Called to Honduras:the Welton Family
Journal Entry #9 Whats in a Name?
Our Ne w Family Group
Dear Family and Friends, May 10, 2013There have been a lot of exciting changes going on in the last 9 months at Rancho Ebenezer. Many
of you have seen the WGO newsletters explaining some of the changes, and wed like to elaborate on
important details from our perspective.
Changing the Name In order to rescue as many children as we possibly can, we have been transitioning from a family-style orphanage to a mixed-style orphanage. Under this new model, our
position has changed from House Parents who do in-home foster care, to Mentor Parents who will
not live in the home with the ministry kids, but rather work daily with them alongside Counselors
who live in the houses with the kids. There are many reasons for these changes, and we feel they will
significantly benefit both the ministry kids as well as the missionary families.
Under the new model, the children will be divided into Family Groups, with each family group having
a house of girls and a house of boys. An advantage of this new plan is that
siblings will now be able to live in the same family group with each other.
Each family group will have 3 Counselors working in the homes. Their role
is to teach the children basic living skills such as household chores, as
well as personal hygiene, like brushing their teeth, bathing, and potty
training. The instruction provided by the Counselors will be essential in
preparing the children for independent living in the future.
In addition to the Counselors, each Family Group will be assigned to a
Mentor Parent couple. The Mentor Parents are responsible for
therapeutic mentoring both individually and in small groups,
helping the kids with school-related activities and homework, and
managing discipline issues beyond what can be handled in the home
by the Counselors. Until WGO can fully staff the Mentor Parent
positions here at the ranch, our family has been temporarily
assigned to two separate Family Groups. It has been quite an
interesting transition, as we have moved from 3 ministry children
to 10, including 6 boys and 4 girls! We now have some older children,
which has been challenging at times but also very rewarding. The
children we have been working with since the transition in October
are Angelica (16), Enmanuel (11), Jafeth (10), Jennifer (10), Kati (9),
Cristian (9), Darwin (7), Eunice (6), Olman (4) and Angel (3). During our mentor times with them, we try to
do activities to help them work through issues they have. For example, with the older children (10
and up), we try to do games that improve their math skills, as well as games where they must trust
each other and be trustworthy, which are two of their significant issues. Likewise, with the younger
children, we do activities that help them improve their ability to work together and follow directions.
We also meet individually with the kids as often as possible to help them with specific struggles. One
of our boys has an extremely difficult time dealing with emotion. He will
bottle it inside and never show that he is upset until it overwhelms him
and then he has an entire week of extremely bad behavior. We are working
to help him find healthy ways to express his feelings. This new model
allows us to address emotional and developmental issues with the children
in a more focused and intentional way.
Benefits of the New Model There are many goals for this new model. One of these goals is to have siblings spending more time together.
In the previous model, the siblings would be on the ranch but they really
wouldnt do family things together. In the new model, siblings will be in the
same family group for the entire time they are on the ranch, even if the Mentor
Parents or Counselors change over time. They will have at least two set times
Jennifer, Angelica, Enmanuel &
House of the Rock
House of the Rock &House of Aaron (Combined Family Group)
Counselor & Angelica helping w/Spanish Homework
Game night with the whole group
each week to do family activities together with the entire family group. They
are also able to eat all of their meals together.
Another reason for the change in models is to create greater stability on
the Ranch. In the past, when there was a staff change (e.g., a missionary
couple returned to the States), the childs whole world changed. They would
be in a new house, with new siblings, new house parents, new ways of cleaning,
new foods, new discipline styles, and the list goes on and on. That kind of change would be difficult for
just about anyone. Under the new plan, we will be able to maintain a much higher level of consistency
even when the inevitable staff changes occur.
The new model will also allow for greater longevity for the missionary staff. We have found that
working in a foreign country with multiple foster children who have significant backgrounds of abuse
and neglect is difficult, high-stress work. Many families who come with good intentions soon find the
experience to be more than they can handle long-term. In fact, in the past 14 years, there has been
only one North American family able to stay on-site longer than 4 years. The design of the new model
helps to balance the workload of the missionaries and will hopefully make it possible for more families
to be willing to come and to remain in the field longer.
In addition to bringing greater stability, the new model helps us to use resources more efficiently.
Because we are a charitable organization running solely on donations, we always strive to make our
money stretch. In the past, each family would buy their own groceries, and WGO would reimburse us for
the ministry childrens food. As part of the current changes, the ranch opened a cafeteria to provide
centralized dining for the mission kids and their Counselors. The cafeteria not only allows siblings
to eat together, but also provides a more consistent diet for all the children and saves money by
allowing the ranch to purchase food in bulk. These savings will be used to bring more kids to the
ranch. With the housing we currently have available, we are hoping to have 80 kids
here in the next few years. This definitely isnt an overnight process, but we
want to reach as many abandoned children as we possibly can.
Finally, the new model also gives missionary families (like ours) a lot more
autonomy. In coming to the ranch, one of our desires was to continue to provide
nurturing, godly parenting to Jesse and Alex alongside our role as parents to
the ministry kids. This was extremely difficult under the old model, where we
were only getting 4 days off per month. Under the new model, missionary
families will have more time off (2 days per week) and have their own
houses. These changes provide more time and flexibility to Mentor
Parents, giving them the rest and the strength needed to serve well in
the unique challenges they experience on the ranch.
We are optimistic that the changes that have been made will help to
further the work that God is doing here. Please join us in continuing to
pray Gods promise for all the children at Rancho Ebenezer:
...that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:15-16
Blessings in Christ, The Welton Family Group
Jim with Jesse
Jim and Cristian at
Festival of Talents, Olman with his class
Silliness with Jennifer, Ang
el and Wendy...
For more info:WWW.WGOREACH.ORG
or email us at:Jim.Welton@wgomission.org
Health pray that we can get Wend
issues under control.
Vehicle our car in the States, wh
ich we kept to use
while in Phoenix on furlough, has
died. Please pray
that we can find another car.
Staff pray that God would quickly
meet our need for
Counselors and Mentor Parents at t
he ranch. We are still
looking for one more set of Mentor P
arents in addition to the
two families who are now fundrais
ing. Please pray that
they will find sponsors quickly. W
e also need additional
office staff and Social Workers a
s more children are
brought into the program. If you
would like information
about any of these positions, pleas
e contact Pete Raineri
at this e-mail: email@example.com
You can be sure that God will tak
e care of everything
you need, his generosity exceeding
even yours in the glory
that pours from Jesus. Philippia
ns 4:19 (NLT)
Angel, Jafeth & D
The Mule, dressed as a warm weather reindeer
Water Fun Day
Kati s birt