MorningStar Ranch Ministries
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
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
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.
MorningStar Ranch Ministries reaches
out through the following services:
Anger management classes.
Christian marriage focus groups.
Praise and Worship services.
Youth and children activities.
Food donations to needy families.
And interactive family activities which include but aren’t
Barbeques and picnics...
Hiking and nature walks...
Live outdoor praise and worship music..
and hands-on experience with ranch animals for all ages...
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.