I imagine a place in the remote woods of southern Missouri. This place is built to make everyone feel welcome. Its design welcomes the handicapped, the broken and hurting, and the wounded. It has a relaxed atmosphere where people can reconnect with God and nature. It is a training space for people that want to engage the mission of Jesus and learn to make disciples that make disciples. I will call this place the Sozo Valley Ranch.
Sozo is the Greek word used in the New Testament that is most often translated as saved. This word means so much more than that. It denotes a wholeness that encompasses the entire human. It is spiritual, mental, physical and emotional wholeness.
The ranch will be a place where everyone can feel whole. No matter your obstacles. I have obstacles myself. I lost vision in one eye and have limited vision in my other eye. I do not think of myself as disabled. I do encounter environments that make it difficult to fully function. When I am in poor lighting or cluttered spaces, I have difficulty seeing and moving around. The same can be said for many people that have physical obstacles to overcome. I want a space where we overcome these limiting obstacles so everyone can function to the best of their ability and feel included in the Kingdom of God.
The ranch will be the new headquarters for Sun Ministries. It will house the Leadership Center and a training space. The design will be to ADA standards. All of the cabins will be handicap accessible. There will be smooth trails where those in wheelchairs can get out into nature. It will have raised garden beds that are also wheelchair accessible.
The ranch will be designed to help those we train to be effective on the mission of building the Kingdom of God. It will be a resource for training, retreat and a place to send people that need a refuge from dangerous environments. We have learned over the years that many who are addicted, incarcerated, homeless or abused have difficulty making the necessary changes in their life because they are trapped in the environment that nurtured destruction in their lives to begin with. Sozo Valley will be a place of refuge for them as they discover the healing and love of Jesus.
We are in the process of raising the funds for this new project. We will select a site in the spring of 2023. If all goes well, we will be accepting guests and offering training events sometime in 2024.