Rancho Oasis for Youth – Ojojona, Honduras

There are two things I can honestly say as I prepared for this trip: I didn’t hold one expectation in my mind or heart; and I was excited about the sequence of events about to unravel, because I knew in my heart that God was in control of the outcome, not me.  He didn’t let me down.

Nineteen people, most of whom I did not know – brought together for a common mission in Central America.  I anticipate, similar to my first trip – most people make this journey with some expectation.

Our journey to Honduras began at 1am on Feb 18th in the parking lot of St. Luke in Cheat Lake.  Covenant Christian Church so graciously volunteered to transport the team and our 38 suitcases to Pittsburgh International for our 5:50am flight.  The team was divided, sending part of the team through Houston, and the rest through Miami.  Both would meet up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras later that afternoon.

I always like to keep a positive focus that problems and challenges will be absent from any venture – but understand, life is not without trials.  A key participant, an ER physician from Elkins became extremely ill the morning before our departure, and had to drop out.  One potential problem – we anticipated.

That afternoon, the sunshine was a warm welcome to the first team that landed in Tegucigalpa.  We might even want to call it a diversion.  Good idea not to tell the team about the touchdown to the runway prior to the trip.  The airport sits down in a bowl – the airplane appears to almost touch the ground over the highway, then drops down to the short runway to make the landing.  A little bouncing action as we landed and then some heavy braking to get the plane stopped.  Check out this crazy landing:

The bus ride to our “home away from home” was around an hour from the airport.  We were blessed to be able to stay as a group in a retreat center about a half hour away from the ranch.  If I would have anticipated our accommodations for the week, I wouldn’t have done it justice – what a serene, peaceful, quaint center surrounded by beautiful gardens.

We spent the weekend setting up the pharmacy in the clinic the medical brigade would staff the following week.  We spent time on the ranch – getting to know the Beard family (Jon, Marilyn (Mar), Naomi, Tabitha (Tabby), and Tobias (Toby).)  Jon led the team on a tour of the acreage.  As he described his vision for the ranch – I could almost see the finished projects come to life.  I can see myself as a part of their ministry, through short-term missions.  There is so much more to accomplish.

“To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!”
– Alfred A. Montapert

We closed Saturday evening with a bonfire and great fellowship.  Shawn played the guitar, and Jon the drum – such a wonderful evening – none of us wanted it to end.

Sunday we returned to the ranch for church services and as always, an amazing lunch and dinner.  Mar and Josy worked very hard to prepare some awesome food – we certainly ate well the entire week, both at the ranch and at the retreat center.  Josy is from Morgantown – an amazing young woman with a heart for missions.  She is spending several months with the Beard family helping in the ministry of Rancho Oasis.  The kids love her!

The weekend was a welcome break, and the work we came to do – was hours away.  The construction team had an agenda; the child ministry team would be hosting Vacation Bible School the upcoming week; and the medical brigade would be seeing patients in a clinic about 20 mins from the ranch for the next five days.  Although we knew the plan, we knew not the outcome.

Each morning Jon would arrive in the bus and transport us to the clinic and ranch. In the evening, he reversed the trip down the mountain from the ranch to pick up the medical team and transport us back to the retreat center for dinner and sharing of our day.  The next five days of “Labor for the Lord” were amazing.  Unfortunately, one physician and his nurse became very ill the first part of the week.  We had to re-structure some of the teams to make provisions.  We had utter chaos at the clinic on Monday, but quickly made some adjustments that proved to be more efficient.  One of the youth working with the children’s VBS became ill, which caused us to lose “mom” as well from the medical team.  No matter what the diversion, we stayed focused on the goal and it was nothing less than an amazing week!

There are so many stories that need to be told.  As the weeks go on, I will attempt to share more from the medical side.  In the last week, I came across a couple excellent stories highlighting the construction team and vacation bible school.  I smiled and cried as I read their stories.  I can’t do them justice…so I will just share with you their week.

The construction team “rocked” their week!  Check out Jon’s blog (with pics)


“What Words Can’t Say” by Josy.  An amazing story of VBS on the ranch, by an amazing young lady!


If I had to sum our mission up in a couple words, it would have to be “life-changing”.  For the 16 people who made their “first” mission trip, I see in them what I experienced 2 years ago.  It’s something most people can’t explain, and if they tried putting it into words, probably wouldn’t do it justice.  It is a life-changer! For the three of us who have done a prior mission trip – it was an equal experience.  Once you experience the camaraderie, fellowship, service, and the lasting impression the people leave on your heart, you’re hooked.  Come without expectation, serve in whatever way you are called, and leave with a part of those you served, in your heart.  It’s that simple.

Hola!  From Ojojona, Honduras…with love!

  1. Bravo!

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