Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 - Week 25 Photo Review

Hand made cards from the kids! Naomi...

Tabitha           and           Tobias

Week 25 was notable for many family celebrations. We started the week with a non-Honduran Holiday - Father's Day! (At least Hondurans do not celebrate it in June, but March 19th coinciding with the Catholic celebration of Joseph, the father of Jesus.) PRAY for my heart as a father to faithfully serve my own three children and all of the spiritual children that we minister to at the Ranch!

Like any father's day celebration, I took my girls out for machete chopping lessons.

Our father's day continued with the birth of our latest animal, a new baby goat...

Meet Sorpresa, our new doe! She is a blessed surprise!
Our goal with Sopresa and our other three goats is to begin a "Give a kid a kid program" to teach our neighbors how to properly care for the animals and be blessed with a healthy source of milk. PRAY for wisdom as we are learning a lot through trial and error before we began to distribute the goats.

Bugsy and her new doe / Marillyn milking Bugsy for some very sweet goat's milk

Wedding Day: June 21, 2003
Our final family celebration was the nine year anniversary of our marriage! I was able to find some local missionary friends to watch all three kids and I surprised Mare with a good Italian dinner in Tegucigalpa. Quoting from Mare's Facebook page: "3 kids, 1 on the way, 4 countries and 9 years later... we are still very much in love." Love you too, baby!

Do you remember this boy?
Brayan riding Zoeva with Marilllyn: December 2011

Brayan is a 13-year-old orphan living at a children's home that the Ranch worked with over the Honduran school break. I meet regularly with Brayan's employer and the children's home director for a Bible study and learned that Brayan isn't doing so well in life and at school. Nothing too out of the ordinary for a teenager (apathy, defiance, theft), but disappointing none-the-less for someone with so much potential for serving the Lord. After sharing some of the news with Mare, she gave me the idea to meet with Brayan. So, I set up a surprise visit and took him out to one of the local restaurants and we watched one of the semi-final games for the Euro Cup football tournament. After the meal I shared some Biblical counsel with Brayan and prayed for him. My heart was to show him grace (and undeserved meal) and friendship. PRAY for this young man to get serious about Jesus and not follow in the footsteps of the poor choices of his older brother.

Living in Honduras has refined many things for me, including the definition of a traffic jam

Naomi, Crisna, Tabitha and Yalbana

The Youth Community garden is growing and often becomes a full family affair. PRAY that the Lord would bless the harvest and the kids would put to practice what they've been learning.

The teens secure the poles for palm branches and Mare shows Crisna how to "trim" her garden.

Oscar and his brother Luis show the kids how to feed the chickens

Studying the Resurrection and it's significance to our faith. 1 Corinthians 15
Girl's study this week was a little overwhelming because of the explosion in growth. We already have been seeing many new faces, but last week was blessed with many familiar faces that have not been around for awhile! Praise the Lord! Another unusual blessing was despite the lack of understanding in some of the younger girls, they all attacked the Bible worksheet with a hunger to "find the answers" like I've never witnessed. It was pretty cool! Continue to PRAY for these young ladies - your faithfulness to pray obviously made a difference last week!

Dania Marsela in yellow enjoys the opening group activity / Lisy, Ilsy's 6-year-old daughter, grins at the camera.

Here are two shots from a young, up-and-coming photographer: Naomi Shalom.

The Schemer
"I wonder what Daddy will say when I move that."

The Tough Chic
"You want some of this?"

Thanks everyone for your prayers and support.
 You each are a vital part of our eternal success as we serve the Lord here in Ojojona.

Hermanas y botas

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. 
-Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Monday, June 18, 2012

2012 - Week 23 & 24 Photo Review

Cathy, Mare, Nyssa and Katie
 Week 23 saw some special visitors to the Ranch. Cathy and Katie Knepper traveled from their ministry in El Salvador to spend a few days with us. Katie, 12 years old, has an interest in horses (a natural rider according to Mare) and the mother-daughter pair relished the time with each other, our kids and animals. It was great to see God use his creation to renew the hearts of two of His servants. Dios les bendiga, Knepper ladies!

Katie enjoys brushing Zoeva & Mare takes the girls out for a ride.

Crossing Pedestrian Bridge in Tegus

Dona Rosa joined Crisna for the raised be garden project /
Leandro and Gerson assemble the divisions

Crisna's Garden - 12 squares / Zanahoria (Carrots)
PRAY for the project; attendance can be spotty.

An hour and a half in line to "actualize" our three phone numbers;
Honduras recently passed a law that all phones, including pre-paid phones needed to be registered.

14 year old Crisna and me at birthday party (Photo by Naomi)

Loving-correction is a challenging thing, whether it is in Honduras or the US. After months of working with Crisna at various RO4Y activities the Lord impressed upon my heart to go a little deeper with this young woman and talk about some areas she can mature in. Well, as you can imagine, Crisna wasn't to excited to hear me encourage her to be less critical and more encouraging. Sure, she has a tough life living with her single, alcoholic mom, but if Jesus lives inside her, He wants to be seen in her actions and speech more often. 

As what happens with most RO4Y kids, once confronted with sin, they vow never to come back to our church again. Thankfully, after a few home visits, including a birthday party, Crisna hasn't fulfilled this vow. In fact, she's been coming to more activities. Without a dad in her life, I felt it my responsibility to exhort her and despite her first reaction, I know she is grateful for the fatherly advice. PRAY for God to continue to soften and transform Crisna and all the kids we minister too.

Rosibel and Nexser match English and Spanish phrases during English class
PRAY for continued relationships to be built between RO4Y & the community.

Girl's Bible Study - Gate Scavenger Hunt:
Yaime, Dania, Lisy, Karen, Tatiana, Carla
Jesus said "I am the gate" John 10:6-10
These girls have all started coming to the girls study
as a result of VBS and English Class Outreach in the elementary school
Left: Darlin and sister / Right: Eva and Yerlin
PRAY for spiritual growth within the girls and Ilsy

Studying John 10 with the girls and Ilsy (walking with blue shirt)

Family hike with my girls: Mare, Tabi and Nomi
(Tobi's riding the photographer's back)
Week 24 was Student Week in Honduras - a.k.a. no school classes.
Torn between doing more with the kids or less,
I decided to take a little rest myself from normal
RO4Y activities to be with the family.

Worship leaders in the making:
Naomi on vocals, Tabi on guitar and Mare on smiles!
PRAY for the salvation of the Beard kids
and wisdom in raising our kids to love Jesus.

Picking mora (black berries) from our mora bushes! 

Timely picking for my father's day treat the next afternoon!
Mango-Mora Ice Cream Pie! Yummy!

Mare & baby #4 at 21 Weeks
PRAY for Mare. She has crossed the half-way point in this pregnancy!

Douglas avoids the wall of blue midfield, Eric and Michel
I set up a "friendly" game, but the big boys' (ages 13 - 15)
opponents didn't show up! So, we had a full uniform scrimmage.
It was a great training exercise 
and the little boys (ages 8-12) tied in their game against some orphans (3 - 3). PRAY for this outreach to not only create great futbolistas, but servants of Jesus!

Ayli kicks a goal kick and Gerson throws the ball in

Josue, his first friendly game with us, winds up to strike the ball past Humberto;
Elam throws precaution (and decency) to the wind while relieving himself.
Boys will be boys, but prayerfully will become men of God!

After nearly a month with minimal (at best) attendance,
a record attending group of teens followed up the theme of "God works all things for good"
by viewing the film "Soul Surfer", the true story of Christian teen-surfer Bethany Hamilton.
Left to right: Maria, Eyli, Jose Miguel, Kevin, Tani and Lesly with the girls.
(Leandro, first timer, and Crisna were also present, but not in photo)

Desvio (Fork in the Road) to Ojojona

The Word of God continues to be the focal point of my time with Oscar,
studying together at least once a week.
We spent well over an hour discussing 1 Timothy 1:12-17
PRAY for Oscar's spiritual maturity & unity in our relationship

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NLT)

Until next time...