I wanted to highlight a recent RO4Y event that I don't want to be overlooked.
We've had a fairly full schedule of visiting groups since January and have been blessed with a tremendous amount of work, gifts and fellowship.
However, between the visits of our two most recent short-term teams, we had a new addition to the Ranch - a male goat named Billy the kid or "BK" for short.
BK is a spitting image of his mom, from the mark on his head to his spunky leaps and dashes across the property. BK and his mom, Bugsy, are an RO4Y experiment. We wanted to get a milking goat and develop a breeding/training program to bless people in our community with the offspring of our goats that will provide a rich source of nutrients to their family's diet.
Little did we know that BK would bring an extra blessing. One of even more value than a healthy glass of goat's milk: a smile.
This is Yalbana (pronounced "Giel-bah-nah"). She is twelve years old and in her last year in elementary school. Up to BK's birth, her attendance at RO4Y activities was sporadic. Her father is an extreme alcoholic, whom I would often find sleeping on the side of the road in a drunken stewper, even during a rain shower. Sandra, Yalbana's mom, is dead. She died a few months ago unexpectedly at the age of 35. She was also an alcoholic and I believe died from alcohol poisoning. (I shared a few words of encouragement at her funeral.)
It is not hard to believe that Yalbana doesn't smile that often. In fact, Marillyn and I couldn't remember the last time that she smiled. That is, until she met BK!
In an instant, Yalbana's hard, serious countenance softened with one glance at BK! She picked him up and cuddle him like a little child. We had to basically pry BK out of her arms; she was so enamored. It was beautiful!
We have a lot of dreams here at the Ranch, including using animals to break down emotional walls in the youth of Honduras. Seeing Yalbana's demeanor transform with the interaction of one of our animals was the confirmation of our dream and the power of God to use his creation to soften the hearts of the hardest youth.
Yalbana now comes regularly to the Ranch. We are building a deeper relationship with her week-by-week, desiring her to be full of the joy that Christ brings.
And of course, BK helps too!
Proverbs 15:30 (NIV)