Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 - Weeks 1 - 2 Photo 'n Prayer Review


Nexser, Marlon and Sebastian dig into the Word during boy's Bible study.
With the passing of Christmas, the Ranch's Bible studies are turning their focus from the Nativity story to our New Believer's study, Nueva Vida en Cristo. Originally written in Spanish, this great curriculum not only covers the basics of Christian faith, but requires the participants to get to know their Bible. I was blessed at how excitedly the boys got into the work! PRAY that God would touch these boy's hearts and that our time in the Word would grow some serious spiritual roots that will weather the storm!

Ilsy helps the girls locate the correct Bible passage in girl's Bible study.
The girl's study has had a jump start in the curriculum because Ilsy lead the girls through the first seven studies during our furlough. Here the girls are learning about the importance of a personal devotional time. They all committed to read their Bibles daily! Praise the Lord! PRAY that God would draw this girls into a deeper relationship with Him via His Word!

Lu, Tabitha and Naomi watch as Oscar prepares for soccer practice.
One of the great blessings this season of ministry is the added help from our intern Lucinda and our local help, Oscar and Ilsy. Marillyn and I were able to take Tobi and Poema into Tegucigalpa to do our monthly shopping, while the rest of the crew stayed in Ojojona for soccer practice. Thank you, Lord for your provision and wisdom to divide and conquer! PRAY that God will continue to draw faithful servants to assistant at Rancho Oasis, both North Americans and Hondurans!

U14 captian & goalie, Douglas (in light blue),
receives some instruction from the referee before our game.
This year's school-break soccer tournament has been very interesting. God has allowed so many opportunities to minister to the boys and challenge them to consider their eternity, not just the outcomes of our matches!

We increased practice to twice a week, but we've struggled with attendance. The U12 players were either irresponsible to remember or were being punished for not asking permission when attending previous practices. The U14 players have found summer jobs or were just plain lazy. So, this motivated Oscar and I to be in better communication with the parents and to establish a new set of guidelines for the players.

Players on the U12 team watch the veterans (age 30+) championship game.
Oscar and I have high hopes for this group to finish the year strong and to continue to mature as a team!

After being educated by the book, When Helping Hurts, we realized that providing everything for the players was actually doing them a disservice! Besides time there was no personal sacrifice on their part, except for the few faithfully training players. Our frustrations were highlighted on Saturdays when the majority of players would show up to play a game without practice! These players weren't allowed to play. But what about the players who were working? (This was a good excuse in our minds.)

A long time ago, we decided that teaching the boys responsibility and self-control were more important that winning games. But, in order to have players for the games, we needed to find a compromise. Now we fine the players who don't come to practice: Lps 10 (~$0.50) for missing one practice, Lps 20 (~$1.00) for missing two practices. Also, we have asked the players to now rent cleats at all practices and games for Lps 2 (~$0.10). 

We've found that this has motivated the U12 team to be at practice, because they don't have the cash to pay the fines and now the U14 players can work and play, but are learning to save their salary to pay the fine for the game. It's not a perfect solution, but it is getting better. And to top it off all the parents are on board!

Oscar gives thanks to the Lord with the U12 boys after their 2 - 0 victory this Saturday.
What made their win so exciting is that the team played a player short without substitutes and still won!

Currently, the U12 boys are on a winning streak and are in second place in the league; a strong position to compete to play in the championship game. The U14 boys are still playing well, but do not have a single win to show for it. (Yesterday's match was one of their best! They were leading 1 - 0 playing with three players short, but eventually fell 1 - 4). They are learning one of life's lessons: individual talent can't win a team sport. Their lack of attendance at practice hampers their ability to learn to play as a team, giving them a clear handicap at games. These teens are in last place of six teams!

PRAY for the Holy Spirit to convict these "unchurched" boys of their sin
and to draw many of them to the Ranch's weekly Bible studies to know God more!

Sister Bonding: Tabi has connected strongly with her new little sister, Poema


Youth Study moved to Tania's house (far left) this week
when she had to house sit and baby sit her siblings!
Last July, a team donated NIV Study Bibles for the teens, full of notes and application points. Before we left for our furlough, I left the teens with a "Read the Bible in a Year" schedule. Well, everyone's good intentions fell short and though all started strong, nobody continued. However, with a new year, comes new ministry goals. And the teens and I have agreed to read the New Testament together, one chapter a day, for a year. Our first study, pictured above, through the first seven chapters of Luke was awesome. We discussed points or events that stood out to us and then brought it into application. It is a joy and a privilege to guide these young men and women into a deeper understanding of God's Word! PRAY for the teens to be faithful to their daily reading and for their lives to be changed!

Jon being attended by the local TLC nursing staff
after his kneecap dislocation soccer practice injury.
Trials & Spiritual warfare come in many shapes and sizes, but praise the Lord what the devil meant for harm, God can use for good. (Genesis 50:20) PRAY for patience, strength and grace for our home as we deal with whatever comes our way!

Mare discovered lice in Naomi's hair two days after my kneecap injury. 

The goat with the blue collar is nameless: Any ideas?
This is the kid of G-G and BK (R.I.P.). He was a twin, but his sister was born a still-birth.

Despite all of our trials we press forward in Jesus' strength and enjoy one another:
Naomi and Tabitha organized a talent show for the family. It was quite a memory maker!
Thank you for your prayers, gifts and notes of encouragement in 2012! We look forward to seeing how the Lord
works at Rancho Oasis this new year! 

Sunsets in Honduras never stop to amaze me!

The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to [Jesus].
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

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