“Mr. Sam” Clem
I am Sam and this is part of my story. When I was little, my Mema told me that I was made and set aside for serving our Lord, Jesus Christ. I realized that I was different, with both special needs AND abilities, and set aside for His uses. As a young man I realized that I learned in different, unique ways, and my brain processed the world differently than others. I have a college degree from UNT in finance, but I read and spell on a 9th grade level. You may say I am special in the standards of the world in the way I walk through life. I must say I do have extra and very special ways that I look at life in this world. I have been set aside to serve everybody I meet, and to share what’s in my heart. Thirty years ago, the Lord provided means and ways for me to create a wood recycling company. I learned that there are many wood byproducts that we waste, dispose of and throw away in landfills and burn. Instead, we can use these materials for new products. Our trees are a gift from God. We must not waste them. There is worth and value in all things, and all people. Even though the special-needs community people are different, they should not be wasted either. Wood or people. Every person needs a place to belong, a life’s work, and people who love them.
The Lord Jesus called me to help build and work at Runnin WJ Ranch 25 years ago. I left the corporate ownership world to serve Him and love special-needs children. The Ranch is and has always been a sanctuary for all folks, special needs like Downs, Asperger’s, physical disabilities, inability to speak or walk, folks in drug rehab, friends grieving, and just those needing love and a place to heal. That is exactly what I needed. I did not realize that the ranch was so much more than just loving children, it was also about accepting the love they offer us.
Over the last 20 years the Ranch and I have grown beyond belief. We started a Sunday school class with over 100 special needs adults praising God each week. I can only say WOW! A lot of its members were children that had grown up riding at Runnin WJ Ranch. All our children grow up, and they all want the same thing. Every child wants to be loved and cared for, and they want to have a purpose. In Sunday school class the main two prayer requests were always the same: “Would the Lord being me someone to love?” and “Mr. Sam, I Need a job!”
A need for a purpose and a need to be needed are universal.
The Lord has laid on my heart to help with fulfilling these folks’ needs to have purpose and to be loved. So, with the skills and connections I developed in the wood recycling business I owned, the Lord has put amazing friends in my path to create jobs for those of us who are different. I know where all the clean wood waste is in a four-state area to allow me to gather materials. I know the special-needs adults have the ability and the desire to succeed. We have begun! Today we are making wood kindling, replacement wood for firewood, and pine wood shaving for horse bedding. We are taking what others throw away. We look at it differently to see what it may become with a little time, love, skill and vison. When we look at each of us this way, it is a different world. If we dare to put our Lord Jesus Christ and His children-of all ages-first, before our own needs, God’s kingdom is served.
Our vision today is to partner with other ministries, non-profits, and businesses to help create jobs and to love what the Lord has made differently in this world. We have hired over 20 special needs adults and are praying about hiring many, many more. There are 6 nonprofits working with us today, of all shapes and sizes of people. We each are different and can help in many ways for the greater good. Know that every person is special and different. Having jobs and being able to love the ones they love makes a difference. One of our employed, special needs men stopped me the other day and told me that with the money he made from our kindling work, he was able to take his wife to get ice cream. He is 35 years old, and this is the first time ever he has had money that he earned. Loving others and self-esteem matter to us all.
My Prayer in my life is that I am used up when the Lord calls me home and I have Loved for Him. If you have a call on your life to help special people, trees and the earth, or loving all God’s children, we are here to help. It’s more than kindling or fire starter, it’s a life starter. May we burn bright.