Saturday, June 2, 2018

April / May '18 Review: HEALTH

Ranch Life

While studying through the book of Titus, I came across a “new” word:

Hygiainō – “to be sound, to be well, to be in good health.” (Our modern word, hygene, also, has its origin in this Greek root.)

In context, it is used metaphorically “of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error.” (See Titus 1:13)

My perspective regarding “to be in good health” has grown & expanded. I am in the “middle years” of life and I am an “experienced” missionary, father & husband. Also, as a disciple of Christ, I have learned that “to be sound” must include a holistic approach: mind, body & soul.

Honestly speaking, “to be well” has been one of our greatest challenges on the mission field. There has been a tendency to “pour oneself out” to the variety of needs that confront us in Honduras, without thought of its effects on our wellness: mind, body and soul as individuals, a married couple and a family, let alone as a ministry.

Recently this was dramatically brought to mind as two separate friends on two separate occasions made the same comment to us; essentially, that as long as they have known us (2+ years) Marillyn and I live in survival mode, as opposed to a thriving mode.

Yes, of course, “we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13), but there are also natural laws & effects of cultural differences, marital challenges, life stages, family development and ministry growth; namely, STRESS!!!

Jesus summed it up nicely in his divine, humanity: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41)

So, how do we get back to thriving in life, in marriage, in family and in ministry???

Mini-vacation with missionary friends in El Salvador:
70% missionary discount!!!

#1 – We take some time to heal. 

Since entering my 40’s my body has not been the same. Alarmingly, so! Stress has taken its toll on mind, body & soul. Both Marillyn and I are working with a licensed nutritionist to help restore our physical health knowing that the mind & soul will also improve. It is a long, slow & costly venture. We are looking for people to help sponsor our physical recovery. Please contact us for specific costs, if you would like to help financially.

Supplemental Help!

We will also be taking an extended furlough in the Fall / early Winter with an emphasis on our “Hygiainō” (See definition above, wink-wink!) We have been generously blessed with tickets to the US of A and want to focus on our recovery, so that we can be thriving wherever God is calling us to serve Him!

International School of Tegucigalpa (IST) 8th Grader Overnight

#2 – We focus on what we love & what God has gifted us in.

Our ministry outreach in 2018 has narrowed; essentially, we are ministering in only one area of outreach: the trade school. Our desire in 2018 has been to prepare for the equine therapy ministry at the Ranch, but have struggled to stay focused. The daily grind of life in Honduras, running an existing Ranch and homeschooling don’t leave much energy for building a new ministry outreach: the infrastructure (proper riding areas, fencing, etc.) and the methodology. Your prayers are coveted deeply in this area.

Navidad en Mayo!
Prepping for December sales.

We do see God moving to help us specifically with the horse therapy as a friend’s short-term mission team is coming alongside to build fencing in June and a Honduran friend has introduced us to a Christian horse therapy ministry in the States whose leaders are planning to come in August to give us some hands-on training. God is faithful to complete the work He has started at Rancho Oasis!!!

God has also rekindled a passion for teaching His word by opening up opportunities for me to preach. I recently shared three messages at an 8th grade end-of-the-year overnight retreat and have begun teaching through the book of Titus (CLICK TO LISTEN) at our English speaking fellowship in Tegucigalpa! It has been a real joy and pleasure to exercise my spiritual gifts in this way! (On a side note, Union church has selected a new head pastor. He & his wife will be joining the church sometime in August!!! PTL!!!) I am also lined up to teach at a Spanish speaking youth retreat in July then the annual Missionary Kid camp in August! Pray for the seeds that are planted to bare fruit!

HFMM Region #6 "Missionary Spotlight" Collage

We have also enjoyed building community with other missionaries in our area as the Regional Reps for the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. I am in weekly contact with local missionaries about their ministries in order to put together a simple "missionary spotlight" to share with all of the missionaries in our region. It has been building fellowship and prayer amongst us... poco a poco.

#3 – We partner with those in ministry who have God-given gifts & strengths where we do not. 

Over the years, Marillyn and I have “worn many hats” at Rancho Oasis. We have realized the hard-way that this is not sustainable, nor healthy for us or the ministry at RO4Y. I see that I am the “healthiest” when I am ministering in my gifts via discipleship and teaching. For us to thrive at Rancho Oasis, this needs to be my primary focus. However, we are still at the beginning stages of our property and there are many buildings and projects to complete. We did receive another very generous donation from Bloomingdale Church to finish CDA, but we need someone to manage the final stages of construction...

We have begun to pray and make our need know for an individual, couple or family to co-labor with us at the Ranch as a “Property & Project Manager.” Essentially, we need someone to run the ranch of the Ranch, while we cultivate the spiritual oasis of Rancho Oasis. If God is not done with RO4Y, we know He will send the right people at the right time to accomplish His vision for this ministry! Pray, PRay, PRAY!!!

Daddy Dates

Mamas & Macaroons!!!

#4 – We focus on the foundation of the Ranch: our family and marriage. 

We have recently experienced a devastating blow to our family and ministry that I am not at liberty to discuss publicly. The damage is just beginning to be uncovered and it will take a lifetime of healing & grace. PRAY for us as we walk through the stages of grief and seek out the appropriate means of healing, recovery & justice. Our lives will never be the same, again.

Mango Madness
"Taste & see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
Psalm 34:8 NIV 

Finally, I want to end on a encouraging note and with a deep sense of gratitude for all those who have sacrificed time, money and vacations to build up the ministry and impact of Rancho Oasis. 

Last Fall we made a call for increased monthly support. Many responded, but in January our largest supporting church drastically reduced their monthly donation, shrinking our monthly “income” by over 20%. However, the Lord has moved on many individuals and churches and they have nearly made up the difference. 

Please continue to pray for the ministry’s financial needs and ask the Lord if he wants you to be involved. Our goal is still to gain another $500 in monthly support. Every donation no matter the size helps and bonds us together for the spreading of the Gospel in Honduras and beyond!

Thank you all for your faithfulness over the years!!! 

To God be the glory!!!

"From ashes to beauty..."

Saturday, April 7, 2018

March '18 Review: NEW LIFE

“In riding a horse, we borrow freedom."
- Helen Thompson

The Goal: One of the many books that is giving insight & direction to our future focus.

PRAY for us as we continue to move forward on this new horse therapy adventure! Sometimes the tasks before us (building a paddock, properly leveling & RE-building the ridding ring, creating a horse therapy program & equipping ourselves with the knowledge to "do this right") seem overwhelming! 

BUT imagining what the end result will be keeps us moving forward! 

Like the time our friends from Tegucigalpa brought their children to the Ranch from their children's home (a.k.a. orphanage). It was a fun day outside the city playing and enjoying God's creation, including the horses... click & scroll to the bottom of the link.

Horse & child: a unique bond.
There was one girl in particular who was very standoffish and stoic. Somehow Marillyn convinced her to "come out of the shadows" and groom Zoeva. Something was beginning to happen in this mundane task. Soon after, Marillyn began giving pony rides to the children and, again, miraculously got this emotionally damaged little girl on the back of Zoeva. Slowly her hard exterior began to fall away.

Not long after her ride, our friends approached us and asked, "What did you guys do????"

We weren't sure what they were referring too, but we were nervous!

With tears in her eyes, our friend described that that was the first time in nearly a year of working & living with this young girl that they had seen her smile and heard her laugh while she was riding Zoeva! They were in awe and many months later told us that that experience was the start of the healing process for that little girl.

This is what we hope to recreate again and again with our horses: Jesus & His creation!


Cross frame building & paper-bead varnishing.

PRAY for the creativity, sales & direction of the trade school.
PRAY for the new students to grow their skill & Marillyn to direct that growth.

PRAY for spiritual growth & maturity in their lives.

Bi-weekly Bulk shopping in Tegus

Rancho Oasis: 1 - Rancho Ebenezer: 4
Silliness with missionary friends at the Beard-B-Q

PRAY for wisdom & direction in our role as the Region Six Representatives of the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. We are so grateful to be able to give back to a local ministry that has meant so much to us during our time in Honduras: from the annual missionary retreat to the one-on-one counseling sessions and the countless friendships that have formed since 2010!

Semana Santa Missionary Beard-B-Q

PRAISE for a wonderful day together
at the 3rd Annual Missionary "Beard-B-Q."
The Ranch provides us the unique opportunity to bless our fellow friends and missionaries, many of whom live in the urban jungle of Tegucigalpa. Hosting 80+ people was a little crazy, but a lot of fun!!! 

Another year completed & another ice cream flavor checked off this list:
"One Night in Bangkok Sundae"
Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams

PRAISE for the countless blessings (and trials) that the Lord has brought my way over the last 41 years! Thank you all for standing by us and continually lifting us up in prayer! 

It's a crappy job, but somebody has to empty the Bio-digestor!

PRAY for us as we work through this transitional period of life & ministry at the Ranch. I, Jon, was once the lead voice at RO4Y directing the Bible study outreach and soccer programs, but now I find myself in a supportive role helping with our kids' homeschooling and assisting Marillyn with the equestrian ministry & trade school. It is ALL GOOD, just different!

Easter Services at our English speaking fellowship in Tegus:
Union Christian Church

PRAY for our English speaking fellowship in Tegucigalpa. We are still in search of a new head pastor! In the meantime, I have volunteered to do some teaching through the book of Titus and have been given a few dates in May. PRAY that God would give me the humility and wisdom in preaching to our beloved congregation of missionaries, embassy workers, bi-lingual school teachers and a hodge-podge of English speaking Hondurans and foreigners!

Trampoline Therapy: a.k.a. "Kids get out of the house & burn off some energy!!!" 

PRAY for our TCK's (Third-Culture Kids)! God has gifted us with some truly amazing children! PRAY for us as parents! This summer we will also be participating in our first MK (missionary kid) Camp: Marillyn is in charge of the kitchen for 100+ kids and I will be the main speaker! 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
-2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

PRAISE the Lord for His faithfulness through you,
our beloved support team!

Continue to PRAY for God's strength,
wisdom & provision!!!

Please note our new US / Colorado mailing address below:

Rancho Oasis for Youth
6547 Academy Blvd #472

Colorado Springs, CO