Champs Heart

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Dear Friends of Peace Lutheran,

Being blown away with surprise, thankfulness, and humility with the receiving of your gift to my horse encounters ministry is putting it mildly. What started out as the result of my cancer that forced me into early retirement as a full time pastor, the deaths of my 30-year-old horse Champ, a good riding friend, and an 18-year-old girl that also had cancer has really made a quick impact on so many families in the Idaho Falls area. My energy following my own cancer and treatment allows me about two days a week to offer my horses for encounters with children who have cancer, Down syndrome, autism, birth defects of many kinds, cerebral palsy, attention deficit disorder, etc. Since these issues affect the whole family, I also make time for brothers and sisters to have horse time.

This week I am offering horse encounters to a group of children who are grieving the loss of a mom, dad, and/or sibling. The women’s shelter in Idaho Falls now wants to bring their domestically abused women over for time with the horses. Men from the homeless shelter are wanting to come over to help me with projects such as cleaning out the barn and building hitching rails. Since all my horses, though very gentle, are pretty big and intimidating to the children, I am considering using $200-$300 dollars of your gift to purchase a mini-horse. Maybe I will name it Peace, or Hope, or Luther. If I go ahead with this, I will send you a picture!

I now have five horses I am using in the program. Only two of them have I paid for. The others were high-ticket item gifts. My barn and pasture (5 acres) about as close to the center of Idaho Falls as you can get, is all given to me to use as a gift. Since I have no access to an indoor area, the winter will center in on one-horse open sleigh rides of which I have two sleighs, both gifts. People are buying me hay for horse feed, helmets, safety belts, mounting blocks, horse equipment of all kinds.

Since my horse trailer is quite the rust bucket, being 31 years old and no longer very safe for the horses,  a complete stranger last night made me an offer of a 22 year old trailer I couldn’t refuse, discounting it even more with $300 off the asking price, as a gift to this ministry. A neighbor friend of mine is setting up this ministry for me doing all the paper work for a nonprofit as a gift to this ministry.

So, after having cancer and then wondering what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life, it becomes more clear every day that this is my new calling. This isn’t riding lessons, I am not a licensed therapist, this is about horses offering healing encounters for people facing life’s difficult challenges. Your benevolence gift was but one more large reinforcement that this is what God would have me do with this time in my life. I can’t thank you enough. You will never know the smiles your gifts put on people’s faces. Thanks for being a blessing in their lives.


Pastor Larry Cudmore