Friday, December 9, 2016

November 2016 Ministry Update - Falling Off Nyssa and Starting Bible Studies!

This month started off with a bang, or whatever sound you imagine when someone hits the ground while falling off of a horse… After a little over a month of working on the ground with Nyssa, I felt like she was ready to be ridden, and so I got on her for the first time. She accepted me like she’d done it a million times when I first got on, and took 5 calm steps before she felt too off-balance and decided she needed me off of her…

If you review the video several times (as I have, occasionally frame-by-frame because it's even funnier in slow motion), you can see that she’s actually started to settle down about the time I’ve completely lost my own balance. It wasn’t the LEAST painful fall I’ve had, but other than a couple bruises from the horn and a need for some self chiropractic care for my hips, I was fine, and never happier to have decided to set my phone up to record the event.

The next time I got on her, it went a lot better. We took it a couple steps at a time and even though she felt off-balance again under my weight, she stayed calm and we piled praises on her for doing so well. M and I are both SUPER excited about that and her future as a Ranch horse. She’s very smart and catches on pretty quickly to whatever we ask of her.

The second week in November I got to take a little break from the Ranch to go and visit my fiancĂ© and then go to a women’s conference! It was nice to get some rest, and I’m so thankful to Lu and N for feeding my baby kitten while I was gone, and for a friend who picked me up to the bus station to go to the conference!

One of the recurring themes in my life seems to be brokenness as I often feel broken in many different ways which also makes me feel like I’m not good enough or that I can’t serve as well as I could if I were whole. Sure enough, the focus of the conference was on brokenness and how we shouldn’t be afraid to keep living even as we’re broken and that we can still serve and love and be loved no matter how broken our hearts may be.

At the end of the conference, one of the women shared (half-jokingly) about how everything there had been specifically for her and how she was glad we’d been there for “her” healing time. We laughed, but I couldn’t help but to have felt the same way, as it seemed like everything that was said, sung, and done spoke directly to me. God is really cool like that.

There was plenty of time for laughter and fun at the conference as well!

This month, we also started up with girls and boys horse/Bible studies. We decided to launch into incorporating the horses into ministry by combining the girls Bible study with horse lessons. Then, as there has been an ongoing need for a boys Bible study (that doesn’t involve soccer since not all the boys in the community play and some are too young to join the teams), we also started a boys Bible study doing the same thing.

It has been AWESOME! I take a group of kids in the barn and teach them something about horses and then Jon teaches Scripture that goes along with that lesson. We spent the first three weeks in I Corinthians 12, talking about how we all have different spiritual gifts that are all equally important, how there are different parts of the body, and how we need to take care of the body of Christ. So, in the barn we talked about the different brushes (they all have different purposes but are all equally important), the parts of the horse, and basic horse care (we need to take care of the other members of the body of Christ) which involved listening to the Zoeva’s heart and stomach sounds as well as taking her temperature.

After that, we had a review day during which the kids were able to win prizes for memorizing the Bible verse (Lo cierto es que hay muchos miembros, pero el cuerpo es uno solo. 1 Corintios 12:20… Where’s my prize?!?), and for winning the games. We had a relay race to find the correct brush, a Healthy/Unhealthy challenge (if the horse has green stuff and blood coming from her nose, is she healthy or unhealthy?), and they had to tape the names of the parts of the body onto the horse.

J leads the boys in worship.

The boys loved brushing Zoeva!

Zoeva gets a full-body beauty treatment from the girls Bible study!

I think she wins the most tolerant horse of the year award!

Race back to the pole, but did you grab the right brush?

Needless to say, this month has been AMAZING, and ended with two Thanksgiving meals, one at the Ranch which was INCREDIBLE and one at the church with the other missionaries which was a lot of crazy fun! I’m so excited for everything that December has in store for me!

This little one was a bit intimidated by all the older girls,
so she brushed Sheeba with N. Dogs need some loving with brushes, too!

Prayer requests:
- For my fiance and I as we continue to learn to love and respect each other more, and as we struggle with the long distance and as we prepare to do all of our wedding planning in two weeks in December.
- For the sales events we've been invited to, that they would be a blessing to the students.
- For the boys and girls Bible studies, that the kids would come with soft hearts and minds open to receive the gospel and that J and I would have wisdom while teaching these precious ones about horses and God.
- For the continued training of Nyssa and for the connection we made during the conference to be fruitful so we can get some more good Ranch horses.
- For peace and comfort for me as I head into the Christmas season away from my family and normal traditions.
- For the funds to come in to finish the staff house so I can move in!

Last year I planted some strawberry seeds from some store-bought strawberries,
and now I've got a strawberry developing! They love the cooler mountain weather!

If you are interested in supporting me financially, you may do so online or by check.

Online: Visit and click the “Donate” button on the sidebar to give through PayPal. Make sure you include my name and your email address so the funds can be directed to me.

By check: Make checks payable to “RO4Y” and include a note with my name and your email address, then send the checks to: Rancho Oasis for Youth, P.O. Box 1853, Mason City, IA 50401.

To give specifically to the completion of the staff house, make a note on your check or when giving online!

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Beginnings – October 2016 Ministry Update

This past month has seen a lot of new beginnings, and has been awesome! After spending some time in the States and some time in Nicaragua, I arrived back at the Ranch at the end of September and started gearing up for my first full year of ministry at Rancho Oasis for Youth!

Before I got to the Ranch, however, I got ENGAGED! I’m so thankful to God for bringing me to a wonderful man who loves the Lord and encourages me in my own walk in so many ways. I get more excited every day for everything that God has planned for our future together!

After taking me by horse-drawn carriage to the lake, he brought me to the top of an old fort
where he asked me to marry him and gave me my mom's engagement ring set with a new stone.

The day I arrived at the Ranch, there was another arrival, a surprise baby goat. His mom sort of rejected him (she herself had been rejected as a kid) and so I spent the first few weeks of his life holding her so he could eat. And, a couple weeks after he was born, we had three more surprise babies, a pair of twins and another single kid. These two mamas are great, though, and watching the four kids play together has been SO much fun!

Twins! A boy and a girl!

Our only black goat gave us another to match her!

Before his friends got big enough to play, this little guy hung out with me a lot.

 On October 20th, there were four kittens born to one of the barn cats, all calico girls. When they were just over two weeks old, the mother decided to move them from the barn, but left one behind, so I took her in. Keeping her fed (with goat’s milk out of a dropper) has been a lot of work, but it’s also been a huge blessing because it’s been so long since I’ve had an indoor cat, and for those of you who don’t know, I absolutely love cats.

I also spent much of this month refreshing Nyssa on her training. M had been working with her since she was a baby but hadn’t been able to actually ride her yet, so I started working several times a week with the young horse and could see that she definitely remembered her training. By the end of the month, she was ready to be ridden, but there were certainly some bumps and bruises along the way… Like the first day of training when she got overly frustrated and kicked me pretty hard in the leg… To her surprise and dismay, I worked her even harder after that.

Day 1: Getting her moving and remembering what she'd learned before!

Day 1, Later: Things didn't quite go as planned... But at least it's pretty! 

Trying to get her used to my weight on her... She wasn't a fan of me hopping onto her...

Ready to take the next step to being a Ranch pony!

Trade school started up again, but since this year they hadn’t sold quite as much as in previous furloughs and since “baby cinco” is coming soon, we decided to stick with having the students come just to turn in the beads they had rolled during the week and to dip the previous week’s beads in varnish. I also lead a simple devotion with them which has been a huge blessing to me as well.

M created some lists of work projects that need to be done around the Ranch, one for general things and the other for the animals. I got to organize and prioritize them and now that we’re more organized with our needs, we’ve been able to focus on our priorities and are excited to both check things off the list as they get done, and add more things to really get the Ranch to where we know it can be. It’s a long process when there’s a lot of work but not many workers!

I got some lead ropes and rope halters made and then put in the nails to hang them!

In our staff Bible study on Wednesdays, we are going through the book of Colossians, and it’s been amazing so far. One day we talked about grace, and what it meant. One of the questions to ask ourselves was “What is an example of God’s grace in your life?” Of course I thought immediately of how He brought a group of people together to support my ministry here, and that’s a great example of grace, but I couldn’t think of any little, everyday examples.

The very next day as I was cutting a freshly-cut tree branch on a miter saw for a couple of projects, something happened and the small block of wood I was holding still got sucked into the saw along with my hand. I believe it was the plastic guard I had been holding up with my other thumb that came down and smashed my thumb, but it happened so fast that all I know for sure is that my thumb was smashed but still fully intact.

Praise God that my thumb was not as chewed up at the piece of wood I was cutting.
(The orange on my nail is polish; all I suffered was the tiny cut at the base of the nail.)

As I sat down to avoid passing out from the pain/adrenaline, I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed by God’s grace in such a small thing as a thumb. Although it was so painfully swollen I had to take some ibuprofen to sleep for a couple of nights and had to re-learn how to do simple things like unbuttoning my pants for a week or so, I am SO grateful to God because it could have been SO much worse. Now it’s already healed up quite a bit and am just waiting to see if I’m going to be growing a new nail or not.

Once the polish came off, I found it a lot more bruised than I had thought...

A little worse for wear but not a bit deterred, I’m looking forward to what the next month has in store for me as I serve God here in Ojojona, Honduras!

Sometimes while you do your nails on a Saturday afternoon, it turns into a nail party!

Please be praying:
-          For my fiancĂ© and I as we plan our wedding from two different countries and for our relationship to continue to get stronger as we prepare to be married.
-          For sales on the Etsy store for the trade school students so they can earn money and reach their goals.
-          For our search for more horses for the Ranch, that God allows us to connect with the right people and find the right horses.
-          For the girl’s Bible study as we begin to incorporate horses into the Bible lessons.
-          For the finances to come in for the staff house to be completed.

Are you my mother?
Sheeba, the Ranch dog, thinks she's very helpful with the baby goat.

If you are interested in supporting me financially, you may do so online or by check.

Online: Visit and click the “Donate” button on the sidebar to give through PayPal.
Make sure you include my name and your email address so the funds can be directed to me.

By check: Make checks payable to “RO4Y” and include a note with my name and your email
address, then send the checks to: Rancho Oasis for Youth, P.O. Box 1853, Mason City, IA 50401.

Can you spot my assistant?

Lizards can give some great horse training advice sometimes... 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Free Falling (August/September Ministry Update)

When you take a leap of faith, that means that you're probably going to do some free-falling at some point, and it is both terrifying and exhilarating, but that's coming from an adrenaline junkie... I remember well sky-diving and that feeling of falling through the air and not knowing with 100% certainty that it was going to end well. Such was how I spent most of my summer, but in a different way.

Once I returned to Michigan, the real work began on raising support. My mom is AMAZING and helped set me up with four different places to speak: two churches, and two church groups. She also threw me a birthday party in which I invited family and friends to hear what I had to say and offered them a chance to ask questions about the ministry I'll soon be doing.

After a long couple of days of travel, my mom met me in the airport! :D

Some of the places I went and the people I interacted with offered me one-time donations, which I gladly accepted and was excited about for covering everything that I buy in Michigan because it's cheaper and/or only available there, including a new computer since my previous one was on it's last leg already and then the screen started going...

Lola is not a huge fan of being held... 

But, up until just a few days before I was leaving for a quick vacation to Nicaragua before returning to Honduras, I was still lacking some of the ongoing monthly support that I would need to complete the work God has for me. Even though I was trusting God to provide everything for me that I needed, it was still scary to feel that free-falling and not being 100% it would turn out as I had expected. I started wondering if I would need to return to the States for more fund-raising.

But, God did provide for me, through an unexpected blessing from someone I had never met before at one of the churches and a relative coming through just a couple days before I flew out.

Spotted a double rainbow while hanging out with my brothers, a reminder that God is faithful.

Now I'm safe in God's arms and have all of the monthly support that I need to pursue God's plan for my life to reach out and help the youth in Ojojona, Honduras. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do full-time ministry and am so thankful to everyone who has committed to supporting me.

In a few days, I will be back at the Ranch and will launch myself into the work there. I have to organize things to begin discipling the young women that work at the Ranch and begin training the younger horse already at the Ranch. We'll also be looking for two more horses which will also need to be acclimated to the Ranch and may need some additional training depending on where we get them from. That's in addition to helping M get ready for another year of Trade School and J with another year of girls' Bible study and everything else that goes on at the Ranch.

Family photo that was WAY overdo! :D

This rest (which didn't involve as much resting as I would have liked, but that's just how it goes sometimes) was awesome and I'm so grateful for the time I got to spend with family and friends, but I'm also excited to get back to work, too!

Super excited about learning to play my new violin, a birthday present from my boyfriend!

Please be praying:
- That we find the right horses for the Ranch at the right price.
- That I'm able to work with Nissa (the younger horse) and get her properly trained. I've never trained a horse from the ground up before.
- That I'm able to connect with the young women at the Ranch in order to disciple them well.
- That the girls that come to girls' Bible study come with the intent to learn and that J and I are able to teach them in wisdom.
- That I transition back to life at the Ranch quickly to be as effective of a servant as possible.
- That my relationship with my boyfriend continues to bring glory to God.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June Ministry Update - My First Week at the Ranch!

I have just completed my first week at the Rancho Oasis 4 Youth and it has been quite the adventure already. Here's an outline of my first week here serving at this ministry. 


Lu from the Ranch and a missionary friend of mine from San Pedro showed up early at my apartment to help me move. We drove together to the Ranch, stopping only for a lunch break, and then got everything into my room. I got all of my clothes into my dresser and left my kitchen stuff to one of the other staff members to sort through and add to their kitchen as needed or to leave what they wouldn't use in the boxes. She had a talk with J and M that evening and is now taking a break from the Ranch, which means some of her responsibilities have now fallen to me.
 I'm already good friends with Daisy, who is responsible for keeping other dogs off the property with her big barks and sleeping in the holes that she digs around the yard.


We went to church in Tegucigalpa (the capital city of Honduras which is about an hour drive from the Ranch) and had lunch together afterwards. I then went with Lu to the mall to try to get internet on my phone which turned into a long wait at the phone store and then a failure to withdraw money from my bank account (forgot my PIN since I so rarely use it here) and buying just enough to get me through. Then we went grocery shopping which was great because I had left all of my frozen and refrigerated goods at the apartment in my roommate's fridge... Oops. 


M wasn't feeling well, so I watched the youngest two kids for a couple hours while she slept. Then, she went up to the barn with me where we talked until lunch about what I could be doing and what the vision of the Ranch for me was and all that fun stuff. In the afternoon we had our staff meeting where we looked at the calendar for the week and the next couple of months.

 One of the does, who reminds me so much of my goat Freedom I had in MI.


I got in and started cleaning horse tack which had been sitting and getting covered in mold for a few years. I made it through all of the bridles, taking them apart, carefully cleaning and oiling them and then putting them back together. Fortunately, I had the assistance of the boy (age 5) and P (age 3) who used q-tips to get in the little holes and then played with the kittens while I worked with the sponge on the bigger parts.

 Introducing: Luke Skywalker, Tornado, Growltiger, and Jo-Jo.


I helped clean the barn out and learned from O who's been in charge of the animals how they rotate the goats around the property. Because we lack proper fencing all the way around, the goats are kept on long ropes and are moved throughout the day, though the horses are free to wander. Then, I went to work on the saddles that were there and finished the wiping down and soaping up parts of the cleaning. The English saddle had been lovingly cleaned by M a couple years ago and has been stored in a wooden trunk since then so it was in great condition. The Western saddle, on the other hand, had been out in the open and needed a LOT of TLC, as you can see. That afternoon, we had Bible Study with the staff, which included the missionaries and the Honduran staff. Since it ended up just being J and I with the Hondurans (Lu wasn't feeling well and M was watching the kids), we conducted the whole Bible Study in Spanish. 

P following Nick to the barn; there's always an adventure to be had at the Ranch!


I spent the whole morning oiling the Western saddle. It took over an hour for one of the straps in particular, which was so stiff I was afraid it would snap if I bent it. It's not perfect yet, but it's flexible now after a lot of rubbing in the oil and flexing it. I then started taking inventory of the horse supplies and getting a list together of everything that we'd need to move forward. We had guests at the Ranch that day, the pastor's family from church, and so they made fried chicken on the stove, and since I was the lucky one who had to do the dishes that day, spent a couple hours doing that. Later that afternoon, M, Lu, and I met for our women's Bible study and they shared their testimonies, which was really cool to hear. We ran out of time, so I'll be sharing mine next week when we also decide how we'll proceed in the fall (Lu leaves for her furlough in a couple weeks). 


It's mango season, and the family likes to buy 600 mangoes for a good price from O's family, which all have to be cut up, dried or frozen for use throughout the year. I volunteered to help, and so spent a couple hours cutting mangoes with M. Then I was able to finish taking inventory in the barn and have a couple lists together of things we need and things to do. I also met with J that morning to go over the lesson for girls Bible study, which I then spent the early afternoon preparing for. The girls arrived later in the afternoon and after a time of worship together, J took the 3 Jr. High girls outside and I had 12 elementary-aged girls to myself, along with Lu as an assistant. The kids were also there, except for P. Because the girls didn't know me and because they're used to a teaching style that's more focused on listening and copying than discussions, it was painful to get them to answer the questions I had about the passage in John we were reading about Jesus being the Bread of Life. But, I did get some answers and I felt like they did get something out of it, so it was good. We also did a craft in which we made a paper chain with Bible verses that they will (hypothetically and hopefully) read throughout the week. It was a lot of fun, though, and I trust that as I'm there more often, they'll warm up to me more and get used to being able to answer questions.


 .... And after!

That brings us around to today, when there aren't any ministry things going on so I can relax a bit. I will be building shelves out of boards and cinder blocks so I can finish unpacking, but that's about all I have to do today. After a much busier week with more physical and outdoor work than I'm used to, it's nice to have a more chill day where I can get stuff done without worrying too much about sticking to a schedule. 

Please be praying:
- For the staff member that is taking time off, that God would guide her to make the right decision with whether or not she continues at the Ranch. She is a vital member of the team, but is also struggling with wanting to be here full-time. 
- For my body to fully adjust to my work here and the change in altitude. I've been sleeping 9+ hours a night and still wake up feeling tired.
- For God to place desires on people's hearts to become monthly supporters when I return after my trip to Michigan in August. 

Praise for:
- Being fully-funded for this summer vision-mapping trip!!!
- Arriving safely here and being off to a great start. I already love everybody here and am thoroughly enjoying everything about the Ranch. 
- Having fairly-priced and well-working internet on my phone which allows me to stay in contact with the people I love. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Giant Leap of Faith

Over the last few months, there have been some interesting developments in my life, and I can now very excitedly announce... I'M CHANGING MINISTRIES!!!

My days at the school will be over as soon as the school year ends, and then I'll be moving to a small village about an hour south of the capital city of Tegucigalpa and about 6 hours from where I am now. I will be working alongside a missionary family who have a ministry there known as Rancho Oasis for Youth, where they do a variety of ministries with the people they work with, but I will be focusing on building up their animal program.

Over the summer, I will be on a vision mapping trip, in which I'll be getting to know everyone better and coming up with a more exact plan on what my job there will look like on a day-to-day basis. Right now, I know I'll be working with the horses to get them ready for kids to ride, and the goats (and probably chickens) to start a sustainability and animal care program for the community.

Here are a couple videos to give you a better idea of what the Rancho Oasis for Youth is all about. The first one is older but has a good overview of everything they do, and the second one is more up-to-date and will show you what they're doing right now.

Although I'm INCREDIBLY excited about this opportunity, I'm also terrified because it means a lot of changes, including the need to generate my own support. I've been self-supported during my entire time in Honduras so far between working at the school and working online (freelance writing). Now, God is asking me to make a huge leap of faith and trust that He's going to provide for me while I do the work that He has for me.

After much prayer and some dragging of my heels, I have stepped away from nearly all of my online jobs and am fully believing that God is going to supply all of my needs. I'm currently believing for $1000 for my vision mapping trip that will last from June 18 through July 30. This will cover all of my living and moving expenses. I'm also believing for monthly support of $750.

During the month of August and the first week of September, I will be in Michigan on furlough visiting family and friends and getting more support. If you would like me to meet with you, your church, or another group to share my vision, please let me know so I can start filling up my calendar. I'm eager to share the vision God has given me with others.

Please pray about supporting me, either financially or prayerfully. As I am stepping out in faith, I know that the enemy will come against me and so I am asking for your prayer support as well to keep me strong while I serve the Lord in Ojojona, Honduras.

Here's how you can give financially, whether you are giving a one-time gift for my vision mapping trip or want to give monthly to support my ongoing ministry:

My PayPal:
My Google Wallet:

Please note that giving to me directly is NOT tax deductible.

To donate through the Ranch, visit: and click their "donate" button in the sidebar.

By check:
P.O. Box 1853
Mason City, IA 50401

These gifts are tax deductible, and please be sure to include your email address so they can send you your monthly statement and include my name when giving.

I will now be keeping my blog updated much more often so that supporters can see what I'm up to and be aware of my prayer needs as those arise. If you would like to receive email notifications when I upload a new blog, please let me know and I will create an email list to send out with links to updated blogs.

Thank you in advance, and may God bless you!

Please be praying:
- That those who God has called to support me answer the call.
- That everything goes well as I begin packing everything in preparation to move.
- That I finish the school year well and continue pouring into my students until the very end.
- That God would give me peace of mind as I go through this big transition.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Should Things Be Open 24/7 (Blog Posts by 3rd Graders)

These blog posts were all written and then typed out by my 3rd graders. We were studying blog posts in their spelling class, so I figured I might as well let them actually create a blog post. The topic was supposed to be an opinion piece on whether or not we should have either stores, restaurants, or offices open 24/7, but a few of them got a little off topic. Enjoy!

my name is juan jose I have 8 years old I stay in the school of eagles christian academy I am in 3grade.

I talk only for the nature.
my opinion is we need to help the nature for are good for the planet.
my question is are you stay recycle

my name is angeles i am 8 years old i am in the school of eagle christian academy i am 3 grade

i talk only of offices open 24/7 it is bad because the animals has to much light my opinion is bad for the animals question for reader do you thing that the animals like the light 24/7 if you were a animal you dont like it and love the animals i have 4 dogs,4 cats,4 turtle,4 hamsters.

donovan you the 9

the police have more monkey. the police have more prisioner. i think offices open 24/7 is a good/idea. do police work at niht?

my name is astrid  i love go to scool.

the  people have  jungre 7:00 the  restaurant  make more mone. i think it a good idea to have restaurant  24/7. wy restaurat open ol the time?

My name is Miss Melody. I am 100 years old. I am the teacher of 3rd grade and 4th grade.

When stores are open 24/7, it uses a LOT of electricity. That is bad for the environment. I think stores should close at night. Do you think people need to go shopping in the middle of the night?

my name is jahir I eat hamburger and baleadas andpizza is delicions

good the store 24/7day eat 30/percent hours go store yes money. ISgood have things incredible.

what things do you use for video
you eatin the video
what is your productor

my name ios jose. a lake baketol

 the stores have 30 persentu hours i think stores open 24/7 is a good idea do you think it good to have storer open 24/7

Thanks for reading! Please be praying for these precious ones as they continue to learn and grow