The Beartooth MT Ascent Student Testimonies
Jacob G’s Testimony
I found myself surfing around the Beartooth website tonight and was just sort of reminiscing on everything and all that’s transpired since I left. It’s been a crazy journey and I’m proud to say I just graduated in May from Franciscan University with Cum Laude Honors in Philosophy! I never really thought beforehand that this was possible but knowing my identity in the Lord helped me to have the courage to endure what was once thought to be impossible.
I owe so much to all of y’all at the ranch and the ways Y’all sought to help guide me towards realizing my truest potential. In some way or another Wyoming comes to my mind nearly every day. It’s an experience that I know will forever be shaped and engrained within my heart. Even through the roughest of times, I can see with more clarity how my time there has enabled me to become more and more a virtuous man endowed with much wisdom and self-knowledge.
Post-grad plans: I am relocating in July to Tacoma, WA to work as a Program Specialist in a homeless shelter in the city. I am really excited and I’m praying my gifts and talents can be used abundantly with those whom I will serve there.
May God bless you and Tom for all that you did for me and the many other young men graced to come to Beartooth Mt Ascent.
Sam Olsen’s Testimony
Hello, my name is Sam Olsen and I came to the Beartooth Mountain Ascent Program in May of 2010. I was a city boy with little knowledge of working; let alone working on a ranch. What little skills I had developed at the time were concentrated on living a life of chaos and disorder. I struggled with an extremely low self-esteem and treated that pain by hiding in drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity. My perception at the time was that I was a worthless piece of doo-doo because I had no real accomplishments in life. I led a life of mediocrity in athletics, academics, friendships, and relationships within my family. I led a minimalist life. Thank God for my parents who saw my downward spiral and sent me to BTMA to get help.
I was scared and out of place when I arrived on the ranch. However, I challenged myself to put my heart, mind, body, and soul into changing my life from corruption and evil to truth and life. Yeah, that sounds cheesy and cliché but that was the commitment I made to myself. I threw myself into every opportunity available. I was challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, but most of all spiritually. I worked cattle, trained horses, helped irrigate acres of crops, drove heavy machinery. I was put into situations where I had to think for myself to figure out a problem. There was no option to manipulate or exploit others to get what I wanted. I had to train myself to problem solve and take confidence in my own abilities and brainpower. I had to face and overcome the hard truths of asking forgiveness from those I had hurt and dealing with the pain that I had created. I took ownership of my actions both past and present and I came out a MAN. The best part was that I was having fun every second; during the good and bad times. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that I was given. I have no doubt that BTMA saved my life on this earth but most importantly BTMA gave me the skills and faith to help me lead myself and others towards sanctification and eternal happiness.
God Bless You,
Trey Ripma Testimony
My name is Trey Ripma and I am 22 years old. I am from Florida and I came to Beartooth MT Ascent because I was involved in drugs, violence, women, and guns. Being from Florida, cocaine was everywhere. I started doing it for fun and then it became a habit. I stopped working because it was hard for me to work when I was high, and also because I made enough money dealing drugs to support my addiction. I was ashamed of the things I was doing, but couldn’t stop. It caused me to stop talking to my family and I was never around to help out. I also went to jail a number of times and to rehab twice.
My addiction frustrated me because I was always a smart and hardworking guy, but I still couldn’t stop using. I came to Beartooth MT Ascent right after I finished a 3-month wilderness program, and now I never want to leave. I have learned so much here. I have regained my self-dignity and can finally call myself a good man. I got back my work ethic and have learned how to have fun again without drugs. The Schneider’s and some of the staff, I consider my family. They are so cool here, I can talk to them about anything. I also have a great relationship with my family. I have realized how my drug use affected them, and I am greatly sorry for how I treated them. And, I can say that it will never happen again.
I have also learned how to rope, ride and work cows in almost any situation. I have saved baby calves’ lives and that really feels awesome. I have let go of my pride, my addiction, dishonesty, carelessness, disobedience, selfishness, anger, resentments, laziness and my old life. All that has taken a year and I still have lots of work to do.
The best I saved for last and that is my relationship with God and my belief in His Word. I could not have come this far without God and that is why I am so thankful for Beartooth MT Ascent. You can’t help but hear about God and the Bible. It’s awesome because if I didn’t have that I would probably still have a bad attitude and a craving to keep using. Just being involved in God’s Word has changed my thinking from the glass is half empty to the glass is half full. I used to freak out in bad situations or rough times, but now I thank God and trust Him to get me through them and make me spiritually stronger. If you want your son to become a man, this is the place for him. If it could help me, it could help anyone.
Whoever this may help, may God bless.