3 Special Announcements!
by Eric Elder
Hi, this is Eric Elder, and I have 3 Special Announcements I’d like to share with you today!
#1) I’m back!
It’s been 10 months now since my dear wife Lana passed away on November 15, 2012. Of course, after 28 years of knowing her and 23 years of marriage, I still miss her and think about her every hour of every day.
But I can honestly say that over the past several weeks, I’ve been able to think about her without the searing pain that accompanied my grief for so many of the past 10 months.
What was heart-wrenching for so long has gradually become heart-warming instead, and I’ve been able to truly savor the memories of our life together, without feeling like my heart is being torn apart, over and over again. God is truly healing and restoring me in ways I never would have thought possible just a few months ago.
In the weeks ahead I’d like to continue the series I began at the beginning of the year called, “How to Keep Trusting God Even in the Face of Significant Loss.” We all face losses of all kinds, all the time–whether it’s the loss of a job, the loss of health, the loss of finances, or, as in my case, the loss of a loved one–and there are some practical steps we can take to help ourselves get through those losses without losing our faith.
If you missed the first three parts, you can read them here, here and here. I’m looking forward to sharing a few more parts with you in the weeks ahead, as they sum up some of the most significant lessons God has taught me over my lifetime of trusting Him.
#2) We have a new website! (And with it, a new way of sending out our daily messages.)
This is not just a cosmetic change, as we’ve given The Ranch more than just a facelift. We’ve rebuilt it from the ground up, merging the websites for both This Day’s Thought and The Ranch together, so we can reach out and minister to even more people every day.
You may not know this, but in addition to creating much of the content on The Ranch, I’m also the “webmaster” of the website, having built one of the first corporate websites for a Fortune 10 corporation prior to going into full-time ministry 17 years ago. So over the years, I’ve always designed and built my own websites for ministry as well.
As Lana was going through her final weeks of cancer, the computers that run our websites began to fail, too, and there was nothing I could do to fix them. On the day of her funeral, our computers crashed entirely. For the next week, we were completely offline.
Our silence that week was more than just for mourning, but we were simply unable to get any messages out at all. In the weeks that followed, I was able to repair the computers enough so Greg Potzer–who selects the daily quotes, Bible verses and smiles that you read each day–could keep sending out the daily messages, and then selecting sermons on the weekends when I was unable to share.
(I’d like to commend Greg on so many fronts! He has been a tremendous partner in ministry and a terrific support through all of this, keeping the public side of our ministry running every day, 6 days a week, for the past 10 months–which is no small feat as we now reach over 40,000 subscribers from over 160 countries!)
We’ll be sharing more with you about some of the unique features of our new website in the days ahead, but you can take a sneak peak at it now at theranch.org. You can listen to music, read a message, watch a video, ask for prayer, and all kinds of neat ways to give you a boost in your faith.
We’ll also be asking you to do something we’ve never had to ask you to do before, and that’s to resubscribe to our mailing list so that you can continue receiving these messages. You don’t have to do it today, as we’ll be still using our old mailing system for a few more weeks.
But I wanted to let you know today, because you can go ahead and sign up today if you want when you visit the new website. Just click the link on the new website (or click the link right here) that says “Click here to subscribe to This Day’s Thought from The Ranch by e-mail,” then follow the prompts to complete your new subscription.
I’m very excited about the new site, and hope you love it as much as I do! Let us know what you think! (And if you notice anything that’s not working, let us know that, too, as we’d like to fix it right away.)
#3) For our third announcement, I’d like to invite you to come join us for a “Night of Worship at The Ranch!”
Since I launched The Ranch website for the first time 15 years ago, I’ve always wanted to host an annual retreat for anyone who wanted to come join us live, in person, for a time of worship, prayer and inspiration.
As a step in that direction, Greg and I are going to host a Night of Worship here in Illinois on the night of Saturday, October 12th (Columbus Day Weekend). Greg will be driving here from his home in Colorado, and we’d love to have you join us, too. My good friend and worship leader, Kent Sanders, will be coming up from Saint Louis to lead us in worship, and Greg and I will be sharing some thoughts with you during the night as well.
We’d love to have you join us and, if we haven’t met you yet, to have the chance to meet you in person. This will be an intimate night of worship here in my own home, and if the weather’s nice, we’ll have a bonfire outside.
It’s beautiful here in Illinois in the fall, with wide open spaces, and a view of the sky in every direction for miles and miles, right in the heart of the great midwest. All of the pictures on our new Ranch website were taken right here at our home.
We’ll be gathering here on October 12th for snacks and light refreshments anytime after 5 pm, with worship starting at 7.
Our address is 25615 E 3000 North Rd, Chenoa, IL 61726, and there’s a Super 8 hotel just 3 miles away in our little town of Chenoa (or there are many other hotels and things to do about 25 miles away in the much larger twin cities of Bloomington/Normal.)
If you’re flying, you can fly into the Bloomington (Illinois) airport (BMI), or into Chicago O’Hare or Midway airports (ORD or MDW), which are about two hours north of us.
Although I’m sorry that Lana won’t be here in person to meet you, too, her spirit is still alive and well in our home. I know she would be happy for us to meet and share and worship together the God and Savior whom she’s still worshipping every day, in a brand new way.
Before I close, I’d like to draw your attention to one more thing.
Another good friend and filmmaker, Russell Pond, filmed the memorial service held in Lana’s honor on November 20, 2012.
While I wouldn’t normally think of encouraging someone to watch a funeral service to find inspiration and hope for their lives, I’ve had so many people tell me that’s just what happened for them when they watched it, that I wanted to make it available to anyone who wants to see it.
You can watch it online here, but I know some people can’t watch it online because of the cost or bandwidth constraints of their Internet connection, and I know others who would simply like to have a copy for their own memories of Lana.
So with Russ’s kind permission, I’ve put the entire 90-minute service onto a DVD called, “To Lana, With Love.” I’d be glad to send it to you for a donation of any size to our ministry (both to help us in our work and to help offset the costs of printing and shipping it to you). This video also features the short film, “Eric’s Hope,” made by our new friends at Neuvelle Vie (New Life), a project to give hope to others facing loss. (Click here to request a copy.)
I’ve even heard from one couple who said they were so inspired by watching the service online that they made it required viewing for another couple they were counseling who were having trouble in their marriage, to give them hope for what God can do in our lives and relationships if we let Him.
It’s amazing to me that God can use even our greatest tragedies to bring hope and healing to others. Thank You, Jesus!
And thank YOU again for your prayers, your notes of encouragement, and your support in so many practical ways. You have sustained me when I needed it, and I hope to be able to return the favor in the days ahead.
So check out our new website–and come visit us if you can on October 12th!
As a thank-you for your donation of any size to our ministry, we’d be glad to send you our DVD, “To Lana, With Love,” featuring the Celebration of the Life of Lana Elder, who passed away on November 15th, 2012. Lana was the wife of Eric Elder and co-founder of The Ranch. “To Lana, With Love” also includes the short inspirational video, “Eric’s Hope,” to give hope and encouragement to others facing loss.
Click here to learn more or to make a donation.