectual disabilities. Although she had worked with people with special needs for several years prior, this was the first time that she truly saw her vocational potential in this area.
“For several years, I have focused on pursuing known quantities, vocationally,” Arch explained. “For several years I was an English Education major because I thought that it would guarantee me a job. I needed that security. I needed to know that I would have some measurable means of success following graduation. However, God started to shift my understanding of what he wanted me to do for my future career.” Arch went on to explain that during her time at Shepherd’s College, she learned to see God’s love for all people reflected in the faces of individuals society perceives as handicapped. “Working with these students, I realized that God has created everyone with a divine potential to achieve great things for Him,” Arch stated. Now she wants to help others reach that goal.
Between realistic dreams and crazy dreams there are often many steps of faith as well as steps of practicality. Wanting to pursue their crazy dream, Arch and Hager know that before they can start a ranch, they have many intermediate goals to reach. Primarily, these goals are financial, relational, and spiritual.
Obviously, the greatest obstacle to their dream is financial. The ranch they envision is a full-working ranch, with several hundred acres of greenspace for livestock and large greenhouses for growing organic produce. The goal of the agricultural component of the ranch would be to help generate revenue so that the ranch could eventually be a self-sustaining entity. Also, the couple hopes to employ individuals with disabilities to work these greenhouses, providing rewarding jobs for those who need it. To purchase this land and set these events in motion, money is a formidable need.
In addition to financial needs, the two understand their need for spiritual guidance, and logistical direction. The couple realizes that few have attempted combining a ministry for disabled people with an outreach to people from the inner city. Planning to construct a ministry that meets the needs of both demographics is a challenging task, one they are talking to other ministries about for further information.
Finally, they are seeking further training to prepare them for this ministry. Following graduation, Arch hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis with an emphasis in Autism so that she can be a better resource for future members of the ranch.
“Everyone has dreams,” Arch mentioned, “but God gives us crazy dreams so we can learn to trust Him to provide. He doesn’t give impossible dreams- rather he instills in people passions and desires that are a stretch so his people can learn to trust him.”
To find out more about Hager and Arch’s “Crazy Dream” check out their website at http://jointheranch.weebly.com/