Monday, February 4, 2013

Newsito: "A Partnership of Love and Good Works"

Evangelical Free Church of Britt, Iowa
January 2013

The Ranch’s first short-term missions team arrived on Sunday, January 20th and served until Saturday, January 26th. The team hails from our intern Lucinda's home church, the Evangelical Free Church of Britt and were lead by the director’s of one of the Ranch’s partner ministries, Water, Worship and the Word. (You probably know them better as Wayne and Brooke Goranson, Marillyn’s parents). The team’s time “on the ground” was quick, but it was a significant week of ministry for the Ranch.

Team members working in the Cajon (wooden box drum) workshop

Jon and Marillyn had decided that they wanted to incorporate this team into the regular scheduled “school break” activities of the Ranch. (In the past, the Beards have canceled RO4Y activities to do special outreaches with short-term teams, but the Beards wanted to try a new approach with this group.) Not only was the team an extra blessing and help to Rancho Oasis ministry, but the team got to experience a more “real” week of ministry and were introduced to all the RO4Y faithful youth, children and adults. It is our goal this season of ministry to have teams come alongside regular Ranch activities and focus less on larger outreaches, at least until the Lord provides more staff to assist with the increased volume of people that outreaches bring.

The ladies leading the Friday afternoon girl's Bible study

Therefore, mornings at the Ranch were dedicated to family chores and projects around the ministry. The team completed the fence project started by the group of teens last August, as well as a dry composting toilet (begun last July) that will be the spearhead outreach project with the remainder of the teams we host this year. The afternoons were filled with a variety of Bible studies, testimonies from the group, and even a soccer scrimmage game. Unique to this team was a two day drum building workshop for the guitar class students! 

We, as always, were blessed by the fellowship and work of the team. Read on to see how the week ministered to each team member:

God taught me that “it’s good to not be an ‘expert’ when you come to be a ‘servant.’ Great doing the little things for the glory of the LORD that will also bless the Beard family and those they minister to.

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I want to “help our church develop a heart for the lost and the ‘least of these.’

My week in Honduras “reminded me that ‘poverty’ is much different than we describe it in the U.S. [I] like your idea of 50-50 projects so people take ownership and don’t develop feelings of entitlement. Also, we need to see the ‘lost’, even in affluent America as ‘poor’. Yet, anyone with Christ is rich!”
          -Stan, 50, pastor

God taught me “so much, He taught me what true poverty is and showed me how rich I truly am and how much people need Jesus and not material things.”

"I had never thought about poverty in that way before [my week in Honduras]. Going to Oscar’s home and seeing the way he lives, but he has so much joy showed me he’s not in poverty at all.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I want to “be completely unashamed!”
          -Ashleigh, 16, student

Progressing on the Dry-Composting Toilet

God taught me “that I need to be more Christ minded and servant hearted. He showed me the joy of teaching his word to kids even through a language barrier. I have been convicted to live a more simple life dedicated to producing good fruit for the Lord.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis “I plan on trying to live more simply financially in order to try and give more to God’s Kingdom. I also want to work at making more disciples for Jesus. I wish to live as Christ did and reach those friends of mine that I know aren’t saved.”

My week in Honduras “really showed that people like Oscar maybe worldly poor but spiritually he is one of the richest men because his joy and relationship with Jesus.”
          -Zach, 27, farmer (semi-pro footballer...LOL!)

Oscar shares his testimony with the team at his home.

God taught me “Psalm 127. J It was sweet to be reminded of how utterly dependent upon God I am. Every bit of strength comes from Him and anything accomplished was all by Him. He is TRUSTWORTHY and FAITHFUL. It was encouraging seeing how God is constantly sustaining and encouraging the Beard family here in Honduras. He can provide and bring joy to them here, and I can confidently trust He will do the same for me wherever he chooses to lead me.”

A memorable moment for me was “visiting Oscar and Marilyn’s home. [It] was such a gift, and I was so blessed to be able to enter in and hear their stories. I also loved getting to know the little girls and see their sweet joy, especially Bresi and Lisy. Bresi held me so tightly during the drum class, and I didn’t want to move. My heart broke, but knowing she knows where she is spending eternity and that she isn’t worried was a highlight for me.”

“Seeing the way Oscar and Ilsy love the people in their own town has so encouraged me to be doing the same right now where God has me in Britt. I might be there for one week or many years, and I want to love those people and be poured out there for as long as God has me there. There are also opportunities for Hispanic ministry in Britt (and a Tuesday night Bible study) that I plan to get involved in. I also want my heart to remain soft to hear where God desires me to be and follow: being faithful, available, teachable and responsive.”
          -Sarah, 20, student

The gals planting in one of our raised bed gardens.

God taught me “A lot! Him: His constant pursuit of me. His love and grace expands around the entire earth. Myself: How I have a daily need to lay myself down. Service: He must become greater, I must become less.”

A memorable moment for me was “seeing the team be plugged into a variety of ministry opportunities. From the work projects, Bible studies, drum class, soccer and many more People had a great chance to shine using their gifts.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I want to “make more time in my life for just me and God. It’s challenging in the midst of life and ministry to just be still with the Lord.”
          -Matt, 27, youth ministry worker

Ilsy shares her testimony after lunch.

God taught me “that it is important not to just give people everything. It is better to teach them things to help themselves! In my head I knew people don’t need things to be happy, but here I saw that first hand. The people here have very little, but those who have Jesus as their Savior are so happy. They are not poor, but RICH!”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis “I am going to be more observant to people’s spiritual poverty rather than their material poverty and I will try to help with it with the Lords help. Before I came here I thought of poverty in a material way. I now see that there are other forms of poverty. The most important being spiritual poverty.”
          -Joylyn, 22, camp ministry worker

Students practicing "beats" on their recently constructed cajons!

 God taught me that “[He] is so awesome! He really showed me that this week in so many ways, one of which was watching my team serve in so many ways. I learned patience this week and how much I enjoy helping lead worship.”

“I have so many memories this week that I don’t know where to start… I really enjoyed seeing the drum class kids’ faces light up as they learned to play their cajons for the first time. Worship was amazing! I loved playing soccer against the soccer team. The bonds made within the team will and were a huge highlight as well.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis “I am going to spend more time in the Bible and prayer. I hope to meet with a few group members for a Bible study. I also am going to look at challenges that I face differently. I am going to try and see what I can take from them instead of looking at them negatively.”
          -Eric, 25, construction

Adventures in Honduran Transportation: The Moto-taxi!

God taught me that “He is God here as well as wherever we are on this earth. He created EVERYONE in His image. He is all we need; our sufficiency should only be in Him alone! If God would call me to another land outside of Britt I need to be ready to go! I love serving others and being a light – always remembering that wherever I am or wherever I go to always be representing Christ. All day, every day, no matter the circumstances.”

Some memorable moments for me: “the moto-taxi [ride] was hilarious!! Meeting all the kids from around here was amazing. Getting to be with Mare was great!! Meeting Ilsy and Lisy and her family. Going to Oscar’s home. Worshipping with the Honduran kids was awesome and seeing the joy they have in their hearts. Eating Mare’s cooking was great! She’s amazing and does such a great job with everything she has!”

My week in Honduras helped me learn that “poverty is not what we don’t have materially, but what we don’t have in Christ. People all over the word are in poverty without Christ – including Britt – so be always ready to share Jesus were He has us now and wherever He takes us in the future!”
          -Kris, 49, mama

USA 2 - Honduras 3: It was a close one!

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I am going to “push harder to look at my normal and force a change; talk to my wife, pray, talk to my [pastor] and read my Bible.”

My week in Honduras helped me learn that “all I need is God and God provides.”
          -Matt, 26, maintenance

God taught me “about true poverty – spiritual poverty. [That] working is fun when you’re serving the Lord! [And] contentedness in Him.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I’m going to “try to live everyday like it’s my last. Spend more time in the Word. Try to live my life in a more radical way. All out for Him.”
          -Daniel, 19, student

 God taught me “another reminder of how faithful [He] is. He is continually working and drawing people to Himself. About me: I really enjoy children. Christian service: God has made us with different gifts. It was so cool to see the variety of gifts and skills being used this week. God is so creative!”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis “I want to be more conscious of those in spiritual poverty around me. I want to work on my Spanish – for future missions trips and we have many Hispanic people in Britt. I am thankful for the group I was able to come here with. I plan to encourage the others and hopefully they will also spur me on in this.”

My week in Honduras gave me “a good and important reminder about what true poverty is. Spiritual poverty is definitely the most serious. I appreciate and respect the way [Jon and Marillyn] see this here at the Ranch and [how they] deal with the people – not wanting to make them dependent… and keeping their spiritual poverty as a priority.”
          -Cherlyn, 50, secretary

Good times unwinding at the Ranch!

God “showed me how people with so little can be so happy if they know Jesus.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I will “be thankful for what I have.”

My week in Honduras “made me really thankful for Jesus and how people can live so happy even though they have nothing. Don’t waste material, pray, and be happy for what we have and trust God.”
          -Michael, 17, student

God taught me “that serving God is really fun and [I learned] about spiritual poverty.”

As a result of serving at Rancho Oasis I will “maybe go on more missions trips, pray more and spend more time in the Word.”
          -Matthew, 15, student

Gracias and nos vemos, Britt team!
to view more photos of the daily ministry that happened with the team.

Keep the Ranch in prayer as we transition into the school year. Public school classes start the fourth of February. Also, our next short-term team arrives the end of February!

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)


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