The inspiration for New Beginnings Ranch began in the heart of a retiring business woman named Evelyn Carlson Turner (Evie). As Evie found herself facing full retirement, she went to her knees before the Lord begging for His guidance in what to do with her time and resources. It seemed as though her prayers went no higher than the ceiling.
One particular afternoon, as she was in prayer, she felt a heavy, heavy burden regarding what to do with the time and resources God had entrusted to her. She prayed, “Lord, I am not going to go anywhere until you give me an answer; I am going to hang on to you until I get an answer”. She continued in prayer for quite some time. Then, in her mind's eye, she saw a beautiful mountain scene with pines swaying in the gentle breeze and water off in the distance. She was impressed that it was here that a Christian retreat should be built. Lord is that what you want? It seemed as though this was exactly the answer she had been begging for. So Evie called her son, DuWayne Carlson, and told him what she felt the Lord had asked her to do, almost in a testing way to see if this truly was God’s will. After a bit of shock, he exclaimed “Wow, Mom, that is really neat!” Evie felt confirmed by his answer, and she and DuWayne set off to find the particular property she had seen.
Just about this time, Michael Duehrssen, the founder of the International Rescue and Relief major (IRR) at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and a close personal friend of DuWayne, shared with DuWayne IRR's need for a mountain setting in which to do its summer training. At that time, Michael had no knowledge of the retreat center DuWayne and Evie were planning. The service oriented IRR program seemed to fit with the planned purposes of the retreat. So, the needs list of the IRR program were combined with those of the retreat, and Michael began to help search for this special property. Their continual prayer was that they would find the property with the same view as the Lord had shown Evie in her mind’s eye. A number of realtors looked at the list of the wants/needs for the property and said this property would be extremely hard to find, even with a budget much larger than what was available. But the three pressed on to find this property that the Lord had revealed. Their search took them through many different properties in numerous mountain states.
One afternoon, while looking at the property that eventually became New Beginning Ranch, Evie was riding on a snowmobile behind the realtor. As they came up over a hill, she looked around and said, almost involuntarily, “This is it!!” The realtor asked, “What do you mean, 'This is it'?” Evie exclaimed, “This is it; this is what I saw.” Of course, this was seen as a direct answer to prayer, and the property was acquired for a price that was not out of the available means. Thus, the journey of learning what the Lord had in mind for New Beginnings Ranch began. Though this continues to be a developing ministry, we have come to understand that this is supposed to be a very special property dedicated to bringing people apart from the world to meet Jesus Christ in a personal, life changing way. Please pray for God's continued blessing as this retreat center develops.