One of our goals for our ranch children is to teach them how to serve and give to others. They constantly receive gifts, food, clothes, school items, etc., from our faithful friends from the states. This is not a bad thing and we appreciate those gifts of love, but our children tend to expect those things from the groups. Life is about serving others and we want to teach that to our children.
Crosspoint Community Church from Modesto, CA, is the one and only group that comes down to the ranch in January to brave the unpredictable Baja California weather. They have been coming since 1989! One year there was so much rain that it washed the San Vicente bridge out and they had no way to get back to Modesto. They stayed over for several days so the water in the riverbed could lower and allow traffic to pass through.
Johnny and Mia Marcon are leaders of a group from Orange County, CA. Here is how Johnny describes his group:
“Our New Year’s group is a conglomeration of friends and families from Orange County with a long history coming down to the ranch. The group started with Crown Valley Church in the 90’s and has since grown to include members of several local churches, including Grace Church of Laguna Niguel and Branches OC. This group enjoys putting on a multi-day VBS program in town for both the ranch children and the local San Vicente children. Their self proclaimed strength is cement work, and they flexed their muscles by completing a new patio, sidewalk, bathroom footing and walkway in less than 4 days!”
We are hoping this rainy season will break the 5-year drought that we have been going through. We have had rain the past years, but not the amount that is normal for this region. It has been a good start this year and we hope and pray it continues throughout January, February and March. Rain creates a muddy mess here at the ranch, but the children do not mind. They love the rain because that means the possibility of no classes and the opportunity to play in the puddles and make mud pies!!
What a super Christmas our children had the 25th! This Christmas was just a reflection of how you have been faithful to this ministry this past year. Thank you for caring for these children. You bring a smile to their faces. We praise the Lord for His goodness through you. Have a wonderful New Year and we look forward to serving along with you. God Bless You!
Last Friday was a busy day at the ranch, especially for the teachers. Friday was the last school day of the year and it was a celebration! There was fun and food for all to enjoy. Piñatas for many of the groups, games and gifts too. Rain began to fall, but that didn’t stop the play as they moved under the protection of the gymnasium roof. The teachers were tired and some were even sick, but that Friday evening we gathered for our staff Christmas party.
We had the privilege of hosting Calvary Assembly of God Church from Lomita, CA, a couple of weekends ago. They have been faithful supporters of the ranch for many years, but have not actually taken a group down for at least eight years. Welcome back! They arrived on Thursday afternoon and left on Monday morning so they had two full work days to create a huge mural in Mateo and Angel’s new room. They worked and played hard! The walls were painted and the mural is made up of a combination of the “Land Before Time” dinosaur characters and the “Nemo” stars. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedules to come visit and minister to our ranch kids. We hope to see you soon (and yes, Pastor John too)!!
Our Savior Lutheran Church of Lafayette, CA and Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church of Orinda, CA have been involved with Rancho Santa Marta from it’s foundational year. Dick & Nancy Anderson and Pastor John Valentine met Bill & Kaye Lawrence in Colonia Guerrero at an orphanage that they were directing. When the Lawrence’s left that orphanage, Dick and Nancy and the congregation of Our Savior Lutheran followed. Pastor John of Holy Shepherd Lutheran came aboard and they have been vital in the structural layout of the ranch and it’s buildings. Their visits are usually twice a year splitting the teams up into a youth service week and the adult/family week. Thank you for your visit last October. Victor house walls and doors are finally painted and we have new curtains for many of our classrooms. Your time spent with the children in the afternoons was memorable. Thank you to both churches and we look forward to another visit in 2017!
We enjoyed a nice, HOT weekend with Village Bible Church of Garden Grove, CA. Just so happened that the major jobs for them were roofing in that wonderful heat. They did a great job with no complaints. One of the little boys dorms needed shingles stripped off and then rolled roofing torched down. The patio covering over the visitors kitchen needed a complete overhaul with roofing and plywood needing replacement and then some demo work with our old snack bar building. That old building will be torn down so we can construct a bigger public restroom for visitors and for the students. Thank you Village Bible Church for your faithfulness and continued support for Santa Marta. We look forward to seeing more of your happy faces. Blessings, Rod & Tina
Pathways Community Church visited the Ranch with a work group of 32 in late September. They worked hardand accomplished much. Included in their accomplishments was the donation and installation of kitchen cabinets for the new Victor House. The cabinets were purchased with a $9,300 grant from the Santee-Lakeside Rotary Club. In addition to the kitchen cabinets, the group worked on relocating bricks to the gym project, painting school buildings and the Victor House interior, sewing curtains for the school office, improving the sewer treatment plant. While the group worked hard on projects, they also spent time organizing activities for the kids of the Ranch. “Huge” soccer ball game, Home Depot wordworking crafts, facepainting, cross necklaces, moonsand and friendship bracelets. We appreciate all that Pathways did for the Ranch!