40th Anniversary

February 15th of this year will mark the 40th year since the Ranch’s inauguration in 1981.

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There were few structures on the property; a house, a garage and of course, the famous line of hog pens that had been converted into dormitories, a kitchen for visiting groups and eventually the first classrooms of the special education school.

We know that there are many who have contributed to the success of these kids over the last four decades and there are many who are new to the Ranch. For some these pictures will be reminiscent and for others they will be a conversation topic when you come down to visit! We are truly grateful to everyone who supports us with their time, gifts, energy and prayers. Beginning February, we will post pictures and stories of the history of RSM on our website, Facebook and Instagram pages. Be sure to follow us so that you can see and hear how God has blessed us over the last 40 years.

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Playground Project

Playground Upgrade!

Wow!! Fabuloso!! Those are the bilingual expressions to use when you come and see our upgraded playground set. What a blessing for our kids. We had the ribbon cutting ceremony and a short but very important “speech” emphasizing how God shows His love to each one of us at Rancho Santa Marta through the love offerings from our supporters.

The children know that the funds to buy the playground set was from the memorial offerings for Angelina and that same love shown in her memory is also applicable to each one of them. God loves them and is His desire to bless them. Thank you for being part of that blessing. It was a super moment to celebrate life!!

Continue reading for older posts on this topic.

Thank you for helping us provide a new playground for the kids at the Ranch!

We’ve partnered with Pathways Community Church and Kids Around the World to build a new play structure at Rancho Santa Marta. Pathways Community Church in Santee, CA will be raising the funds and providing the labor to install the new structure. Kids Around the World is an organization that works with playground manufacturers, Parks & Rec Departments and School Districts to locate the highest quality playgrounds that are set to be removed and replaced in the United States. They are gently disassemble and completely refurbished down to the last bolt. These playgrounds are then ready for years and years of future play at a fraction of the cost of new playgrounds.

Why is a playground important?

The existing Ranch playground is over 30 years and is very tired. It’s made of wood and much of it has degraded considerably. A new Kids Around the World playground will be a welcomed change for the kids at the Ranch.

The Ranch has 40 children living full time at it’s orphanage and 250 students enrolled in the K-12 school. The playground is used everyday. It’s a highlight of the day for the kids. Play is important to them and impacts their lives. Play opens doors, drops barriers, expands minds, and heals wounds. All of these benefits are very much needed at the Ranch.

Our Goal: $20,000

What will the new playground look like?

Here are some examples of what the new playground could look like.

If you would like to donate to this cause, you can click the donate button below. Be sure to specify Playground Project when you donate! Thank you! 

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Ensenada House

Breaking Ground

We finally have some progress on the Ensenada house construction. We have hired a construction company in Ensenada to do the construction and it appears obtaining building permits can be a cumbersome and long task. We have the plans and the permit to build the outside walls as you can see in the picture. Let’s pray the other permits come in soon so they can start building the house and move in our students!

Conceptual Photos

We have plans for our Ensenada house and the total cost will be $150,000 dollars. Most of the major projects at the ranch have come to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its’ interruption of our groups coming down, so we are hoping to hire a contractor to construct this house and have it ready by the end of the summer so our university students can have a place to stay while they study in Ensenada. Please pray for the Ensenada house funding.

We again thank Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Walnut Creek, CA for their kickoff amount of $75,000 dollars for this project, which is half of the project! Our cup is half FULL! May God bless them and all the rest who decide to give! Thank you.

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Special Deliveries

Due to the pandemic, it has been difficult to buy bulk items for the ranch houses both in San Diego and in Ensenada, MX. Stores are limiting certain items in order to discourage hoarding and to allow these items to be available for more people. The problem we have and what stores do not understand (or other shoppers for that matter) is that we are buying groceries for over fifty people. We need certain items in bulk and some of those items are limited. Flour, rice, beans, and fish are some examples. Jim and Rhonda Bauer from Redding, CA asked how they could help in that situation and they were able to order items from both Costco and Walmart and have them delivered to our El Cajon office. From there we are able to transport the food to the Ranch. If you would like to join them in these special deliveries, send the items to our office with this name and address:

Bethesda Teaching Ministry 8000 Shir Mar Pl.
El Cajon, CA. 92021.

If you have any questions call our office at 619-258-1358. If possible, have the deliveries set up to arrive on weekdays. Our website has a complete list of food and other needs. Thank you for participating and thank you to Jim and Rhonda for initiating these care packages.

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Backpacks and Moving Mountains

Living under a pandemic one never knows how God will move people to support the ranch. With the new school year beginning and with news of online teaching recurring, we did not figure on the surprise that North Coast Church of Carlsbad had in store for our children and students. They announced to us that they were going to have another backpack and school supplies drive for us. In the former years they would have a collection site at their church that would run for three weeks; this year because of social distancing measures, they opened up the church for a drive-through backpack drive that would last only three hours. Should we be surprised that God moved and they received more backpacks during those three hours then they had from previous years of three weeks! Our children already have their new backpacks filled with pencils and paper ready to take on this new online school year. Thank you so much North Coast Church for being a blessing during these unpredictable times!!

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Summer Festivities

Our summer groups have cancelled, but our Mexican friends are filling in the gap to spoil our kids. We have two ladies from San Quintin, a city 60 miles south of us, who have fallen in love with the children here and are dedicated to serve in whatever way. Last month they bought pizzas and made spaghetti for all the houses and this last Saturday they brought an ice shaving machine and fruit mix to make raspados (snow cones) for the kids. It’s a sure thing when food is involved! Thank you Melissa and Alejandra!!

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Happy Birthday Victor!

Everyone who has come and who will come to the ranch will have met or will meet Victor. He has been with us for over 30 years now and even has a house named after him, the Victor House. He just celebrated his 43rd birthday. We have been hearing about his birthday since back in March. He reminds everyone that May 22 is his big day. It is a very special day for Victor. His birthday is so special to him that one summer in his teenage years, he would tell every group that his birthday was that week. He celebrated many birthdays that summer before we caught on to what he was doing. He’s an awesome guy and we love Victor. Happy 43rd birthday Victor!

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Día del Niño

After two weeks of Easter vacation, school began again on April 20th and just eight days later the kids thought they needed a break! Of course, because it’s the 30th of April, Día del Niño, a huge celebration in Mexico. And yes, we celebrated it! Julia and Rocio planned a hot dog bar-b-que for the children with games and a movie afterwards. The houses also celebrated with pizza and cupcakes.

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West Valley Presbyterian Church 2020

We thank the West Valley Presbyterian Church of Cupertino, CA for their labors of love last February.  The tasks assigned to them were definitely a challenge:  roofing and rough electrical in the new trades school classrooms, painting the gymnasium bathroom walls, digging holes!! crafts with the elementary classrooms and one day seminars with our ranch and school staff.  All this was accomplished with only fifteen adults!  Job well done!  Gracias!

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March COVID-19 Update

In case you are wondering, we are doing fine here at the ranch during this Coronavirus threat. The cases in our area have been few: three cases have been confirmed in Mexicali, a couple in Tijuana and there were thought to be some cases south of us in San Quintin, but it was a false alarm. Many churches in our town of San Vicente are not meeting and have gone to live streaming. Ensenada has a shortage of toilet paper, meat, water, wipes and other items that are deemed essential for the quarantine. The schools in the state of Baja California have been cancelled and the classes have gone online. This has also been the case for Colegio Santa Marta. We have no students coming to the school, but our teachers are working hard to send the assignments online.

They will not return to school until after Easter break, April 20th. This, of course, depends on the virus situation in our area at that time. Thank you for your prayers. We can feel the anxiousness in the air, but have not seen any cases in our immediate area thus far. We are expecting the virus to get closer and we have a quarantine plan in place. We have spoken to our staff, who come in every day, and have advised them to be very cautious of those they come in touch with in town and to keep a safe distance from those here at the ranch. Attached are a couple: one is Hector, a house parent at the ranch, reading to several of our ranch kids. The other is Rafael, our special education Down syndrome student working on an assignment with his mother. Enjoy!

Hector, a houseparent at the ranch, reading to several of our ranch children.
Rafael working on an assignment with his mother.

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