A CONCRETE REASON TO BELIEVE

The Brothers Twofer

Back in the years of 1985/86 I had the fortune of employing 2 brothers at different times who were marvelous gentlemen to work with. Having met them at Bethel Baptist Church in Harbor Gateway (Los Angeles), California while living in the area, I was inspired by their work ethic and devotion to completing the tasks at hand.

The first one that I hired, Mark Cayot, not only impressed me, but also one of my clients, an engineer for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Corporation (B2 Flying Wing Bomber fame), who became instrumental in the recommendation and hiring of him for a position with the company. The other brother, Paul Cayot, eventually became director of Victory Ranch, a ministry of the Regular Baptist Conference of Southern California. It is a camp-style retreat located out in a foothill canyon on the edge of the farm fields in Moreno Valley, California. It is dedicated to the spiritual enlightenment of, and peaceful escape for, individuals and church groups alike who need a stronghold to refresh their souls.

My interest in the Ranch dates back to when my wife and I volunteered our services to help improve the ranch when functions were not taking place. Working in hot temperatures in a high desert environment, it was a challenge sometimes to get things done, but there were bright moments as well. During one visit, with our young daughter Stephanie held fast in my arms, she was able to experience the thrill of seeing a farmer in a dairy across the road pull a newborn calf out of the mother with chains attached to the hoofs. It was a procedure often used to help facilitate a difficult birth. That was one of many unusual events we witnessed while being involved there. Sort of special, now that I think about it!

Recollections Of God’s Hand At Work

Since Paul has seen fit to stay in touch with me and my wife over time, I requested that he put me on his Victory Ranch Newsletter email list for updates. The cover article in the recent 2022 Spring Edition got my attention because it embraced a number of unique interrelated stories that seemed quite improbable. It starting off with an unusual event that I have never heard the likes of happening before.

As the story goes, somewhere in the late 1980s, a concrete truck overturned on the highway in front of the Ranch’s horse barn. The Ranch staff responded to the accident site where they saw fresh concrete flowing out of the large drum of the truck onto the highway. Gordon Nicholson, the director at the time, hating to see it go to waste, instructed that same staff to shovel the concrete off the highway and place the mess into the back of the Ranch work truck. That concrete was then used to form a pad outside of the Hacienda building which was located onsite.

When the distraught representatives of the company arrived, they were overjoyed to find that the mess was cleaned up and that they didn’t have to pay the county or someone else to clear the highway. With a show of gratitude, they told Gordon that if he set up forms and could handle the “overrun” from local pours, they would be willing to donate that unused concrete to the Ranch.

Further Recollections Of His Continual Blessings

That story set the stage for marvelous blessings yet to come. Over the next 9 years, the Ranch received almost 1,900 yards of donated concrete from the company which went by the name of Standard Concrete. During that time, the Ranch was blessed with enough material to pour three-fourths of the roads around the camp. When the plant closed, Paul reached out to Superior Concrete in Hemet and was informed that they were willing to donate a few truckloads as well.

However, they said it was not economically viable to send a truck all the way out to the Ranch, pay the driver to unload the truck, and then haul the empty vehicle back when he could be on another delivery. This then raised the question about God’s providence. Like, why all of a sudden wasn’t He supplying that free concrete to finish the road?

Then, after a few years went by, a couple who have supported the Ranch with sizeable donations stopped in and asked the same question themselves. Paul, having assumed the directorship by then, told them the story, and they asked what it would cost to finish the project. So, he got them an estimate, and a few days later, they sent a check for the full amount needed. To make a long story short, God did supply that concrete by laying the project on someone’s heart who responded in kind. The Ranch finally did receive what was needed free of charge, but through a different means altogether.

Moving To The Present Day Scenario

This Ranch, being a real life haven for all those in need of a retreat from the rigors of everyday life and challenges to their spiritual beliefs, is supported solely by contributions from member churches and likeminded organizations who benefit greatly from the resources provided there. However, as Paul states in the Spring Newsletter for the year 2022, the churches that do support the Ranch are small, and most members are not overly wealthy. Still, some individuals with means step up and contribute significant funds to help pay for new projects that cater to increasing numbers of Christ-centered gatherings there.

With that said, all of these tales lead up to the topic at hand which concerns long-delayed expansion plans that have been festering on the drawing board for quite awhile, Moving forward with any of them is fraught with roadblocks at every turn. Significant problems are encountered building anything now in Southern California because massive amounts of money are needed to pay for required studies, building permits, fire marshal inspections, and endless other expenses. For the Ranch to get something like that done, matching funds are needed to bolster the contributions provided by those individuals who can pony up large initial outlays to get things started. With inflation rampant at the time of the writing of this article, it’s not only surprising how much money has been raised to help make current projects come to fruition, but how much is still needed to complete them.

Sometimes, small contributions by many participants mount up in a significant way to meet the needs of projects like those at the Ranch. Many charitable organizations depend on them to keep afloat, even with larger ones coming in. The current project at the ranch as described in said Spring Newsletter for the year 2022 is one such need and each dollar given is important and well spent without being diverted to wasteful burdensome administrative overhead expenses that other organizations are guilty of.

The Point Of It All

The bible states that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Many may not have the blessings wanted, or needed, because they either fail to give of themselves or resources they possess to help someone else. A lot of excuses are made that include ‘Not having the time’ or ‘Not being able to afford it’. Even though I did make contributions to the Ranch, I found it much more meaningful by giving my time away from a busy construction schedule to physically help out there when needed.

A comparative case in point for myself, at least, was when I felt compelled to abandon my home and business in South Florida to help my siblings in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Responding immediately, I did not question my decision to do so. They needed me and I went. It was hardship personified, living where destruction was rampant, convenient facilities were not readily available, and living conditions were far from ideal.

With that said, the rewarded result of my efforts, even though I never required any remuneration from the Lord for giving of myself, was the gift of a wonderful home at an unbelievable price in an area where my wife and I truly enjoy living. And He saved it for me for over 5 years while it sat vacant until I was in a position to come along and take possession.

In conclusion, I will note that since the Lord loves a cheerful giver, he will certainly love providing unexpected blessings to those individuals who reach out and help people in need. Especially to those who do so with a good frame of mind and ask for nothing in return. If there is anyone out there who can find in their hearts to help out with things the Ranch could use as laid out on the Victory Ranch Needs Page in some way or another, on top of donations, they will not only get a sense of fulfillment, but also may receive a certain blessing they have long been waiting for that, in time, might just come true.

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