News From The Ranch – May 2001

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

God wants to use your gifts, the power of prayer, and the new series of wallet-sized CD’s called “What God Says.”

What God Says About Missions

How Does God Do It?

I was talking to a pastor friend about how God can possibly meet all the needs of all the people in the world. I said, “I don’t know how God does it.”

I wasn’t expecting a reply, but my friend turned to me and said, “I know how He does it. He does it through people like you.”

I had to think about that for a minute, but I realized he was right. Not that God does it just through me, but that He does it through ordinary people like me and like you. God has given each of us gifts that He wants us to use to reach out to others, to be His hands, to speak His words, and to demonstrate His love.

You may not think much of your gifts, but God does, and the people God has put around you certainly will as you reach out to them in His name. They desperately need a touch from God, administered by YOU.

The Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV).

In my last newsletter, I asked you to pray that God would send people to help me answer the emails that come into this ministry. Thanks for praying! People have volunteered from Peoria (Illinois) to Pretoria (South Africa) and have begun to provide terrific and specific care to those who come with various requests. They range from a 14-year old who writes beautiful letters to an 87-year young retired chaplain.

I want to share with you some of the things God has done through them recently at The Ranch, not only to show you how God is answering your prayers for this ministry, but to encourage you to use your own gifts to reach out to those around you, too.

A Brazilian woman wrote for prayer. She said she had been saved, but had since lost sight of Jesus and wanted to be restored to God. I felt it would be better if someone who spoke her native language responded to her. What is it they speak in Brazil? Portuguese? So I passed her note on to a friend who speaks Portuguese. They corresponded in Portuguese and I later received this note from the Brazilian (in English),

“Since I wrote the e-mail to [the two of you], God has given me so many words of reconciliation. As I began to study these words I began to grow in my knowledge of God’s forgiveness. I am very grateful to [the two of you], who cared enough to take the time to share the gospel with me. And above all I am grateful to God.”

I received another note from a 16-year old girl asking if there was someone she could talk to. I put her in touch with our 14-year old volunteer. The 16-year old asked her,

“I was just wondering if maybe we could be friends, just someone I can talk to since I can’t really talk to my parents [they are going through a divorce]. Usually when I need a friend to talk to there is nobody in sight to listen to me and maybe you could help me with that.” Our volunteer said she would be glad to talk and pray with her and she got this reply back: “Thank you soooo much for replying to my email this means sooo much to me, and also I would like to thank you for praying for me.”

They’ve written, chatted and prayed many times since, bringing hope into an otherwise hopeless situation.

Another note came from a woman whose husband, a pastor, came into the chat room at The Ranch looking for some encouragement for himself. Little did he know how God would encourage him!

Although no one from The Ranch was in the chat room at the time, another woman was there who found the site and liked the music. The wife’s email continued:

“She was not a Christian but was searching for “something.” My husband had to go to bed and I ended up talking with her and we chatted for about three hours. We had so much in common it was amazing. On Saturday night I was typing my husband’s sermon and God called me back to the chat room. She arrived at the same time I did. My husband and I chatted with her for about an hour and before we logged off she had prayed the sinner’s prayer. It was an overwhelming experience. I have chatted with her since and am helping her get into a church that can minister to her and her children. We thought you would be interested knowing how God used your site to save a lost soul.”

Praise God that He works through each one of us as we use our different gifts for Him! I can do some things, but I certainly can’t speak Portuguese, I’m not a teenager, and I can’t chat 24 hours a day! But the Bible says that we are the “body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27) and He has given each of us different gifts to build up those around us. Christ is the head and we are His hands, His feet, His ears, His mouth.

I want to encourage you to reach out to those around you, at work, at home, at school, at church. God has put you in the midst of people who need a touch from Him, a word from Him, or a demonstration of His love.

If you wonder where to start, just pray a simple prayer like this right now:

“Lord, use me as a blessing in someone’s life today.”

The Power of Prayer

Speaking of prayer, a friend recently asked me: “What do you do to promote your websites? Do you pay for that? By looking at your statistics, you must be doing something else more than I am!”

My answer? No, I don’t pay to promote them, but I do pray to promote them. And I know many of you reading this newsletter pray regularly that God would draw people to The Ranch and the KidsRanch so God can draw people closer to Him.

The KidsRanch, for instance, gets 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a month, even though it’s only been up for less than six months; that’s 5 times as many visitors as another website I developed over 2 years ago for which I’ve never asked anyone to pray.

The prayers have opened up opportunities for these websites to be seen all over the world. Just a few months ago two men from Switzerland, Daniel Hari and Beat Baumann, came to the U.S. to visit some ministries doing outreaches over the Internet. They are creating some websites in Switzerland to reach out as well (www.livenet.ch and www.esoterik.li). After visiting the headquarters of places like Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Crosswalk, and Campus Crusade in Canada, they came to visit me!

When they returned home, they wrote up some articles about their visit. Within a few days a publication called “Friday’s Fax” (or Freitags-Fax as it is known in German) picked up the story about our ministry and sent it out by fax and email to 7 million people! (www.jesus.org.uk/dawn/2001/dawn12.html#USA3)

I got a copy from a friend in Texas who had received it from someone in New Zealand where it had been translated from the original German into English. What a world we live in today. And what a God we have who answers prayer in ways that go “beyond all we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

People from Germany and Switzerland have since written in to ask if I can correspond with them in German. I could try, but guess what? Someone volunteered just a few days ago to help answer emails – in German!

Can I share with you one more astounding answer to your prayers? I asked you in the last newsletter to pray for me as I began to write a book. I’ve since started and still need your prayers. But soon after I asked you to pray, I got an email from a woman who had seen my testimony on the Prayer of Jabez website prayerofjabez.com.

She was just finishing up a book on prayer and wondered if she could publish my story in it, and asked if I had any other stories about answered prayer. I wrote out a few more and sent them to her.

She then told me her publisher had printed 15,000 copies of her previous book about angels (called Angels Everywhere by Lynn Valentine) and Hallmark printed another 35,000 copies of the book for their stores. They plan to print similar runs of this book called The Power of Prayer, possibly as soon as Christmas of this year.

I’m glad to know that even though I have no experience at getting a book published, God does! Please pray that my stories will make it into the book and that they will encourage many to reach out to God in prayer.

Please pray also as I continue to write my own book, that God will give me words to write and an avenue to deliver them to as many people as possible.

What God Says

I hope you’ll indulge me to let me write an extra page or two of this newsletter. In the past few weeks, God has put on my heart a new project to put His Word into the hands of thousands of people at their point of need.

God has given us Words of Life in the Bible, but for many people they are simply idle words because they are kept closed up in a book on a shelf.

A new CD format has sprung up recently in a shape that can fit in your wallet, or in your pocket, or in a greeting card, but can still play in a normal CD player. They hold about 5 minutes worth of music or about 50MB worth of data.

We’ve begun to create a series of these CD’s called “What God Says” to address various topics, such as “What God Says About Prayer,” “What God Says About Love,” “What God Says About Healing,” “What God Says About Missions.” The list of possible topics goes on and on to cover what God says about depression, fear, joy, sex, grief, life, relationships, mothers fathers, children, angels, and so on.

With the help of some talented friends, we are putting these scriptures on CD’s, set to beautiful background music. Lana reads the scriptures with a voice that people describe as “angelic,” “perfect,” “soothing,” and “it moved me to tears,” among other great words (and they’re all true!).

We’ve begun to secure the trademarks, copyrights, and even UPC barcodes to begin to offer them not only over the Internet, but also in stores where people are looking for gifts for others or inspiration for themselves.

I believe that the distinctive packaging, the low-cost, and the compelling message of these CD’s will make this an attractive way to expose people to God’s Word in a way they’ve never experienced before.

The project is constantly on my mind, going back and forth in my brain as I try to work out the details and consider the possible impact. I need your prayers desperately as the urgency and difficulty of making this happen overwhelm me almost daily. It makes me cry even now just thinking about the impact this will have on people’s lives.

I’d like to send you one of our first completed CD’s called “What God Says About Missions.” Just send us the response card in the enclosed envelope and if you could include a donation, that would be great, too.

A missionary friend helped us choose the scriptures, Lana reads them beautifully in various English translations, Chuck Giacinto composed the moving music, and Jim Brown provided the photography for the cover. Even though the CD’s only 4 minutes long, I can listen to it over and over and not get tired of it. I know it will be a great encouragement to others who have a heart for missions, or others whom God wants to have a heart for missions if they were so inspired. This will also give you a feel for the potential of the entire series.

As I’ve said many times, I have to say again: I need your prayers. The planning, budgeting, legalities, copyrights, trademarks, royalties, and so much more are sometimes way beyond what my grapefruit-sized brain can comprehend (it feels like a plum most days!). The learning curves are high, but I can see how God has trained me so much already during my years studying His Word and studying technology. I realize that in many ways He has uniquely called me to make this happen.

I hope you’ll request at least one copy of this first CD, and consider getting several copies to hand out to others.

I’ve also created a new website to go with the CD’s called WhatGodSays.com. From there, you can listen to samples and sign up to receive an email whenever new titles are available. I hope to have the first ten titles or so done very soon, and we have another 50 or more waiting in the wings to be created in the future.

The best way you can help me is to pray. But you can also help me in two other ways.

We can produce 500 CD’s of one title for just $1,500. That’s incredibly cheap by recording industry standards. But that’s $1,500 more than we have. If there’s a particular title you would like to see us develop (you can see a list at the WhatGodSays.com), we could begin to work on that title with a $1,500 donation. We’re praying for at least 10 initial donors who would help us fund the development of the first 10 titles.

I wish I could offer you an earthly return on your investment, but I’m positive that the heavenly return God will give you will be worth much more than anything I could give you.

The other way you could help us is to consider committing to send a regular monthly gift to this ministry. James Dobson (head of Focus on the Family) sent out a newsletter last month that accurately describes a dilemma we’ve noticed in our own ministry for the past three years (you can read his letter at family.org/docstudy/newsletters/A0015866.html).

He said that the mainstay of their funding comes through gifts they receive in the mail as people write in to request information or help. But in recent months, many of those people have begun to use the Internet to contact their ministry. They’ve been able to respond to many more people as a result, but the downside is that people are less likely to include a gift when they correspond over the Internet.

We also continue to grow and reach out to more and more people, but our donations have not grown proportionately. We would like at least another 20 families or churches to make a commitment to send in a monthly gift. We continue to trust in God for our provision, but we also know that one of the ways He provides is through people like you.

Thanks for letting me share this. Like James Dobson, I don’t like to make this kind of appeal and I try not to do it very often. But I do feel it’s important to clearly state our needs so those who are interested can respond.

Please Pray with Us

There is power in prayer, and I hope you’ll pray along with us.

Thank you Lord,

  • for the volunteers you’ve provided to help us give individual care to those who come needing a touch from You;
  • for the growing number of people who are being drawn to You because they were drawn to our websites;
  • and for the inspiration and opportunities to continue expanding the territory of this ministry.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • that You would help each one of us to use our gifts to reach out to those around us;
  • that You would bless these writing projects and new CD’s to bring Your Word into the lives of people who desperately need it;
  • and for still more people to find their way to The Ranch and the KidsRanch so they can find their way to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have a great week! Don’t forget to use the gifts God’s given you to reach out to others!

We Appreciate Your Support!

If you would like to request a copy of “What God Says About Missions,” please visit the WhatGodSays.com website, where you can also make a donation to our ministry.

If you’d like to make a donation without ordering, just use the link here.

You will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Eric Elder Ministries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

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