Sunday, December 26, 2010

Go "Proclaim" It On the Mountain

This Christmas we were blessed to be able to give away
The Word of God via Faith Comes By Hearing’s “Proclaimer” Bible Radios. These radios have the entire New Testament on a MP3 dramatized format and can be recharged via solar energy. We were able to give the “Bibles” to almost all the families of the church, including several individuals who are illiterate. Please enjoy their testimonies below:

Doña Tiadora can't read. She is married and the mother of five children; the oldest is married, the youngest five years old. They also do not have electricity. As she received the "Proclaimer" hers eyes welled up with gratitude.

This is Patricia and her daughter Gabriela; she is Dona Tiadora's daughter-in-law. They do not have electricity at their home. She can read, but is excited to share the Proclaimer with her unsaved husband who can't. Patricia gave us a squash to show her thanks.

Meet sisters/mothers Mirna and Bessy. They share their home with four other adults, four teenagers and thirteen children (21 people). Bessy can not read and is excited to share the Word of God with her children and nephews/nieces!

This is Mauren and two of her grandchildren, Mildred and Leandro. They share a home with four adults and four children. They were excited to listen to the Christmas story.

Doña Rafaela (far left), her daughter, Noemi and granddaughter, Aeda (centered) were blessed to prepare Christmas Eve dinner while listening to the Word of God via the Proclaimer (on the table). Doña Rafaela and her sister (far right) can not read. They share their home with a total of seven adults and three children.

Sister in Christ, Guadalupe and three of her four children (from left to right) Fernando (13), Gerson (11) and Genderson (9). Lupe was excited to have the opportunity to disciple her sons with the Word of God and witness to her unsaved husband and oldest daughter.

This is Ana Luisa and her nieces Karen (14) Rosibel (10). Both Karen and Rosibel can not read and were really happy to receive the Proclaimer.
Their grandmother, Doña Maria Ernestina, watches the girls and five other children.They also do not have electricity.

Meet Mauda and her nephew Ever. Ever is 15 and can not read. His eyes lit up with fascination over the Proclaimer.

Meet mother Jeny (white polo) and family: son Josue, husband Herman and daughters Ani and Evelyn. Jenny, a recent believer is excited to share God's Word with her unsaved family.

Sister in Christ Carla and her unsaved family. Husband Omar, sons Jose and Yafet and daughter Helen. Carla was encouraged to know she will grow in her faith and testimony with the family via the Proclaimer.

Doña Rosa (blue hoodie) and family: Daughters Ena, Liset and Ilsy, grandchildren Braisy, Lisy, Alejandra and Harvin. Dona Rosa lives with five of her adult children and five of her grandchildren. She is the only commited Christian in her home and is blessed to have a new way to share God's word with her kids and grandchildren.

Nearly three years ago, Marillyn’s parents, Wayne and Brooke Goranson, decided to move to Central America and invited us to tag along and live out the vision for RO4Y together. Living in the same house with your in-laws might not sound like the most appealing accommodations, but God has used our families to stretch and deepen our faith tremendously. With much mixed emotions, we close this chapter of our life. The Goransons have been a huge blessing to us personally, for Rancho Oasis and the Kingdom of God. Wayne and Brooke still plan on being an active part of RO4Y, but are merely changing venues back to living in the USA. Please pray for both Ranch Oasis and ICM Central America. Mare and I are excited to once again pioneer the ministry, but are genuinely nervous. Praise God He is in control.

We’ve been blessed with a new/used family car. Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, we met with some other missionaries. One of these missionaries was interested in Wayne’s Ford F-250 (pictured on left) and we liked his Dodge Durango (pictured on right). It was a divine match and we swapped the cars. Praise God we’ve had a total of $4,000 be donated for the Durango, but are looking to cover the other $3,000. Please pray about donating to us for the Durango.

Despite being our fifth Christmas south of the border (2 Mexico, 2 Costa Rica, 1 Honduras), it is a little strange to not have snow for Christmas! However, I’m not going to complain about highs in the low 70’s and sunshine. Hondurans celebrate on Christmas Eve with a family dinner then sleep in on the 25th. Because of the Goransons departure on Christmas day, we had Christmas Eve lunch and then enjoyed the afternoon together. We have been hugely blessed with a son, a new vehicle, and all the goods the Goransons couldn’t bring back to the US (flashlights, tools, etc.). We took a break from classes and Sunday service this week, but will begin again in the new year.

Tuesday, December 28th we have a group of short term missionaries arriving for ten days from Freedom, Wisconsin. We are excited to host the team of six at the Ranch in our nearly finished guest house. The team will be helping to finish the “Casita” during their time at RO4Y. Please pray for us and the team over the next few weeks, Satan always tries to disrupt what God has planned for us. 

Tuesday, January 11th we will be receiving much needed help from a young, West Virginian woman named Josy Tarantini. She has a heart to serve the Lord in the mission field and desires to get some field experience. Josy has spent the last three months serving in a school in Peru and will be at the Ranch ministering alongside us through April, 2011. Please pray for Josy and her time at Rancho Oasis.


1. Last post's focus on football hasn't really developed at the Ranch. After our first event, we held a second soccer game, but it was more organized by local area teams. I was able to share a brief devotional before reffing the game. Soccer is still a tremendous door of opportunity with the men and I'm praying what that looks like. Continue to pray that God would open doors and give direction.

2. Praise: We received several generous donations for our bus troubles last month. The rebuilt alternator held for a month and died again last week when returning home from Sunday service. My mechanic, Ivan, looked for a new one, but when he couldn't find it had it rebuilt again - this time with a six month guarantee! 

3. The guitar students lead worship with me for the second time. I have video, but haven't been able to put it up yet. It was an awesome blessing. Please continue to pray for the class, students and their spiritual and musical growth.

4. Sunday afternoon service continues with two childrens Bible studies and the adult study. I recently challenged the adults to pass out three tracts to family and friends in response to the shepherds spreading the news about Jesus' birth. We also received a new visitor names Rafaela. She commented that she has seen a tremendous change in her ten year old granddaughter and she wanted to check us out! PTL! Continue to pray that God would open the minds of the people to His word!

5. Tobias and Marillyn are doing great.
Mare will have exactly two weeks of rest before the team from Wisconsin arrive on the 28th! Pray for continued readjusting to her new/original body and for Tobi's growth and health.

6. Continue to pray for our immigration status. Our special permission for a year Visa should be granted in January. We are STILL waiting! Because of Tobias' birth, we are also going to work on applying for permanent residency. Pray that the two separate government offices will let us work on changing status from VISA to resident.

7. Continue to pray for the logistics of the short term missions team arriving in February from West Virginia. The will be involved with a medical brigade, VBS and construction projects.

8. Bus importation is still in process - pray that it will be resolved/accomplished sooner than later.

9. We finally have internet!!! Praise the Lord!

10. On a very serious note, please pray for us. Satan is alive and well in Central America and wants nothing more than to destroy our foundation in Christ, our families, marriages and ministry. This month I’ve had two pastor friends leave the formal ministry: one voluntarily stepped out of a head pastor position to renew his marriage (awesome boldness) and the other was asked to step down by his spiritual leaders. We are fragile and look to the Lord for strength!

Christmas Eve Lunch 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meet Tobias Dayne

The latest Beard - Tobias Dayne

I've decided to let the pictures tell our birth story:

Monday, December 13th - 9:30 PM

Marillyn getting ready for bed five hours before delivery.VERY LARGE!!! Unlike Naomi and Tabitha, this baby went full term. Mare had started showing signs of delivery 3 hours earlier. We (the Goransons, Mare and I) began unpacking our preplanned home birth equipment.

Tuesday, December 14th -12:30 AM

Mare and I trying to stay warm and focused. Though only 15 degrees North of the equator, we live at 5,100 ft. above sea level. It was in the upper 40's and windy. Mare woke me up and we began to heat the water for a water birth.

Tuesday, December 14th -12:45 AM

We were praying for a mid-day, sunny birth to help solar heat 5 gallon water bottles. We switched to plan B and heated the birthing tub water on the stove and carried the water out to the bathhouse.

Tuesday, December 14th -1 AM to 2:20 AM

Mare laboring in the tub. Wayne sealed off the windows and the small floor heater made a huge difference. Water was lukewarm, but Mare was too focused to notice.

Contractions, water breaking, the ring of fire. Welcome to labor 101. Mare is a trooper (she did the birth unassisted - no midwife, only family) and her labors go fast. We knew the baby would come quick! (We have many more photos, but not quite appropriate for the masses.)

Tuesday, December 14th -2:30 AM

Tobias - "believing the Lord is good"

Dayne - a hybrid honoring grandpas David & Wayne


9 lbs. 2 oz.

He's one big dude, but very tranquil.

Tuesday, December 14th -2:45 AM

Proud Papa.

Proud Papi (the girl's nickname for Wayne)

Momma Mare resting with Tobi and beaming Grandparents

Tuesday, December 14th -6:30 AM

Tabi and Nomi meet their new baby brother. My only disappointment with the birth is that the girls weren't able to participate. Thankfully, the thought didn't even appear to cross their minds.

I don't know... I think they like him.

Thanks for your prayers for Mare, Tobi and the family
- we continue to walk by faith -
"knowing that the Lord is good."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fútbol and Jesus

When recently discussing the ministry of RO4Y with some other missionaries, I was asked, “So what strategy do you have to reach the men in your community?” (RO4Y events are predominantly attended by children, teens and their mothers.) I responded with a simple, “I’m praying.”

This last Saturday I received my answer. Football. (The real “foot-used-to-pass-a-ball” sport dominant in the majority of the world, especially Latin America.)

A few of the youth and I organized a Saturday morning soccer game between our church and our sister church in Tegus. The “friendly” was going to be followed by lunch provided by the ladies of the church. Unfortunately, our friends from CC Tegus were unable to attend, but we decided to continue the game.

Praying before the match / I'm the white guy in the red shirt!

I’m not impressed by numbers (Jesus worked with primarily 12 men for 3 years),
but this soccer game drew young men from the area that I’ve never even met before. We had around 24 boys/young men from 10 – 19 years-old. I officiated the game, first time for that as well. The game was played cleanly, despite the huge mud pit, and it was such a resounding hit that we are going to continue matches Saturdays at 2 PM. None of these young men have ever been in the chapel at RO4Y.

I’m so excited for the opportunity to witness and evangelize these young men, please pray me to speak boldly and to proclaim the gospel clearly. I’m considering doing a simple devotional through the Romans Road before the games start.

Arroz con pollo for all!

Marillyn with sisters Ingrid and Rosibel

Our youth group will continue to meet on Saturdays, but we will be moving our meeting before the soccer game. I’ve been teaching the teens through the book of Acts, but have discovered that the youth know very little about the basics of their faith and how to live it out. I’m looking into doing more of a basic Christianity, New Believers type of study with them.

Speaker David Parish and the missionaries.

As most of you know because of the recent “Urgent Prayer” requests that I attended a missions conference in Tegus last weekend. (Satan was doing his best to not allow me to get there. Thankfully, he failed.) The Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries was organized to help missionaries build contacts, develop relationships and further the Kingdom of God in Honduras by uniting the missionaries. I had a wonderful time, worshipping, studying God’s word and connecting with some like minded Gringos with a heart for Jesus. Please pray that God will bless the Honduran Fellowship and help my family and ministry in Ojojona with the relationships that we are building. (This could be support, resources – such as ministry materials, translators for groups, etc. and potential future staff for RO4Y).

This woman’s name is Ilsy. (She is one of Ena’s older sisters – see last post.) Ilsy came and helped teach the younger children’s class when her mother couldn’t make it. Ilsy was a huge blessing. It was her first time to one of the Ranch’s Sunday services, but with her experience as the local kindergarten teacher – she was natural. I’ve talked with Ilsy about coming to help me teach a Sunday School teacher’s seminar, as well as begin to tutor my daughter Naomi in Spanish before she begins kindergarten next year. Please pray for Ilsy’s walk with God – she has a sense of religion, but no apparent relationship or passion for Jesus – like most adults in this heavily Catholic or hyper-Pentecostal country.

What you look'in at, chicken?

Marillyn and her chickens are doing well. The loss of 80% of her guinea fowl to some canine carnage last week really stunk, but all is well. We are trusting in God’s provision and grateful for what he has blessed us with at the Ranch.

Mare and her flock near newly reinforced predator proof chicken coup

Oscar, our groundskeeper, and I have begun to meet weekly to study the Word. We are studying through the life of Jesus through the four gospels. Oscar is such a dynamic believer who is so passionate about Jesus, living out his faith and sharing the Good News with others. Please pray for our times together, for Oscar’s wife, Marilyn, and daughter, Genesis, and his protection while working at the Ranch.

This is Braisy.
Her mother is single and she has no real relationship with her father. Her grandmother, our wonderful Christian neighbor Doña Rosa, and her aunts take care of her. She is a few years older than my girls, but adores both Naomi and Tabi. With school letting out for the summer this month (I know, I’m still not used to that), she’s been spending more time at our home with the girls. Please pray for her salvation. Many girls here in Ojojona don’t have a father in the picture and are vulnerable to sexual predators from even within the family. We desire Ranch Oasis to be a place of trust and encouragement for little girls like Braisy.

Guitar class has also been evolving. Since my students lead worship at church, we’ve added a few more students. (I guess they liked what they heard on Sunday!) The student’s talents and our relationships are growing. We often kick the ball around after class to pass the afternoon away. Please continue to pray that God will bless these young men and women with the skill and humility to worship Him in Spirit and truth!

Sunday afternoons is still an ongoing experiment-slash-step-of-faith. I didn’t have any adult volunteers for teaching the two children’s classes, so I combined the two classes and taught the Transfiguration with help for the crafts from Marillyn, Wayne and Brooke. I gave the adults and teens the weekly worksheet of Inductive Bible Study questions and had them complete it without me. I’m trusting in the authority of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and some leading questions to jump start these adults into a personal discussion of the life of Jesus. Please continue to pray for me as I prepare lessons for a people that have not been taught how to think on their own (for example, most can’t answer questions with Why?) and are used to receiving all the answer in school or the church. Also pray for more workers for the harvest of children and youth in Ojojona and the surrounding areas. Osman Jose (a.k.a. "Jota") in the orange shirt invited his three friends to the service on Sunday. It was there first visit - praise the Lord for little evangelist!

Other Prayer Requests:

Only three weeks away from Baby Beard #3. Continue to pray for Mare, the kid and the birth; approximately set for December 15.

Looks like Gozo’s time at the Ranch is short. A Christian man, Don Perfecto, approached us with paper work and said he’d been missing his horse for months. Don Perfecto (Mr. Perfect) lives a good hour-and-a-half walk from us. Don P. and his grandson tried to laso Gozo home, but Gozo didn’t want anything to do with them. We’re going to work with Gozo until he's a little more gentle, then say our goodbyes. Please pray for God’s timing with horses for the Ranch.

Still working on our immigration status.
The paperwork accidently sent to Costa Rica should arrive in Honduras this week, if not today. Pray that the immigration office would be understanding and even willing to help. Once the baby’s born we’ll be able to apply for permanent residency. Perhaps God has used these delays to skip the one-year visa application and get us residency directly. Pray for favor with the government.

Padre Francis, of the local private private hospital, pulled another no show concerning the medical brigade in February. I’ve made contacts with Ojojona’s health department and am looking for a new direction for the brigade. Pray for wisdom and open/closed doors.

No plates yet for the bus. Please continue to pray its importation.

No firm commitments on the satellite internet installation. (I’m in a coffee shop with wireless internet in Tegus sending this post. These bi-weekly posts are a minimum 4 hour commitment – 3 hours on the public bus to Tegus and an hour on-line. It would be such a blessing to get internet in the home. ) $1,200 to cover the purchase of the equipment and installation or $375 to cover installation and we rent to own the equipment. Anyone interested? Click here for support details.

Please continue to pray for the Ranch’s relationships with other ministries in Honduras and the USA. We are excited to partner with several churches’ short-term missions teams in the first few months of 2011 and we are planning on receiving some reps. from major funding ministries to see if RO4Y is something they want to support financially, materially (construction and ministry supplies) and with short-term mission groups. Pray for God’s will to be done in these relationships and for lives to be changed through the short-term trips in January, February and April.

We also want to thank the Lord for you, our support team. Your prayers, donations and time spent at the Ranch are a huge blessing to us and are increasing the Kingdom of God in Honduras. Thank you Lord and thank you!