Mission Moment – Rainbow Acres

From Pastor Gregg A. Sneller,
Partnership Advocate of Rainbow Aces

At the age of 16, I first met a man by the name of Ralph Showers. He was deeply loved by the pastor of our church and came to speak about a dream of a ranch in Arizona for adults with developmental disabilities. Rainbow Acres Ranch came into being in 1974. Eleven years later I served on the staff at FBC McMinnville and each week part of our worshipping family were members who lived with developmental disabilities, our ‘Rainbow Class’. I was deeply honored to learn from Victor, Chris, Patti and the others as we shared life together in worship.

I am indebted to you for being an inviting inclusive caring community. After three mission trips to Rainbow Acres, three pastorates and time with International Ministries, I was asked to serve at the ranch and began October 1, 2018. “Rainbow Acres is a Christian community with heart that empowers persons with developmental disabilities to live to their fullest potential with dignity and purpose. We provide exceptional housing, life-enriching programs, and loving, holistic care in a safe, vibrant, inclusive ranch-style community.” Rainbow is about valuing persons and creating spaces where Ranchers can thrive, serve and live into their fullest potential. The Ranch is 50 acres in size and 90 miles North of Phoenix with 95 resident Ranchers. We are committed to lifelong learning through the Rainbow Academy that offers learning opportunities tailored to each Rancher’s interests and abilities.

Here is what I love about the Ranch. For me it’s a “thin place” where I experience the love of God through the gift of the Holy One residing in the Ranchers. I am blessed by my family at the Ranch when there. My job as a “Partnership Advocate” involves meeting with individuals, churches and organizations to encourage their partnership with what God is doing at the Ranch.

by the Sedona Quilters. It was in McMinnville where I learned about the difference between a quilt and a blanket. They did not teach me about baby dedication quilts in seminary. You taught me so much while in your midst. The Rancher recipients of those quilts have lived at the Ranch between 30-45 years each. I wish you could have seen their faces as they received the quilts that were created specifically for each Rancher and their interests.

We have about 45 Ranchers who are scholarship recipients in order to be able to live at the Ranch. A commitment was made upon their arrival to care for them for life and to not turn anyone away for lack of funds. Many partners make this possible as an act of care for developmentally disabled persons who live at the Ranch.

One of your former church members, Chelsea Sneller, worked at Rainbow Acres when finishing college. To this day, some of the Ranchers only know me as “Chelsea’s dad.” I am glad to be known by the Ranchers and they will love to get to know you. Thanks for being such an important part of the journey God has called me upon and for your imprint in my life. Thank you for being willing to come and serve in the near future. Your presence will truly be a gift to the Ranchers. The work you do will be a gift but just as important are the relationships you build while eating with the Ranchers in the dining room for lunch and then in their homes for dinner.