Saturday, June 2, 2018

April / May '18 Review: HEALTH

Ranch Life

While studying through the book of Titus, I came across a “new” word:

Hygiainō – “to be sound, to be well, to be in good health.” (Our modern word, hygene, also, has its origin in this Greek root.)

In context, it is used metaphorically “of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error.” (See Titus 1:13)

My perspective regarding “to be in good health” has grown & expanded. I am in the “middle years” of life and I am an “experienced” missionary, father & husband. Also, as a disciple of Christ, I have learned that “to be sound” must include a holistic approach: mind, body & soul.

Honestly speaking, “to be well” has been one of our greatest challenges on the mission field. There has been a tendency to “pour oneself out” to the variety of needs that confront us in Honduras, without thought of its effects on our wellness: mind, body and soul as individuals, a married couple and a family, let alone as a ministry.


Recently this was dramatically brought to mind as two separate friends on two separate occasions made the same comment to us; essentially, that as long as they have known us (2+ years) Marillyn and I live in survival mode, as opposed to a thriving mode.

Yes, of course, “we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13), but there are also natural laws & effects of cultural differences, marital challenges, life stages, family development and ministry growth; namely, STRESS!!!

Jesus summed it up nicely in his divine, humanity: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:41)


So, how do we get back to thriving in life, in marriage, in family and in ministry???




Mini-vacation with missionary friends in El Salvador:
70% missionary discount!!!

#1 – We take some time to heal. 

Since entering my 40’s my body has not been the same. Alarmingly, so! Stress has taken its toll on mind, body & soul. Both Marillyn and I are working with a licensed nutritionist to help restore our physical health knowing that the mind & soul will also improve. It is a long, slow & costly venture. We are looking for people to help sponsor our physical recovery. Please contact us for specific costs, if you would like to help financially.


Supplemental Help!

We will also be taking an extended furlough in the Fall / early Winter with an emphasis on our “Hygiainō” (See definition above, wink-wink!) We have been generously blessed with tickets to the US of A and want to focus on our recovery, so that we can be thriving wherever God is calling us to serve Him!



International School of Tegucigalpa (IST) 8th Grader Overnight

#2 – We focus on what we love & what God has gifted us in.

Our ministry outreach in 2018 has narrowed; essentially, we are ministering in only one area of outreach: the trade school. Our desire in 2018 has been to prepare for the equine therapy ministry at the Ranch, but have struggled to stay focused. The daily grind of life in Honduras, running an existing Ranch and homeschooling don’t leave much energy for building a new ministry outreach: the infrastructure (proper riding areas, fencing, etc.) and the methodology. Your prayers are coveted deeply in this area.


Navidad en Mayo!
Prepping for December sales.

We do see God moving to help us specifically with the horse therapy as a friend’s short-term mission team is coming alongside to build fencing in June and a Honduran friend has introduced us to a Christian horse therapy ministry in the States whose leaders are planning to come in August to give us some hands-on training. God is faithful to complete the work He has started at Rancho Oasis!!!

God has also rekindled a passion for teaching His word by opening up opportunities for me to preach. I recently shared three messages at an 8th grade end-of-the-year overnight retreat and have begun teaching through the book of Titus (CLICK TO LISTEN) at our English speaking fellowship in Tegucigalpa! It has been a real joy and pleasure to exercise my spiritual gifts in this way! (On a side note, Union church has selected a new head pastor. He & his wife will be joining the church sometime in August!!! PTL!!!) I am also lined up to teach at a Spanish speaking youth retreat in July then the annual Missionary Kid camp in August! Pray for the seeds that are planted to bare fruit!


HFMM Region #6 "Missionary Spotlight" Collage

We have also enjoyed building community with other missionaries in our area as the Regional Reps for the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. I am in weekly contact with local missionaries about their ministries in order to put together a simple "missionary spotlight" to share with all of the missionaries in our region. It has been building fellowship and prayer amongst us... poco a poco.



#3 – We partner with those in ministry who have God-given gifts & strengths where we do not. 

Over the years, Marillyn and I have “worn many hats” at Rancho Oasis. We have realized the hard-way that this is not sustainable, nor healthy for us or the ministry at RO4Y. I see that I am the “healthiest” when I am ministering in my gifts via discipleship and teaching. For us to thrive at Rancho Oasis, this needs to be my primary focus. However, we are still at the beginning stages of our property and there are many buildings and projects to complete. We did receive another very generous donation from Bloomingdale Church to finish CDA, but we need someone to manage the final stages of construction...



We have begun to pray and make our need know for an individual, couple or family to co-labor with us at the Ranch as a “Property & Project Manager.” Essentially, we need someone to run the ranch of the Ranch, while we cultivate the spiritual oasis of Rancho Oasis. If God is not done with RO4Y, we know He will send the right people at the right time to accomplish His vision for this ministry! Pray, PRay, PRAY!!!



Daddy Dates

Mamas & Macaroons!!!

#4 – We focus on the foundation of the Ranch: our family and marriage. 

We have recently experienced a devastating blow to our family and ministry that I am not at liberty to discuss publicly. The damage is just beginning to be uncovered and it will take a lifetime of healing & grace. PRAY for us as we walk through the stages of grief and seek out the appropriate means of healing, recovery & justice. Our lives will never be the same, again.





Mango Madness
"Taste & see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
Psalm 34:8 NIV 

Finally, I want to end on a encouraging note and with a deep sense of gratitude for all those who have sacrificed time, money and vacations to build up the ministry and impact of Rancho Oasis. 

Last Fall we made a call for increased monthly support. Many responded, but in January our largest supporting church drastically reduced their monthly donation, shrinking our monthly “income” by over 20%. However, the Lord has moved on many individuals and churches and they have nearly made up the difference. 

Please continue to pray for the ministry’s financial needs and ask the Lord if he wants you to be involved. Our goal is still to gain another $500 in monthly support. Every donation no matter the size helps and bonds us together for the spreading of the Gospel in Honduras and beyond!


Thank you all for your faithfulness over the years!!! 

To God be the glory!!!


"From ashes to beauty..."



Saturday, April 7, 2018

March '18 Review: NEW LIFE


“In riding a horse, we borrow freedom."
- Helen Thompson


The Goal: One of the many books that is giving insight & direction to our future focus.

PRAY for us as we continue to move forward on this new horse therapy adventure! Sometimes the tasks before us (building a paddock, properly leveling & RE-building the ridding ring, creating a horse therapy program & equipping ourselves with the knowledge to "do this right") seem overwhelming! 

BUT imagining what the end result will be keeps us moving forward! 

Like the time our friends from Tegucigalpa brought their children to the Ranch from their children's home (a.k.a. orphanage). It was a fun day outside the city playing and enjoying God's creation, including the horses... click & scroll to the bottom of the link.

Horse & child: a unique bond.
There was one girl in particular who was very standoffish and stoic. Somehow Marillyn convinced her to "come out of the shadows" and groom Zoeva. Something was beginning to happen in this mundane task. Soon after, Marillyn began giving pony rides to the children and, again, miraculously got this emotionally damaged little girl on the back of Zoeva. Slowly her hard exterior began to fall away.

Not long after her ride, our friends approached us and asked, "What did you guys do????"

We weren't sure what they were referring too, but we were nervous!

With tears in her eyes, our friend described that that was the first time in nearly a year of working & living with this young girl that they had seen her smile and heard her laugh while she was riding Zoeva! They were in awe and many months later told us that that experience was the start of the healing process for that little girl.

This is what we hope to recreate again and again with our horses: Jesus & His creation!

PRAY!!!


Cross frame building & paper-bead varnishing.

PRAY for the creativity, sales & direction of the trade school.
PRAY for the new students to grow their skill & Marillyn to direct that growth.

PRAY for spiritual growth & maturity in their lives.


Bi-weekly Bulk shopping in Tegus


Rancho Oasis: 1 - Rancho Ebenezer: 4
Silliness with missionary friends at the Beard-B-Q

PRAY for wisdom & direction in our role as the Region Six Representatives of the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries. We are so grateful to be able to give back to a local ministry that has meant so much to us during our time in Honduras: from the annual missionary retreat to the one-on-one counseling sessions and the countless friendships that have formed since 2010!

Semana Santa Missionary Beard-B-Q

PRAISE for a wonderful day together
at the 3rd Annual Missionary "Beard-B-Q."
  
The Ranch provides us the unique opportunity to bless our fellow friends and missionaries, many of whom live in the urban jungle of Tegucigalpa. Hosting 80+ people was a little crazy, but a lot of fun!!! 



Another year completed & another ice cream flavor checked off this list:
"One Night in Bangkok Sundae"
Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams


PRAISE for the countless blessings (and trials) that the Lord has brought my way over the last 41 years! Thank you all for standing by us and continually lifting us up in prayer! 


It's a crappy job, but somebody has to empty the Bio-digestor!

PRAY for us as we work through this transitional period of life & ministry at the Ranch. I, Jon, was once the lead voice at RO4Y directing the Bible study outreach and soccer programs, but now I find myself in a supportive role helping with our kids' homeschooling and assisting Marillyn with the equestrian ministry & trade school. It is ALL GOOD, just different!


Easter Services at our English speaking fellowship in Tegus:
Union Christian Church

PRAY for our English speaking fellowship in Tegucigalpa. We are still in search of a new head pastor! In the meantime, I have volunteered to do some teaching through the book of Titus and have been given a few dates in May. PRAY that God would give me the humility and wisdom in preaching to our beloved congregation of missionaries, embassy workers, bi-lingual school teachers and a hodge-podge of English speaking Hondurans and foreigners!


Trampoline Therapy: a.k.a. "Kids get out of the house & burn off some energy!!!" 

PRAY for our TCK's (Third-Culture Kids)! God has gifted us with some truly amazing children! PRAY for us as parents! This summer we will also be participating in our first MK (missionary kid) Camp: Marillyn is in charge of the kitchen for 100+ kids and I will be the main speaker! 


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
-2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)


PRAISE the Lord for His faithfulness through you,
our beloved support team!

Continue to PRAY for God's strength,
wisdom & provision!!!


Please note our new US / Colorado mailing address below:

Rancho Oasis for Youth
6547 Academy Blvd #472

Colorado Springs, CO
80918

Saturday, March 3, 2018

February '18 Review: PERSPECTIVE


Watching Mati... who's watching mommy... who's watching Nedo.

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it 

brings us in contact with the rare elements of 

grace, beauty, spirit and fire.”

-Shannon Ralls Lemon


Tabitha: learning with/on Nedo.

That quote is perfectly said. Horses first captured my heart when I, Marillyn, was 7 years old. They’ve been a soothing balm to my heart & soul growing up as a deaf girl trying to find her way in a big world. Horses have pushed me, in their own gentle way, to better myself and believe I can do anything I set my mind to... even when the world tried to tell me I couldn’t because of being deaf.


Naomi & Nedo: riding the rail.

Fast forward to adulthood... it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve worked closely with horses. To be honest, I grew discouraged and was starting to give up the dream of doing equine therapy. The process of getting Nedo has re-awakened my dreams and was nothing short of a miracle! Slowly, and somewhat cautiously, I feel my heart’s desires being revived. The Lord has used these magnificent animals to shape me to be the person that I am today and it’s my heart’s desire to see others be impacted by these horses as much as they’ve impacted me. I am looking forward to the continuing process of being shaped by the Lord through this guy and other horses we believe will join us in the years to come!


Feliz dia de amor e amistad!

My core group of gals SURPRISED me with

some late Valentines gifts today. 

Honestly, I didn’t expect that!!!! 


Sisters Tatiana & Yahaira work with their cousin & new student, Lorena.

This is a FIRST and just what I needed to know that I am appreciated & loved by them... because, quite frankly, I often wonder if they think I’m just some crazy, deaf gringa speaking Spanglish {which... I am} but, really, I do struggle and wonder. Especially with all the cultural difference I’ve had to wade through and all the things I’ve had to learn the hard way and all the humble pie I’ve had to swallow over the years as we build up our trade school... But, amazingly, it’s been worth AAALLL the struggles, questioning, frustrations, and tears just to see their beautiful smiles while they presented me their gifts.


Daddy Fun Day: movie & a pizza!

 “Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
-Andy Stanley


Poema: my very special pupil!


Tobias: learning to read!



Annual Missionary Retreat or Bust!!!

8 Y E A R S ago, we moved from the hot 

tropical beaches & mountains of Costa Rica to 

the cool, pine covered mountains of Honduras.


To be honest... if God would have let me make a list of countries that I would want to live in and gave me the choice of where I would go, Honduras would not even come close to being on that list... and He knew that. There have been {many} times over the years, when life got especially hard, I’ve asked God “Why are we here?!” and begged Him to move us somewhere else... yet, He has kept us firmly here.


Hosting our first regional missionary meeting as recently elected reps!

When we first moved here, He gave me this... “I am not promising you that life will be easy, just that it will be worth it” and a recent devotion (February 27th) from #NewMorningMercies was exactly that... My life is not good because it is easy or predictable, but because the I AM has invaded my existence by His grace.


Soul Care: leading worship at the conference with my buddy, Ken.

Why did God send us into Honduras? He did it because He knows that sometimes we need the storms/trials in order to be able to see the glory. For us believers, peace is not to be found in ease of life. Real peace is only ever found in the presence, power, and grace of the Savior, the King, the Lamb, the I AM. That peace is mine even when the storms of life {aka Honduras} take me beyond my natural ability, wisdom, and strength. Now... I can live with hope and courage in the middle of what once would have produced discouragement and fear because I know I am never alone. The I AM inhabits all situations, relationships, and locations by His grace.
-
He is in me.
-
He is with me.
-
He is for me.
-

He is MY HOPE 


"Great is thy faithfulness, Oh Lord."

My L I F E verse...

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong {dynamite}
2 Corinthians 12:9-10


Please continue to stand in prayer with us 

about our ministry outreach,

 finances and family.


We love you guys!!!


Soul Care: a morning hike & prayer

Saturday, February 3, 2018

January '18 Review: CHANGES

Back in the Saddle!!!

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.

Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

 -Philippians 1:3-6 (MSG)


Warming-up Nedo!

As a good missionary friend once said to us,
"Nothing changes, unless something changes!"


For nearly eight years we have longed to see the equine ministry of Rancho Oasis develop into a life-changing work of the Holy Spirit, but have been lacking a key ingredient: a horse!


Sure, we have a couple Honduran ponies, but we have been praying for a well-trained, well-mannered horse to lead us into uncharted territory.

Cue Nedo.


Nedo's Fan Club

After a fellow missionary's donation, a little "kick-in-the-pants" motivation and a lot of prayer, we visited the only professional riding barn in our region. (One of three in Honduras!) We made some contacts, met a horse, offered the funds and now have a horse!

Do you believe in miracles?

So, now what? 

Change!

In order to focus on Nedo and develop the equine outreach we need to adjust an already full schedule!



Marillyn will be training Nedo & getting back into shape herself. We plan to introduce our oldest kids to riding him, too. (They have brief experience / lessons in the US.) So, Marillyn will add trainer to her list of activities which include, but are not limited to wife, mom, cook, home school teacher and tradeschool director/designer/photographer/graphic artist.

PRAY for organizational skills!


Jon has decided to temporarily post-pone the children's Bible study outreach with a hope to reintroduce Nedo into the mix in the future. (Though well attended, the twice a day Friday Bible studies were burning him out with inconsistent support from Honduran volunteers and little visible fruit yielded from the life of the kids. Yes, it was fun, but we believe God has something better planned.)

Jon is also investing time into equipping himself as the "spiritual/mental-health" side of the equine outreach. We desire to increase our understanding of the needs of at-risk-youth and the baggage that they will bring to the Ranch. Prayerfully, Nedo and more like him can help tear down some walls & let the light of Jesus into their lives!

So, we ask for prayer as we narrow our ministry focus and prepare to offer something uniquely different to our community and beyond.


TRADE SCHOOL UPDATE:


Bienvenidos a 2018

We have briefly met with the students this new year. The sales over the Christmas season were tremendously succesfull! PTL! (Two-thirds of their earnings for the year were made in November and December.)

PRAY for us as we continue to minister to the faithful, as well as assimilate a small group of new kids into the school. Also, PRAY for God to open more doors for sales locally & abroad.

Gentlemen,
don't forget to visit our on-line store,
 Las Aguas Verdes. 


We have a new jewelry collection
& Valentine's Day is right around the corner!


FUTBOL UPDATE:


Pre-scrimmage Pep Talk with Coach Oscar

Despite a great start of the Boys U-12 season,
it ended with a fizzle. 

The coaches were never able to agree on terms for an official league, so no "official" games this school break. Thus, the boys stopped attending practice! Also, the call of a supplementary income hits most families pretty hard during coffee picking season. The "bean" won out over the "ball". Finally, the public school system starts in February and most students' educations will take priority over extra curricular activities. 

The U-25 young men's team has traditionally started their league in February, but work on the soccer field could post-pone the start. 

We've played two seasons in the men's league; an experiment to disciple the graduated U-12 boys into adulthood. However, last season the formal discipleship aspect was almost non-existent as almost no one would come to practice and game days were focused on the match-at-hand. 

Honestly, I'm not sure how to proceed: fold the team for a season or pursue a more traditional mandatory "pray-to-play" Bible study on a weeknight.

Your PRAYERS are coveted!


RO4Y WORK PROJECTS UPDATE:


New Kitchen, Pantry & Laundry Room Ceramic Tile

We hosted a whirlwind of small, but very capable teams in January.

The "Never-ending" T-shirt Rug

Jon's parent's, Dave & Marsha Beard; long-time supporters, Dale & Ruth Waterman; and returning short-term missionary, John Wilkes.


New Tracks for Sliding Doors
As John shared with friends, "My short-term mission is to help the Beards get settled and situated, so they can complete their long-term mission in Honduras."


D & D Flooring Co.

So, blessed to have you as friends & family!


BEARD FAMILY UPDATE:
(Pictures speak louder than words)


Mati is walking!!!

Keep these young disciples in prayer: Tobias, Poema, Tabitha & Naomi.

Las Barbas Baseball - bonding via family sports!

Belated Christmas Celebrating with Grandma & Grandpa:
UGLY SWEATER COOKIES!


Got puppies!!!
Sheba's 1st litter with Thor: all 6 are males!!!


RO4Y MONTHLY SUPPORT UPDATE:




Good news: Many friends and families have either started giving or increased their monthly giving to Rancho Oasis.

Great news: We were half-way to our goal of increasing our monthly support by $1,000!

Thank you & praise the Lord!

Not so good news: We recently received notice that our largest financially supporting church was reducing their support by nearly 90%!

Current status: The rise in support minus the reduction now puts our monthly need at $1,200 a month!!!

We have:

MANY PROJECTS WE DESIRE TO COMPLETE: 
perimeter & interior fencing, staff/guest house, riding areas

SALARIES WE DESIRE TO RAISE:
2 ranch hands, 2 domestic helpers, 2 night guards

ASSETS WE DESIRE TO PURCHASE:
4x4 truck, electric generator, new refrigerator

BILLS WE NEED TO PAY
electrical, property loan

RAINY DAY FUNDS WE WOULD LIKE TO SAVE!
family & animal health emergencies, vehicle issues & furlough plane tickets



IT'S TIME TO DIG DEEP, 
PRAY,
 FOLLOW THE SPIRIT'S LEADING,
& WATCH HOW THE LORD MOVES!!!


"Morning by morning new mercies I see"

We love you guys
& are excited to see what God does in 2018!

Thank you, Support Team,
for your faithfulness over the years.