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Blessed to Observe, A volunteer’s perspective of Agape’s mission in action

I have shared before about this incredibly unique and supportive community that we have here at Agape. Our community of volunteers, donors, riders, horses, and staff is a constant and daily reflection of what I feel God intended community to be. Recently, I received heart wrenching news that one of our rider’s experienced trauma that we never would expect. As I processed through my feelings of anger towards the situation, confusion about how something like this could happen to someone so wonderful and vulnerable, and deep sadness – I realized how incredible it is that this family would trust us enough to confide in us and allow us to walk with them through tragedy. That is an indescribable honor – to be the “Aaron and Hur” for our “Moses” families by helping keep their arms raised to Heaven through the battle.

Then there are volunteers like Tricia who capture this view so beautifully. Every day we have “God sightings” and we are blessed to observe them. Tricia is one of our many amazing volunteers and she serves at Agape South in Martinsville. I know I speak for our whole team when I say, ‘Tricia – WE are the ones blessed to observe how God uses you {and each of our volunteers} to fulfill this mission. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your story.” We truly have a beautiful community and mission here.

T R I C I A  M I L T O ‘ S  V O L U N T E E R  S T O R Y

For several months I had been contemplating on what I could do to get myself out of the house.  I needed to find an outlet for myself and I really wanted to meet new people. I am a wife and a mom of four beautiful boys and I have dedicated my life to making my family my first priority.   I have been a stay at home mom for 21 years! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or how I was going to do it, but I knew I needed it.

I can not remember when I first heard about Agape, but I do remember thinking what an awesome concept it was. I have a real soft spot in my heart for the two main components of this program….  Horses and individuals with special needs.

Horses, I have loved horses since I was a young girl and this love has followed me in to adulthood.  I have been able to spend enough time around horses to know how they have this uncanny ability to sense your “need” (maybe you didn’t even know).  I have always loved to be around them so I knew I would be comfortable with that.

As far as helping individuals with special needs, two of the most important people in my life have special needs.  They call me mom! Two of my boys were born with a rare disease that has slowly taken over their bodies. So over the years I have been involved with many activities that involve individuals with special needs. So here again I knew I would be comfortable in this setting.

Agape sounded like a perfect fit and I felt I could really help.  It took a few months and some gentle nudging (emails, texts, reminders) from a good friend (aka: Jennifer Armstrong) before I gained the courage to sign up for a volunteer meeting.  Of course I was intimidated coming in not knowing what was going to be expected of me, but that quickly subsided. Kaitlin Hossom was very welcoming and I received great information as to what Agape is about. I met Christy Schmitt at this meeting also and after meeting these two women, I know why they have been chosen for their jobs: kind hearts, gentle spirits and patience. As I left Bradford Woods that night I remember thinking to myself…this is it, this is where I need to be.

I am a few months in to volunteering now and my love for this volunteering opportunity has only grown.  I’ve met amazing volunteers, beautiful horses and awesome riders. I would say it was everything I thought it would be but that would be a lie.  It is MORE than I could have ever expected! The smiles on the riders faces as they walk through the door when they first arrive or when they see their horses is priceless.  The calm you see come over them as they sit in their saddle or the confidence that exudes as they accomplish a goal with their horse is indescribable. And to watch the horses as they sense the need of their rider.  Their patience and understanding is remarkable. It is simply a God sighting and I am blessed to be able to observe.

I think back to how I thought I could help Agape… WOW who was I kidding?  Little did I know how much Agape would help ME! I cannot describe the pure joy it brings to my heart!  These awesome people, riders and horses have already taught me amazing lessons.

Thank you Agape for allowing me this incredible opportunity.  I AM truly blessed!

~Tricia Milto

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