News From The Ranch – December 2006

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Our three most pressing needs; Major Accomplishments from 2006; and Notes of Thanks

Eric at Clover Ranch

One of the highlights of our year: our purchase of Clover Ranch as a spiritual retreat center for individuals, families and small groups who want to get closer to God.

Dear Friends,

It’s been a great year here at The Ranch! We’ve been able to accomplish a lot this year, thanks to your gifts, prayers and notes of encouragement.

But we also need your help to go forward. I had a dream last weekend that Lana and I were talking with a rich couple who had decided to give away everything that they had…and they had a lot! Then they looked at us and said, “Now you guys are rich, too, right? You don’t need anything, do you?”

I woke up from my dream in a stupor — I couldn’t believe they had just given away everything they had, and that they didn’t realize how much we could have really used their help! Back to reality, the very next day Lana was talking to one of our friends who said, “I had no idea you guys needed more monthly support.” I realized then that I needed to put this appeal at the top of my newsletter, not at the end!

Three Ways You Can Help

Here are three ways you can help…

First, our most pressing need is for ongoing, monthly support.

Our donations during 2006 have averaged $2,765 per month, from which we pay all of our ministry expenses, travel expenses, Internet costs, computer costs, office supplies and our salary. These monthly donations help us continue to devote our full time efforts to ministering to the 5,000 – 10,000 visitors who come to the website each month. While our ministry has expanded dramatically over the past 10 years, our monthly donations haven’t kept pace. Our goal is to raise our monthly commitments to $6,310 by the end of 2007.

Would you consider making a monthly donation to our ministry to help us reach our monthly goal? Our current monthly donors give anywhere from $10 a month to $350 a month. We’d love for you to join us with whatever monthly amount you would be willing and able to give.

We could also use some immediate, one-time donations as our summer giving dipped below $2,500 several months, and even under $2,000 one month. While this is normal for many ministries in the summertime, it has made things especially tight as we head into the fall and winter.

Second, we need to put a new roof on Clover Ranch.

We’ve purchased this property earlier this year to serve as a real, physical “Ranch” where we can invite guests to spend time getting closer to God in a personal or family retreat setting. We’re in the process of renovating the property at a cost of nearly $20,000 during the coming year. This renovation includes a number of projects, but our first priority is to put on a new roof at a cost of approximately $7,000 so we can then begin the interior renovations.

I know that people sometimes like to give special one-time gifts to capital campaigns such as this, so I wanted to ask: Would you consider a capital gift of $100, $500, or $1,000…or maybe $2,500, $5,000, or $7,000 towards this project? This will help us to begin the needed renovations as soon as possible so we can start inviting people to Clover Ranch, helping them get closer to God.

I’ve created two 5-minute video clips that describe a little more about our Current Monthly Needs and our project at Clover Ranch. You can watch these clips online at these links:
Invest in The Ranch Website
Invest in Clover Ranch

(My thanks to Russell Pond of Top Pup Media for helping with these videos. Look for his new movie coming out next summer, called Fissure!)

Also, if you haven’t yet seen our 5-minute video from our trip to Swaziland earlier this year, you can still watch it at this link:
Planting Hope In Swaziland

I’ve put all three of these videos on a DVD, and would be glad to send you a copy at no cost to you, just in case you can’t see them online, or in case you want to share them with others, which brings me to the third way you can help…

Third, do you know of others who might be interested in hearing about, and possibly supporting, our ministry?

If so, would you be willing to recommend our ministry to them, letting them know how you’ve been involved with it, or touched by it, and asking if they would consider supporting it, too? In addition to individuals and families, our Internet outreach might also be of interest to your church Missions Committee, a Sunday School class, or a small group in which you participate. Feel free to forward this email to them, or request a DVD and info packet, and we can mail you one to give to them personally. Any of these contacts would really help us tremendously!

And if you know of some rich couples who are thinking of giving away everything they’ve got, please let them know about us before it’s all gone! 🙂

Major Accomplishments in 2006!

Planting Hope in SwazilandIn addition to our daily work on the website, which is now reaching between 5,000 and 10,000 people each month, from 150 countries, here are a few of the other things we’ve been able to accomplish so far this year, thanks to your help…

– Lana, Karis, Lucas and I traveled to Swaziland, South Africa with a team of 80 people from around the U.S. to plant and distribute over 8,000 backyard vegetable gardens for the beautiful Swazi people.

What God Says About Sex Cover– I finished writing a new, inspirational book called “What God Says About Sex,” to help people discover and put into practice what God says about sex. I just got a note last week from an 18 year old guy who started reading the book and wrote:

“Eric! I’m so glad I started reading your book today! I rarely get very emotional over much of anything but while reading your book, at various points, I found myself filled with intrigue, sadness, regret, but especially joy! Thank you so much for listening to God and writing this book, it’s wonderful! While reading the sections about your proposal story and how you followed the Lord in that, and also the part about God healing you of whatever physical ailments you might have had from your sins, I felt so happy and very inspired! That’s the first time in a long time I have cried about anything. =) now I am laughing again! With joy that is. I’ve read only half of your book and I am feeling all of this! Wow! Thanks again Eric. I really needed to read this book. Well, I am going to get back to reading, I just really felt I should e-mail you.”

– If you’d like to order a copy of this downloadable e-book, please visit The Ranch Giftshop.

Eric, Lucas, & Karis, with James Dobson– I presented a workshop on this book in June at the Annual Conference for Exodus International, the largest network of ministries for helping people overcome homosexuality.

– Karis, Lucas and I were able to briefly meet James Dobson (Focus on the Family – pictured here), Don Wildmon (American Family Association), and Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) at a conference in Washington, DC in September.

Eric at Clover Ranch– We finalized the purchase of Clover Ranch, a house on 2.5 acres here in Central Illinois that we are starting to renovate and convert into a spiritual retreat center for individuals, families and small groups.

– I spoke at the National Missionary Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana in November to encourage people to look for creative ways to use their natural and God-given gifts to share Christ with others.

Exodus Cover– And just a few weeks ago, I finished writing a second book called “Exodus: Lessons in Freedom,” based on the 50-week video series we’ve been filming and uploading to The Ranch website for the past year. This new, faith-building book contains some of my favorite personal stories of how God has spoken into my life. If you’re looking for a devotional book for the new year, for yourself or for a friend, this has great, short entries to read each day, and will take you through one of the most powerful and dramatic books of the Bible, the book of Exodus. This book is available as a downloadable e-book from The Ranch Giftshop.

My sincere thanks for all you’ve helped us to accomplish so far this year!

Notes of Thanks

I thought I would end this letter with some thank you notes from people who have visited The Ranch website in the past few months. Everytime I get notes like these, I want to pass them on to you as a thank you to you for all you’ve done to help with our ministry, in your prayers, gifts and thoughts.

“Found your site a month ago…you are a great source of encouragement which I can access anytime. May God continue to bless your work.” – Peter, CHEMSFORD, UK

“Wow — I found your website after reading your weekly sermon on “This Day’s Thought.” What a true message that touched my heart! God Bless You!!” – Barbara, IOWA CITY, IOWA, USA

“I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE, It is AWESOME!!!” – Joey, DEER PARK, NY, USA

“This is a really helpful website. A friend introduced me and I have been uplifted spiritually and would like to keep in touch with you. God bless you so much.” – Nyaradzo, HARARE, ZIMBABWE

“I just found your website. It’s inspiring and a real sanctuary to go to…Thank you” – Kelly, Issaquah, WA, USA

“God Bless you. I know God has led me to your site.” – Yvonne, SMYRNA, DE, USA

“Wow, I’m so glad I found you! I feel like I’ve really been to “the ranch.” God bless your ministry!” Rebecca, HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO, USA

“I loved paging through the website…it was very interesting. Would love to hear from you soon.” – Monique, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

“God is good, for having this kind of website which gives us encouragement in our daily life.” – Lory, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES

“I like your website so much that I made it my homepage!” Johnny, CHARLES TOWN, WV, USA

“Your Lesson 44 – “Our Role and God’s Role” was meant exactly for me, and most timely. Thank you, Praise God” – Jerry, JOHOR, MALAYSIA

“I love this website thanks so much for helping me. It’s so awesome.” Jen, FLUSHING, MI, USA

“First and foremost I think The Ranch is an excellent site and that you guys are doing an excellent job. I have been going through the Exodus series and am growing through it.” – Noel, UK

“Thank you so much for the message that you sent me from The Ranch. I am so grateful to God for that. It makes me feel happy and blessed when brethren like you are able to share with others about Christ.” Asiimwe, UGANDA

And I don’t have space to list all the prayers that people post on The Ranch for us to agree in prayer with them, but thought you might like to read this one…

“Dear GOD, forgive me for all the sins I’ve committed. Ever since my friend Susan told me about you, I’ve been putting my faith on you. I’ve started praying, too. God, you know I’m not a Christian. My parents follow Hinduism and are strong believer of Sai Baba. I, too, used to pray to SaiBaba. But now hearing all your stories, going to church, reading bible….I can feel my faith towards you. Deep within me there’s some kind of strong belief on you. GOD!!! I want to be your child, PLEASE show me the right path…” – S.

(S.’s prayer continued on for several more paragraphs, then she concluded by checking the box on the prayer page that says this: “I am putting my faith in Christ for the first time to forgive me of my sins and to be my Lord.” Praise God and thank you for helping her find Christ!)

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this update, and especially for helping us so much up to this point as we work together to share Christ with others. Thanks for considering these special requests, too.

Sincerely,
Eric Elder
www.theranch.org

P.S. Again, our most pressing need is for ongoing, monthly support. To sign up to make a monthly donation, or to make a one-time donation to our ministry or to Clover Ranch, please visit:
Make A Donation

To order the new e-books What God Says About Sex or Exodus: Lessons in Freedom, please visit:
The Ranch Giftshop

To watch any of our three 5-minute videos, please click these links:
Invest in The Ranch Website
Invest in Clover Ranch
Planting Hope In Swaziland

The Ranch Fellowship is a non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization whose purpose is to share the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Click here to read more about our ministry.

To give a gift to The Ranch and to yourself, please visit The Ranch Giftshop.
To make a donation without ordering, just click Make A Donation.

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