During the April 21 BRASA Luncheon, we were proud to hear what Susan Klaus has accomplished through Agape Ranch. Klaus, the founder of Agape Ranch, took one long look at the increasing problems children faced in foster care and decided enough was enough.
"… Many children in foster care feel unlovable because of the abuse they have suffered all their lives," said Klaus. "Agape Ranch tries to break the cycle by providing compassionate care connections within the community and now by creating a neighborhood to give them a place to call home with families that provide unconditional love."
Klaus works with her team to provide the help these at-risk youths desperately need. She explained how her heart was in building a home for foster children where she and her husband, Tim Klaus, could love them and provide all the services they would need. She first thought of this when asked, hypothetically, what she would do with $10 million. Afterward, Tim asked if she was serious. From that moment on, Tim knew God would provide and encouraged Susan to speak with God and see where he would lead them.
While they received support from God and the church, it was not all smooth sailing.
"There were some tears," said Susan. "There were moments like 'oh, let's not do that again.'… But every time there was a mistake that was like, 'oh, can I recover from that?' I just felt like the Lord was like, 'learn from it and grow.'"
God continued to refine Susan through both success and mistakes. Through it all, she felt him right beside her. Susan also received support from her husband and from fellow sisters in Christ.
One of the issues she noticed was that children were beginning to age out. While many different options were discussed to match children with families. Susan thought up a festival to bring children and parents together. Many activities were available for kids and parents, with pairs drawn to the same activity often making good first impressions upon one another.
Most importantly, she found that bringing their needs to the church resulted in progress. The Lord first revealed this to her when she brought forth the need for respite care providers to the church. She was astounded to find it was as easy as asking them for help.
Now, Agape Ranch is opening many different new programs. One such program is Agape Acts, which will provide foster families with support when they are going through a challenging period.
"The child-placing agency has been asked to call us, and we will activate an Agape Acts church for them to be able to provide a meal for that family for that week or so," said Susan. "We've used an Agape Acts team to go and mow a yard for somebody. … Those things are happening through the Agape Acts program."
Agape Ranch has also built beds to help foster families with bed shortages. They also do a Christmas store and a Foster Parent Night Out program, allowing these families a small break while members of Agape Ranch take care of the foster children.
Fostering children may not always be an easy road to travel. Still, Susan, through the help of the Lord, was able to overcome what many others would call insurmountable odds. Even when faced with a foster child who proclaimed that he hated them, she did not let up. Soon, even those walls this boy put up fell.
"It happens one child at a time, because when one life changes, legacies change," Susan said.
Agape Ranch is one of the ministries De Koning Ministries has partnered with. While Agape Ranch has seen tremendous growth, they still need assistance and donations. For more information, visit https://www.agaperanch.org/ and see how you can be a part of this change.