Last week was a big deal in a lot of ways.
On February 2nd we went to the airport to pick up the team of engineers, architects, surveyors and designers who would work all week on designing and laying out a Master Plan for Ruby Ranch. I won’t lie, waiting at the airport for 16 different people who came on different flights, whom we had never met before, was a challenge. The greeting section at the airport here in Managua is intense to say the least. In fact the videographer put it perfectly, “I looked up at a wall and then I realized it wasn’t a real wall, but rather a wall of people.” But we successfully found everyone, and got them on the bus and made it back to Quinta Havilah in one piece.
Friday and Saturday were full of walking around Ruby Ranch with the team and talking through the various aspects of the camp. It was so fun and interesting to watch each of the different specialties of engineers and architects focus in on the thing they are obviously passionate about. For instance the electrical engineer took numerous photos of the power poles. And the landscape architects spent lots of time asking questions about the plants and scribbling notes about what they saw. It was so exciting, really! I think because we go to Ruby Ranch so often and we are so used to seeing the different parts, it can be easy to forget to have a sense of wonder. It is a big, beautiful, kind of insane place. And sometimes I can forget to let it amaze me.
On Sunday we took a rest day, going to church, the Masaya Volcano and the Masaya Market.
On Monday morning John (the eMi in country liaison and team leader) told Brinson, Landon and I that the architects needed to have a meeting with us. And then for the next three hours or so we talked through each part of the design that they had more questions about. Everything from what sort of animal life do we like having at RR to how many horses do we want to have. It was intense, exciting and amazing to be a part of that discussion.
For the rest of the week the team worked all hours of the day (and night) to put together their recommendations and report. The civil engineers tested our water and looked at what we would need to do with our septic system in order to be able to accommodate the 200 people we’re projecting. The structural engineers designed a new bridge to enter the camp (!) and looked at how our current entrance could be bettered. The landscape architects researched plants, laid out plans for strategic places to plant shade trees, and even drew sketches of what it could look like. The videographer captured each person and our site passionately and beautifully. The architects put walls, windows and floors to the ideas we’ve only been able to hold in our hearts and minds for so long. And the surveyors sacrificed each day by tromping around the current property and the piece we want to purchase in order to be able to make a clear map of what is there.
On Thursday morning we made the journey down to Miss Ruby’s and shared a beautiful time of prayer with our new friends. One that I hope they will remember for a long time. I won’t go into details here, but the Lord is so good and His desire to be with us is always so encouraging.
Friday morning was the day. The day we got to see the presentation of their work, a quick snapshot of all the time and energy they had put into this big plan for a place we love so much. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were so encouraged and moved, many of us were crying by the end. Getting to see on paper and in mock ups what has been held in our hearts for so long was so encouraging, and receiving it from such a talented, passionate group of people made it that much sweeter.
We will be sharing the Master Plan details when we get them (which will be a couple of months) but please continue in prayer for us as we enter this season of planning and preparing. And if you’d like to give towards the development of Ruby Ranch, you can do so by visiting our partnering ministry’s website, and making sure to put a note on your donation that says “Ruby Ranch.”