|Our Family, the Current Family, ready for a wedding in Mexico that we attended with the Zaragozas! |
Our family was privileged to spend two weeks at Refuge Ranch this past June. It took about two minutes to fall hopelessly in love with every member of the Zaragoza family. During our stay, Refuge Ranch became home to us. The five of us kept busy helping out as staff at the Ranch while there.
During the majority of the week, Don and our 12 year old sons, Don and Darrel, did LOTS of manual labor. They cut and bent rebar, dug footers for the new home, cleaned the trash bins out and hauled the trash to the dump...and got lots of blisters on their hands! Don actually wore through a BRAND NEW pair of LEATHER gloves!
|Don and the boys digging footers for the new main house!|
|...and now to bend the rebar!|
Our sons were excited to see their arm strength increase....all their buddies were at sports camps all summer....but the boys certainly did not miss out on strength training! They also did not miss out on soccer camp! During every break time in school...and after school, you could find a majority of the boys around the yard playing soccer!
|Don, Leo and Miguel practicing their soccer technique.|
Danielle, our 7 year old daughter, and I did not partake in too much manual labor but we were exhausted none-the-less by evening time! Well, at least I was!!! Danielle doesn't get exhausted too often! Every morning after the kids were off to school and the house quieted down a bit Julie would give me several projects to work on throughout the day. Since she knew I love to organize she gave me the challenge to organize the family's toys, movies and school files. I also worked on weeding the small garden that is by the kitchen. Danielle and I worked on the kids 'TV watching' chart....a clever idea to try to control how much TV the kiddos watch.
|David was thrilled because his name got included on the new TV chart....|
and Mommy Julie is thrilled because the chart is so much better now!
|The first week that the Current family served at the Ranch, most of the Ranch staff was on an Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade, so I even got to help cook!|
I had brought a few crafts to do with the kids during our stay. Once I got those out several of the kids would ask each day "When is activity time? What will we do for an activity today?" I had been so happy with myself to think of a few crafts to bring down....and then quickly noted that if ten children or so (some of the kids are just 'too mature' to do crafts!) want to do a craft EVERYDAY...that will eat up a LOT of supplies!! I sent out a facebook plea to my friends asking what I could do with my meager supplies I had left! We ended up painting rocks with nail polish (a big creative hit!), making play dough, painting metal washers with nail polish...and making duct tape crafts (with fun patterned duct tape that I had brought down.) Several of the kids thrived during this craft time. Lots of creativity!
|Fidel, Ruth and Danielle working during craft time! To say that the kids loved this time is a huge understatement!|
|Alejandro really blossomed during craft time! It served as a great motivator for him to hurry up and get his school work done, helped keep his endless energy directed in healthy ways and gave him an opportunity to truly shine!|
Julie mentioned while we were there that she was just grateful that her kids had someone else to love them and whom they could depend on because she and Victor just can not do everything on their own with such a houseful of kids.
SO....it's not about the bending rebar or making play dough. What this 'mission' was about was LOVING. This big, beautiful, real family let us into their lives. We all fell in love with each other even with our messed up morning hair or when milk was spilled all over the breakfast table or a kiddo had a melt down..we still loved.
LOTS OF LOVE!
|Danielle and Angie|
|Miguel, Josiah, Darrel and Don playing an incredible board game!|
|Ana and Danielle|
|Darrel and Josiah discussing Nerf guns....serious conversation!|
|Joce and Don making quesadillas for the family!|
|Joce and Dyan|
I would encourage you to come see Refuge Ranch. Come serve. Come love.