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MorningStar Ranch Ministries

The Vision

Easter weekend of 1994 Catherine and I went up into the hill country of South Central Texas for a much needed retreat. It was in that old west, "dude ranch", environment that GOD gave us the vision that is now MorningStar Ranch Ministries. GOD showed us how an old west setting, on a working ranch, would open doors of ministry opportunity that otherwise might remain closed.

GOD began our quest for the perfect property by first providing us 30 acres in southeast Bexar County. That was where we got our "feet wet" so to speak. We began acquiring livestock… horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks and a goose or two… not to mention all the cats and dogs. We learned how to take what others look at as junk and use it to build an old west cabin. Our community service workers built it at no cost to the ministry. It was tremendous to see people who have been beaten down most of their lives take pride and ownership of something so simple yet so meaningful. Our activities quickly outgrew our surroundings and GOD then moved us right across the road to a beautiful wooded tract where HE could show us more of what HIS plan was all about.

We began having outdoor praise and worship services every Friday night and saw GOD moving in a mighty way. We were blest to reach out to inner city kids and watch them as they touched and experienced real live ranch animals… they came to life in an all-new way. They opened their hearts and minds and transformations took place right before our eyes. Our ministry to the hurting family members of men and women who were incarcerated grew rapidly. MorningStar Ranch Ministries has been established with the Adult Probation department for 8 years and we have ministered to literally hundreds of people who have been sent our way. We stand in awe as we watch how this Christian environment, set on a working ranch, is changing lives. Because the ranch setting is so unique we have become one of the most popular community service sites both among the Probationers and the Probation Officers. We have been told that MSRM is one of the most effective agencies in helping people successfully complete their obligation to the community.

As our work has grown so has the need... we now have a permanant home on a 40 plus -acre piece of land in southwest Bexar County. There is plenty of room to graze livestock and at the same time conduct all of our activities such as trail rides, barrel racing, team penning, team roping, outings, hay rides, church picnics and bar-b-que’s, our special ranch petting zoo, fishing, retreats and custom-designed events. We will need to construct a large barn, training arena, corrals and lodging for the outings that have become so much a part of our outreach.

It is our prayer to become a self-sufficient working ranch by providing retreat cottages for churches and special group outings… these will include individual cabins as well as a rustic lodge for larger groups. The people we minister to are hurting and in need of assistance that must be provided, in most cases, FREE. It is our goal to be able to meet those needs through the resources that are generated by outings and activities at MorningStar Ranch as well as by the generous contributions of those who see the benefits of our efforts and want to help make it happen.

MorningStar Ranch Ministries has conducted faith-based substance abuse groups for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice twice a week and on the first Friday of each month at the DRC in down town San Antonio. Our ministry team is helping to change lives through doing the very thing GOD has commanded. They go out and touch the lives of struggling individuals… demonstrating, face-to-face, HIS life-changing love. We are constantly encouraged by the requests to speak at churches throughout the area and to men and women’s groups desirous of hearing about what GOD is doing through MorningStar Ranch Ministries.

We conduct church services every Sunday at the ranch that are very informal... jeans and boots are welcome. Our church is made up of people who truly care about each other, creating an atmosphere that is comfortable for those who don't feel like they fit into conventional churches. Our core group consists of people totally committed to serving HIS kingdom and sharing HIS love. In addition to our church and outreach we offer a customized marriage ministry that deals with the "real problems" associated with people who have never seen functional relationships.

GOD has given us a wonderful teaching on "Submission to Master" demonstrated by Dr. Jim using an untrained horse and through "Miss Leah", Catherine’s awesome cutting horse. We are frequently blest with the opportunity to take our horses to schools, churches, retreats and other outings to teach the biblical principles of submission to Master.

The individuals GOD has called us to outreach through our prison ministry have cultural, environmental and social problems that have been magnified by their being incarcerated. These individuals cost the citizens of this community a great deal of money. To give you an example using conservative figures... the average drug addict we work with has had at minimum a $150.00 a day habit. Their habit keeps them from being gainfully employed so to maintain their "fixes" they must steal around $600.00 to a $1,000.00 a day in real property from the residents of the community they live in. The citizens of our community lose anywhere from $220,000.00 to 365,000.00 each year to just one addict. Factor in the cost of incarceration and those figures grow considerably. If MorningStar Ranch Ministries can change just a few of these men and women each year we could impact our community by literally millions of saved dollars and that figure will just continue to grow year in and year out.

TDCJ statistics indicate that approximately 80 to 85% of those who go to prison will return. MorningStar Ranch Ministries has been blest that not one person GOD has brought to us to work with has ever returned to prison or "old life styles". This has not happened by accident. We do not approach our people with a "cookie cutter" mentality. Each person has individual and unique circumstances to deal with. We purpose to deal with each one, one-on-one, and let GOD lead us so that it is not us but HIM that is changing lives.

What GOD has called us to do is both time and labor intensive. MorningStar Ranch Ministries is totally dependent on the generous support of the people of our community who see that what we are doing is more than just cost effective… it’s life-changing. Our target group is huge... approximately 100,000 people went through the Bexar County Adult Detention Center last year alone. Add to that number the family members involved, not mentioning the victims, and you easily have half of our city’s population. That quite frankly is overwhelming. The task before us is not for the weak of spirit… or the faint of heart… it requires tenacity, courage and an absolute trust that GOD has a plan for each of HIS children. Albeit heartbreaking and exhausting the rewards of seeing people turn their lives over to GOD and become good parents, husbands, wives and citizens makes it all worthwhile.




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MorningStar Ranch Ministries reaches out through the following services:


"Cowboy Church"
Mentoring support.
Discipleship classes.
Anger management classes.
Christian marriage focus groups.
Bible studies.
Praise and Worship services.
Youth and children activities.
Food donations to needy families.
Employment assistance.

And interactive family activities which include but aren’t limited to:

Horseback riding...
Barbeques and picnics...
Camping...
Hiking and nature walks...
Hay rides...
Live outdoor praise and worship music..
and hands-on experience with ranch animals for all ages...

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We pray here at MorningStar for the restoration and healing of the hearts of those who are hurting and the peace of our LORD JESUS CHRIST to all that pass through our gate.