My name is Gabe Rygaard. My wife, Katy, and our three children, Aidan, Trilby and Tucker, are a part of King’s Way (Sequim West Foursquare Church) in Sequim, Wash., pastored by Mike and Marilyn Van Proyen.
We started going to King’s Way more than seven years ago. We love our church family and the vision that this body of believers has in our camp project. I was a son of an alcoholic father; because of my mother’s wisdom and God’s grace, I gave my heart and life to Christ at a church camp when I was 10. This was a moment I will never forget. It has helped teach me that no matter what the circumstances are in your life, God is always with you.
Katy has taught women’s groups and helped in women’s ministry. I am our church softball coach, and enjoy working with people and helping where help is needed. Most of the effort for me personally is being involved in our church property and camp.
My wife and I own a timber brokerage company, and I am part owner in the “family business” of Rygaard Logging, featured on the acclaimed History Channel reality series about logging, Ax Men. Having a major role in a TV show is a very tough experience, and if I did not have faith, I would quit. But I believe God has a work to do in it, and I am waiting patiently to see where it leads.
I never would have dreamed I would be on TV and exposed to millions of people. You get followed around with cameras for three-plus months, and most of the time they wait for you to do something like lose your temper or say bad words, and then that’s what they use on the show.
I am a patient man, and I believe God will use this all for His purpose, at least for me. For example, I was asked and got to do a guest appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC network TV. I was able to be a part of helping the Lampe family in Kentucky get a new house and start a new life. It was an awesome experience I never would have been able to have without my exposure via Ax Men.
Recently, after some conversation with Pastor Mike, I helped organize efforts to build a cross for our church property. We are situated on 20 acres, so it needed to be large. I donated some large, old growth timber, and had solid beams sawed from these logs. With some great help and a crane, we constructed a 29-foot-high cross. It is a beautiful site to see on our campus.
I have been active with Pastor Mike and many other great men and women in helping to build Camp King’s Way. I have personally logged and removed timber, cleared land for a softball field, graded and built road, cleared brush, and just about whatever else I could do to get this project to completion; a lot more help and work is still needed.
Pastor Mike has endured legal battles and the enemy at a lot of turns, but Christ is faithful and has shown our church many miracles. God has His hands on this project. We’ve had a donation from another church to build a bunkhouse, a gift to rebuild our kitchen, a loan to help get water and sewer systems started, and men with equipment and tools donate their time. It is a blessing to see the Lord at work, and I have enjoyed being a small part.
I am a very thankful man for God’s blessing in my life. It is so important to be a part of a group of believers and be active in your church. I thank Jesus every day for my family and church.