Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017 - Fleshing Out the Vision: Being a Refuge and a Place of Healing & Hope

Nazareth displays her "God's best creation" craft!

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

Weariness can easily become a way-of-life on the mission field... click this tag line for more explanation. We long to arrive into that season of reaping, but there is so much preparation for the harvest. Pressures mount to give up and yet we fight on, doing good for God's glory.

This is our 7th year in Honduras.
During this time many have come and gone
to Rancho Oasis. 

We are forever grateful for allowing God to use this ministry to touch so many lives…

Here are a few lives that have been touched over the last few months & years of ministry:

Monica and Marillyn share a final embrace.
After nearly four years of studying with us in the trade school, Monica informed us that she would be leaving to pursue a job opportunity in the capital.

Initially heartbroken to say good-bye to one of our most faithful and talented students, it was very rewarding to reflect upon the tremendous growth in this single-mom's life.

When she first came to the trade school, by invitation of her sister, she was outspoken, sassy and pretty difficult to love. However, over time she became one of Marillyn's student leaders and one of the most creative student-artists!

 Not only did her talent increase, but the weekly Bible studies grew Monica's character as she began to pursue her future and family under God's guidance. She thanked us specifically for teaching her what her Biblical responsibility was as a single-mom.

We are so thankful that Monica showed the maturity to let us know of her exit from the school. She was a model worker and we'll miss her deeply.

PRAY for the trade school as we have undergone many changes in 2017:
-Marillyn is managing the school by herself (Jon does some administration).
-3 of the 6 student leaders have moved on to permanent jobs (Though we never had a goal to create a permanent jobs for these students, there is still an adjustment to the changes.)
-4 of the 5 new students have left the school without explanation
-PRAISE for special sales requests like wedding gifts and non-profit/fair-trade collaborations. (Please let us know if you or a friend have an interest in bulk whole-sale orders.)
-PRAY for sales opportunities to help support these students

Darlin works on a "bulk" order of earrings for the Ragini Project.
I was recently teasing our one-and-only male student, Henry, when Darlin made me laugh pretty hard.

I teased Henry that I knew he enjoyed coming to class every Tuesday because he got to work alongside so many talented and beautiful women. 

Suddenly, out of the blue, quite and shy Darlin burst out, "I'll accept that!"

It has taken several years to build that level of comfort among these youth. 

PRAISE God for His presence & peace in the trade school!

Jon with Lesly & her newborn, Eric Josue.

Life can take many twists and turns for a young person in rural Honduras. 

We've known Lesly from the very beginning of our work in Ojojona in 2010.

What a unique opportunity we've had to be a light for Lesly in so many different ways over the years:

We've ministered to her in the youth group and were instrumental in sending her to a youth camp where she came to know Christ. She took a turn for the worse when her grandmother passed, but was prayed out of a deep depression by a close friend she developed from one of our short term missions teams. She has been involved with the trade school for years and most recently employed as a cook for our family. 

Now her newest and greatest adventure has begun: Motherhood!

PRAY for Lesly as she is still in the first year of her marriage and first weeks as a mom.

Oscar works with Elder, a fatherless at-risk-youth from Ojojona
One of the greatest privileges we have at Rancho Oasis is to watch the Word of God shape lives in the next generation.

Not just the lives of the ones receiving the messages,
but those giving the teaching, too!

Not only does Oscar continues to serve faithfully as our primary farm-hand, watching over our myriad selection of animals and the upkeep of RO4Y's 17 acre property, but as the head coach of both the men's and boy's soccer teams and a co-teacher on our Friday kids Bible study.

PRAY for Oscar to mature in his walk with the Lord
as a spiritual leader in his own home and at the Ranch.

Miguel, one of the many fatherless & directionless kids in town.
Miguel, in the green shirt, has been one of the newest additions to our Friday Bible study.

Like most kids they are drawn by the mini-soccer field on sight (pictured below) or the trampoline, but Miguel is uniquely attentive to the Bible studies...
most of the time!

One particular Friday, I called Miguel out for unruly behavior. He was pretty ticked and refused to apologize to another kid for something he did. He wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the study, nor greet me when I saw him over the next few days in Ojojona.

Nevertheless, he came the following Friday to Bible study! He admitted his error and all was restored. A little Christ-centered tough love won him out!

I love that we can practice what we preach at the Ranch and kids keep coming back because they know it is a place of healing and hope! I can't tell you the number of kids who have received some "tough love", walk away for a time, but always return! Always!

PRAY for the youth in all of our activities to have a spiritual awakening and an awareness for their need for Jesus in their daily life.

PRAISE that the Friday Bible Studies (AM & PM) have maintained their increased attendance.

A full house Friday Bible study!

"Best Disciplined Team" Trophy 2 years in a row!
(a.k.a. - the least amount of fouls)
Nelson Omar, better known as "Machi", is another example of the longevity of our witness in the community.

Machi joined our boy's team years ago,
but was soon kicked off the team for being a bad/negative influence.

Now he plays for the men's team and has even captained the team!
He also works full-time at the Ranch alongside Oscar as our farm-hand!

Our men's team has now completed two tournaments in Ojojona, but is struggling to keep our focus on discipleship. Low to non-existent attendance for practice and limited opportunity at games has been a growing concern.

Soccer is arguably the strongest religion in Honduras, next to Catholicism, and is one of our greatest evangelistic tools.

PRAY for wisdom on getting the team back on track!

The well attended championship game came down to PK's!
(No worries, we weren't playing.)

Another blessing of the ministry at Rancho Oasis is to partner with churches in the United States who have caught on to the vision of providing a place of refuge, healing and hope to the hurting youth in our community.

Our most recent collaboration was with Calvary Chapel Santee:

CC Santee Youth Team's Fun Day: Picnic in Ojojona
This was the second team sent down by CC Santee since 2016,
but the first team consisting of youth group members and their adult leaders.

                        KP Duty                            Painting the Ministry House

Co-leading Trade School Devos                  VBS Bastketball fun!

Short-term teams are always a boost in the morale at the Ranch,
but the teams also experience the blessing of serving Jesus
and the unity that this brings to the group.

PRAISE that the Ranch can also be a place of refuge for our visitors, too!

Mil gracias, CC Santee!!!

Checking Naomi & Tabitha into immigration before their month in the US of A.
Generously sponsored by friends and family!

Don’t be fooled!
The Beards will NOT be making their yearly furlough to the States in 2017.

Mathias was really looking forward to his first extended stay in the States.

Sorry. But it is hard not to share our disappointment.

 Though not a “vacation” per say, furloughs introduce a necessary change in routine… a breath of fresh air in the challenges of daily life in a third-world country. Okay. I’ll stop before I get too romantic! There are some undesirable things about furloughs, too! (Multiple beds, strange foreign food, long car rides, etc.)

In an effort to be responsible and do the right thing, we decided to not visit the West coast this year. Reality is money is tight and flying a family of 7 doesn’t come cheap.

We’ll miss those rekindled relationships with churches and opportunities to share about what God is doing at the Ranch. Along with those special family moments that only come on road trips. The decision comes with much difficulty.

So, what can you do? 

PRAY for us & the ministry of RO4Y! 

Consider becoming a monthly supporter to Rancho Oasis and/or give a one time gift to help with these needs:

-Paying back the balance on an interest free loan for the 17 acre property purchased in September of 2013

-Saving to purchase a 4x4 pick-up.
(Our 15 passenger van is doing ALL the work right now and we haven't been able to sell the Durango!)

- Paying off our first electric bill… it is pretty hefty after a 16 month waiting period!

-Completing the staff housing project 

Adding colorant powder to concrete exterior stucco finish

-Not to mention our monthly expenses as a ministry, including staff salaries, and a family.

-Purchasing a solid pair of horses well trained & ready to serve at the Ranch.

(Click here to make a donation.)

Studying through Colossians with the crew.

Thanks again for your prayers, financial gifts
and words of encouragement!

"...But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (ESV)


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Teresa Halminton said...

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