My name is Jared Ratcliff, and I am a young adult, youth camp counselor, and English teacher. But… I guess you came for more than that.
When I first started this blog, I described here the thick, beautiful evergreen forests filled with the smell of pine, the calls of birds, and the streams that run through every mile or two which cover the Cascade Mountains like a blanket. I told how during the winter, an additional blanket is added: snow, turning the trees and mountaintops sparkling white, with chickadees and nuthatches flitting through the trees and tracks of deer and an occasional mountain lion passing through on their endless journeys.
But then, after graduating from the local college with an Associates Degree, in the summer of 2020, I traveled from the dry side of the mountains to the wet side, boarded a plane in Seattle, and left my home of 19 years behind. I landed a day later in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, greeted by the stifling heat and humidity of my new country. So I suppose here is where I describe what my life is really like now. I am an English Teacher with Adventist Frontier Missions (who are they?) at a school with over 100 students in the middle of the mountains on the east edge of Cambodia, a place which is thankfully much higher and cooler than the capital, and where I still have pine trees, but where ice is a thing that comes only from freezers, and snow is known only from pictures of America.
Why am I here? Because as I have said so many times, Nothing is as fulfilling to me as seeing someone give their life to God. That is why I served as a youth camp counselor, led outreach at youth retreats, planned youth events, and served in various capacities in my local church. It’s why I now have landed here, in a country, climate, and people not my own. But actually… they are my own.
But enough about my job and home, for you should know one last thing about me. I am a believer. A bit of a stubborn one. What do I believe in? Just this: I believe that the suffering and sorrow of humanity, is only temporary; that you—and I—were created by a God who can be accurately characterized, with our pathetic English expressions, by only one word: Love. I believe, as the old adage states, “the best is yet to come.” I believe because I’ve found God to be a Father, ever faithful.
I also have a hope. My hope is that every beating heart on this broken planet will experience Love, too. That every person, whether feeble, strong, or wounded, can learn to fly; to receive peace, and acceptance, and love. And my aim is to let that hope not remain only a hope, but become a reality. Let’s all learn to fly.
That’s my story, currently, though much remains to be written. I hope that the musings in this blog can help you, too, as we learn to fly. Because He is faithful. And maybe heaven can start right here. That’s my prayer for you. If you’d like to ensure you never miss a post, subscribe here. Blessings!