Don’t let the small stature fool you, Courtney is a powerful woman. She is tiny but she is mighty! In the time I have spent in her presence I am always taken by how her strength truly comes from the Lord. She draws upon her faith to accomplish everything she does. As the co-founder of Carry The Cross Ministries and now On Eagles Wings Farm, she has an abundance opportunity to serve God and children in her daily work. The whole Neland family works daily in these ministries to help the people in their lives be able to find true joy and purpose.
“The Lord is the reason behind our why we are doing this. Our biggest thing is knowing the love of the Lord. Once you know that, it changes your life. You are loved, cherished, and important.” -Courtney Neland
“On Eagles Wings Farm will be a place of refuge and hope for children who are enduring hardships in life. We will provide a place where children can come and visit or live in a Christ-centered family environment where they will be surrounded by love, encouragement, family counseling and Christian morals and principals. Children who come to stay for long or short term will have full interaction with the farm environment where they will learn how to care for and ride horses, plant and reap at harvest time, devise ways to harness energy, acquire life and business skills and produce their own products to sell at the market.”- www.oneagleswingsfarm.org
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."Isaiah 40:31
Courtney first became aware of the needs of children in her community through her husband Jason’s work at KVC. Jason would come home daily with stories of the trauma and hardships that children were enduring. They could plainly see that the system needed people that would act to restore children and their families. “The part that we didn’t realize all the problems that occur when the kids go back to their homes. 50% of kids in foster care have parents that were once in foster care.”
We can reach kids in the Fire House, but there is also a great need to take the kids out of the communities that have been hurting them. What we do is take them out of the trauma location, give them life skills and healing time in a rural setting. We give them the ability to find hope and healing. We will provide housing, stability, support, counsel, care, and a loving Christian family environment to children, both boys and girls, anywhere from birth-18 years of age.
“As we began to research the need, we found that in Kansas, the number of children needing out-of-home care has increased from 5,852 in 2011 to 7,233 children in 2015. In Missouri, the number has skyrocketed from 9,220 to almost 13,000 today. What stands out even more is that there were over 2,300 children in Kansas and 2,500 in Missouri that were without permanent homes.”
Their involvement has changed them as much as they have been instrumental in changing the lives of others. ”Each person has a story and goes through life very differently. The common fact is always Jesus. Always Jesus. We must go back to his truths.”
“The children are a huge part of our ministry. They have as much part as we do. They are the hands and feet behind the events. Being a small organization, we have to call upon our community and family to be the muscle behind the organization.”
As with all work, their mission requires sacrifices. Courtney sites that space and time are the biggest sacrifices she has to make. Financially, they choose to live small and use their money to do big things. When asked what she would say to a woman who is afraid that she does not have time to volunteer or fundraise, Courtney had amazing advice:
“If God has called you to it, He will walk you through it. Your time will be much better spent being in His will than outside of it. One of the things they have found is that it’s not about you. Any true mission that you have is not about you, but what you believe in. Your cause is the focus. For others to be able to give is a blessing for them. You don’t want to shy away from giving them opportunity. Reading in Acts, when ever they had been given the opportunity, they were excited. Not every person is called to give to each organization, but it is more about connecting to what God is calling you to. You are always giving to the Lord, not necessarily a specific organization. The giving is all about your relationship with God.”
When asked about future plans, the level of involvement with the organization, and meeting the needs of the people it supports, Courtney said, “through our work with Carry The Cross Ministries in KCK, we are heavily trying to open the food pantry for those affected by Covid-19. We have opened the apartment to girls aged out of foster care. We also head up a foster care support group to help others.”
Looking further in the future, Courtney and her family are still seeking acreage to get the farm up and running. They are in need of at least 80 acre. Having the farm will give the children to have a new, safe environment to build memories. And more than anything, they want to give children the time to see the Lord working.
In an effort to support the building of On Eagles Wings Farm, Rachel Pheffer of Urbantique is donating $5.00 of every Arise Mountain art tee garment that is sold.
“At On Eagle's Wings Farm we will love, serve and restore hope to children and families facing trials and traumas of life by meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We will accomplish this by providing a Christian home of Refuge, Restoration and Renewal.”