Way Places 366 September 2019
Today, twenty-three years ago to the day, a young mom came asking for help from Rancho Del Rey. In our records, next to the names Noel and Gerardo, is a note. Abandoned by their father. Noel was eleven and his brother thirteen.
A few weeks ago, a man with a young son knocked on the office door. I saw a look I know very well, that of,“I had to come home for a visit.”
Grown Rancho ‘sons’ return often and ask, “I lived here, do you remember me?” Others ask, “Are Anne and Hank still here? This was my home.” Noel said he came back to say, “Gracias,” and to spend a day with his son on the beautiful campus where he and his brother shared sweet memories. He and his brother Gerardo were with us on the Rancho for only two years during their 5th and 6th grades. However, he told me those two years were enough to be a “game changer” for his life, and they played a key role in preparing him to be the man, father, and businessman he is today.
Here is how he expressed it:
Rancho Del Rey was a bridge in my life to cross over bad things
“I remember a message you gave in a chapel service when yo
u talked about how things happened to people in the Bible, but a change was always indicated by the phrase “But God.” At that moment, you looked straight at me, Danny; and today, my life is proof! God truly makes a difference.”
Reflecting on his visit, I remembered this verse:
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you shall find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:1
This is a text from the Bible that sometimes is interpreted to mean that an act of generosity, like throwing out basic necessities of life upon the poor even though it may seem futile, will eventually return a blessing many times the original gift or effort.
It has taken twenty-one years for Noel to ‘come home’ to say thanks. I do not remember the details of the message I shared over twenty years a
go, or the moment of eye contact, but what matters is that Noel does.
During Noel’s visit, he told me that he had become a successful wholesale meat seller. We are now buying our meat from one of our ‘sons.’
With the passing of sixty-three years of ministry, we see more and more grown boys who feel the tug in their hearts to reconnect with HOME. It has been our honor to see the returned blessings of decades of “bread cast upon the water,” the results of daily necessities poured out on so many children and families.
Boys walk through the gates, looking for their beloved Rancho Del Rey moms and dads from long ago—Benjamin, Juanita, Cruz, Julian, Wanda, Glen, Jill, Nancy, Adriana, Maria, and Jose—as well as for those from more recent years. Many are saddened to learn that a special caregiver has been “promoted to Glory” and wish they had come back sooner.
What a joy and privilege it is to share with you stories of lives changed and hope renewed. Without your friendship, this “bread” would have never been “cast’;” and without your faithfulness throughout the years, we would not be seeing it “many days” later.
A new school year has begun. New school supplies, new roof, new face (Derik Abraham), new books. They are growing up so fast!