Rancho Los Amigos is a ministry of YWAM, which will tug at your heart strings like no other. In 1983, when we were asked to take over its operation, Rancho Los Amigos was a children’s home situated on 12 dusty acres that provided a haven to abandoned, neglected, and abused children from various parts of Mexico.
Today Rancho Los Amigos still sits on those 12 acres and in the original adobe structure, but incredible changes have taken place.
RLA provides love, protection, a clean home, good meals, and an education to an average of 35 children primarily from the Juárez, Mexico area. RLA brings hope to children who find themselves growing up in very difficult situations. We seek to “Reach, Raise, and Restore” these needy and hurting children. The following goals for each child are the centerpiece of Rancho Los Amigos:
Many of the children at Rancho Los Amigos come to us having experienced different levels of abuse. As a ministry, we strive to create a safe and loving environment for the children that gives them love and support.
At all moments of the day the children are not only supervised by the staff but they are discipled by them as well. A staff member is present to help them get ready each morning and share devotions with them before they go to school. In the afternoon they meet in a homework group to track their progress and determine where they might need help. When doing chores the staff instructs them how to do chores correctly and can frequently be seen playing soccer with them. Evenings culminate with a devotional or prayer time at the end of the day.
At RLA, we plan each day with the purpose to create a safe and loving environment that will lead each child to feel secure, as every child should.
Every child that comes to Rancho Los Amigos comes with a thirst for hope and opportunity. Coming from a variety of difficult backgrounds, each child has the longing to know that they will be okay and that their future will be good. There are two ways we meet this need.
First, during our daily interaction with the children we communicate that through Christ they have a future and a hope. In every setting we look to show them their unique gifting and that, as they pursue relationship with God and give their all, they will have success!
Secondly, we make all practical preparations possible to ensure that when it is time for them to move on from Rancho Los Amigos, they are going on to something better. Some are reunited with their families, some are adopted and others, once they have reached adulthood, we help them to pursue the dreams God placed on their hearts, such as university, missionary training, or a career opportunity.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” For the children of Rancho Los Amigos this is more than a catchy phrase, it is a way of life. As many of our children come to us malnourished we understand the importance of a balanced diet to their future!
At Rancho Los Amigos, we have made a commitment to give our children a well-rounded, character-based and whenever possible, Christian education. We strive to ensure that the children are knowledgeable in all subjects, that they are able to read, write, and speak Spanish and English, and that they have good character to go along with their knowledge. Although many of the children come to RLA with different disadvantages, we look to provide an education that will give them the greatest opportunity for success!
When it comes to physical, spiritual, and emotional wounds, many of us have never experienced in a lifetime what some of the children of Rancho Los Amigos (RLA) have experienced in their short lives. We look for whatever help is available to them, but above all methods, we go to God in prayer. We know that Jesus is the only One that can heal all hurts, no matter their origin.
As a staff, we look to minister to the children through times of prayer and sharing God’s Word on a one on one basis. Throughout a week, the Director has many opportunities to counsel the children in areas where they are struggling. When the hurt requires greater care, we have many other resources available.
Whether what is needed are doctors, dentists, counselors, or therapists, we do our best to find the right resource for the need. Restoration of lives is the underlying motivation in all that we do, and it is always rewarding when we witness a life transformed.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house ; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” (Matt 7:24-25)
In a world that promotes mixed morals and unstable truths, it is a necessity for the children of Rancho Los Amigos to have a strong moral foundation based on biblical principals. Believing that the Bible is the only source to teach the children how to build a good and right moral foundation, we look to expose them to God’s Word in as many ways as possible! To give the children a first-hand understanding of what the Bible says, every child participates in weekly Bible verse memorization and daily, personal devotionals.
As they learn stories from the Bible, we look for different outlets to help them understand the principals taught. These include Sunday school classes and youth groups at church, Bible classes at school, participation in Bible camps, and small groups and Bible studies with the RLA staff. To build on this knowledge and make it practical, the staff makes sure to exemplify to the children how to live out the principals they have learned. We regularly find many practical applications to what the children have learned from the Bible: showing what happens to those who continue in wrong choices, or the reward when you are faithful in the little things, to what it means to love God and others.
Through these and many other lessons, the children of RLA develop a firm foundation to stand on for every decision in their lives!
Realizing that they have been blessed to be a blessing to others is foundational for the children in Rancho Los Amigos. All of the children have a deep appreciation of how the love and faithfulness of God has changed their lives!
The children regularly are challenged to give to pressing needs and their giving has supported other children’s homes, missionaries from around the world, and families from the local community who are in desperate need. Many times the children have joined with church groups as translators during times of evangelism or food distribution and often they are the ones who end up sharing the most with people. And have experienced what it means to reach out to others with the Good News of Jesus.
You can see their desire to give back when you hear them discuss their plans for the future. One child wants to be a veterinarian to the farm animals of indigenous cultures, another one wants to be a doctor in Canada, and still another wants to open a children’s home in Africa!
RLA believes that giving each child an opportunity to grow in a positive environment alters the future of a child. Goals of the home are met through the help and service of our full-time volunteer missionary staff, and the generous support of donors and patrons to the ministry.
A solid education is central of the home’s endeavor to change the future for these children. Every school-aged child at the home has the opportunity to attend a school where they receive a good education with a strong, bilingual academic program.
Come see how you can help in transforming lives as we disciple Mexico one child at a time! For more information on how you can make a difference, please visit the Get Involved page under Rancho Los Amigos.