Getting in the Way For Christ

Getting in the Way For Christ

Freshmen Arelli Dicken enjoys the sunshine near the Chan Shun Centennial LIbrary

Soft spoken and smiling, Arelli Dicken shares her dreams of being a major in-the-middle-of-the-road person.  She is a freshman at Southwestern Adventist University that’s yet to declare a major, but leans on God for guidance.

Letting God shape her life has been a long learning process.  Born and raised a Seventh-day Adventist country girl, Dicken wants to change people’s lives using the two things she’s most passionate about: God and horses.

Dicken spent most of her childhood on a ranch in Dove Creek, Colorado.  Mild mannered as she is now, she was a child with a hot temper.  Before she was born, her mother prayed this prayer: “God you know how much I want a child, but I worry it will grow away from you.  So if you grant me with the gift of a child, may it be a sign to me that it will grow up to do great things for you.”  Often her mother would wonder what God was doing by putting such a crazy child in her life. Yet she learned, just as Dicken would later learn, to trust God to work in her life.

Growing up, Dicken dreamed of owning her own ranch.  When people would ask her what she would want in heaven, her answer was invariably “1,000 purple ponies.”  While she was not short on dreams, her spiritual life didn’t grow until age 11 when her family moved to Kansas.  According to Dicken, the teachers at her school made the dramatic difference in her spiritual life.

“I gave my life to Christ during one of my elementary school Bible classes and have been renewing that commitment every day since,” says Dicken. “Still, it took me a while to understand what it meant to be saved.  I was a very perfectionist type of person and felt that I had to be the perfect friend, student, and child of God.  I felt that I had to earn salvation. Eventually I realized, with the help of several teachers, that salvation was a gift. It took a while for that concept to sink in, but once I realized it, life became much less stressful. I didn’t need to be perfect, I just had to sit back and let God take control of my life.”

At the start of this year, Dicken worked at Wewoka Woods for seven months. While she was there, she spent five months learning about all things horses.  She went to a horse-training convention about the Parelli Method.  This method builds the trust of the horse you are working with, and makes training a game for it.  During the convention, Pat Parelli, creator of the Parelli Method, mentioned that horses have a dominant and non-dominant learning side.  He said that a person often has to really get the attention of the horse before it will learn anything on its dominant side.  “You have to be a major in-the-middle-of-the-road person for the horse to listen to you,” Parelli says. Later, Arelli found a book called “Hope Rising,” by Kim Meter.  This woman started her own ranch and has done much witnessing on her ranch.

These two instances were great influences on Dicken’s ultimate dream.  She wants to start a non-profit ranch to help rescue horses and troubled teens.  Dicken wants to take horses that have been in similar situations as a teenager and match them together.  For example, she would put a teenager that had been abused with a horse that had been abused.  The teenager would then use the Parelli method to train the horse.

During the process, Dicken hopes to teach teenagers respect for themselves and other people, and to show them that there can be love in this world, God’s love. Just like training horses requires an in-the-middle-of-the-road attitude, she wants to get in the way of troubled teens and change the direction of their life. She knows that it will take a lot of prayer for her dream to work out.  But her greatest source of hope can be found in Phillipians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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