News From The Ranch – January 2002

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

50,000 visitors to The Ranch, Email from guests, and current prayers.

Eric Elder Family 2002

My Friend Was Right

I was looking at the statistics this morning of the number of visitors we’ve had to The Ranch this year.

I couldn’t help but remember a conversation I had with a friend seven years ago as I was leaving my office building for the last time. I had just told him that I was resigning that day because God had called me into the ministry. Even though I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, I knew I had to go.

Tears began to stream down his face as he said, “If God told you to do it, you’ve got to do it!”

He related to me how he had just given his life to Christ a few months earlier. He urged me to get on the Internet and start telling people about Christ. “There are people out there like me who are on the Internet all hours of the day and night. They’re looking for answers and you know where to find them.”

My friend was right.

This year, we’ve had over 50,000 visitors to The Ranch website. Almost all are looking for answers, needing encouragement, and wanting to know that God is real and cares about them personally.

A woman visited yesterday and wrote to say she had spent some time in prayer after reading a message on the site about children:

“I started to cry as soon as I typed this prayer. I sensed that God was telling me that he heard me and that he was taking care of it. I received this site from a friend who knows the troubles I am having right now so I know I was supposed to read the message on children. I feel like God is letting me know he can handle everything that I can’t.”

Another man wrote a few weeks ago to ask for help resolving a situation with his father. He wrote again:

“Thank you so much for your response. I have ordered [the books you recommended] and look forward to reading the text. I am a bit nervous about rediscovering the pain of the past, but I know God is able to see me through. Thank you as well for the scriptures and I intend to spend some quality time with the Lord in reference to this matter. I now have the beginnings of a plan and that’s what I was looking for – some small steps that I might take towards resolving this conflict. Your efforts are much appreciated.”

I wouldn’t have made it through this year without the aid of about 20 volunteers who stepped up to help me answer the emails. Lana’s been a great blessing, matching the emails that come in with the volunteers that can give personalized help.

A volunteer from Colorado wrote a careful and prayerful response to a man who wanted very much to reconnect with God. Back came this letter:

“Thank you for your detailed reply and for your prayers! Your letter brings back beautiful memories of those times when I was an active and practicing Christian. Also, your words “hit home” and brought tears to my eyes. I carefully perused through your letter, hanging on every word and spiritual thought. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time from your busy schedule to care for me and share with me! With your prayers and God’s help, I plan to attend services this weekend for the first time in about four years.”

Another volunteer from Tennessee prayed with a woman from England. She was struggling against depression and suicide, but mainly wanted help in making a decision for Christ. A few weeks later, she wrote back:

“Thank you very much for your reply. I have some good news. On October 24th I prayed a prayer asking Jesus into my life. I picked up my bible immediately afterwards and read Romans 4:7-8, it just jumped out at me. I will never forget that.” She closed with these words: “God bless! (I can say that now and mean it!)”

Many come because they don’t know where else to turn for help, like these three different writers:

“I am strong in Christ and I know he will give me the strength to endure but as a human, it is hard. Usually I don’t admit my weaknesses but since I don’t have to face you I will. Usually I don’t cry or express sadness but lately I feel nothing much but sadness and the need to cry, but I don’t let others around me know.”

“thank-u for all that you have done for me…it is good to get all this out when there is someone to listen to me…thanks”

“Those who know me best and know the Lord know nothing about this area of my life and, therefore, cannot pray specifically for me in this area…Neither my family or any of my friends know of this secret.”

And plenty come just to feel closer to God, like this woman from North Carolina:

“I know the Lord led me to this site today. I needed encouragement desperately and that’s what I got from this site. It’s really unique and I love the music. I thank the Lord for leading me to this place where I could find a calmness.”

Lana and I have been blessed to get to watch the body of Christ in action around the world, encouraging each other in the Lord.

God’s Ways

When I first started this ministry on the Internet, I felt a bit awkward telling people what I did. But this summer, I was encouraged by the words of David Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the largest church in the world (750,000 members!). He was asked how they could meet the needs of so many people. He said:

“We couldn’t handle the situation without computers. We computerized everything in the church – every facet! We also make use of the Internet. Right now we are offering an Internet church where people participate in services through the Internet. I want to take people to the Internet.

“Korea is very small – not like in America with a lot of space, so we can’t enlarge our church buildings. Besides, every year we have 20,000 new converts in our churches, and we can’t put them all in our church building or even our branch churches. So now we have an Internet church and many of the young generation participate in the services at home. They send in their offerings on the Internet. They can do on-line giving…And they also give us feedback about sermons and services. It is silly to build larger and larger church buildings. It is silly to spend more money on (branch church) buildings! You’ll never have enough. I really believe this, and I have already announced to my people and ministers that the next step is to go into total cyberspace ministry because it is a real waste of money to build larger buildings.”

The interviewer, Rick Warren, (who is also pastor of one of the largest churches in America) replied,

“Just think of that money and how you could be using it for missions!”

(You can read the full interview here.)

I guess I shouldn’t feel awkward about what I do. God’s ways are much higher than ours. By the end of today, another 150 people will have visited The Ranch. My friend really was right. Thanks for helping make this a reality.

Please Pray With Us

Thank you Lord,

  • for opening doors that no one can shut (Revelation 3:8);
  • for volunteers, prayer partners and supporters who make this work possible;
  • and for bringing people to The Ranch daily.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for continued wisdom to answer people’s questions;
  • for all the resources to help them;
  • and for still more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Joining Hearts

Does your heart resonate with the work we’re doing? If so, we’d love for you to join us in prayer or financially. We received an average of $2,800 a month this year from people like you to do this work full-time. We’d love to double that in 2002 and are praying that God would “strongly support” us in this effort through his people. If your heart is with us, we’d love to know.

To make a donation online right now, just click here.

Your gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. 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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