Sunday, November 6, 2011

Newsito: Fall Tour Update (# Dos)

Plaque outside of Calvary Chapel Ark City's Building
Our second leg of the 2011 Rancho Oasis tour was wonderful and news of the work in Honduras is spreading across the US and throughout people’s hearts.

Jon teaching at Calvary Chapel Camp Verde, Arizona

I’m tempted to share numbers with you to manipulate a sense of success from our trip. However, I believe in God’s economy, success is a little less tangible. For example, people’s lives were inspired and transformed through the testimony and message of His work through my family’s life at Rancho Oasis. Click here to hear our testimony & sermon covering Elijah and the Widow.

Home Worship & Prayer in AZ
Our first goal of increasing awareness was accomplished in that fact we shared at eight new fellowships. We also signed up several new prayer warriors for our email updates from amongst all the churches services, home fellowships, schools and open houses that were hosted in our honor.

First met in Costa Rica,
Now Monthly Supporters: the Dowd Family!
We were also blessed to increase our monthly financial support. Honestly, the numbers might not be very impressive to some, but in a time when many missionaries are losing support, a 17% increase in monthly giving is huge! We are so grateful for those new families and church bodies that are now actively giving to Rancho Oasis.

We were also able to set aside funds to cover nearly a quarter of the purchase of the property. We are still waiting and praying on God to move through the hearts of his saints to raise the remaining $14,000.

Rosalba: Super-Sister in Christ
&  Latina Mom from CA.
For us the most exciting goal achieved has been the stir in people’s hearts to come and serve with us at the Ranch via short-term mission trips! The three church bodies that came last year are planning their return trips, one new fellowship is marking their calendar for a summer project and several other believers are planning to organize trips with their church or come on their own. Our goal to have a team come every month from November – July has been accomplished! Each team brings a different amount of people, experience and ability, but all will play an active role in growing God’s Kingdom at Rancho Oasis in 2012!!!
Potential RO4Y Intern &
Super-nanny: Lara from SoCal!

Finally, our fourth goal to recruit new longer term, three-month staff is a slower, but hopeful process. Many seeds were planted as Marillyn and I talked to several young men and women who are finishing their studies in high school or the university that would love to serve God with us at Rancho Oasis. Our newest intern arrives at the Ranch November 16 and will stay with us three months. We also are planning on receiving a multi-talented, retired couple for several weeks in February. Interested interns can plan for an early Spring or Summer stay with us at the Ranch. Your service is needed and invaluable to us! Regardless of age, we desire that people come and serve and see how God will shape their heart for future service in their home fellowships, Honduras and beyond!

Naomi teaching a Spanish "duck" song to the kinder at Calvary Chapel Cypress School

Some concluding thoughts:

Though it is good to be back home in Honduras, we are so blessed for the rekindled friendships and new bonds that were formed during our nine week stay in the States.

Jon Teaching a Fifth-grade Class at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa School
Homemade Apple Pie from Scratch

After living in Central America for almost four years, I had forgotten some of the blessings and challenges that believers face in the States. Though persecution is rarely physical, like the kind faced by our brothers and sisters in China or Iran, there is a great battle fought for the minds and hearts of North American Christians. I found it very challenging to not get caught up into “me”. My interests, hobbies, likes, entertainment, fashion, etc.  Case in point, just think about all the mirrors you see throughout your day!

Tobi's first apple!
I think the apostle John said it well as he concludes his love emphasizing letter:

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” 1 John 5:21 (NLT)

The greek literaly reads, “keep yourselves from idols”, but I think the New Living does a great translation. Be aware of the battle my brothers and sisters. Don’t lose your first love like the fellowship in Ephesus!

Date night in Long Beach
One of the largest encouragements I received to keep God first in my heart and marriage was from our dear friends in Milwaukee. Tim has been journaling for his wife, Kristen, literally writing her a commentary through books of the Bible. In the busy-ness of their daily lives, they are actively corresponding and talking through the Word of God.

As a husband and wife with three active children in the foreign mission field, life gets pretty busy and unfortunately devotions and prayer with my wife are one of the first things to not happen. (Much to Satan’s delight.) I’ve tried Tim’s suggestion with journaling and it has helped Marillyn and I stay stronger in the Lord and for me to be active in discipleship and godly leading in my home. Men, my encouragement to you is to not waste any more time, but “sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26 (NKJV)

Beard Family Photo in Boulder, CO.

Thank you all for your friendship, interest and hospitality during our stay. Please stay in touch, the world is so much smaller because of the internet. And the work of the Gospel so much more in your awareness!

Finally, be engaged in disciple making!!!

How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways!You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. -Psalm 128:1-4 (NLT)