The silence was profound. On this 450-acre ranch where children live, learn, and work, quiet comes early. And after riding in an SUV for about 15 hours, Don and I climbed into bed and listened to the enfolding stillness. Once again our team had arrived at Rancho Santa Marta in Baja, California, under stars that shone out of an inky night. Our lids grew heavy with impending, renewing sleep.
We wakened to hear rain pounding on the metal roof of our room. Rain, glorious rain. Baja has also been in drought, and they welcome the rain as we do in California. We listened to it pound, then slow, then ratchet up again as we prepared for church.
We walked to the chapel as our team leader, Bob Moorhead, sent organ melodies through the air. The praise continued as some of the young adults who’ve grown up at RSM led us in singing. We joined in, in Spanish, as we could. During a time for congregants to give thanks, one after another thanked God for the “uvea,” the rain. I spoke too: “We are so happy to be here at Rancho Santa Marta again. We consider you all a part of our family, and it is our joy to watch you grow in life, in education and in love for Jesus.”
We had arrived early enough to greet some of our dear young friends before the service began. Hugs were warm and heartfelt. I was particularly grateful for a bit of time to spend with some of my high school friends after the church service, because they return to Ensenada Sunday afternoons, where they attend school during the week. I knew this was the only time I would see them. Conversations included the recent mission trip of one, and her desire to become a missionary; goals and challenges of life for others, and the importance of friends who know us and hold us accountable to truth. This was another sound … the sound of hearts sharing in love before our Father.
This week we have the privilege of helping build “Victor’s House,” a home for older boys whose limitations keep them on the ranch, even as adults. About 48 children live here; another 150 are bused in for school every day. This ministry is far-reaching as it impacts the lives of children, their families, the community, and the world in teaching or mission trips. We are grateful for all we have heard here over the years, including the sounds of hammers and nailguns, rafters being raised, children laughing; and sometimes of tears when a houseparent is dealing with a rebellious child, or when one makes poor choices that impact their future.
This week, as we work, I want to listen especially for heart needs. Many I can do nothing about; some I may be able to help just a tiny bit. But I can pray. And that may be the most powerful work of all.
What have you heard this week that touched your soul?