Last night we heard about what we were going to do today -- the plan was that we were going to go to this place called 'the Ranch' (a recovery center for men), and fix up their volleyball court, and see what else happens there.
That's about all we knew as we packed up this morning after breakfast and devotions. We loaded the vans and started to drive. It was about a 45 minute drive, down the highway, onto another highway (inland, into the hills ... which were still green from the rainy season), and then, as per typical Mexico road style, we turned off at some really random obscure dirt road. A dirt road that we as a team thought was pretty bad - but was considered fairly decent by the locals. After driving on said road for what seemed like forever (really only 10-15mins), we got to the Ranch.
We unloaded, and stood around awkwardly for a little while until the YWAM staff got us going. We did some introductions between us and the men that were living there. After some quick little introduction games, we made our way over to the volleyball court. These guys LOVE volleyball, they really really LOVE it. It's actually in their daily schedule ... every day, M-F, 1.00-2.00pm, they play the game. Their court is lined with rubber tires sticking half-way out of the ground, and the sand was being washed away.
Jobs were given - half the team to work on removing tires, and replacing with wood, the other half on loading sand into a truck. Three hours later, four truck loads of sand, a lot of sweat, maybe a tear or two (from the dust), the court was done, and the men were just itching to play (and no blisters ... just realized that now!). So we played. A LOT. Well, six of us did anyways. We played Canada vs. Mexico .. and we got schooled, but not without a fight. The game was incredible to play, as we had so fun together. The others, played with their pet dogs and cats, and many of us sat down with many of these guys and heard about their lives.
|panorama view of the volleyball court|
One guy, Adrian, who will hold a special place in all our hearts - lived that life. His wife left him because of what he had gotten into. He ended up at the Ranch, got clean, found healing in Christ, learned to love our God, and saw that serving Him was his only pathway to living an actual productive life. Just recently, his wife came out to see him with their two kids (Son who is 2.5, and daughter who is 1.5), and she had taken him back - because he had cleaned up his act!!! He was a very happy man. She told our team that she had never seen or heard him share his story like he had with us, and that she was so very glad that we were able to come and hear it with her. At the end of the day, we were all in their chapel, and Adrian was up front holding his daughter telling us all this ... it was a beautiful picture about how the Lord deeply impacts lives, and how only He can help us reconcile broken relationships. It also served as an amazing reminder about how God's love for us is like a father's love for his children - but just SO MUCH MORE SO!
We said out good byes, gave a few hugs, left with a few "God bless you's," loaded into the vans and found our way back to the base. All in all - for not knowing what to expect over there at the Ranch, we all had a blast, and not just us, the men there as well. They were all smiles as were shared our day together. We got back, cleaned up, had dinner, attended our evening session (where we were taught about finding our identity in Christ, and not in the lies that we are told by the devil). That was great.
Soon after, we sat around the fire and shared our highs and lows. Highs centered around meeting the men at the Ranch, their hospitality, and their vulnerability. Lows featured sun burns, a sore finger, and aching muscles. We took a moment there to praise God for low's that really weren't that bad, except for a few who are feeling a little under the weather.
We're having a blast, we're missing home, but we're seeing that the Lord can and will use us in the little things to advance and further His kingdom - here in Mexico, and in our own hearts!
To those who left comments - thank-you!! we appreciated hearing from you!! Feel free to leave more comments below!
1. Continued strength, and sustaining power that only the can (and has) provide.
2. For those who are a little under the weather, we would love to have them at their full strength tomorrow!
3. For those who are missing home ... it'll starting settling in soon that we've been gone from home for almost 5 days tomorrow.
4. For our day tomorrow, as we get to go help out at a church plant, painting the inside, and working to help the pastor reach the churches neighborhood.
Thank-you for your continued support and prayer!
*sorry about the lack of pictures on this one, I personally did not take many today, and the ones I did take, didn't want to behave in getting onto the blog.
** you can expect to hear from the students on tomorrow's post!!