September is…the birth month of my best friend, my partner in life and in ministry - my wife Joni Dekker Cook.
…when we begin to experience a cooling of temperatures and to notice some changes in the landscape. In Tennessee, there’s an intermingling of various colors with the bright greens of summer’s end.
…when Joni and I moved to “The Farm” in 2004. I remember it well. We were equally scared and excited. We were uncertain about all that God had planned. We did, however, know that this was the place! When a few months earlier, upon first seeing it in disrepair, I put my hand on the back railing and asked Jesus for this property. In that sacred, surreal moment, I felt a turning point in my faith walk. What we asked for, we believe Jesus gave to us.
…when we received confirmation through the words of our Bible Study Leader and Pastor. Though they knew nothing of our decision, their sermons spoke directly to us, as if we were the only ones in the room. This was the right move. The first year would be about preparing the property for the thousands of guests who would be the benefactors of its peace and serenity. The year following would prepare us emotionally, spiritually and physically to be His caretakers of this special place.
…when I began to officially see clients at “Lantern Lane Farm” in 2005. Words like “I can breathe here!”; “I feel safe here!”; “I knew…when I drove down the driveway!”; and “I believe God’s presence is here!” are confirmations of this “calling” and further validate our decisions. But most importantly, we began to see lives changing and healing happening in relationships and individuals. Immediately, LLF became a refuge - a place of healing for children, adults, and families from all walks of life.
It’s now fifteen Septembers later.
It’s 2019 and God has been so incredibly faithful! Joni and I no longer live at the farm location, with the entire space now dedicated to counseling. There are 11 therapists and 6 interns who walk alongside clients at a rate of 200 sessions per week. And, in all of these months, we’ve never turned anyone away due to their inability to pay. We hear from the recipients of Christlike care, validation in their statements. Our classically trained therapists continue to meet people where they are and walk alongside them in their journey to health - emotionally, physically and spiritually.
As Septembers come and go: Our Board of Directors, our therapists, staff and volunteers remain committed to the mission and values of Lantern Lane Farm.
Mission: Lantern Lane Farm provides restorative and compassionate care, through traditional and equine assisted counseling, in a peaceful, countryside setting.
Values: “We believe in God and His purpose for LLF to bind the wounds of the wounded and set them free from the bondage that they are experiencing in their life.”
We believe in providing:
compassionate, caring, nonjudgmental care.
a safe and confidential environment.
respect for all faiths and walks of life, meeting people where they are.
a place worthy of trust.
We hope you’ll enjoy the rest of this very special month: SEPTEMBER!
- Ralph, Joni and the entire Lantern Lane Family!