Friday, August 31, 2007

Ranchfest... Some History

8/31/07 - 6th Day - After Breakfast. Greetings. It is looking like we should have a great showing for Ranchfest. Right now we are looking at upwards of 24 people coming out, although we are used to massive cancellations at the last minute. This year, however, even if the folks who have committed all show up (Lord Willing), we should have a good showing and a great time. Mini Q&A:

What is the deal with Ranchfest?

Hmmm.... Well, it started back in 2003 when Danielle was pregnant with Sarah. 5 of us were living in a 80 x 16 mobile home (palatial compared to our current cabin), and I was "officing" in our 8x8 kitchen. We put out the word that we absolutely had to have an addition put on the house for an office and living area. Now, things were different back then. We had a much larger audience. Actually it was half of what it was back in 2001 when I started preaching on the Doctrines of Grace, but I had yet to start teaching against worldliness and for separatism and agrarianism. So, in short, although there were some brethren on our list (some who are still around!), we had a good number of religious worldlings hanging around back then. But those religious worldlings were maybe a bit more open to being moved by the Holy Spirit, I don't know. Anyway, back then if I sent out an email saying "Hey, we've had an emergency, we need XXX", we usually had what we need in less than a week. So we sent out an email saying we had to have this addition to the house, and that we were going to start building it that spring. Some ladies on the list had an idea for some kind of "Bunkapalooza" or "Habitat for Bunkmanity" where folks could come out and meet one another and help with the building. I assumed we would do well to get the money to pour the slab ($1800), and if we got enough to start framing, then all the better. The online folks put together the dates and times for what they called "Bunkfest" and we started making plans. Some folks from Colorado decided to come down early and help us pour and float the slab. I had never done this before and doubted we would have the money ready to pay the concrete man, but they came down anyway. We leveled out the ground, dug out the footers, etc. and talked about whether we should call the concrete man. I didn't have the money yet, but the fella from Colorado said we should just go ahead and call the concrete guy, and if the money was not in in time he would cover it temporarily with a credit card. I didn't like that idea, but he prevailed on me to do it. So the concrete guys came out and started the pour. Halfway through the pour I went inside to check email and saw that we had received enough to pay for the slab! So I was able to write a check to the concrete guys. Money was trickling in, so we went in and bought all the framing materials, and as Bunkfest went on, the money kept coming in. We ended up building the whole addition (including carpeting and shelves) in 8 days. We raised $18,000 in all for the project. Now, a lot of that was in two large donations of $4000 and $5000, but still it was very gratifying to see folks step up to the needs.

The next spring we decided to do an old-fashioned barn-raising. Again, we put together a plan and quite a few folks came out. We ended up raising $15,000 to build a pretty nice barn. In 2005 the sky fell in because the Lord prevailed on me to start really pushing separatism and Agrarianism, and at the same time we found out we were going to need to leave our home in West Texas if we were at all to be consistent with what I was preaching. We hated to move, but it was inevitable and we had no other choice. All this time I was campaigning to change the name of "Bunkfest" to something better and we ended up settling on "Ranchfest". The overall principle was to give folks out there who were affiliated with and who benefited from the Ministry a way to "communicate" or come alongside the ministry in a big way and help. We wanted to show that the ministry was not about money, but about living the live we say others should live, and we wanted to focus on friendship, fellowship, Agrarianism, and obedience to the commandments of God. 2005 Ranchfests didn't amount to much because of the aforementioned factors. The preaching was alienating even our friends, and we knew we were moving down here to Central Texas.

In spring 2006 we had "Ranchfest" down here on the land, and though we didn't have any money to speak of, we had some good attendance and, frankly, with the people that were here, it was one of the best and most rewarding fellowship times I have ever had. We did put a porch on the front of the cabin, and we might have done another project but I can't remember.

Fall Ranchfest in 2006 was lightly attended. Again we didn't have any money and most of the folks who planned on being here could not make it. It started out great, but a few days into it our good friend Doug Howey was killed in a car wreck (and his wife was injured) down in Fredericksburg. The rest of Ranchfest was really dealing with that tragedy. We were able to raise quite a bit of money (still only 1/3 of what we raised for the first Ranchfest) to help pay some of Doug's burial expenses and to give a gift to his wife.

Spring 2007 almost no one could make it. By this time quite a few folks had moved down to the land, so attendance was good, but it was mainly folks who already lived here now.

So, you can see the pattern. As we've grown closer to the Lord and have been more direct in our preaching and teaching, as expected, things have become more and more tight monetarily. This is the way things go. One wacknut charismatic Northern agrarian blogger has taken some swipes at us for daring to raise money. This is the kind of pompous blowhard who writes a sometime check to his apostate arminian false-church and feels like he is doing God service. It is no coincidence that this is the most pompous and arrogant "agrarian" voice online. Dumb people really like him because he pontificates on things in an "old-timey" good-ol-boy way - but they rarely read between the lines that every blog he posts actually says "I am better than you". This guy doesn't give a flip about you. He just wants you to shut up and buy his beef and admit that you aren't half the man he is. Enough of that.

Anyway, the point of Ranchfest was to give people the opportunity to help the mission and the ministry in a big way. What we are doing out here is not so we can pontificate online about how nobody knows anything but ol' yankee farmers. We are trying to teach people what we believe the Bible teaches, and why, and HOW to do the things (with little or no money) that we should be doing to be obedient to God's way of life and living. It's that simple. We actually help people, and if you've been around long enough you know that.

So far the attendance for Ranchfest looks good. (GREAT)
So far the donations for Ranchfest... not so good.

That's all about that.


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