Rusty and Julie Bulloch have opened their home and hearts to 25 youth of all ages; their family is the subject of a new series on UP TV, "The Bulloch Family Ranch." The Bullochs spoke with The Christian Post about their family, their mission, and how faith plays a part in their work.
The Christian Post: How is it that you are able to see the good in everyone and offer so many people a second chance at redemption?
Julie: I think we see the good in the ones that want it to be seen. Some of the kids that we've brought in have been a little rough, but we've been blessed— the kids we've taken in have had a heart of gold. We really listen to God, and we've just been blessed. And that's what is so great about this; we've been blessed more than the kids. We've seen them grow up, go to college, get a job, start their own families.
CP: How did you start working with youth and bringing them into your home?
Julie: The first girl, Jenna, had been hanging around the ranch since she was 13; we took her in when she was 18. She and her mother were butting heads. I talked to the mom and offered to let her move in with us. We knew she wasn't ready to live on her own. That was easy because Amanda felt as if she was getting a sister she already knew. Each time a person came around that wanted or needed help, we'd talk to the kids, and each time, we'd all agree. They had to give up a lot.
CP: Would you say that working with youth is your mission in life?
Julie: When I was 16, Denny Duran told me that I had a calling on my life and would be working with young people. My thought was, "I don't like myself or anyone else my age." I couldn't see that working because I didn't like myself … I grew up and saw the insecurities in myself and in others. We didn't do this thinking that things would lead to where they are. I'm a mom, and I know that there is not a bad child born but there are circumstances that can influence one. If we give them a good atmosphere and love … as long as that person wants to change, we're willing to have him or her in our home. And the children have not all been from inner-city homes … they come from all classes.
CP: What role does faith play in your life and passion for children?
Rusty: We enjoy it. It's not something that we dread. We have dreaded some situations, but as far as the ministry we've been called to, we love it. If you're not having fun doing God's work, check yourself. I'd rather see a sermon than hear one every day. If I have to go through the whole preacher spiel, it's not worth it and something isn't getting through. I'll ask the kids if they have a church that they want to attend, but it's not a forced thing. We've had some that have started building a relationship with God while living with us, and we've had some baptized here on the ranch. We gave them a platform to build that relationship upon.
Julie: We definitely believe that you need to live the way you believe. I go up to someone and say, "You know what, I can tell that you're a believer because you have such a sweet spirit."
CP: Why did you decide to do the series and allow everyone to see your everyday lives?
Julie: We prayed about it. When we first started talking about it, we thought it was kinda funny. We wondered who would watch a show about us. We talked to pastor friends, one another, and prayed about it. We figured that even if they went to the back of our closet, they wouldn't find anything. Maybe this is where all of this went.
Rusty: My big answer is: Why not? An evangelist told me I was like a campfire— going to plant fires across the nation and reach millions of people. At the time, I was doing all kinds of things, but all of that was set up to lead me to where I am now. If we don't do it, we won't be fulfilling God's plan. It is a constant— we ground each other— in our lives and all we've been through, we look at this as an opportunity to spread some good on TV and in America. We want to show that there are families that pray over their food and share meals together.
We've filmed seven episodes in total. This has been so much fun— we're all friends. We work together, and that's what has been the really cool part. And the amazing thing is, you'll never know how you'll affect someone until you get a phone call or an email … We've had several of the film crew keep in touch and good relationships.
"The Bulloch Family Ranch" premieres Friday, July 19, at 10:00 p.m. ET on UP TV.
Watch a trailer for the show HERE: