Matt & Jenni Cox
Matt and Jenni Cox came on staff in 1992. Matt has served as Farmer, Program Director, Director of Equine Ministries and now as the Executive Director. Matt teaches multiple classes for the School of Discipleship. Jenni serves as his secretary and has homeschooled all of their five children, three of which are out of the house now. Their eldest is married and living in TX with their two grandchildren. Jenni also assists with the “Marriage Dynamics” class. Both Matt and Jenni are School of Discipleship alumni.
Summer / Fall 2021
There is something about this time of year that makes me contemplative. Perhaps it is the reality of how quickly times are flying by and yet another holiday season is approaching. (Thank you Walmart for triggering THAT panic!) I find myself often taking in a scene and trying to set it to memory before it passes. It can be the sound of my children’s laughter as they play a game in the next room, or just the swirl of leaves that get kicked up by a passing car while out on a run. It’s been a season of God encouraging me to slow down and take in every moment. The Apostle Paul challenges us in Eph. 5:15-17 when he says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
To walk circumspectly is to be vigilant and attentive. When I’m out running on trails, one poor choice in foot placement can result in a stumble into the mud or even injury. Both have occurred at some point in my short running career. Every foot placement is considered for a brief second before proceeding. Yet I’m not always so vigilant in my spiritual walk. It’s so easy to be foolish with my time, or fill it with things that aren’t beneficial. Or worse yet, I can make soft choices that result in sin and a greater regret down the road. These crazy days we live in are no surprise to God, but I mustn’t grow weary to be attentive to the things that sneak into my life that shouldn’t be there. In a world that sells us heavy on comfort, Paul encourages us not to let our guard down lest we stumble. This is not an excuse to fear, but instead one to carefully consider our steps so that we may proceed with confidence in Christ!
Right before camp started, I had the opportunity to fly to TX and greet our new grandson, Aaron Rome Cooper (who goes by Rome). It was a wonderful time with the kids and grandkids and coming back north was bittersweet. Thankfully they were all able to make a visit to PA in late August so the rest of the family could meet Rome. What a joy he is and his sisters just adore him!
Summer camps were very full with over 1100 kids and the only thing that kept more from coming was not being able to find more staff. Due to some of the bunkhouses not being full, we were able to renovate 4 units with the help from many volunteers. The nursing department kept myself and my volunteer nurses hopping and Matt rotated from the office to the barn depending on the need and upcoming presentations.
Lydia took a break from her town job and was hired as a summer program assistant and scheduler. Emily was a camp counselor for the summer, and Jonathan helped with paintball set up. Megan continued in her full time role of Program Assistant as full time staff and they all did an amazing job in each of their positions. We are so blessed to see our children grow in their passion and burden for those we minister to. What a joy to serve alongside them, even on the hardest of days! Jonathan broke his left arm (his dominant one) on the very last evening of camp after the parents had picked up their kids. He is out of the cast and healed now, but it made for an interesting start to his school year.
One of my favorite parts of summer is all the critters at the Ranch. New foals are froliking in the field, Jonathan’s bunny had babies, Emily’s goats each had a kid, and Piper gave birth to three precious puppies.
The end of summer always brings graduation for our School of Discipleship Students. This was a joyous time but also a time of hard farewells. We were excited to hear that our two students were accepted for a second year of the program! We have welcomed 35 new students in September and the three assigned to our family are from NY, MN, and OK! We are enjoying getting to know Melissa, Lydia, and Maddie (a 2nd year) better already. Matt also does a lot of teaching during these first months of the school year and I enjoy teaching a marriage class alongside him.
Life is definitely more busy with things slowly opening back up and we have been on the road more doing Message from the Mount presentations. Prayers are appreciated for Matt as he has had to deal with injuries which keep him from training as much as he would like. Matt has been traveling back and forth to OH to have a mass in Brisket’s ear removed due to the chronic ear infections it was creating. We also added a new member to our team, Concho, though he isn’t quite ready for his debut. We are praising God for the purchase of a new trailer for hauling the animals to presentations. We were also able to bless another camp with the trailer that we were retiring.
This fall we are looking forward to a week away as a family. We will also be joined by one of our single staff gals as well as Megan’s boyfriend, Simeon, who came down from Canada and surprised her on her birthday. Though Hannah and Garrett’s crew will not be able to join us, we covet your prayers for them as they make a job change and move from Electra to Whitesboro, TX. They will now be only 20 hours away instead of 22!
Recently I’ve been asked how an individual can help support staff at the Ranch. None of the staff here, including us, are paid. Housing and basic utilities are provided, but all of our income comes from donations through churches, friends and family. If you’d like to become a part of our support team, (or for any of our staff) gifts can be sent to MMR with a memo as to whom it is designated for. Staff receive 100% of the tax deductible gifts that are sent. Megan is also raising support as she lives in her own apartment and has her own expenses. Donations can also be made through the website by going to the “About” page and clicking on each staff’s photo. You can also see many photos of activities and events on our website.
Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, and financial support. We know that it wouldn’t be possible to do what we are doing without you. We are truly rich in the community of friends, both near and far, that the Lord has blessed us with.
Feel free to contact us at [email protected]
We would love to know how we might be praying for you!
We covet your prayers for wisdom as we seek to meet the needs of our youth today.
In His service, Matt, Jenni, Megan, Lydia, Emily, and Jonathan Cox