News From The Ranch – February 2003

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Year-end statistics, new music on The Ranch, and an upcoming live event in Illinois.

Eden, by Marilyn Byrnes

We’ve added some new piano music to the website to encourage you in your quiet time with the Lord. It contains a collection of classical and inspirational songs that I helped my sister record, including a song I wrote especially for her to play called “Marilyn’s Theme.”

Dear Friends,

We’re just days away now from the birth of our 6th child (at least we think we’re days away…Lana’s due on Feb. 26th, but she’s always been early so far). We’d appreciate your prayers for Lana and the baby and our whole family this month. (Those may sound like routine prayers, but for anyone who’s been involved in the birth process, you know those prayers are precious!)

We’ve included a picture of our family here that we’d love for you to print out and use as a reminder to pray for us and our ministry (even though it will be quickly outdated!) We appreciate that many of you have written to let us know that you do pray for us. We’d love if you would put this prayer card on your refrigerator or in your office or tuck it in your Bible…anywhere that you might see it regularly and remember to pray. We’ve listed some prayers at the end of this letter that you can cut out and keep near the picture if you’d like some ideas of what we need prayer for.

Eric Elder Family 2003

Eric Elder Family 2003

Knowing that many of you have prayed for us this past year, we also thought you might like to see a glimpse of how your prayers were answered. I’ve posted on our website some excerpts from a number of “thank you” notes we received this past year from people who visited The Ranch. While many of these are addressed to me and Lana, their notes of thanks extend directly to you as well, for without your prayers and support, we wouldn’t be able to reach out the way we do. I hope that as you read through these notes, you’ll be able to read them as personal notes of thanks to you as well for your prayers for this ministry. You’ll find them by clicking Quick Stats and Notes of Thanks.

I especially like to see notes that come from people who visit The Ranch needing a boost in their faith, and leave having gotten it, like this note from Louisiana:

“We’ve been facing some severe financial struggles recently and while our faith is deeper than ever, and we know we are tucked safely under the Lord’s wing, your site – the music – helped release a few of my hidden fears that seem tucked behind the nooks and crannies of my soul. I arrived feeling spent, but leave feeling refreshed.”

Although I can’t print all of the notes here, I hope you’ll read through the excerpts on the website to know that God is still in the life-changing business. I’ve also included along with the notes a few quick stats from last year, like these:

  • Total visitors during 2002: 85,000+
  • Total visitors over 5 years: 200,000+
  • Average number of visitors per day: 250+
  • Number of countries visitors come from: 150+
  • Number of emails requesting prayer and encouragement: 485
  • Longest email received: 5,231 words
  • Shortest email received: 1 word (Help!)

To read more, visit: Quick Stats and Notes of Thanks.

New Music

For those of you who like piano music and would like to spend some quiet time with God, we’ve just added a new full-length CD to the website that I helped my sister record called “Eden.” If you’ve heard her Christmas music on our site, you already know that she’s a gifted pianist and her music is both calming and inspiring. This new CD features a natural combination of classical and relaxing music, such as Für Elise, Clair de Lune, On Eagle’s Wings and Brahm’s Lullaby. It also features a song I wrote especially for her to play called Marilyn’s Theme.

You’re welcome to listen to this music on the website anytime you want, as often as you want, as our gift to you. If you’d like a copy for your home, or car, or for a friend, just visit The Ranch Giftshop. While you can listen to the music on the site free of charge, we do ask for a suggested donation for the CD’s as a way to help our ministry reach out to more people. Click this link to Listen to Eden.

Real Lives, Real Change

We’ve also posted some new testimonies on the website: one from a man named Peter from England who was scarred for life as an infant when his house caught on fire. His life went from bad to worse until Christ reached down and gave him a new life. The other is from a woman named Vicki who suffered from severe abuse and eventually mental illness until she finally “challenged God to prove himself.” He did, and now she’s free of the pain and torment she suffered for years (just like the man that Christ set free in Mark Chapter 5). You can read these true-life stories (and more) by clicking their links above or visiting Stories At The Ranch.

I believe that testimonies like these are so valuable for encouraging people to put their faith in Christ that we’re planning a live event this fall here in Streator, Illinois, to showcase testimonies of people in this area whose lives have also been touched by Jesus. In my role as President of the Streator Ministerial Association, we’re coordinating this multi-day event as a city-wide outreach sponsored by the cooperating churches in town.

I’d appreciate your prayers as we attempt to reach out to thousands of people in the area by showing them that Jesus Christ still changes lives today. I can’t describe what an incredible burden I feel in leading this event, as well as the incredible opportunity I see before us to touch countless people. Please pray for me, for the churches involved in the planning, and for those who will be touched by Christ Himself. If you could stop and pray for a minute even before reading on, I’d really appreciate it (and so will those whose lives will be changed by your prayers. If you want to see it in person, come on over! We’re a couple hours drive southwest of Chicago. The planned dates are October 9-12th.)

Take Heart

As a final encouragement, I want to remind you of a phrase that I find repeatedly in scripture:


These words were spoken to Abraham (Genesis 21:22), Saul (1 Samuel 10:7), David (1 Chronicle 17:2), Solomon (1 Chronicle 28:20), groups of people (Zechariah 8:23), cities (Zephaniah 3:17), and whole countries (Isaiah 45:15). As David said these words to Solomon, I want to say them to you:

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you.”

Call on the name of Jesus and you can be sure that GOD WILL INDEED BE WITH YOU, TOO.

Please Pray With Us

Thank you Lord,

  • for growing our family;
  • for growing our ministry;
  • and for growing the number of friends we’ve met in Your name.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for Your protection on our family;
  • for Your guidance for our ministry;
  • and for more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

We ask this all in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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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