Sunday, December 18, 2016

Seasons of Change

One of the things we have grown to love about living in WV is the changing of seasons.  Being a Florida girl all my life, I have always only known one season- HOT!  When we first moved here, winter was coming to a close.  There was a slight dusting of snow on the ground, but warmer, greener days soon followed.  Spring brought so many wild animals and their babies.  That was so cool for us to see baby deer just walking along the side of the road.  Summer came and went, and then my favorite, fall, arrived.  Fall has been my favorite season here in WV by far.  The beautiful, colorful leaves transport you to a different world.  The crisp air and small town festivals create memories that will last a lifetime.  Now, we are headed straight into our first real winter.  We are all so excited, although the locals always warn our excitement will be short-lived.

Seasons come with mixed emotions.  You find yourself excited for the new season to begin.  A new  season means new adventures, new experiences, and a fresh start.  But it also means that you leave behind the passing season with only lessons learned and memories made.  I know for me, I am always a little excited mixed with a little sadness because I know it will be several seasons more before I'm back to where I'm at. 

This is where our family is in ministry.  When we moved up here in February, we were sad to close a chapter at home in Florida, but oh so excited for a new beginning.  We had prayed for so long for God to show us where He wanted us and what He wanted us to do.  We came up here with so much confidence, with absolutely no doubt we were smack dab in the middle of His will for us.  This past year, we have worked tirelessly to build a ministry at Eagle Ranch.  We saw God move huge mountains.  We raised almost $80,000, oversaw the building of a bunk house, kitchen, and bath house, hosted mission teams, held events, and saw people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  These last few months, God has steered  the board at Eagle Ranch and the Vaughn family in two different directions.  After much prayer, Rob and I resigned from this ministry.  This was a tough decision, but God has been in it from the start.  If I'm being honest, it is hard to walk away from something that you have poured your heart and soul into.  Our entire family has sacrificed for us to be here and work in this ministry.  But it has not been in vain.  While our hearts are heavy, we know that we are right where God intends for us to be in this next season.  My flesh can begin to worry that people will see us as a failure.  But I know that God doesn't make mistakes, and He has a plan.  We, personally, cannot make decisions for other people, and we have to be obedient to the Lord.  For a moment, I might have felt like we made a huge mistake by coming up here.  But now I look back at the stepping stone Eagle Ranch has been for us.  Not only have we learned SOOOOOOO much, but we have gained a daughter.  Foster/adoption was not in any of our plans, but it was definitely in the Savior's plans.  We have been incredibly blessed by the addition of Zoe to our family.  It has been amazing to watch our family open their hearts to this precious young lady; to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We have also been so blessed to have Holly as a part of our family here.  She has been a huge help to us, and there are no words to say what a blessing she is to us.  We have been blessed with a home with the most wonderful neighbors, who we call family.  God has used them to fill a huge void in our lives.  My kids walk up the hill, stay the night (several nights a week), we eat family dinners together, and most of all, they love us in all of our craziness.  God is truly soooooo incredibly good to us.

So what is next for us?  We are currently closing out the year with Eagle Ranch to help with tax forms and such.  God is opening a few doors right here in WV, and we are patiently waiting for His direction.  We had a promising meeting last week, and we hope to have more concrete details after the first of the year.  In the mean time, we have been asked to take over the teen class at our church and build a youth program.  We are so super excited about that!  We will also continue to do mission work as the opportunities arise, and love all of those around us like Jesus loves us.  For those of you who have supported us through Eagle Ranch, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  If you would like to continue to support us in our ministry, Sardis Baptist Church is handling all of our mission support.  They are an amazing church family that is a tremendous blessing and encouragement to us.

If you are one of our FL friends and family, we will be heading home Tuesday to spend Christmas and New Years with our families.  I am looking forward to some much needed time to refresh and remember why we do what we do. 

I keep going back to this passage, and remembering that God knows this season.  He even knows what is going to happen in the next.  I am choosing to rest in His presence and His peace, and our hearts desire is that He will be honored and glorified in all that we say and do.

Ecclesiastes 3King James Version (KJV)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Are you in a tough season of life?  Do you know who holds your tomorrow?  This Christmas, the best gift you could give yourself is to accept the gift of salvation.  This gift was paid for, in full, on the cross by Jesus Christ.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you.  When the seasons get tough, He is tougher.  He wants you this Christmas.  He wants you to have JOY, PEACE, and most of all, He wants to give you the gift of everlasting life in heaven with him.

1 Corinthians 15: 3-4
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Remembering Baby Faith {National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day}

The Lord has really laid it upon my heart to start blogging again.  Truthfully, I have fought Him every step of the way because social media is just so much easier and accessible.  I have been praying for some time for God to use me and grow our ministry, and blogging and writing keep coming up.  So what better post to start with than one on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day!

When I sit and really reflect upon this season we are in, I am so thankful for the life of Faith and how God grew us to be where we are today.  I would not be who I am if I had never had the chance to be her mommy.  In a time such as this in our country, we see more and more people jumping on the abortion bandwagon.  I think it has never been more important in our lifetime to celebrate matter how short it may be.

May 19, 2011 is a day that will live forever in our hearts.  It was the day that Faith Mackenzie Vaughn was born into our arms and 42 minutes later, she entered the gates of heaven.  Those 9 months and 42 minutes molded us in ways that we could have never dreamed.  In the five and a half years since she was born, so much life has happened.  You know the story...we wrote a book.  I graduated college.  We moved far away from home to serve Jesus Christ in full time ministry.  All of those things are so scary and overwhelming, but we knew we could trust Jesus in these things because He gave us courage through the life of our daughter.

In remembering her, I also remember all of the parents who have lost a child.  Whether in an early pregnancy or years into their lives, losing a child is the most devastating thing I could ever imagine.  While the world moves on about their everyday lives, we sit and wonder how we will make it through the next day, hour or minute.  We never forget our children who have impacted us so much.  And guess what?  Jesus never forgets either!  He created each of them in His image, and loves them so much more than we ever could.  During Faith's pregnancy and birth, we clung to the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.   "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future."  God had great plans for your child from the time the world was spoken into existence.  Their hope and future is in heaven, as is ours if we belong to Him.  As Rob and I clung to that verse for her, we also came to realize that promise was for each of us too.  We could either withdraw from the world and try to make sense of what happened, or we could trust in God's plans for Faith and for each of us.  There were many days we did both!  It wasn't easy, and there are still days that are hard.  We continue to watch His plans for us unfold every day as we serve to spread the Gospel here in WV.  None of this would have been possible if we hadn't learned to trust Jesus with our greatest treasures...our own lives and the life of our child.

Moms and Dad who are grieving the loss of your precious little one...we remember each of you as you navigate life with a huge hole in your heart.  The Bible is full of the promises from our Heavenly Father. Psalms 34:18 says "The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."  And one of my absolute favorites in a time of grief is James 4:8- "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."  Cling to the Lord and He will carry you through these uncertain waters.  Our prayer is that you have the hope of Jesus Christ and eternal life through salvation in Him.  I know I will see Faith again, because Jesus paid the price on the cross at Calvary.  He made a way for me and you to have eternal life with Him in heaven, along with our sweet children. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing the grief of losing a child, I would like to share our story with you.  You can purchase our book, Our Faith Renewed, here.  If you are local to the WV area, I have some on-hand and can ship directly to you.  Our story is one of love, life, grief, marriage struggles, and redemption.  God has been so incredibly good to us and we want you to have the same hope we Jesus! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Eagle Ranch Update~ 3 weeks

It has been three weeks since we have been here in WV.  It has been a great time of gratitude for the season we are in.  I would be lying if I said there hasn’t been some adjusting I’ve had to do.  We’ve all had to adjust to a different way of life.  But it’s something we are so thankful to be able to do.

A quick update on things here at Eagle Ranch:  Holly Tucker is here with us this week.  She has spent her Spring Break with us.  She wanted to come on a mission trip, and she has been the biggest blessing.  While she and I haven’t been doing construction work, she has helped me tremendously with getting organized with homeschool.  She has helped the kids get adjusted to working online, and has been the biggest help to me.  I’m so thankful to have her here.  It has been so good to spend some time with her.  She even got the good news of being accepted as Snowbird staff yesterday while she was here, so that was exciting for all of us.

The bunk house is almost complete.  We are just days away from finishing it.  We have a team of our favorite people from Sardis coming up next week to help us get it finished up.  We are so excited to see them, and for them to be a part of this ministry here.

Construction on our commercial kitchen began this morning.  We are so excited to be able to have a space to cook for all of our visitors.  I will post updates as we move along with that project.

Life in WV is very different than that in Florida.  Everything is much slower here, and that has been a breath of fresh air.  We are so used to living life at 90 mph, that is has been nice to just take a deep breath and focus on what God wants us to do.  Please continue to pray for our family, for this ministry, and for this community.  We have a lot of work to do!
I joked that I was going to do a post on “10 things I have learned since being in WV.”  I’ve done a lot of changing :) 
  • For instance, we eat almost all meals at home, which means I do a lot of cooking.  It also means we eat a lot of leftovers.  This is new for me.  We were not raised eating leftovers, but now I rejoice if there is leftovers because it means I don’t have to cook.
  • I have also learned that eating sandwiches will not kill me. If you have ever spent any amount of time with me, you will know I despise a cold sandwich.  These past few weeks I have learned to embrace the cold sandwich and realize it really isn’t the end of the world.
  • Not only have I learned to eat sandwiches, I have learned to LOVE hotdogs.  They have this hotdog sauce here that makes everything taste amazing!  I can’t wait to make some for our friends.  It is incredible!

  • People here are so trusting.  Did you know that they don’t pay at the gas pump in our neck of the woods?  You pump your gas, THEN go inside and pay.  That would never happen in FL.
  • They ONLY sing out of the hymn book here.  While I love some hymns, I love great music even better, so this has been a HUGE adjustment for me.  But I am learning to embrace it, too.
  • Finding a new church is HARD.  Don’t ever take your home church for granted.  If you belong to a good church, thank God daily for allowing you to be a part of it.  We miss our church family so much.  But after much prayer, we have found a church that we really like….A LOT!  It is a little bit of a drive (45 minutes) but hey…so is everything else.
  • Speaking of driving, I have learned to drive like a local in these mountains.  My kids may get car sick every time I drive, but I’m really proud of myself.  I have learned to have more confidence in myself when it comes to going places by myself.  I had to drive to the big city of Charleston by myself Saturday to pick up Holly.  I only made one wrong turn, and we both returned back to the Ranch in one piece.
  • I have learned to LOVE family time at home.  We have always been goers, and were always looking for somewhere to go.  Here, it is not easy to go anywhere because it is a long drive to just about everywhere we go.  We have enjoyed being together and refocusing on what God wants from us as a family.

  • This is a BIG one.  I am a pretty independent person, and can usually do things if I put my mind to it.  Homeschool has changed all of that!  I am not personally cut out to do this.  Holy cow.  It tests me daily!  But I am learning that if I keep my eyes on Jesus, and lean on His strength, I can do all things through Him.  This has been a hard lesson to learn.  But it has been a daily reminder to trust in Him, and allow Him to direct my paths.
  • The most important thing I have learned since being here is that there is NOTHING more important than a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Being who He wants me to be, being where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do (even when it is the hardest thing you have ever done) brings a renewed joy and peace in your life that overwhelms the hard days.  I don’t worry like I used to.  I’m not anxious like I used to be.  I don’t stress like I used to.  It’s not because I don’t have things to worry about or be stressed about.  The change has come from trusting the Lord with my whole heart and my whole life. 
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” This has proven true these past few weeks.  As I was reading Proverbs 16 this morning, this verse is one I have committed to memory.  Proverbs 16:9 “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”  I am so guilty of making my own plans, but I continually learn that the Father’s plans are so much better than anything I could ever imagine.
Who are you trusting in today?  Are you depending on your own strength to do what is before you today?  Or are you trusting fully in Jesus?  I pray that you all will know the PEACE that passes all understanding, no matter what your circumstances may be.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Eagle Ranch Update

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season.  Ours was very busy, which I'm sure you have figured out since it's been a month since I last posted.  I will blog separate posts on our Christmas adventures, but wanted to give you the latest on our WV project.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Year's at Eagle Ranch and helped host a "Light the Night" New Year's Eve youth lock in at a local (meaning within 2 hours) church.  We were so excited to be able to participate this year and had the opportunity to meet so many people.  The evening included a combined adult/youth service where we had many people make decisions to give their heart to Jesus.  The youth then ate and played games all night. Our home church, Sardis Baptist Church, allowed us to take 9 Square in the Air, and it was a HUGE hit.  There was a line to play the entire night. We had a youth worship service and brought the new year in at the altar praying for God's guidance for the new year.  They continued to play games, watch movies, participate in a talent show and fellowship with one another. We all left (barely awake) at 7:00 am New Year's morning.  It was a great success, and we can't wait to host many more events once we get there. For more pictures and some great videos from the talent show, check out our facebook page at

While we were there, we were able to meet with our board of directors and put a plan in place.  As you may have heard, we have raised the first $50,000 for the construction of bunk facilities and a concrete bath house. Once these are completed we will be able to sleep 75-80 people. Construction began on the bunk facilities this Tuesday.  We are so thankful for Sebby, Steve and friends for getting this started.  We will begin construction on the bath house in March when the weather is more favorable for concrete construction.

We are currently working on rebranding with a new logo and a social media campaign, so stay tuned to the blog and facebook for some contest announcements soon!

Many of you have asked how you can help.  I have an answer for you!  Here are several ways in which you can partner with us in this ministry:
  • Prayer- Please pray for our family and this ministry as we venture out into a world of unknown. We know that God is in control, and we are so excited to see Him work, but we have a lot of work ourselves  to be doing and it can be overwhelming at times. We are also waiting on the sale of our house. We covet your prayers.
  • Monthly Support- Rob and I are supporting our family financially while in this transition and will be paying our own expenses with the sale of our house.  But we are raising monthly support for the monthly operation costs of Eagle Ranch.  These expenses are $2,500 each month.  
  • Project Specific Support- We will begin raising money for the following projects/needs:
    • Mattresses for the bunk beds (we are still working on pricing)
    • Instruments for the worship band
    • a Mac laptop for worship/video
    • A projector
    • Paintball equipment
    • Tables/Chairs for dining/worship seating for 80 people
    • Commercial Kitchen Equipment (Gas Stove, Refrigerator, Freezer)
  • Construction Projects- We need to raise funds for materials and we need some mission teams to come help us build the following:
    • Closing in the pole barn
    • Road infrastructure- bridge over creek, gravel, road construction
If you can help us with any of the above (even if it is a contact who can help us with pricing, surplus materials, etc.) please email us at, or call us and let us know.  God has already moved big mountains and He is continuing to show us His way as we take each step of faith. 

Matthew 17:20 - And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Thank you for partnering with us, especially in prayer. 

All contributions are tax-deductible and you will receive a tax receipt from Kerrs Creek Baptist Church Eagle Ranch Ministries.