Prayerful Charity

Denese Holland Finds Faithful Stewardship in Her Donations 

Denese Holland comes from a long line of Boys Ranch donors.

“My uncle, my father and my mom gave to Boys Ranch,” Denese said. “I always knew that they supported Boys Ranch. And I always knew as a Christian that I needed to give not just to the church, but in the community.”

When Holland advanced in her career and had money to share, she started looking for organizations that care for children.

“When you see kids who are hurting and I’ve seen a lot (as a nurse),” she said. “It’s just a heartbreak because kids are so salvageable. I started giving early on in my career when I became a registered nurse. Then when I became a certified registered nurse anesthetist, I had even more money to share.”

Denese Holland and Stephen Straub
Denese Holland and and Stephen Straub

Finding Affirmation in a Chance Encounter

For a while, Denese worked as a relief nurse in Amarillo hospitals, where local residents shared their good opinion of Boys Ranch.

During her time as a relief nurse, she was traveling between Amarillo and her home in San Antonio, when a chance encounter on an airplane solidified her decision to share with Boys Ranch.

“I was praying to the Lord about how I would steward my resources according to His Will,” Denese said. “I was up there in Amarillo, and Cal Farley’s was on my heart. I probably had been praying more than two or three weeks asking the Lord to really give me a clear sign.”

Two boys were traveling alone in the row of seats behind her on the airplane.

“I heard one of them say they lived at Boys Ranch and that they were traveling to see their father,” Denese said. “They were so little.”

At the end of the flight, she gave each boy $20, to their delight, and told them that she was a donor to Boys Ranch. After they walked away, a teenaged girl approached her and said, “I just want you to know that what you did helped those boys so much. I live at Cal Farley’s, too.”

Denese tried to give the girl money, but she wouldn’t accept.

“That said a lot to me about her character, that she was not asking for anything,” Denese said. “And so there were three affirmations right on that one trip. And I was like, ‘OK, God, I get it. Cal Farley’s is the place. I’m just gonna hold strong on this.’”

And she did.

Visiting Boys Ranch for the First Time

After years of donations, 2022 was the first year Denese was able to attend the Boys Ranch Annual Rodeo.

While at Boys Ranch, Denese and her husband Stephen Straub heard two boys speak – Grant and David. The boys reminded her of the two boys she had met on the airplane, and she was touched once more.

“They know how people are supposed to be treated now, and they aren’t bitter or angry, just ready to move forward with their lives,” she said in amazement.

After the rodeo, Denese and her husband felt confident that Boys Ranch is meeting children’s needs.

“My husband and I just updated our wills again,” Denese said. “I’m leaving pretty much everything to children’s ministries, and he’s leaving some to children’s ministries and some to some other charities. We want to make sure our money is stewarded for a good cause. And it looks like you guys are getting a big bang for your buck at Boys Ranch.”

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