The Lord’s Ranch (by Calena)

“We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” Luke 17:10

Do you want to be a saint?!

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few. It is a simple duty for you and for me.” -Mother Teresa

Once we have truly encountered Jesus and His overwhelming love, we desire with our whole being to be holy! Jacob and I desire greatly to do His will and lay down our lives in love. We will go wherever He calls, though He may need to first help us overcome our fears.

We are all called to be missionaries wherever God has us. Even someone working at Walmart has a duty to be a missionary of Jesus Christ in His merciful redeeming love. Or even the C.E.O. of Apple is called to be a missionary of Jesus, but first they must encounter Him. We have it on our hearts to accept this missionary call and go out. This quite possibly means to foreign countries.

Our adobe home for the week.

Monday evening we arrived at The Lord’s Ranch just outside El Paso. Fr. Nathan O’Halloran had spoken of the ranch at the Proclaim Conference since he grew up there. The Lord’s Ranch is a beautiful community of three families and one single woman who pray, work, and play together. We stayed in an adobe home that was the house of Fr. Rick Thomas, who is a holy Jesuit priest that started the ministry and passed away in 2006 (hopefully a declared saint one day).

The beautiful sunset at the ranch.
Blaise’s diapers are drying on the line while the roadrunner hangs out below.

Jacob was able to help in the garden and with the chickens. I spent most of my mornings caring for Blaise, but also being with Rebecca and her two sons (4 and 2 years old). We went to collect pecans on Tuesday morning. The farmers drop a lot of pecans when they are being harvested so we were legally able to pick them up if they were near the road.

Rebecca’s oldest son showed me his bug collection and I was a little afraid of what I may find crawling around in the next week during our stay. In particular the tarantula wasp!

tarantula wasp
Tarantula Wasp

At the Lord’s Ranch we were blessed to visit Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. On Friday morning we drove in to the poorest city I have ever seen.

Ciudad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez

Most people live in cement block homes side by side other homes with lots of trash and dogs around. In this part of town, the roads were windy, mostly dirt, and very bumpy. We were blessed to be driven by a man named Tino who was bilingual as we don’t know much Spanish. We first stopped at the food bank run by the community and talked with three middle schoolers named Eduardo, Evaline, and Nicole. It was very funny as they knew no English and we struggled to speak in Spanish. They were patient with us.

The children at the food bank. Nicole is holding Blaise.

Then we took some food to six different homes of people who were older or unable to climb the hill to collect their food from the food bank during the week. In each house, we visited briefly with them and then gathered for a spontaneous prayer. The first man named Melchior was 104 years old (named after one of the three wise men who visited baby Jesus)! The last family I was hesitant to enter their home because Blaise had just fallen asleep. As soon as we entered the woman, Maria del Sol, began crying saying, “You brought baby Jesus to me.” She called us the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! We called her and her husband St. Ann and St. Joachim. Maria told us how she had cared for her granddaughter until she was sixteen-years-old. Her granddaughter passed away just four months earlier. She had a handicap that made her bedridden her entire life. You could see the love and joy in Maria’s face from a woman who served with sacrificial love.

Maria del Sol and Blaise

The line to get back into the states was always long the two days we went. It took anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to pass back into El Paso. Sometimes the guards would just leave for lunch break leaving a line stagnant for 20 minutes then come back and begin letting people into the states again.

Crossing the Mexico/United States border via van.
The hour wait to get back into the States.

On Saturday morning we drove with the family with four children from The Lord’s Ranch to ‘Las Alitas’ (Little Wings). It is located in a part of Juarez where half of the tiny homes are gutted out/abandoned. We were blessed to attend morning Mass completely in Spanish with upbeat music and clapping. After mass, kids of all grades went to catechism classes. After lunch, the kids got to play soccer on a ‘Futbol Rapido’ field with synthetic turf donated from what I believe they said was a college football team from the U.S.

An abandoned house or business near the border. Many people left Juarez around the year 2008 during the drug war.
Mass in Juarez.

In the evening at the ranch we went for a family walk to greet the chickens, horses, and cows! Blaise loved the horse. I almost got the cow to trust me and lick my hand.

Our family rosary walk through the ranch.
Blaise loved the swing.
We are with the young fluffy cows.
Blaise pets Ronan the horse.

One thing I am learning through this journey is that the call to be poor and serve the poor is not for an elect few, but the whole church!

“How I would like a church that is poor and for the poor.” -Pope Francis

It is our Christian Catholic duty to see Jesus in the broken, poor, hurting, rejected, abandoned. “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” Luke 17:10

Amen. -Calena


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