Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shake, Rattle and Roll!

This year at Refuge Ranch started with a whole lot of shaking and rattling and we are ready to God's grace, in His strength and according to His will in 2015!

The Lord truly blessed our family and the ministry at Refuge Ranch with the visit of an incredible work team from Pennsylvania, here from January 10-17.  The team consisted of 10 high school seniors from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School and six adults, including fearless leaders Jen and Beth, as well as Dave Moyer, his machines and guys!

Six years ago, the Lord led Dave, owner of a construction company in Pennsylvania, to invest his knowledge, time and resources in the lives and ministry of Refuge Ranch.  The land, and our lives, have not looked the same since!  Through connections at Volvo, Dave gets three huge earth moving machines which he and his guys use for the whole week to move tons and tons and tons of dirt, transforming our land to better enable us to transform lives!  That's where the shaking and rattling came from...the machines working actually make the windows on our current home rattle and you can feel the earth shake!

The youth on the team worked incredibly hard and painted the outside of our current home, as well as the other building at Refuge Ranch, which houses staff rooms, our school, the medical crusade warehouse and our dining room.  I thought those buildings were white, until they got painted!  Now they ARE white and look beautiful!

After that, the team finished pouring the last portions of the cement footers for the main house and even helped tie the first rebar footers, as well as bending lots and lots of rebar for the foundation.  It was amazing!
Bending rebar
Tying the first rebar footers for the new house!  (Notice: my Mom makes a great rebar supervisor! :-)
The new house with all the footers poured and the first rebar being laid.
In the two weeks since the team shared their lives with us, the Lord has revealed to me a parallel of the work done that week and the shaking up that He is doing in my own life.  On one of those first afternoons, our kids stood horrified as they watched Dave and his guys tear down the three trees standing in our playground area, dismantle the slide and swings and turn the only grass on our property into a dustbowl.  One by one, our children came to me with reprimanding voices, tiny hands on their hips, demanding to know what was going on and why I was permitting such destruction!  I calmly explained the vision of the new park: at least 5 times as large as the old park, totally flat and with sufficient room for the slide, swings, and teeter-totter, as well as new playground equipment and a soccer field, all with nice grass!  They stopped their complaining, but by no means were they convinced of our seeming madness.

You see, I have a very clear vision in my mind for what the new park will look like, and the utter confidence that it will come to be, so watching trees go and grass disappear do not bother me, nor does putting up with lots and lots of dust or the lack of a playground for now.  I can clearly see where we are heading and understand the reason for the apparent destruction.  Our kids don't have that same vision...they just have to trust!  Where the kids see destruction, I see construction!

I realized that many times recently I had come into devotions or near to the throne of God with the same reprimanding voice and my not-so-little hands stuck firmly on my hips as I demanded that God explain to me the apparent destruction He was allowing in certain areas of my life.  All I could see were trees toppling and grass disappearing and seeming nothingness replace what had appeared to be green and growing.  Then, one day, He gently reminded me:  He has a vision of what is coming!  He knows that to bring to completion those good and perfect plans for my life, there are other things that need to be removed, changed, and transformed first.  To my eyes, and my heart, it looks, and feels, like a whole lot of destruction.  Pointless and painful destruction.  Just like my kids felt that we were destroying their play area, I sometimes feel that God allows things to enter my life that threaten to utterly destroy me.  But, just as I, their mother, tried my best to comfort them that I have a greater, more beautiful plan in mind, and nearly begged that they trust me, my Heavenly Father knows that He has a greater, more beautiful plan in mind, and begs me in His Word to trust Him!

I know, by faith, that our main house and the accompanying playground will one day be finished, yet I really have very little power to fulfill such a promise.  My Heavenly Father promises to finish what He has started in my life, but, unlike me, He has the power to fulfill that promise!

In the meantime, construction, whether on the land or in our hearts, is just plain messy!  But, bring it on...there's some building going on around here and when the dust settles the playground, the house...and I...will be just beautiful!

"...being confident of this, 
that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion 
until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6


Enjoy these pictures showing part of the transformation process at Refuge Ranch!  I assure you that similar transformations are simultaneously occurring in the lives and hearts of our children....just can't take pictures of those processes!

The playground and new house area in May 2014...less than a year ago!

The playground and new house area being transformed by Dave and his crew: January 2015.

This is Refuge Ranch in 2008.  In this picture we weren't even using the second story of our current home yet.
This is Refuge Ranch today...literally TODAY (I took this picture this morning!).  The new house construction is on the left (incomplete in this picture), with the new parking area, the graveled ramp up to our current home..and the school/staff/warehouse/dining room building is just off camera to the right.

This is what transformation looks and sounds like!