Ministry Updates

Ministry Updates in the Living Waters Ranch – November 2014

ministry updates nov 2014 4

Community Choir

Darwin is a pianist and choir director, and God has placed it on his heart to expand the little choir we have as a family and include our neighbors from our surrounding rural community. We praise God that several children and teenagers have begun attending the twice-weekly practices, and it has given us great joy to see our three kids receive the newcomers with love and grace as they take leadership positions among the newbees. We are honored to develop relationships with these youth and their families for God’s Kingdom, and our kids are taking advantage of making several new friendships!

2 ministry updates nov 2014

Jenae Celebrates 14 Months in Honduras

Our beloved Christian sister Jenae Matikke is celebrating 14 months of service at the Living Waters Ranch. A native of Tennessee, she dedicates her time to reaching out to our neighbors with the good news of Jesus, investing in our kids’ lives, serving in local churches, and teaching in various capacities. She is currently preparing her program “Princes and Princesses of Promise”, a biblically-based sexual abstinence curriculum, to begin sharing God’s message of sexual purity and giving sex education classes in local churches and schools.

ministry updates nov 2014

Gifted and Talented Program and Basketball Team to Start in January 2015

God confirmed in my heart that I am to return to La Ceiba’s Episcopal School part-time beginning in January 2015 to continue with my girls’ basketball team and elementary-aged Gifted and Talented program, so I went to the school to meet with the kids and send home parent letters. Over 30 kids have responded positively, so I am looking forward to my third year with the same group of kids I’ve been working with, along with several new ones that are now eligible for the programs. Pray for God’s guidance over both the team and the GT program, and that the children I coach and teach may see Christ’s light and salt through my words and actions.

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Updates on Brayan

Brayan, the 14-year-old who lived with us for over eight months and moved out a couple months ago due to various factors, just made a 100% on one of his major exams after returning to homeschool several weeks ago. His attitude has taken a complete 180 degree turn, and he has impressed us all with his kindness, willingness to serve, and gratitude. He has also returned to choir and music classes, and has begun working alongside of us in agriculture one day per week. Let us give thanks to God for His mighty hand over Brayan’s young life, and for giving us all the patience and courage to trek through some pretty difficult seasons together as we seek the Lord’s will in our relationship with him.

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Darwin’s English class

My husband, Darwin, is a native Honduran and currently speaks pretty choppy English. That isn’t a problem here because we communicate with one another and our children and neighbors in Spanish, but in order to further develop his ability to communicate with a broader range of people, he has enrolled in an intensive English course that meets every Saturday morning for five hours. We are all excited for him about this chance to grow, and in addition to the class we have instituted the “English Hour” during dinnertime every night, in which each person has to do their best to speak only English. (Dinners have been pretty quiet for a change, as most of the little people can’t say much!)

ministry updates nov 2014 6

Still Waiting to Hear About the Arrival of More Kids

We have put the word out with the government agency that we are ready to accept 2-3 new children, and we have yet to hear anything. There are many organizational changes occurring right now in the government’s child protective agency, and the shifting of staff positions and leadership could be causing the delay. We are waiting to hear if there are children who need a home from a large government-run orphanage in a nearby city that was recently shut down or from the local foster system. Please pray that God’s hand would guide the entire legal, emotional, and financial process of expanding our family, and that Gleny, Jason and Diana may accept new children into our home with grace and joy.

ministry updates nov 2014 7

Chicks Hatch After Robbery

After a devastating robbery a few days ago in which someone stole more than half of the hens from our chicken run, our rooster and male duck, we are beginning anew with a batch of newborn chicks that our momma hens have been warming for the past several weeks. It seems as though any agricultural progress we enjoy is immediately cut down by theft, so please pray for protection over our animals and crops so that our efforts to organically work the land are not in vain.

Surprising Questions from a Seven-Year-Old: Part One

“Why did God create Adam and Eve if He knew they were going to sin?”

That was what Jason, our seven-year-old, asked me the other day as he was on a small wooden stool leaning over our kitchen sink, washing the dishes. I had been zipping around behind him, wiping down counter tops and trying to get everything clean before we entered homeschool, both of us working in a joyful silence until his question – asked so purposefully and clearly – left my jaw dangling wide open.


I immediately put down the dirty rag in my hand and sat down on the counter top a few feet from where he continued peacefully and methodically washing the dishes. I said, “Wow, what a great question. I don’t know if you’ll really be able to understand this, but I’ll try to explain it to you. God created Adam and Eve, knowing that they would sin, because He also knew that He would send a Savior into the world to save the people from there sin. There would be some people – like you and me and many others all around the world – who would one day choose freely to love and follow Him. If we are not free to choose evil, to choose sin and darkness, neither are we free to choose good, to choose His truth. It all has to do with freedom.”

His eyes never left mine as I annunciated each word carefully and clearly, his little hands still washing various colorful plastic cups and old metal spoons.

I continued. “For example, Pa and I love each other because we choose to. We chose to get married and thus love and serve one another the rest of our lives, and because we had the freedom to choose not to, it makes the love that we did choose more real. For example, if I did not have the freedom to choose to love Pa – if I had to love him – I would be his slave. It is like that with God. God wants us to choose to love Him in our freedom, because if we weren’t free not to choose Him, then we would be like His slaves and we would only be loving Him and walking in the light because we had no other choice. He respects our freedom and wants our genuine love. What a good question you had, Jason. There’s much more to the answer, and we can keep learning together as you have more questions, but I think for right now we’ll stop there. Does any of that make sense?”

He nodded his head, smiled, and said, “Thanks, Ma.”

This same little boy who loves to play with toy trucks, sings opera at the top of his lungs in the kitchen, is shy to introduce himself to new people, and mispronounces many words, verbatim asked me that question along with various others in the last couple weeks. Let us give thanks to God that his little heart is hungry for Truth and that he has been put in an environment where he is surrounded my numerous adults who can lovingly and accurately answer his questions. Please pray with us for Jason’s future, that the Lord continues to mold him into a brave, compassionate man ready to be used by God in Jesus’ name.

Attitude Check

We live out in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long gravel road at the base of a mountain range. Our water system has always been an enigma to me, and it has continually frustrated me as it has run dry at inopportune times. When we least expect it, there is a problem with the tubing or the tank or the community’s water supply and suddenly there is no running water on our property for a couple hours or a couple days.

When it rains hard (which it does here frequently), the tubes get clogged up with debris, leaving us without water. When they do work on the community’s water system up the mountain, they close off the pipes, leaving us without water. When our dear neighbor’s cow herd comes over to graze (which happens several times per week), the cows break the tubes, leaving us without water.

That means no water for washing dirty dishes, no water for showers, and extra costs and hassle in buying large back-up water jugs for drinking water. It also means traipsing down to the river behind our property to wash clothes, to fill up the farm animal’s drinking pails, and maybe even to bathe ourselves.

A couple weeks ago as Darwin was getting ready to go out of town for a week with our faith community to install a potable water system in a poor rural village in another part of Honduras, I found myself complaining about our own water system and not looking forward to having to jimmy with the valves, revise the tubes, hope the water didn’t go out when we had a pyramid of dirty dishes, etc, while Darwin was away.

Praise God Darwin cut me off before I sent out official invitations to my pity party. With a sincere grin on his face and outstretched arms he said, “Hey, we haven’t died of thirst yet!”

That is code for: Jennifer, God has continually provided us with what we need, even if at times it is not convenient or easy. Let’s give thanks rather than complain.

And he is so right. I laughed and agreed, “You’re right; we haven’t died of thirst yet,” and assumed an inward posture of humble thanksgiving toward our Constant Provider, knowing full well that He is always good and worthy of praise.

A few days later while Darwin was out of town, I was working in our living room when someone came to our front door. It was our beloved neighbor who weed-eats our yard each month, and he came bearing bad news. While weed-eating, he accidentally chopped the entire tube in half that descends from our water tank to provide water to the buildings on our property.

I left what I was doing and serenely followed him around the back of the kitchen to the scene of the accident, certain that what I was about to see wouldn’t be pretty, but at the same time not bothered at all. Sure enough, the tube was sliced in half and water was spraying out in all directions, rapidly emptying the tank of our entire source of water. I laughed and thought, Well, this is new!

With newfound peace and thanksgiving bursting forth from my heart, knowing full well that we would be without water until he would be able to go buy the replacement part and return to fix the tube, I assured him that mistakes happen and that God is always good.

Later that afternoon, as the mountain of laundry called my name, I filled up bucket after bucket, hauling them on my shoulders down to the river behind our home, laughing under the falling rain at the goodness of God’s grace. As I knelt on the river’s shore, washing our clothes and towels in the rushing, cleansing current, I felt as though I had never before been happier or had a deeper understanding of how constant God’s provision is. Completely wet and completely joyful, my jeans marked up with mud and grass stains and my wooly socks saturated inside of my rain boots, body straining to heave heavy buckets of wet clothes across our property, I never felt more clearly the joy of God’s presence.

It’s a Girl!

Sunday afternoon as we arrived home from our faith community’s discipleship group, I heard Darwin yell from our yard, “Come and see!”

Curiosity overtook me as I ran full-speed out our front door, darting my eyes back and forth to see what he might be talking about.

I saw our three silly guard-dogs romping about. I saw Darwin. And I saw our two pregnant goats walking calmly behind him as he led them to the shed.

“What?! What is it?” I yelled across the yard.

And then I saw it. Well, I didn’t really see anything at all, but I noticed Darwin was walking more cautiously than usual, and his arms were crossed.

“No way! No way!” I yelled (in Spanish, of course), and took off towards him. “Kids! Come on out! No way!” I yelled goofily, my excitement getting the best of me as I traipsed giddily across the rocky yard in my skirt and blouse.

And sure enough…one of our pregnant goats was no longer pregnant! Darwin held in his arms the delicate newborn body of momma goat’s first baby. She had given birth that night, and we had the incredible privilege to hold her little body and help her find momma goat’s milk, which will also be our milk in the weeks to come.



Then and Now

November 1, 2014 marked our one-year anniversary with Diana, Gleny and Jason. Last November shortly after having moved into our home, we took a series of family photos with them in the front yard of our faith community. One year later, we have updated the photos…

November 2013thenandnow


November 2014, one year later…



November 2013






November 2014, one year later…





November 2014, one year later…


Ministry Updates

BRAYAN RETURNS TO HOMESCHOOL Brayan, the local 14-year-old who lived with us for over eight months, has decided to keep studying in our homeschool program to finish out this school year, which ends in January 2015. He is still living at his stepmother’s home and we are committed to helping provide their family with food every month to help care for him. He has returned to us on a part-time basis through homeschool, our Wednesday morning Bible study and afternoon visits, and there is newfound joy and gratitude in his face that wasn’t there before. Pray for us in developing a new relationship with him as we discern what role God would have us to play in this young man’s life during this season.

OPEN TO RECEIVING MORE KIDS We have put our “feelers” out there with the Honduran child protective agency about possibly receiving 2-3 additional kiddos in our home. This is a tedious process laden with bureaucracy, and the first time we received kids we had to go back-and-forth with the agency for over six months before the three siblings finally moved in. It is also a very delicate emotional process, both for the three that are already here, us, and those that may arrive. Please pray that the next kids to arrive, whenever they do, may be the exact children that the Lord would have us to care for. Pray that Diana, Gleny, and Jason may have tender and open hearts towards those who may come and that the adaptation process may go as peacefully as possible.

DARWIN ON A WATER PROJECT IN SOUTHERN HONDURAS This week Darwin is installing a potable water system in a poor rural village in Choluteca, one of Honduras’ 18 departments, with our mentor from our faith community and a diverse group of American and Honduran Christians. The goal is to live among the people for the week, sleeping in hammocks at night and doing manual labor alongside the townspeople during the day, in order to provide a physical need (potable water) and a spiritual one (the gospel of Jesus Christ). Our faith community has been participating in these trips twice per year for several years, but this is Darwin’s first trip. Pray for guidance over him and the rest of the people participating in the trip, and ask that God may grant open and willing hearts to the villagers who are being served.

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EPISCOPAL SCHOOL In the past month the Lord has led me to preach twice in La Ceiba’s Episcopal School, where I have worked in various capacities for three years (first grade teacher, basketball coach, and Gifted and Talented program teacher). Each week the high schoolers have a designated 40-minute block of “church” within their class schedule, and I have had the opportunity to deliver the message twice in the past month. I am excited to see where God would lead me and in what capacity He would have me to serve among the students in this school year. I am open to continue preaching from time to time as He leads me, and I am planning on re-starting weekly girls’ basketball practices in January 2015 after taking several months off due to my severe insomnia.

ROBBERIES In the United States, if a crime is committed, the police are called and the justice system goes to work. In Honduras, if a crime is committed, it is rare if anything happens, even if the police are called. Robberies – both petty and large-scale – are extremely common here. People have stolen our shoes, crops, chickens, agricultural supplies, clothes, and an electrical generator. Robbers have cut through our fences, broken through locks, and pried open windows. We have called the police, gone to their offices in person, and submitted various reports, but nothing is done. We recently purchased an 8-month-old German Shepherd to team up with our other two guard dogs to ward off potential robbers, but ultimately our safety is in the Lord’s hands. Please pray for wisdom in deciding how to approach this issue, God’s continual protection of us, and that we may always have enough to generously aid our neighbors if they come to us in the daylight in need. Please also pray for the people who have or are currently robbing us, that they would be convicted of what they are doing and that the Lord would change their hearts. Praise God that these robberies make it much easier to not put our hope and security in this world but rather in His Kingdom where love and justice reign!

NO LEGAL PROGRESS Several weeks ago I wrote about our current legal battles. We have all of our paperwork compiled and ready, but there has been no progress on any front.

IMMIGRATION CRISIS We are still available to receive refugee children in our home who have been deported from the United States, but we have not received any phone calls or further information.

QUACK QUACK QUACK! Our chicken run has a few new inhabitants: a momma duck with her ten ducklings and their “stepfather.” Ducks lay eggs just as chickens do, and it is said that their eggs are extremely rich in protein and vitamins. We are raising the female babies to be “laying ducks” in the coming months, and we will eat the young males and/or be able to bless our neighbors with free meat.

HARVEST In the past several weeks we have enjoyed a harvest of organic radishes, chile peppers and cucumbers from our gardens. We continue experimenting to see which crops grow best in our incredibly rocky soil.