Many years ago, the Lord began to burden Sam and Brenda Crowell’s hearts for those in need. In response to this burden, they opened up their home to many children and young adults, all of whom the Lord miraculously brought into their lives. While they were blessed to be able to speak into these lives over the years, deep in their hearts they carried the dream of one day starting a ranch which could house and care for many more hurting lives than just their one simple home could provide for. Their daughter Dana embraced the vision of her parents and even worked for a year with orphaned children in Africa. Little did the Crowells know that God was in the midst of making their dream a reality.
Just 30 miles west of the Crowells’ home in California, the Lord was also hard at work in the lives of Don and Margie Lopez as they raised their 3 sons. Their door was always open and theirs became the home where friends and family congregated. During his young adulthood, their oldest son, Brian, felt led to work with troubled teens and took a position in 2001 with Doulos Ministries in Branson, MO. During this time, the Lord spoke to him very clearly about starting a ranch for at risk youth. Four years into his ministry at Doulos, the Lord started to make good on His promise, bringing Brian and Dana together in marriage in 2005.
Since 2007, all three couples have relocated from Southern California and are now living in the Greater Springfield area working towards continuing Dogwood’s vision. Shortly after Brian and Dana moved to Ozark, they became licensed foster parents and began taking in teenage girls immediately. In the midst of parenting teens, Brian and Dana were blessed with two young children, Keziah and Sammy Jo. Their home continues to be full of both present and previous foster daughters, which provides a terrific blend of joy and chaos. They have also taken a leadership role in the community by serving on the Missouri Foster Parent Advisory Board, which has been a tremendous blessing, as they love to encourage and help provide resources for the tremendous foster families in this region. Being involved with their community and advocating for their foster kids and fellow foster families has been a great way for them to stay connected and serve those whom they feel so strongly called to.
We desire to do life like Jesus. He stopped for the ONE. He saw the pain in the ONE. He healed the ONE; and in turn, impacted the nations by bringing HOPE to all those He encountered. Everything He did was driven by His perfect love and passion for the ONE. By following His example, we know that many will be served, supported and brought into wholeness by keeping our focus on the ONE. At its core, Dogwood Ranch is rooted and built on Biblical principles and the life of Jesus. While not federally recognized as a faith-based organization, everything in our culture, practices and organization philosophy reflects our deep respect, conviction and commitment to the basic tenets of our Christian faith.
Psalms 68:6: God sets the lonely in families