|Jon and youth, Crisna.
Visiting kids and their families is an important part of Rancho Oasis and a very cultural practice in Honduras. I'm trying to make it more of a habit, even a lifestyle. I had Naomi accompany me to help have some one-on-one time with my daughter. PRAY for Crisna. Once a faithful 14-year-old, she has decided to abandon all things Rancho Oasis. Why? It is complicated: her father abandoned her years ago and her mother is an alcoholic. She is drawn to the tough love we show her, but can easily be offended when confronted. PRAY for her return.
The roof photo was taken from a family who was asking for financial assistance from the Ranch. Obviously, the roof is way overdue for replacement, but families have a hard time leaping this financial obstacle. Currently the Ranch as a program where families raise 50% of the funds for the roof and the ministry covers the other 50%. This is a big sacrifice for the families, but it instills responsibility and ownership into the work. PRAY for wisdom as we work with families in the community on these 50/50 projects.
|Youth Group members meet Poema: Eyli, Marillyn, Tania (w/Poema) and Lesly.
|U14 Filipenses F.C. teammates play a scrimmage match.
The soccer ministry is in full swing this break from school classes. It has been amazing to watch the transformation in character of not only the boys, but Oscar. Oscar has really taken the reigns of assisting me with the boys and is not only thoughtful in his preparation for practice, but prayerful and powerful in his pep-talks. As the boys learn soccer technique and skills, Oscar and I emphasize surrender to Christ and traits such as humility, responsibility and self-control. PRAY that the boys will finish the season strong and that God would spark a desire for Him in their lives! Half-way through the season the U12 boys are in third place of six teams and the U14 teens are in last place. (Hope is not lost as the teens are playing well, but have only tied two games and lost three - each loss by only one goal!)
|Naomi and Lucinda, our intern, begin classes.
Naomi is repeating her kindergarten year with an emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic.
|Boys in the mid-week Bible study take time to read from the Ranch's new library.
|"Which one of these is not like the other?"
|Girls from the Friday Bible study hold up their advent decoration of Mary and Elizabeth.
The girls focused on the birth of Christ through the month of December.
|Our little-man, Tobias Dayne, celebrates his 2nd birthday on December 14th.
Chocolate-Vanilla Bean Swirl Cake &
Cookie Dough Ice Cream Loaf! Rico/Yummy!!!
Cookie Dough Ice Cream Loaf! Rico/Yummy!!!
|Christmas Dinner of Thanks for:
Oscar and his family (wife Marilyn, mother Katalina and kids Fernando & Genesis)
and Ilsy. PRAISE for God's provision of faithful, local ministry help!
|Ilsy celebrates her birthday with a few gifts from her friend, Marillyn.
|Tabitha and I received our most recent short-term mission team: Tracy Pepin!
Once out of the airport, we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch at the new mall.
Above: Tracy helps convert shorts into handbags and assists Juan David with his craft during the boys Bible study.
Tracy had a unique experience with us at Rancho Oasis. Unlike larger teams that stay at a retreat center in Ojojona, Tracy lived with us on the Ranch. She was a huge blessing for Marillyn, Lucinda, and the kids & I during her two week stay!
While reflecting on her week, Tracy wrote:
"God taught me about being a Christian wife and showed me what that looks like. As strange as this must sound, I believe it was much needed. Marillyn taught me a lot about just being a wife, coming alongside Jon and supporting him. He also showed me some of my past that I needed to let go and just give it to God. I feel refreshed and my load has been lifted. Thank you, Jesus."
|New Year's Eve day group photo
Tracy's last day at the Ranch
It is encouraging to know that the Ranch is also a refuge for those who come to serve alongside us. Tracy is a single mom who longs to serve the Lord in an orphanage. PRAY that God will continue to draw the right servants to Rancho Oasis and that he will prepare the larger teams coming in 2013!
|The RO4Y Team/Family at El Picachu in Tegus w/ Jesus statue ascending in the background.
The ladies participated in a missionary women's Christmas event and we did a little sight-seeing afterwards.
|View of Tegucigalpa from El Picachu.
One day we hope the Ranch will be a refuge for the thousands of young people
in this city of 1.3 million. PRAY for God's timing!
|Oscar reads a chapter from the biography of missionary to China, Eric Liddell.
|Ilsy reads to the girls from an Amy Carmichael biography, missionary to India.
|Oscar prepares the U12 boys soccer team for their match.
The boys tragically lost 3-2 against the first place team after holding a solid 0-2 lead.
It was a good lesson in humility and determination to play until the whistle blows!
|Local village scene:
A grandfather of a few of the RO4Y kids shucks corn.
The cobs in the rafters are drying for seed and the pile will be used for consumption.
|RO4Y Intern Lu stands in the midst of our Christmas Community Rummage Sale
As a ministry we choose to sell donated items to encourage financial stewardship and
discourage dependency. Both the community at the ministry are blessed!
|Marillyn helps keep Xiomara honest and revises her Christmas bag before she takes it home
Our Christmas morning was simple, but memorable...
We tried out new gadgets, opened stockings and napped!
Finally, after nearly two years of paper work and bureaucracy, we are technically Honduran residents. Well, almost... we get our ID cards this month. Now we need to start Poema's paperwork.
Below: Tabitha is being inscribed into the system with out lawyer, Guillermo.
|Ilsy reads to the girls on the Ranch's soccer field.
|Oscar and I were encouraged before Saturday's game as the referee, Rafael, preached to the starting line-up about discipline, hope and Jesus Christ. Unexpected, but awesome!
|Mare and I enjoyed a nice Italian meal together for her birthday in Tegus.
She is quite the amazing woman!
Then the Lord turned to [Gideon] and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Judges 6:14-16 (NLT) - emphasis mine.