When we first became involved with the program it was being at the right place at the right time. I believe that God puts people in your life to make a change and a difference in this world. God put Fred Goldsmith [FCA Area Representative] in our life that night for a purpose for this program as well as a purpose for our family. Until the night that Fred spoke at one of our monthly cattlemen meetings I had never heard of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I have two boys but neither of them played sports in High School, so this was not a program that I was familiar with. My family attended sports events and I had lots of kids from my youth group at Church that was into all the sports, but none of them had mentioned this great program to me.
We are a small farming family so 10-25 head of cattle is all that we have on the farm at any given point. We laugh and tell everyone that my husband and I both work two jobs so we could raise our boys on the family farm. Our operation is mostly just cow/calf beef cattle and a little hay to subsidize the cattle cost. When Fred spoke at the meeting we had just cycled many of the momma cows off the farm as their age was becoming an issue so we were down in number of cows and was going to add back into the heard for the next years calving cycle. Fred was looking for someone to take cows immediately as a farmer was having to move and would not be able to take the cows that he had in the program with him. My husband and I talked before we left the meeting that night and agreed that taking one of these into the herd to help out should not be a problem.
I will never forget our trip to Tennessee to pick up the cow, our youngest son was excited to go get our now to be Holy Cow. When we arrived at the farm we were a little skeptical as the new cow was a free range cow and to be honest we really was a little worried. The cows we had on the farm were all gentle and came to a bucket of feed. This cow wanted nothing to do with a bucket of feed or us for that matter. Our worries were unfounded as she soon settled down and became part of the herd, although the excitement that my son had of getting the new cow was pretty much gone as she was not the new pet he was hoping for. She became the pride of our farm, especially for our son who made a point to point her out to friends that this is our Holy Cow. Everyone was intrigued as to why we named her the Holy Cow. I tell them that she was a Holy terror when we got her, but look at her now, God knew we had to have calm and he sent it, and she is now the blessing he intended for us to share.
The yearly calf that we are able to send to the market for the support to go to the FCA program in the Western North Carolina area is an extra offering that we so willingly give. The cow puts no burden on us as she is in with our herd, so when we feed them she is fed, when we work them for vaccination she is vaccinated, when we take the calves off we take her calf off, and when we go to market with our calves we take her calf. The STEER program makes this such an easy task as they provide all the paperwork that we need to take her to market (which is a simple card). They then send us a letter back showing what the calf sold for on the market. We all look forward to this letter as it really makes you feel good that you gave this much and really did very little to be able to give. The program keeps us informed of what the money is used for and testimony as to the difference this is making in many young adults lives. Now that I am involved in the program I know how it is changing lives in my local High School and I encourage all the youth that I work with to take advantage of the wonderful support system that the program offers them. I see our Holy Cow as one more tool in God’s toolbox to change the lives of so many kids with very little effort on my part. I would recommend this program to every farmer and would assure them they will never regret taking one more cow on their farm to become a wonderful means of supporting locally or across the country the young adults in the decision making of allowing Christ to guide their lives.
May God continue to bless this program and the wonderful dedicated people that make it possible.
Mark & Pam Bell