We accomplished some major goals in the first quarter of 2006. The board met for the first time and accepted the mission statement, belief statements and by laws. Minutes of the meeting are available upon request. We trained four horses, rode them in The Return of the Swallows Day parade in San Juan Capistrano and sold them there. We received two 2nd place plaques in the parade: junior equestrian and Native rider. Faith trails board member Glenn Laub arranged the first meal at the SJC fire hall. We are all so tired on arrival that the hospitality and generosity of this meal set a wonderful tone for the whole trip. Key to the tremendous outcome from this trip was the help from Youth Pastor Jake Werley, Sherree Ito and the Fiesta Association in SJC. Board member Luis Sosa was a rock both before and during the trip conveying his guidance in that calm manner that is his gift. We were able to cover the costs of our trip and raise the money to pay our first year 's lease on 100 acres of tribal ground. More important than the money we earned from selling and raffling of our horses are the partnerships in ministry and focusing meetings that resulted from these partnerships. We were able to reduce debt from 2005 by 30% with out incurring additional debt. The leased land we now control for the next 5 years is the south half of the Shone Hagen ranch. The land is cross-fenced and we have plenty of free water we have redone half of the flood irrigation system and we have bought 3/4 of the panels to build the training facility. There are many incredible worship spaces on this ground. Sanctuary now has a home. We are constantly fund raising and networking to meet the needs of projects to improve the use of the land we use. We have already accepted the donation of one steer and one hiefer. We manage 14 other cows and in payment we recieve 1/2 of the calf crop. We have leased the 1,200 acres of Willow Creek Ranch and the property is a vital grazing ground in the summer and incredible worship space year round.
When we participate in the SJC parade we realize that the most important experience is not riding in the parade but in the relationships God puts before us throughout the trip. I stress to those who go with us that they must watch for the gifts God is blessing them with during this trip and claim them. I believe that the relationships formed this spring will be the foundation for a powerful ministry team that will create a profound interdenominational outreach ministry. It becomes clearer with everything that we do that we need to intentionally seek good relationships and have systems in place to deepen these relationships. We need to build the body of Christ. The security that a strong and engaged body brings allows people to feel safe in reaching out to the Creator in deepening faith. The barbeque, clinic, and horse sale that we conducted during the 2006 SJC trip is a good example of the settings in which we can build relationships. People come because they have a passion for the animal. Many leave with an understanding that a positive Spirit filled community is growing and they want to be part of it. From this point we grow.
The main challenge we face as a ministry right now is meeting our operating costs and housing needs, while developing the land we have in a way that builds the Tribes belief that we will be good stewards of the land and people. While doing this we also must meet the needs of the people who respond to our call. We also must meet our obligations to our operating budget. We may scale back on some of our scheduled events so we can reallocate time and resources to building for the long term. One huge advantage that we have now is that we can physically show people that which their support has helped build.
The ground that we have leased is in two segments. One piece belongs to the tribes and is about 100 acres in size. This, ranch referred to by many as the Shone Hagen ranch, is along the Deschutes River and within walking distance of the school bus route used by every Warm Springs youth sixth grade and up. The second leased piece of property of 1,2000 acres is the Willow Creek Ranch four miles south, up river, of the tribal ground. The Willow Creek Ranch is the summer range for the animals we raise for our meals at meetings and our Food Aid program. We have used the building on the Willow Creek Ranch for meals, fellowship, music nights, and work group-sleeping quarters. Willow Creek, which runs year round, provides a great swimming hole and outdoor fellowship area that many have enjoyed, especially on 100+ degree-days.
Over the past year, with a tremendous amount of help from Luis Sosa, our animal husbandry and land management director, we have come to a better understanding of how to manage our leased land. We have implemented many improvements. We have constructed over a mile of irrigation ditches and are about half way to recovering the old flood irrigation system on the ranch. We put up two crops of hay and set our winter pastures. We constructed a 280 x 170 arena and a 45 foot round pen with loading alleys and catch pens, and we have begun the process of juniper control and re-cross fencing. During the winter and spring, we will be working to further restore the irrigation system and to reseed one pasture. We are currently working with two manufacturers to construct and install a roping chute. We have laid out the location for a 1/2 mile horse track and would like to have it in by the summer of 2007. Also,in June we will conduct a cattle drive from the winter ranch to the summer ranch.
A wonderful oppurtunity has been realized in our taking over of the stable at Kah Nee Ta. The stable is called
IKIUTAN. In this business we can work with people to teach work skills that transfer to any workplace they may find themselves in. We also stress that our workers are as good or beter than any and the responses of our guests prove that out. The growth in individuals is amazing to see.