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Barrels & Bibles in the Badger State

One family's encounter with Lone Star Cowboy Church on Facebook led to fulfilling dreams, spiritual growth, and a new ministry for young people in rural Wisconsin.

Say what you will about COVID, but there is no denying that in the pressure cooker that was 2020, God carved new paths and opened new doors for His children astoundingly. One happened at this church, specifically the live-streamed Sunday service.

A Chance Encounter

On Easter Sunday in Deer Park, Wisconsin, Tamera Belisle (Tammy) and her husband searched for services to participate in from home, and they stumbled upon Pastor Randy Weaver’s message. “We’re a horse family, a farm family, and of course, the cowboy image stuck out to us immediately. But we were hooked after hearing the story of the “Justin Casey” cat; we don’t like cats around here and thought it was hilarious,” says Tammy. After the first sermon, they followed the church on social media and YouTube and regularly joined every Sunday at home. Tammy, the daughter of a dairy farmer, shares that anyone who knows dairy farmers knows that they don’t often keep horses. “We were blessed because my dad let us ride as kids, and I have loved horses ever since, so when my husband and I found our own place to call home, I knew I wanted to have horses and somehow incorporate our faith,” she says. Thus, Laughing Horses Ranch was born.

Fast forward to January 2022. Tammy and her family are grieving the loss of her father, and after returning home from his funeral service, they decided to watch Dear Rodeo: The Cody Johnson Story to cheer them up. “At some point, I got up and was walking around the house when my husband suddenly yelled for me to come back because Randy Weaver from Lone Star Cowboy Church was in this movie,” she says. Tammy and her husband finished watching the film and, by the end, knew that God was putting Lone Star Cowboy Church in their way for a reason.

Plans Come Together

“All of a sudden it clicked. We had always wanted some kind of ministry here in our hometown but had never ironed out the details of what that was. After that movie, I went upstairs to the church’s website and discovered Rodeo Bible Camp (RBC).” Full of passion and excitement, Tammy sent a message to the church expressing their desire to host a similar camp to RBC in Wisconsin. She received a call back within a day and was invited to come to Texas. In March of that year, they met with the leadership team and walked away with the RBC playbook.

“Our first RBC experience was in 2022, and we volunteered and brought three girls from our barn at home to camp,” says Tammy. They even bought a brand-new truck to make the drive down, and it was well worth it. “Two girls gave their life to the Lord at that camp,” she remembers. They were all in once they had seen and experienced camp for themselves. So invested were they that they attended for a second year in June 2023, once again with three girls from the barn in tow, plus a few more faces. “My brother came with us this year and brought my nephews to participate in the roughstock events; it was life-changing for all the kids.”

Armed with the information, the inspiration, and the energy to host a camp of their own, Bibles and Barrels. On July 18, 2023, Laughing Horse Ranch welcomed 30 young barrel racers to a fun weekend of instruction and hearing about the gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for them.

“We had the privilege of showing these girls a relationship with Christ like they have never seen. The best part was that we had to move inside during worship one night due to rain… but God gave us a beautiful rainbow. Our theme,’ I am a child of God,’ focused on identity. Lone Star had so much influence on every part,” says Tammy.

Just the Beginning

Tammy and her husband are still in awe of how much God has done through their little patch of Wisconsin heaven and want to keep going. “This is going to change our family tree. Being a part of Lone Star Cowboy Church and Rodeo Bible Camp helped shape the direction we are taking now. Barrels and Bible camp was just the beginning, and we can’t wait to see where God takes us next.”

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