About Eric Elder And The Ranch

Eric Elder, August 22, 2013Eric Elder is an author, speaker, and contemporary pianist with a passion for sharing Christ with others.

Eric is also an ordained pastor and a technology expert, having worked as a technology researcher for a Fortune 10 corporation for nine years prior to going into full-time ministry in 1995. This unique combination of skills led USA Today to call him “a new breed of evangelist,” referring to his groundbreaking work of sharing Christ over the Internet with thousands each day in over 160 countries.  (You can read USA Today’s excellent summary here).

Eric has written for numerous publications, including Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, (you can read the Decision Magazine article here) and has spoken nationally at conferences such as the Exodus International Freedom Conference, as well as producing books and music for his own ministry (you can browse through The Ranch Bookstore here).

Eric was married to Lana (Olivero) Elder for 23 years, and together they had six children.  Lana was an active part of the ministry until she passed on to be with the Lord in November 2012, after a nine-month battle with breast cancer.  You can read more about Lana’s faith and hope through it all at www.lanaelder.com.

Eric Elder and Family, Christmas 2009

Eric Elder and Family, Christmas 2009. Lana is pictured second from the right and Eric is second from the left.

If you’d like to join us in this work, whether helping to support it financially, or volunteering in other ways, please use the links below:

Make a Donation
Become a Ministry Volunteer
Learn More about Eric Elder Ministries

Eric Elder Ministries is an IRS-recognized, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

About Greg Potzer And This Day’s Thought

Greg PotzerThis Day’s Thought was started in January of 2000 with its mission being to offer Christian encouragement and inspiration to those in need. The ministry is administered by Greg Potzer & Eric Elder with the significant help from many volunteers.

The seeds for this ministry were planted some 40 years ago, when Greg, as an avid reader, started to save helpful thoughts and quotations on 3×5 cards per his mother’s suggestion.  This collection now serves as the foundation from which that segment of each day’s message prayerfully begins.

This Day’s Thought, This Day’s Verse (from varying Bible versions) and an occasional This Day’s Smile are all contained in one e-mail that we deliver, Monday through Friday.  On Sunday, we send This Week’s Sermon, shared by Eric Elder of The Ranch Fellowship.

In September of 2012, This Day’s Thought merged with The Ranch Fellowship, to become unified in their joint mission of serving the Lord.  Afer working so well together for so many years, Eric Elder and Greg Potzer decided they could function even more effectively joining their ministries and now serve under the umbrella of The Ranch Fellowship (a ministry of Eric Elder Ministries).  Both This Day’s Thought and The Ranch Fellowship are registered  501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, and all gifts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Lana’s Hope

Lana Elder - Mother's Day 2012

About a month before my wife, Lana, died of breast cancer, she wrote a beautiful blog post called “Lana’s Hope.”  In it she talked about the hope she had in God, regardless of the outcome of her situation.  She wrote:

“Being in a situation like this, where death could happen at any time, I have no worries for myself if that happens. I’ve spent so much time with Jesus already that it’ll be like going home to see my friend.”

Lana believed God could do anything, absolutely anything, and she believed God could heal her at any moment.  But she also trusted Him completely with everything in her life, saying:

“I have great hope that God can heal me, but my hope is in Him completely no matter what. I know I can’t go wrong by putting my hope in Him. As Psalm 25:3 says:  ‘No one whose hope is in You
 will ever be put to shame…’”

Lana’s hope was in God before cancer, during cancer and now in heaven with Him forever.  I know if she could say anything to you, she would want you to put your hope in Him for everything in your life, too, knowing that He loves you so very much.

No matter what you’re going through, know that God hasn’t left you.  He hasn’t walked away from you.  He hasn’t forsaken you.  You can’t go wrong putting your hope in Him.  As Lana said in quoting Psalm 25:3, “No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame…”

When Lana died, I wanted to do something to honor her life and the hope that she had, and I know many of you have wanted to do the same.  In that light, I’ve created a fund within our ministry called “Lana’s Hope.”  My hope is that God will use this fund to help finance projects that would help others in practical ways as well as to put their hope in God, just as she had put her hope in Him.

Dan Okall and FamilyThe first project we’d like to help fund is a ministry for breast cancer education in rural Kenya run by our friends Dan and Emily Okall.  It was because of a talk Lana and I attended here in the US where Dan and Emily were talking about their breast cancer education program in Kenya that Lana and I discovered the lump in Lana’s breast later that night.  11 months later, Lana was gone.  Had we not heard that talk, we may not have known until the very end that Lana was even sick, as her health was perfect in every other way up to that point.

Although we all wished Lana’s outcome would have been different, those 11 months became some of the most precious in our lives.  Lana’s cancer was already so advanced that the doctors gave us no hope, but God gave us tremendous hope!  Through Dan and Emily’s ministry, we were able to get a heads-up about this disease that was about to take Lana’s life, and have a chance to say a long good-bye, at least for now.  I can’t wait to see her again fully alive and cancer free in heaven!

But until that time, I’d love to help further the work that has touched us so much.  If you’d like to join me, I’d be glad to send you a special thank-you gift as a reminder that Lana’s Hope can be your hope, too.  About 10 years ago, when Lana and I were raising money to travel to Africa to help with another ministry project there, we offered supporters some simple rubber reminder bands that they could wear on their wrists to pray for our trip.  So in honor of Lana and remembering that first trip to Africa, I’ve ordered 200 reminder bands for this project.  The bands simply say, “Lana’s Hope is My Hope.” It’s a simple way to honor Lana and to say along with her that your hope is in God, too.

Lana's Hope Reminder Bands

To make a tax-deductible donation, just click a link below to choose the color of reminder band you’d like, then enter your donation amount on the next screen.  We’ll pass your gifts along directly to Dan and Emily ‘s ministry, Dala Development, and we’ll send you a reminder-band anywhere in the world as our collective way of saying thanks.  We have a limited number of each color, so order soon! (And to make a monthly donation to this project, just click “make recurring” on the following page.)

Your donation will be processed through Eric Elder Ministries, a fully-recognized, tax-exempt religious organization.

To read more from Lana’s beautiful blog post “Lana’s Hope,” click here.

To learn more about Dala Development, click here.

To watch the video “Lana’s Hope,” which was filmed just two weeks before Lana died, click here.

And to watch a celebration of Lana’s life, given by her family and friends, click here.

Thanks for your love and support through the years, and thanks for your love and support for this project, too!

Love,
Eric Elder

A Tribute To Kirk N. Albrecht

This website is dedicated to Kirk Albrecht, a good friend, computer guru and our partner in ministry. Sadly, Kirk died of a heart attack at the age of 36 on July 14th, 2004.

Below is a letter I wrote to his family and friends a few days after his passing from this life to the next. I’ve also included links at the end to letters from readers to his wife, Kelly, plus an update from Kelly on the 10th anniversary of his passing.

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July 20, 2004

Kirk Albrecht and Eric Elder

Kirk Albrecht (top) and Eric Elder in 1998 installing the first computer to run The Ranch website

To the family and friends of Kirk Albrecht,

I couldn’t believe it when Kelly called to say that Kirk had died. He’s been such a permanent fixture in our lives over the years, I couldn’t imagine him being gone. Like you, I’ve spent the past few days crying, praying and reflecting on what his life has meant to me and to many others. In losing Kirk, I’ve lost my good friend, my best technical support, and my partner in ministry.

I’ve created dozens of websites over the years and many people look to me as their webmaster. But when I’ve needed technical help, I’ve always looked to Kirk. He was a webmaster’s webmaster.

The things he taught me helped me to create an Internet ministry that reaches thousands of people a month from all over the world with the message of Christ. Many times I was ready to “throw in the towel” on hosting my own websites, but Kirk would come and give me a hand and give me a smile and tell me to keep going. He was confident we would get things going again, and he was always right.

Kirk came to my rescue many times, driving from Morton to wherever my equipment was located and spending hours and hours solving a problem. One particular scene stands out in my mind.

We were in the basement of an office building in Macomb. It was about 4 in the morning after we’d worked all day trying to recover from a computer virus that struck my server. When we had finally gotten over the bulk of the problem, Kirk showed me what to do next and laid down on the concrete floor to take a break. He only got about 15 minutes of a catnap before we had to do more, but as I worked away and watched him finally getting some rest, I couldn’t help but be thankful for a man that would spend an all-nighter with me working on a computer, with no thought of compensation, with no expectation of anything in return, but simply to help out a friend. As much as I miss him now, I like to think that he’s finally getting some real rest and finally getting all of the rewards that he piled up in heaven while he was here on earth.

One of the ministries that benefitted from those all-nighters and everything else Kirk did is called This Day’s Thought. When I told my friend Greg who runs “This Day’s Thought” what had happened to Kirk, he asked if it would be OK to send out a note to his 10,000 subscribers about Kirk’s passing so that his subscribers could say thanks and pray for Kirk’s family.

Within minutes of sending out the announcement, notes began pouring in from around the world. I’ve collected them here as a tribute to a man who worked behind-the-scenes to make a difference in the lives of so many – including mine.

With much love,
Eric Elder

Click Here To Read The Letters Fom Readers

Click Here To Read An Update From Kelly Albrecht, 10 Years Later