A Land of Sheltered Promise
It was known as the Big Muddy Ranch in 1901 when sheepherders inhabited the Antelope Valley in north central Oregon. But by 1984 little was left of the Big Muddy. A newcomer to the area, Bhagwam Shree Rajneesh, found the land along the John Day River an ideal place to establish his commune, Rajneeshpuram. Scandal, attempted murder, and the first bioterrorism in United States history marked the commune, and eventually members of the cult abandoned Rajneeshpuram. Ten years later it was renamed Wild Horse Canyon, and Young Life Camp for teens was established. It is against this historical backdrop that Jane Kirkpatrick writes A Land of Sheltered Promise. The author researched the lives of three women who occupied the land: a sheepherder’s wife whose life is changed by her husband’s conviction for murder; a mother who seeks to rescue her granddaughter from the Rajneeshpuram commune; and a woman who helped to reshape the land into something positive, a Christian camp for kids. From the historical record, Kirkpatrick crafts fictional accounts that have one underlying theme. Each woman finds herself on a personal journey where she is placed in the situation of having to accept the charity of others. By so doing, each of them realizes that reaching out is done out of strength, not weakness, and ultimately leads to “Someone larger, who has brought about this magnificent place where even silent prayers are heard and answered.”
A Land of Sheltered Promise is historical Christian fiction at its best. The reader comes away with a clear vision of the land, of the people who occupied the land, and of a Supreme Being who ties it all together.