Thursday, March 14, 2013

Newsito: "Growing in Wisdom & Stature"

Rancho Oasis' Taller CDP Purity Conference 2013

Our heart has always been for youth. We have grand visions for Rancho Oasis, but move at a Latin American-God ordained pace… Latin Standard Time as we like to tease! LOL!

At the core of the vision for Rancho Oasis is to see young people not only make a serious commitment to Jesus Christ, but to mature and be developed through consistent relationships into God-obeying/loving men and women. In a word: discipleship.

What we never could have imagined was the extreme poverty of the small village where we live. Not just simply material poverty (not having things/resources), but the deep poverty of spirit, hopelessness and apathy that permeates our community.

We’ve learned that the Gospel is so much more than simply “accepting Jesus into your heart”. It is a full life commitment and example consisting of a renewing of not only the souls of those we serve (2 Corinthians 5:17), but restoring their relationships to one another (Philippians 2:1-5), to God (2Corinthians 5:20-21) and their sphere of influence (Colossians 1:19-20).

Last year God made us aware of a unique situation in the community. Many of the children who graduated the local elementary school did not continue their education. We begin to pray and seek answers about this saddening status quo. Many of the youth were not accepted because of a minimum age requirement: the high school and Saturday school program is fourteen-years-old and the Ojojonan trade school is fifteen. Other youth claimed it was a lack of financial resources, even though the trade school is free and includes transportation and meals. So, we begin to pray and ask the Lord how we can work with this group of “gap” year students from twelve to fourteen-years-old.

Jon discussing trade school courses with the youth
As we prayed God begin to create a vision for a trade school, of sorts; a school that emphasized Jesus’ character, as well as learning skills to earn an immediate income. We set a date and invited the youth to come discuss their ideas with us. We had over thirty people present at our first initial meetings. (I was expecting five or six!) Frankly, we were blown away by the interest, but convinced that the need was revealed to us by the Holy Spirit! Wow!

At our first meeting, Jon asked the youth to create a list of potential “trades” to learn. Anything they could think of: car mechanics, computers, English, beauty salon, masonry and sewing were to name a few that were considered. It was an exciting and lively discussion!

Marillyn, Oscar, Ilsy, Lucinda and Jon took the list of interests and began to “calculate” the feasibility of implementing some of their ideas. For example, masonry is a common labor skill needed in the village. However, none of us on staff are equipped to teach it and we know many men in the community who are skilled masons that go without work for weeks-on-end! We needed to find something more practical to teach. We also discovered that with many of the trades, there were free classes offered in Ojojona and even in Tegucigalpa at schools, such as INFOP, equipped to handle auto-mecanics or computers. But still for some youth the obstacle was the age limit or the cost of transportation to the capital.

We concluded that we would start with three trades: agriculture, crafts and cooking. We had the skills to teach them and the resources and time to have results, produce or products, to sell. Also, these results could be accomplished relatively quickly (unlike, for example, years of studying computers and then looking for a job.). Oscar would focus on the ag school, while Marillyn would focus on the crafts and cooking (with Lu’s assistance and Jon’s translation). We also decided that we would extend the age maximum to twenty-five years old (half of the interested youth were fifteen or older). 

We presented the ideas to the youth via Jesus’ teaching about the cost of being a disciple: Luke 14:28-33. The realities of immediately putting into practice new skills to see quicker results was well received! And the Taller de Conocimiento, Desarollo y Proseridad began! (Trade School of Knowledge, Development and Prosperity).

Maria translates for Mary Beth as she interacts with the teens about a purity skit.

Taller CDP began its initial week with the assistance of one of our long-time supporting churches, Calvary Chapel Morgantown. Jon wanted to focus on the spiritual before truly entering into the workshop atmosphere. Jon’s heart was lead to do a purity conference with the assistance of the RO4Y staff and the short-term missions team.

Each day focused on different areas of purity: mental (our thoughts), entertainment (what we hear and see), health (what we allow into our bodies: smoking, drugs, alcohol), sexual (abstinence and God’s design) and finally, relationships (how we treat one another). The numerous scripture references were supported by skits performed by the North American teens on the team and testimonies from Oscar, Ilsy, Lucinda, Marillyn, the translator Maria and Marillyn’s mother and RO4Y team coordinator, Brooke Goranson. Plus, team members lead a knitting class that fell right into our ideas with the trade school craft classes. It was beautiful!

Purity Conference Knitting Workshop with short-term missions team from West Virginia

Classes begin the following week after the Purity Conference: Crafts on Monday, Agriculture on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and Cooking on Thursday afternoons. (Photos posted below)

We also “hired” ten of the trade school students to set up, work and tear-down our Community Rummage Sale. (Thank you CC Morgantown for the donations of the new selection of clothes and shoes!) Ilsy lead the crew of ladies to work the sale this last Sunday. It was a great opportunity to come along-side the youth and critique their performance to be better employees. Plus, they enjoyed a pick of items from the sale before the doors were open to the community!

Ilsy works with Daniela and the other girls to organize the rummage sale

What makes the trades school so exciting is the combination of personal interests (For example, Oscar’s skill and passion for farming and Mare’s artistic gifts) being fused with the Gospel and Word of God to transform the lives of these youth both now and for eternity. 

This is the work & ministry of Rancho Oasis for Youth. This is the passion of Jon, Marillyn, the staff and teams that serve, give and pray for Rancho Oasis. It is so exciting to be in-line with God’s will.

Continue to pray as the trade school develops!

We look forward to seeing how these youth will grow!

“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”
Luke 2:52 (NLT)

Here are some concluding thoughts from the teens about the Purity Conference:

Mare & Dunia prep oranges for
marmalade in cooking class

Dunia Gisela – 20:-Purity is something very important to God. We need to please him and be cautious in order to arrive with eternal life. We need to have a healthy life and be content with others. “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”
-To stay mentally pure I need to pray each time I have bad thoughts. I need to listen to music with positive messages or read the Bible. I need to avoid experimenting with drugs. Sexually, I need to wait for the person that God has for me in marriage. Finally, I need to be a good friend and not allow others to influence me.
-Mare’s testimony was good because she stayed consistent with what she had set out to do. Also, Brooke’s testimony showed me that with God’s help it is possible to become a new person and have the power to forgive.

Dunia & Lesly fill jars full of orange
cinnamon marmalade
Keyla – 18:
-The purity conference taught us to stay pure to please God.
I learned that when I have bad thoughts I need to read the Bible, be cautious in what I listen too, treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and choose good friends.
-Oscar’s testimony showed me that God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us.

Adriana Jasmina – 13:-When I worry, I should pray with faith.
I should only listen to music that “has faith” in God and that I should never listen to Regaton (Latin Hip-hop).
I need to forgive those who bother me. I have a friend at school that likes to tease and fight and she makes me so mad. I will forgive her.
-Jon’s wife’s testimony about keeping her virginity until marriage really impacted me.

Nexer & Gerson clear the land for planting in ag class.

Jose Mauricio – 15:
-I learned that I shouldn’t listen to Regaton and play video games. 
I learned that I should spend time with friends who go to church.
-I like Oscar’s testimony because it taught us how to continue and move forward in life.

Oscar & Melvin prepare the soil
for planting
Melvin Geobani – 14:
-I learned that it is important to have good friends in the church.
-I enjoyed Oscar’s testimony because it showed me how to move forward in life.

Kenia – 16:
-The Bible teaches us that we need to be pure of heart and we need to be aware when anything in our lives is contrary to Jesus. God is pure and He wants us to be like him.
-I learned that I need to spend my time with people that believe in God and truly value their lives, rather than people that listen to Regaton.
-Oscar’s testimony impacted me because he is an example for many youth that practice drugs and alcohol. My heart was touched because he praises God above all else.

Tania Carolina – 12:-The Bible teaches me that I need to be pure in my physical health.
Before I doubted my friends, but now I don’t. (Reflecting on the Golden Rule).
-I like Marillyn’s testimony because she was pure.

Teivi & Juan load sacks of
fertile top soil
Julisa – 13:-The Word of God teaches us to be pure and honest.
I learned that I need to be cautious with my mental and sexual purity.
-Oscar's testimony touched me because God saved him from drugs and from drowning. I also liked Brooke’s testimony because God used her and she was able to share it with her husband.

Jose Yovani – 17:-God’s Word teaches me to stay pure to have dignity.
-I learned that I should stop some of the friendships that I have now.
-I liked Oscar’s testimony.

Mare instructs the students on how to make a T-shirt scarf.

Carlos Alonzo – 19:
-The Bible taught me to be kind to others and to find good diversions that help me know God more.
-I need to leave the bad behind, as well as my flesh and begin to read the Bible.
-I liked the testimonies that dealt with drugs. These impacted me a lot. I’ve thought a lot about it.

Melissa & Sonia prepare
their T-shirt scarfs
Crisna Yareli – 14:-The Bible taught me to be pure and holy.
-I listened a lot to how the Bible was instructing me to be pure and how to maintain pure thoughts.
-I like Brooke’s testimony because I thought that it would destroy her life, but she was able to continue forward in life and learn to forgive those who hurt her.

Daniela – 13:-The Word of God showed me that I need to be pure.
-I learned that I need to take caution in the things I think about and not to watch things of the world.
-Brooke’s testimony really affected me.

Ana Felicidad – 24:-I learned that I need to pray more because I am accustom to think about negative things, but now I won’t!
-I learned to maintain purity in my home and with my children & husband.

Students in the crafts class were their T-shirt scarves

Virginia Daniela – 14:-I learned to have a healthy day I need to be happy with my family and friends.
-I learned that I need to be in prayer every day and to remain pure until marriage.

Fidelia Alejandra – 12:
-I learned that I need to be pure like God is pure.
-We need to think, watch and listen to things that are in line with God’s word.
-Our best friend is Jesus.

Thank you, Calvary Chapel Morgantown for your help with the Purity Conference, 

Vacation Bible school and various projects around the Ranch!

Calvary Chapel Morgantown Team
February/March 2013
w/ Wayne Goranson of Water, Worship and the Word,
Ilsy, Oscar, Lucinda and the Beard family w/ Duke & Daisy

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