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 fiancé 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... 

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