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. 

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