News From The Ranch – August 2008

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

New prayer request page, update on the Dominican Republic missions trip, painting at Clover Ranch, and donation update.

This Day's Thought Logo
Dear Friends,

I’d like to take a break today from the book of Acts to give you a personal update on our lives and ministry.

Many of you know that we moved to Peru, Illinois last December. The move has gone great in many ways. But if you’re like me, it seems like it’s often after we’ve taken a step of faith into unknown territory that the doubts and second-guesses really kick in. Over the past few weeks, I feel like a skier who has taken off from the end of the high jump ramp and is now sailing through the air. I haven’t landed yet, and I’m not sure exactly how the landing’s going to go, but I also know that I can’t go back!

When I was asking God about this unsettling sensation this week, I wondered how to get that “settled” feeling back, even though it may be some time before we’re actually settled. I then listened to a podcast from Mosaic Church on the topic of “Courage” (you can listen to it yourself from The speaker talked about how to overcome our doubts and fears when God has called you into unknown territory. The speaker suggested we heed the most frequent command found in Scripture: “Fear Not!”

But how can we “fear not” when there’s so much to be afraid of? By trusting in God every step of the way, by that He is with us every step of the way. As God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you…” (NKJV).

God wouldn’t have told us to “fear not” if it weren’t possible. I decided to put my trust in God again that morning, and God has given me His peace again knowing that He’s with us. He reminded me of why we made the move in the first place and helped me to get my focus back on Him purposes instead of my fears. What a way to get that “settled” feeling back again!

If you’ve stepped out in faith and into some unknown territory, I want to encourage you with the words God spoke to Joshua when God called Joshua into his own unknown territory. Even though the land was full of giants and other obstacles, God said: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers for us as we continue to get “settled” here in our new town. Here are a number of other updates I thought you’d like to hear about…

Need Prayer?

If you need prayer–or if you’d like to pray for others–I’d like to invite you to visit the new Prayer Request page I designed for an online ministry called “This Day’s Thought.” I’ve been working together with “This Day’s Thought” for several years now, and the new prayer request system is the latest addition.

This Day's Thought Logo

Since launching this new system earlier this month, the prayer page is getting about 10 prayer requests a day from people all over the world. If you ever need prayer, you can post your request on this page and it will be seen by a team of people who will immediately pray for your request. If you’d like to join the team to pray for others, you can sign up on the same prayer page where people post their request. You will be notified by email with each new request, then you can pray for–and even personally respond–to those requests that particularly touch you.

The Internet is such a great way to get requests out to people who are willing and able to pray, so I’m glad this new system can harness the power of the Internet for good, for God, and for you! Remember, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16, NLT).

To post a request or to pray for others who have posted theirs, visit: This Day’s Thought Prayer Page

Back From The Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic and Elder Family

Lana and our three oldest kids are now back from their missions trip to the Dominican Republic. They went for a week in July to help a new congregation there build a church and parsonage.

It was hot, sweaty and hard work, but they enjoyed being able to encourage the members of this new church, as well as the new local pastor and his family (pictured here with Lana and our older kids).

The missionaries who helped to establish this church and hosted our team on the trip said that they simply couldn’t have been able to get so much done without the team’s help. For those of you who prayed for and supported our family on this trip, you’re part of that team! So thanks to you as well!

Work Days At Clover Ranch!

Gallon of Paint

The next few months we’ll be having several work days at Clover Ranch here in Illinois. We’re continuing to transform the property into a personal retreat center.

If you’d like to help out in person, we’ve love to have you join us. We’ll be doing all kinds of projects: scraping, painting, dry walling, mudding, sanding, staining, varnishing, installing garage doors, weeding and planting trees and grass. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll be sure to let you know which days we’ll be working there.

Even if you can’t come, you can still help out! We need to buy several dozen gallons of paint over the next few weeks, and each gallon costs about $30. If you’d like to donate a gallon or two (or more!), just click the link below and you can donate online or get mailing instructions for sending a check. Thanks!

Make A Donation

Financial Update

While our trust is always in the Lord for the funds to do this work, we also know that He often provides for His work through His people. So from time to time, I know it’s important to let you know our needs so you can help out if you can.

While our donations have remained steady this year at about $3,000 a month, our expenses have continued to increase. Between our move to Peru and the various projects we have going on with our ministry, we could really use an infusion of cash right now! Everything we do is funded entirely by donations from people like you, not by any one church or organization. From this amount we pay all the costs of running our ministry including our salary and housing expenses, our computer and Internet expenses, our publication expenses, and our Clover Ranch expenses of mortgage payments, gas, electricity and renovation. As you can see, we do a lot with what we get!

If you could make a one-time donation to our ministry right now, that would really help us as we head into the fall. Whether it’s $10, $100, or $1,000 or more, know that we’ll put it to good use for the kingdom. As a registered non-profit organization, all of our work is overseen by a board of directors and all of our financial reports are publicly available. This means you donations are also fully tax-deductible!

We could also use some additional monthly donors. If every person reading this note gave a monthly gift of just $10, we’d be able to meet–and even exceed–our budget for the entire year. I know that not everyone reading this note is able to give to support this work, but if you do, know that your gifts will not only be a blessing to us, they will be a blessing to those we are able to minister to each week. Our monthly donors currently give anywhere from $10 a month to $400 a month. Would you be able to join them with a monthly gift of any amount?

Hymns, by Marilyn Byrnes

Another way you can help us on the financial front is by ordering any of the inspiring books and CD’s our ministry has produced over the years. I know many of you like to get a jump on the Christmas shopping season, and some of these books and CD’s will make great gifts to encourage your friends and family in their faith.

The piano CD’s are especially great for introducing people to God in a non-threatening way. The titles set the tone for each CD, with titles like “Clear My Mind,” “Simply Relaxing,” “Hymns,” “Eden,” “Still Waters,” and “Christmas.” Our devotional books are also great ways to get people into the Word of God, written in a simple, easy to read style with lots of personal stories that apply to everyday life. Titles include, “Two Weeks With God,” “Jesus: Lessons In Love,” “Exodus: Lessons In Freedom,” and “What God Says About Sex.” Know that when you order any of these resources, you’re also helping us reach even more people with the message of Christ.

So if you’d like to make a one-time donation, or to sign up to make a monthly donation, just click the link below for instructions.

Make A Donation

To order books or CD’s, visit The Ranch Giftshop at this link:

The Ranch Giftshop

Reader’s Comments

Before I close, I’d like to share just a few comments from readers of my weekly devotionals. I especially love to hear from those who tell me they’re putting these biblical principles into practice in their lives. Here are a few comments I received after writing a message on fasting:

From Illinois: “I did a 3-day fast last week–I had never done one that long before. It was a great experience, and your lesson came at just the right moment and encouraged me to do it.”

From Texas: “Thanks, Eric, as always for an apt word. I am praying fervently (and fasting)…Perhaps you can pray with me for God’s will to become apparent and/or his storehouses to open on our behalf.”

From Arkansas: “Your note followed up on my prayers and makes me believe that the Lord is calling me to take hold of fasting alongside my prayer life in a meaningful way.”

Look for more devotions from the book of Acts as we finish up in the book in the weeks ahead. If you’ve missed any of the series or would like to reread them, you can read them online at this link:

Acts: Lessons In Faith

Please Pray With Us


  • Thank You for helping us get the Prayer Request system up and running for This Day’s Thought,
  • Thank You for the work You did in the Dominican Republic,
  • And thank You for the opportunity to reach many people through The Ranch website and the upcoming Clover Ranch.


  • We now pray that You would provide the funding to continue with each of these projects,
  • That You would provide safety for those who are working to restore Clover Ranch,
  • And for more people find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Eric Elder

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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