Ranch

And He Dwelt Among Us

We recently made a video for our sending church at home for their advent season which highlights some of the work of the Ranch. Hope you enjoy this little Christmas video. Spanish and English versions available!

 

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Theme Song from First Week of Summer Camp

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New Challenge Course

I (Pete) am pretty pumped because we recently finished a new challenge course at the ranch in time to run kids from the Easter camps through the course. It was a great experience for them and for me. For them…it was something they have never done before (literally) and for me…it was my first time running groups through a challenge course in Spanish! The course still needs a few touches and we have plans for more elements to come but enjoy this virtual tour of the challenge course with pics of students going through the course.

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Cinemascopes at May’s house.

We spent time with May, one of our coworkers and member of our community of faith, this past Saturday at his house. May had invited his neighbor’s kids to come over and spend time with our girls and play. It was a beautiful time as we played games, ate a little snack, and shared a small bit out of God’s word from a children’s activity book which May chose. Here are some pictures of our time and the fun which we had.

Cactus garden

Cactus garden. Careful not to touch…as our girls found out!

Workbook and activity with the kids.

Workbook and activity with the kids.

Neighbor boys.

Neighbor boys.

A little "futbol" action.

A little “futbol” action.

Parachute time.

Parachute time.

The kid's loved it.

The kid’s loved it.

And so did May. He brought the chute himself from the Ranch to use.

And so did May! He brought the chute himself from the Ranch to use.

May sharing a bit out of God's word.

May sharing a bit out of God’s word.

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2013 Highlight Video

God has done many amazing things over the past year and it has been an honor to serve him through the ministries of the Ranch. Here is a short highlight video of some of our ministries and activities. A big thank you to everyone who offers up their prayers and financial donations to us personally and to the Ranch. Your support makes a difference in the lives of many individuals.

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Merida & Christian Camping Conference

We recently got back from almost three weeks of travels to Norfolk, VA and to Merida, Mexico. We traveled to participate in our church’s mission conference in the US and to Merida, Mexico to present a workshop and participate in the Christian Camping International Mexico Conference. Merida and the camping conference were a great experience and we were blessed to meet other people throughout Mexico who share a similar ministry and learn from each other. We were also blessed to catch a day after the conference to see the town of Merida. Here are some pictures of our time at the conference and in Merida.

Christian Camping International Mexico.

Christian Camping International Mexico. The theme was “The banner of your camp”.

Emily teaching a workshop on how to use horses in ministry. The people attending where very interested in how they could do something similar in their contexts.

Emily teaching a workshop on how to use horses in ministry. The people attending where very interested in how they could do something similar in their contexts.

A workshop outside in beautiful atmosphere. However, the days were hot and humid.

A workshop outside in beautiful atmosphere. However, the days were hot and humid.

The days were long and out kids pass out in the evenings. Kylah is gaining a talent for falling asleep anywere!

The days were long and our kids passed out in the evenings. Kylah is gaining a talent for falling asleep anywhere!

Our home for the conference. It was gorgeous area but don't let that fool you...it was also very muggy and buggy!

Our home for the conference. It was a gorgeous area but don’t let that fool you…it was also very muggy and buggy!

We were blessed to be able to visit Merida for two days after the conference. It is a great city to visit if you get the chance.

We were blessed to be able to visit Merida for two days after the conference. It is a great city to visit if you get the chance.

Revolution Day parade in Merida centro. It is a big national holiday in Mexico and we were lucky to catch this parade by chance.

Revolution Day parade in Merida centro. It is a big national holiday in Mexico.

They liked to see how high they could stack people. Glad we weren't the people on the bottom.

They liked to see how high they could stack people. Glad we weren’t the people on the bottom.

Family coach ride through downtown. The girls loved being princesses in their own carriage!

Family coach ride through downtown. The girls loved being princesses in their own carriage!

There were many cool old buildings in Merdia, which was a very ritzy town in the Spanish colonial period.

There were many cool old buildings in Merdia, which was a very ritzy town in the Spanish colonial period.

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Climbing the Balcony and Gaining Perspective

20130111_141557 “Climbing the balcony” is a leadership principle I learned some time ago which simply means taking the time to step back from the ground-to-ground work to evaluate, gain perspective, and, if necessary, redirect your ministry, work, or life.  Stepping back can sometimes be a hard thing to do as we are tempted to engage the urgent and pressing needs that face us on a daily basis. However, putting the urgent aside and stepping back is a vital part of any success and needs to be worked into life and flow of any work or daily routine.  Climbing the balcony allows you to see things that can be lost if you are only on the ground floor, or as the old saying goes…it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Well, we have had the luxury of climbing the balcony over the past week at the Ranch, and it has been extremely helpful after a grueling and exhausting summer. We are currently evaluating everything and charting a course for the next stage of the ranch development. One simple way to climb the balcony is to take a look at numbers. Numbers matter because numbers are people and numbers tell stories. Every number represents someone who has come to the ranch and has had the opportunity to encounter the presence of God, be equipped for the work of God, and extend the Kingdom of God.

Here are some numbers that gave us on the ranch staff pause for reflection and celebration at all that the Lord has done this year…and the year isn’t even over yet!

So far this year….

  • 5 straight weeks of summer day camps
  • 10 kayak ministry excursions with 68 people
  • 17 intern and junior interns in our summer internship program; 7 from the US, 10 from Mexico
  • 75 disabled kids and parents at one horse clinic
  • 131 people on short term trips from the US in 12 different groups
  • 210 nationals from Mexican churches on retreats and special events
  • 370 nationals have come through our various day camps, horse clinics, and mid-week programs

It may be difficult at times to step back…but it is so worth it to gain proper perspective.

Thank you to all our supporters both financial and spiritual. Your partnership makes a difference in the lives of individuals and families.

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Curso de Tenis

We had an awesome week at the ranch with our very first tennis camp. It was a great experience for our staff to work alongside a professional tennis teacher from the United States. He worked with the kids from the colonias and with our staff to teach us how to teach tennis so that we can offer tennis at the ranch as another camp activity. It was a joy to watch the kids as the vast majority of them had never held a tennis racquet before in their life. We are working to doing additional week long camps like this in the summer which will focus on the various aspects of the ranch. Some ideas are horse camp, sports camp, adventure camp, and English camp. Here are some pictures of the kids enjoying their first experience with tennis.

Younger guys posing as they wait in line for their turn.

Younger guys posing as they wait in line for their turn.

We used the neighboring ranch's multipurpose slab. It hadn't been used in at least 5 years...we can't wait to build one of our own on the ranch.

We used the neighboring ranch’s multipurpose slab. It hadn’t been used in at least 5 years…we can’t wait to build one of our own on the ranch.

The younger kids waiting in line for their turn at drills.

The younger kids waiting in line for their turn at drills.

Volley time!

Volley time!

Thanks to Rick for his help teaching the kids and our staff!

Thanks to Rick for his help teaching the kids and our staff!

Some of the older kids waiting for their turn to hit. All of them in this picture had never played tennis before.

Some of the older kids waiting for their turn to hit. All of them in this picture had never played tennis before.

 

 

 

 

 

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Orientation Week

We had an amazing week of intern orientation this past week. We had our interns from the US alongside some of our Mexican interns living and working together in their preparation for this summer’s work. The ranch will have a total of 11 interns this summer: 4 from the US, 5 from Mexico, and 2 missionary kids. We had a full schedule and here are some of the highlight pictures…

Team building time in the cascada behind the ranch.

Team building time in the cascada behind the ranch.

Climbing in the arroyo behind the ranch.

Climbing in the arroyo behind the ranch.

Helping with the graduation party for ESL

Helping with the graduation party for ESL

Giving of certificates at ESL

Giving of certificates at ESL

Taking culture and language classes at El Nopal.

Taking culture and language classes at El Nopal.

Visiting a local church.

Visiting a local church.

 

Prayer Hike through the mountains and colonias around La Paz.

Prayer Hike through the mountains and colonias around La Paz.

Here is a copy of our schedule from this past week if you are interested to see all that we did. It is truly a blessing to be able to do something like this with youth from Mexico and the US:

Summer 2013 Ranch Intern Orientation

Saturday, June 8th

8:30am                 Leave for Cabo

12:17                      Arrive in Cabo/Lunch in Cabo

4:00                        Return to Ranch

4:30                        Un Trabajito

5:30pm                 Dinner at Ranch, Get to Know You Activity

7:30pm                 Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief

Sunday, June 9th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

9:30-11:30am     Church in Marquez

12:30                     Lunch at Ranch

2:00-5:00pm       Beach/Huddle Time-Our Prayer For You

6:30                        Dinner at Ranch

7:30pm                 Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief

Monday, June 10th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:30-10:30am     El Nopal: Cultural insights, vocabulary and a visit to the Market

12:00pm               Lunch at Ranch

1:00-2:30              Workshop: Ranch Life

3:00-4:00              Un Trabajito

4:30-6:00              Workshop: Ranch History, Mission, Vision, Culture

6:30                        Dinner at Ranch

7:30                        Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief

Tuesday , June 11th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:00am                 Prayer with Jazmin & Walk Up Mountain

9:30-10:30am     Workshop: Spiritual Formation

10:30-12:30pm  Solitude

12:30pm               Lunch

1:30-3:00pm       Workshop: Spiritual Formation/Process Solitude

3:30pm                 Leave for El Nopal

6:00-8:00pm       El Nopal: Spanish/cultural lessons

8:30pm                 Dinner on Malecon with Pizza

9:00pm                 Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief on Malecon

Wednesday , June 12th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:00-9:00am       Un Trabajito 

9:00-11:00am     Team Building with Enrique

11:30am               Leave for El Nopal

12:00- 2:00          El Nopal: Mexican cooking class/Lunch

3:00-4:30pm       Un Cafecito/Marquez Expectations

5:00-7:00pm       ESL Graduation Party @ DIF

8:00pm                 Dinner at Ranch

9:00pm                 Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief

Thursday, June 13th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:00am                 Ranch Day & Crew Day

5:30pm                 Leave for El Nopal

6:00-8:00pm       El Nopal: Spanish/ cultural lessons

8:30pm                 Dinner at Ranch

9:00pm                 Ranch Rule of Life, Worship, & Debrief

Friday, June 14th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:00am                 Leave for El Nopal

8:30-10:30am     El Nopal: Cultural insights, vocabulary and paseo

12:00pm               Lunch at Ranch

1:00pm                 Flex Time

4:00pm                 All Ranch Meeting/Dinner/Marquez Day Camp Orientation

10:00pm               Ranch Rule of Life and Worship

Saturday, June 15th

6:30am                 Wake Up/Morning Devotional/Breakfast

8:00am                 Work Crews: Kitchen and Food Purchase Training

12:00pm               Lunch at Ranch

1:00-3:00pm       Work Crews

4:00pm                 Fun Night Out

 

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Life or Death

Wordle: LiveA few weeks ago, I read Deuteronomy 30:11-20 and was really impacted by the entire passage (you can read it all here).  The last verses, especially, reminded me that running after anything other than God is really running after destruction.  “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life…”

In all honesty, the past month has been difficult for me.  I have been really, really missing friends.  You know, the kind that you just call up and freak out with when you discover a dead cat on your entry mat in the morning; or the kind you call and cry with when that very same day, you accidentally drive over another cat and have to watch it suffer and die.  Yeah, that was a bad day.  I miss my friends who have known me forever and heard me vent about a million things and still love me, even when we disagree with each other.  Yep, I miss you all.  To the point that sometimes I want to forget it all and move back.

I clearly need God to remind me that He is the one who blessed me with all of my friends, both the old ones and my new, beginning friendships here.  He is the one equipping me to submit to a new culture and discover a new way of friendship.  He led me to remember that He alone is my life.  Not friends, not family, not activities…those are incredible blessings, but they should not be the source of my life or my contentment.

With the little phrase “For the LORD is your life” as a recurring prayer, I had the opportunity to share the message at horse ministry a week ago.  I spoke about this Deuteronomy passage, (but only after seriously considering something else because “Deuteronomio” is hard to say in Spanish).  Seriously.  We talked about choices, played some fun games with silly choices, and then talked about the most important choice we ever make…Life or Death.  God or something else.  I was speaking to myself as much as anyone else there.  But then God did something that made my loneliness worth every second.  One of the adults who had come with some children was crying after the talk.  He told me it was a beautiful talk and that he wanted life but didn’t know how to draw near to God.  Miguel, one of our Ranch staff, was sitting with us, and he started sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Others in our community joined in, answering questions, and we were all soon rejoicing with our new brother in Christ.

We sang this song as a prayer.  And the Holy Spirit encouraged my heart.

Renuevame Señor Jesus, ya no quiero ser igual (Renew me, Lord Jesus, I don’t want to be the same)
Renuevame Señor Jesus, pon en mi tu corazon (Renew me, Lord Jesus, put your heart in mine)
Porque todo lo que hay dentro de mi (Because everything there is inside of me)
Necesita ser cambiado Señor (Needs to be changed, Lord)
Porque todo lo que hay dentro de mi corazon (Because everything there is in my heart)
Necesita mas de ti (Needs more of you)

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