Sevierville, TN: Wears Valley Ranch, Day 2

Twenty Six volunteers from JFBC made the trip despite some obstacles and some nerve-wracking moments at the last minute for the trip leader’s family. These kinds of hindrances seem to be fairly common for many mission trips! Everyone made it nonetheless for what proved to be a beautiful Saturday that was perfect for us to help the ranch with many jobs! It was rainy last night so the terrific weather was an answered prayer!

The day began with a very hearty breakfast from the kitchen volunteers, who not only treated us to fabulous food but also added seasonal decorations for the buffet tables! Two of the ranch children shared their testimonies with us as also did one of our JFBC team. We had heard from both of the ranch children in prior years and it was both a blessing and an encouragement to see how they have continued to grow in the faith since we last heard from them! And since the JFBC team comes from a variety of different Bible study classes and different worship hours, learning about the faith story of our team is equally a treat!

We were joined at lunch by more of the ranch residents, both staff and students. Being able to renew their fellowship from year to year is one of the joys of this particular JFBC trip! Our kitchen volunteers outdid themselves for lunch with a ham and turkey spread that would be suitable for Thanksgiving!

After lunch the pressure was on to see which person would achieve the coveted Mennonite award! If you are not familiar with this particular recognition event see Rick Beasley! Not until Sunday morning will we find out!

The jobs included replacing sections of split rail fence, indoor painting, installing shelves and wall hooks for storing the equipment for the ropes course,  installing landscape timbers, and clean-up of brush. We are here to serve and encourage the staff and students and we pray that these efforts help to make some of the rough places smooth. There was one twisted knee among the JFBC team; pray that it does not develop complications.

The kitchen team treated us and many of the ranch staff and students to an evening cookout with burgers and hot dogs, followed by a rousing game of ‘battle ball’ (dodge ball) and a bonfire. Of course it would not be a real bonfire without toasted marshmallows and s’mores! Both the meal and the fun provided more chances to visit and share with the staff and students.

As we head into Sunday morning, pray for opportunities to be both an encouragement to the residents and a positive example and witness for the children! We also look forward to a time of worship and fellowship with the church that meets here on the ranch.