Pastor uses horses to teach gospel
A Shelley man is in Asia to share a message of God's love through a presentation called Born Wild/Created to be Free.
Todd Pierce is a former rodeo cowboy who is now pastor to the Professional Bull Riders tour. He is involved with Riding High Ministries, whose mission statement reads, "Bringing the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the good news of His kingdom to the world."
In Pierce's presentation, he uses an unbroken horse to illustrate God's love and man's desire to be free.
"I fell in love with training horses while in college," Pierce said recently.
The unbroken horse represents man's natural desires. The trainer who allows the horse to run free in a round pen until it tires represents Jesus, who waits on man to repent and come unto Him. The message is one of leadership, love and caring for all mankind.
Recently Pierce accepted an invitation to take his message to a group of freedom fighters in Burma, now known as Myanmar. The Burmese have been involved in decades of civil war.
According to their Website, the Free Burma Rangers are key players in a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to FBR to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency medical care, shelter, food, clothing and human rights documentation. The teams also operate a communication and information network inside Burma that provide real time information from areas under attack.
In addition to relief and reporting, other results of the teams' actions are the development of leadership capacity, civil society and the strengthening of inter-ethnic unity.
Pierce was raised in Inkom, but moved to Bonneville County in high school. He graduated from Skyline High School, then moved on to Idaho State. He earned a bachelor's degree in health and nutrition.
Pierce competed as a bareback rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for six years. He was also a jockey.
"I lived everything but a Christian life while I competed," he said. "But then someone told me God loved me."
When he suffered a career-ending injury, fellow cowboy Cody Custer got him involved in Christian outreach.
"My wife, Leslie, and I are committed to this," he said.
"There's nobody more surprised than I am that I'm doing what I'm doing," Pierce continued. "It shows that God can use a common people to do extraordinary things."
Pierce likened the Burmese government's treatment of its people to that of the American government's treatment of Native Americans in the 1700s and 1800s.
"Hopefully I'll gain a more Christ-centered world view" from teaching the leaders of those who are seeking to help the Burmese people, he said.
"I want people to have peace with God through Jesus Christ and to relate with Him as Father," he added.
Pierce and his wife have three children, Colton (15), Tanner (11) and Holden (7). She works as a fitness instructor.