I have been in Royal Rangers since I was a Missionette. Starting in Rainbows, I now have advanced to the highest honor a boy can earn—the Gold Medal of Achievement. One of the requirements is to write a paper on the value of Royal Rangers to me. So I asked myself—what does Rangers mean to me?
One thing being a Ranger has taught me is the art and know-how of camping and hiking. One of my first memories as a young boy is camping with my dad. We got to the campground late and set up in the dark. As I shakily held a flashlight, I remember my dad saying, “Jesse can you hold that light still, or do I need to get your little brother???” Things have progressed since then. I recently went on a primitive hike which was about nine miles. Carrying all my supplies on my back, it was an interesting challenge, but I loved every second of it. Experiences like these have taught me to be ready for anything in the woods.
Another thing Royal Rangers has showed me is the value of Christian friendship. Many times I have been struggling with something; I knew all I had to do was call on one of my fellow Rangers and they would pray with me. There was a time when I was battling with sin and I did not think I would ever get the victory. I went on a campout, which I did not even want to attend, and after the council fire, casually started talking with a commander. We talked about stuff that I could not tell anyone else. Jesus broke me. I began to cry. Calmly but confidently the commander prayed and talked with me for at least an hour. It did not matter how old I was, nor did it matter how long we sat there. We were friends. If I were to sit here and tell you all of the times I have been touched around a Royal Ranger council fire, we would be here a while. That is how many Royal Ranger friends I have. Knowing that they are ready to pray for me, I am ready to pray with any of them.
If being “Ready” is a Ranger’s motto, “Reaching, Teaching, and Keeping Boys for Christ” is the oath he conveys when he puts on his uniform. The goal is witnessing to the lost boys and men. After an awesome Pow-Wow council fire, a commander was praying for me. Before long, we were praying with three boys. I remember the commander looking at me and saying, “It’s your turn, these boys need to be ministered to. Go for it.” Being only 10, I was a little frightened, but I gathered my thoughts and asked them what they needed. After learning that none of them had ever asked Jesus into their hearts, I was able to lead them to the Lord. I felt like I had hit a home-run. The plan of salvation was something my dad/commander had taught me in Buckaroos. I had been taught to always let the light of my Christian testimony shine through the darkness, and I still try to fulfill that today.
I recently saw a slogan for the US Army, “You may be strong, but we’ll make you Army strong.” I have news for the Army—Royal Rangers makes you Jesus strong! It has given me the knowledge and tools to reach, teach, and keep boys for Christ. Just as my commanders have ministered and taught me, I am now prepared to minister and teach others—physically, socially, mentally, but most significantly—spiritually. Be all you can be, if that is all you can do, but I intend to be all Jesus told me I can be. Although I do not always meet that criteria, Royal Rangers is helping me accomplish that goal. That is the value of Royal Rangers to me.