This week we are out at Ruby Ranch with a group of high school students who are part of a program called Compass. It is an incredibly interesting program, where these upper high school classmen from across the country are stretched, taught and challenged in things of the Lord. Everything from an intense backpacking expedition, to taking seminary classes, to serving overseas. We have had a great time the past few days getting to know them, hear their stories, their future plans, and what they think of Nicaragua. We will spend the rest of this week at the Ranch with them, putting on day camps for the kids who live out in Los Parceles, the community the ranch is in.
I realized after the first day that if all I was able to do this week was spend time with the Los Parceles kids, that would be enough for me. I know I am probably not supposed to have favorites, but I just love these kids. They live in a fairly rural part of Nicaragua, so many of their parents have jobs related to agriculture. And the kids seem to all have a lot of responsibility in their homes, but they also have a great sense of their community and of themselves. And this incredible thing happens every time I watch them enter our gates: they turn back into kids. They run, jump on the trampolines, play soccer and laugh. They have no worries, and in that, they have great joy. They also are very thoughtful. I had one of the boys come and tell me today that his cousin, who had come a little late, hadn’t been able to have lunch. He was wondering if there were any left. (We typically buy Nica style plate lunches from a local lady for $2/person, which includes rice, beans, a tortilla, chicken and ensalada.) I told him that there were, and I would definitely send one with his cousin. His cousin could have come and asked me, but is a little shy, so the more bold boy asked so that his cousin didn’t go without. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was amazing. These kids look out for one another, and they are a JOY to spend time with.
We also both spent time playing soccer today, which was awesome. Sometimes when we go to the ranch now, (because of our role) we end up coordinating things a lot more. Which is awesome, and we are so glad to do it. But today we were super glad to have the time and space to jump in on the action, as well. I (Jamie) also love that maybe it demonstrates to the girls who come to camp that it is ok if they like sports. Some of them do enjoy playing sports, so to see another female playing ends up giving them a little extra confidence to join in as well. Plus, these girls are strong and super tough! One of the seven-year olds, Stacey, totally took a ball square to the face today, and when I went over to see if she was ok she firmly nodded her head yes, grabbed the ball, and kept playing. I later told her she was muy fuerte. (Very strong.)
Will you join us in praying for Ruby Ranch and the kids who live nearby? We want the ranch continue to have a positive impact where it is, and know that we need to be in fervent prayer for it. Thank you in advance! 🙂 If you would like to donate specifically to Ruby Ranch, you can send it the same way as is outlined on our ‘Money Stuff’ page, except in the memo write ‘Ruby Ranch.’