Friday, July 23, 2010

Have No Fear

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.¨
Matthew 10:28 (NLT)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)

Last post I shared a story of a man who, possessed by alcohol and all the demonic forces that accompany booze, attacked the bus with harmless punches, slaps, kicks and curses. Though shocking, this event did not bring fear to me. Nonetheless, many regular attendees of our classes and/or service expressed great concern for my safety and my family. “Jon, you shouldn’t travel alone,” and “Jon, you shouldn’t come to this area again. It is too dangerous.”

Though their concern increased my own, every time I prayed about the situation, God gave me peace and several verses to confirm it. As Sunday approached my alarm rose, but once again I was relieved as I read the girls the story of David and Goliath from their Jesus book. “It isn’t how strong you are or how many swords and spears you have that will save you – it is God who saves you! This is God’s battle. And God always wins his battles!” (from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones)

I opened the Sunday service with gratitude for the people’s concern, but told them that God had the situation in His hands. God cared for this man and desires his life to be changed and saved. It was a great time to share from His word the very verses that encouraged me.

Well the true test came when we approached the same stop where the “attack” happened the week before. Amidst a group of young men stood the man; he separated himself from the group and approached the bus. A part of me said, “Here we go again.” Yet, something was different. He motioned to roll down the window and then proceeded to apologize for his behavior the week before! (Yeah, go ahead and read that again). What a testimony to the power of God and of prayer! Now we need to see this man get saved!

The teens and I have started an inductive Bible study of Psalm 1 on Saturday afternoons. We had a great time of interaction and encouragement. Pray for these young people that they will truly understand God’s word and choose “to meditate on it day and night.”

Leslie (16) Emy (24)

Tania (15) Kevin (15)

Arturo (15)

Here are a few long awaited shots of Marillyn, the pregnant one:

Tyler, a young man from Texas, has joined us for the week (prayerfully longer). The Ranch has definitely stretched him out of his comfort zone. His help around the Ranch is a huge encouragement. Please pray for his time in Honduras; that the Lord will give him strength, endurance and direction for his future. UPDATE Tyler misses his friends and family but completed his second week at the Ranch! Looks like he´ll be with us 2 more weeks. What a blessing, thanks Tyler.

Our residency application is almost complete. Please continue to pray that we would be granted a full year of temporary residency. (Once the baby is born in December, we will be able to apply of permanent residency). I wanted to share a few of the shots that DID NOT make it for our Honduras ID card:

Other requests:

Spanish literacy class begins this week. Please pray for a good turn out and for Miriam, a teen who is teaching the class.

Praise for God’s provision of two more guitars for our class.
Pray that God will bless our devotionals and teaching time.

Continue to pray for God’s provision for the completion of the construction of our home. Our goal, Lord willing, is to begin again in August.

Internet hasn’t arrived yet; pray that it comes soon. It serves as an important tool for ministry and communication with our support team.

Our helper Jose Luciano pulled another no show all week. His help on the property is huge, BUT he needs to be here! Pray that I can have a good talk with him or that we find new help. UPDATE Jose returned to work all this week! Pray for his health, he struggles with some intestinal issues.

Mare’s pregnancy is going well. Pray that we locate a mid-wife soon. We’ve spoken to one, but haven’t met yet.

Health is a constant battle.
We ate some bad food this week that put Tyler, Tabi and I out for a spell. Pray for God’s hand of protection as we mediate our way through a nation that has little sense of hygiene and cleanliness.

Overall we are well. Life is very challenging at the Ranch, but every day we are encouraged in the Word and excited about what is happening and what, one day, will be. Thanks for your prayers and notes of encouragement!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Visions Becoming Reality

The parched ground shall become a pool . . . —Isaiah 35:7

We always have a vision of something before it actually becomes real to us. When we realize that the vision is real, but is not yet real in us, Satan comes to us with his temptations, and we are inclined to say that there is no point in even trying to continue. Instead of the vision becoming real to us, we have entered into a valley of humiliation.

Life is not as idle ore, But iron dug from central gloom,
And battered by the shocks of doom To shape and use.

God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience. Just think of the enormous amount of free time God has! He is never in a hurry. Yet we are always in such a frantic hurry. While still in the light of the glory of the vision, we go right out to do things, but the vision is not yet real in us. God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision. Ever since God gave us the vision, He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us, and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor’s hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal.

The vision that God gives is not some unattainable castle in the sky, but a vision of what God wants you to be down here. Allow the Potter to put you on His wheel and whirl you around as He desires. Then as surely as God is God, and you are you, you will turn out as an exact likeness of the vision. But don’t lose heart in the process. If you have ever had a vision from God, you may try as you will to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never allow it.

Papi Wayne returned last week to Ranco Oasis. The girls were in heaven…

UPDATE: Brooke arrived back to the Ranch yesterday, July 8th!

Worship class has expanded to two guitars!!! The smaller guitar is perfect for little hands and helps facilitate class with two instruments. Thanks! UPDATE: Brooke brought back two more guitars – now totaling four: extra small, small, medium and large!

This is Miriam Aracely Flores. She is a 17 year-old senior that has been involved with our activities at RO4Y. She is interested in spending some time in the States to improve her English – she is currently studying to work in tourism. Last winter, I was able to successfully place one of my junior high students with a family from California for 5 weeks. Any families interested in hosting Miriam, please contact me. Pray also for Miriam as she is planning to teach a Spanish literacy class at the Ranch for adults and children.

After discussing the recent halt of construction work with the men, we decided to place a hold on the construction of our home through the month of July. A.K.A. No $ = no materials = no work. Prayerfully we’ll be able to receive some generous donations to continue construction come August. Pray that the walls stand strong through all the rain!

Picking up the kids for class is a great time to nap...

We signed a contract for internet on the property and should be receiving the free installation this month! Pray all goes well, soon and that the Lord will help make up the difference of $50 a month in our support (This is the only satellite option available to us at the Ranch for under $100 and our package includes cable tv and a satellite phone). Our electric meter was also finally installed. (It has only been 10 months!) We have no idea how much our monthly electric bill will be, but we continue to look to the Lord for his provision.

for both girls.

Please continue to pray for our grounds keeper’s, Jose Luciano, health. He hasn’t been able to work for two weeks. UPDATE: Jose has returned today with his son, Wilian, to help make up lost time.

Continue to pray for Mare and the pregnancy. She is getting big!

Pray for our residency process. It looks promising that we can extend our VISA until the birth of the baby and then apply for residency after the birth (much like we did in Costa Rica). This will make the process simpler and less expensive. UPDATE: I spent much of yesterday organizing all the requirements for the application with the lawyers. Please pray that all goes smoothly and that the immigration office grants us a special extended temporary VISA until the baby is born. Once the kid arrives, residency is a piece of cake. Our tourist VISA expires July 25 and we are looking for a generous extension so we won’t have to leave the country. There is a lot of paperwork to organize in the next week, including receiving some documents from Costa Rica. Also pray for the Lords provision each document has fees and stamps, as well as the lawyer’s fee (praise God he is charging us for the price of one application, not four!($370).

Pray for our safety and health. At least one of us seems to be fighting sickness (cough, colds and diarrhea) every day. Travel on the road is still a huge step of faith; we’ve seen several fatal accidents since living here. Praise God for His protection. Last Sunday, while dropping off some families at a regular stop, a drunk/stoned man approached the bus and started punching and kicking things while insulting me. (Nothing AND No one was hurt, just shocked). We left the scene and brought the cops, but nothing was really done. Pray for this man’s salvation – he has a very bad reputation in the community.

Not our horses, but they LOVE our bananas!!!

This week we are planning to receive help from a young man named Tyler. Tyler came down with the youth group from Texas and felt like God called him to stay for a few more months! Please pray for Tyler’s transition to the Ranch and that God will keep him healthy!!!

ps - follow this link to see pictures of my brother's wedding. Naomi was the flower girls and I was the best man. To login, use your e-mail, then type spann for password.