This is the well house that in
1982, the Ortmans lived in for several weeks when they first arrived in Missouri, until a
very old 8' x 30' mobile home from South Dakota was delivered. The Ranch was basically undeveloped;
however, a local Board of Directors was established, goals were set, and boys began to be
helped almost immediately. At first, boys would come and stay week-days while
parents were at work to help these boys develop a proper attitude that would make them
successful at home. It wasn't long before more and more parents were seeking
help at LUC for their son's and so the Lord provided more trailer homes.
One double wide mobile home was donated which would help provide the needed space
for boys to live with the Ortmans. This mobile home had animals living it
previously and had been vandalized and so much repair was needed. Our
Board Chairman, Charles Staake, would help with any project and encouraged others
to pitch in their efforts until more help arrived. The first group to come to the
aid of the Ranch, were the Roving Volunteers In Christ's Service
(RVICS). The weather was cold but not the hearts of Christian friends. The Lord
brought one man, Carlin Pruitt from Pittsburg, Kansas to offer his help. His spark
developed into a blaze of LOVE, bringing others from his church to get involved.
Elijah Touchton was one of those from Pittsburg that began his involvement by providing
the materials for the furnace in the double wide trailer home, and soon found himself coming to
monthly Board meetings.
This was a very special spiritual growth time, because all of our
needs were dependant on those friends that the Lord had placed in our pathway. Our
hearts were burdened to help more boys but the funds and materials were scarce.
After many years of seeking funds to build a dorm, the Lord let the Ranch in a faith
building process. We felt the urging of the Spirit to start building and
followed the voice within us to rely on Him to supply our needs. The foundation and
outside structure were built through volunteer efforts with the funds that had come in as
needed. When it was time to put in the windows, a phone call came to us inquiring if
we were building the dorm that was written about in the Springfield paper a year ago.
When we indicated that we were just getting ready to purchase the windows, the man
on the phone, Clarence McElroy of Midwest Aluminum Windows in Springfield informed us that
was the reason he was calling because he wanted to help in that way. Later, we
discovered that he was donating all of the windows needed to complete the dorm. He
still continues to be our window Angel! Soon our resources were about depleted and
again the Lord sent some that special person to inquire about the completion of the dorm.
Later, we found that this lady was acting on behalf of a wonderful group of
Christian people from Branson, The Herschends. With the financial aid of one of
those families, we were able to complete the dorm. The other family donated almost
the entire kitchen cabinets and appliances, which are still in place. The dorm was
completed early in 1989, which had capacity for 3 families and 16 boys.
With the generous gifts of many wonderful people and the abilities of
many volunteers, progress continues. We appreciate the love from everyone who has
given of themselves to help in some way; however, when people continue to help over and
over and over, they become very special to us. Besides those already mentioned, who
put in countless hours of volunteer labor are: special friends from the Marion -
Freeman area of South Dakota who were among the first to help and continue to bless us
with their generosity; people from the organizations of RVICS, MMAP, SOWERS;
students from the College of the Ozarks; friends from the Presbyterian church of Shell
Knob, Methodist, Lutheran, and First Baptist churches of Kimberling City, Blue Eye United
Methodist Church, various individuals and other youth groups from around the United
States. These various groups from this area helped with construction of animal
barns, work shop, the dorm, the work job equipment barn, the dairy barn, the Mechanics
shop, the tri-plex, the Manse, the Counseling offices and apartments, plus numerous other
outside projects. We have come to know Merlin Menah as the expert and provider of
inside house trim and doors. After many years of various maintenance types of jobs,
Merle Oelson has undertaken being the supervisor for the construction of the Academic
To help balance our program, a special young man, Jim Herschend took
on the challenge of providing a wonderful adventure for the boys each month, with no
expense to LUC. He has gathered together many friends, and family members to assist
him, to provide their expertise and services, and to support him in making life more
enjoyable for the boys who struggle with the changes that need to be made in their lives
while at LUC. Rick Hughlet assists Jim and helps out in his absences. These
adventures include things that many of these boys had not nor probably will experience
after leaving LUC, such as repelling, canoe trips, cave explorations, flying, scuba
diving, exploring SDC, water and snow skiing, and some more common ones such as seeing
movies, barn swings, hiking, horseback riding, camping, etc.
We find ourselves grateful to the many who have and continue to give
of their means and talents to make the ministry at LUC a success in helping at-risk boys.
I know there are many that I have failed to mention but they are not forgotten in
our hearts and in the work that has been done for the Lord's glory. These are only
examples of the ways in which you might want to become involved with the LUC Ranch.
We look forward to gaining new friends who have these and other talents to share.
All of the work going on at the Ranch would not be possible without
the financial support of caring people. Even though those above have been mentioned
for their years of service to the Ranch, we believe that sometimes those who give the most
are those who are not recognized and give from the little that they have such as is
illustrated by the widow in the Bible who gave all that she had. We, therefore do
not like to diminish the gift or the giver by the size of gift they give but honor them
also for helping us in any way possible as we say: "Thank you to All of you for being