Friday, April 19, 2013

Newsito: Letting Our Roots Grow Deep

Short-termer Jaime on the left works with Keyla, Dunia and Marillyn
during Thursday's Taller CDP Cooking Class

Changed lives are our heart’s desire at Rancho Oasis. It is a slow process to work yourself into the life of another human being, especially from a different culture and not to mention the language barrier can slow you down. However, our philosophy of “quality over quantity” has begun to bear fruit!

Short-termers Yeshua (translator) and Rebecca
lead a devotional before Taller CDP's craft workshop.

Not only are we interested in changing lives by reaching our community for Christ, but to allow the Ranch and the ministry we do be a catalyst for change in the lives of the short-term missions team members that serve alongside us.

Calvary Chapel Des Moines
March 2013 Missions Trip

Recent Christian literature and examination has led many to question the effectiveness of short-term missions in not only the mission field where projects are being completed, but also in the lives of the short-term team members. Marillyn and I often reflect on our own experience and can testify that short-term missions trips lead us to make a decision to serve the Lord full-time in cross cultural ministry. We want the same impact to take place with all who serve with us at Rancho Oasis. Let me explain.

In a nutshell, we want the “mountain top” experience of a short-term missions trip to carry over into the daily grind of life in the USA. Mare and I would like to share the testimony of a husband and wife team that lead the most recent group to Rancho Oasis from our home church of CalvaryChapel Des Moines this last March. Enjoy and reflect on the change that God is calling you to make in your life.

Oscar and Josh take a breather from digging Oscar's new well... by hand!


Jeff digs the French Drain
for our Dry-Composting Latrine
Last year [when I first served at Rancho Oasis], I was still very involved in my work life and worked way too much.  My largest fear was to leave the access of my "smart phone" behind. No texts, emails, calls, games and just the general distraction of it. That quickly changed once I realized how freeing it was not to have it!  For the first time in my life I was able to focus on accomplishing what God wanted for my life. It was truly eye opening!  To spend a week focused on the needs of others was exactly what I needed. The trip had its trials and was filled with spiritual warfare, but we bonded as a group. 

Chelsey assists the Trade School
teens with their T-shirt scarves
I was able to go home knowing that my life needed to change. I was able to spend much less time at work, and to my surprise get just as much or more done in a day. It is amazing what you can get done in eight hours when you are focused on getting home to spend time with your family!  I have also joined a [Bible study] small group with two other families in our church and I am also being discipled – both experiences are amazing and a great way to be held accountable.

Tabitha enjoys a new
friendship with Emma.
This year I was blessed to be able to lead a group of twelve people including a ten-month old baby to the Ranch. God placed upon my heart the desire to be prayed up on this trip and the Lord raised up a great prayer warrior that directed a group of prayer warriors for our trip. [They met nightly to pray for the team.]  I can't even begin to explain the great benefits that had.  Many of us were expecting a spiritual battle while on the mission trip. However, we all felt the attacks had been few and we have been protected like nothing I have ever felt before. [Of course] we had our challenges, but I am thankful for some of the [lessons in] "brokenness". It was [all] orchestrated by God and a blessing especially as we were able to discuss the day’s events as a group each evening.

Jaime & Jon work through
"Lord I Lift Your Name on High"
with the Level II Guitar Students
Some of the largest differences I noticed this year verses last year was how much growth there was at the Ranch. Jon and Mare have done a great job understanding the needs of the kids in the area and what the family needs are [while also] addressing the spiritual needs.  It was a huge blessing this year to come alongside them in the day-to-day activities of the Ranch.  It was a joy for us to teach and lead the devotions before each activity and give Jon a break. The trade school that Mare has a passion and great vision for is just amazing. It allows the young teens a way to stay busy, earn money to help cover the transportation cost to the larger trade school in Tegus and is another way to minister to the teens in the area.

Thank you for the opportunity and God bless!

Friday afternoon girls Bible study with the Iowa Ladies!

Josh displaying his gymnastic
painting skills
My journey for this trip really began last year after my husband came back from his trip to Rancho Oasis. I knew there had been a change, but I wasn’t quite sure what. As the months passed, I noticed my husband, who is a workaholic, making an effort to spend more time with our family and stop answering emails after 6 PM. More months passed and I saw his desire to get into the word and his thirst for knowledge - which led him to ask our pastor to disciple him.

Kenny with his daughters
at the retreat center.
Around October our church made an announcement that we would have another trip to Rancho Oasis over spring break. I knew right away that God was calling me to go. This was exciting and terrifying at the same point. I struggle with anxiety and the thought of travel outside of the country on a plane seemed an impossible task. So I waited to sign up until two Sundays later when God reminded me that if He calls I need to go. I tried to argue, but God reminded me that He doesn’t always call the equipped, but He always equips the called. So I continued on this journey which seemed to go really smoothly.

Jeremy & Jeff finish out
the Beard girl's tree house
Then I faced my first wall. A week before the trip we found out that Jon and Marillyn’s desire was to have the team help run a trade school while there.  This is definitely not a gift of mine.  God reminded me again that I would not be doing this in my power. So I set out to learn t-shirt scarves and fabric flowers and, as always, God was good. He gave me the creativity I needed and we were able to lead the trade school class for four days. My other wall of the trip was the flight. This was a source of a lot of anxiety for me. About four hours before we were to fly out I thought, “There is no way I can do this.” I cried out to the Lord and He gave me this scripture:

Preparing our hearts and minds with morning team prayer at the Ranch.

"For You are my lamp, O Lord; The Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.  As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.  "For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?
God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.”
-2 Samuel 22:29-33 (NKJV)

Playing Red-Rover with the girls Bible study

So I got on the plane and God granted me peace. Throughout this trip I have seen God work around me, but most of all I have seen God work in me. His strength is perfect when my strength is gone. I am leaving Honduras with a new understanding of prayer and the love and guidance of my Holy Father.

CCDM Ladies pose with the craft students
after a full week of teaching & creating!

I want to leave you with this thought: if a missions trip seems like more than you can do, GREAT! For when we are at our weakest God is at His strongest. Are you ready to take a step of faith and join God on a journey?

Final evening at the Ranch "Reflection" Team Dinner:
an opportunity to retell what God did during the week
and to have a plan to avoid the status quo once back in the US.

Thank you CCDM for your fellowship & hard work here in Honduras!
Our prayer is that your week at the Ranch will move you closer to Jesus!

"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,
you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.
Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness."
Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)


Teacher Shirley said...

Hi everyone. Definetely theire is always a lesson we learn when we serve others. I have personally received more when serving than any other time. I am always blessed by your testimonies. God is faithful to show up the things and the plans he has for us. A big hug from Costa Rica.

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