Abierto means open - open hearts, open hands, open home. Rancho Abierto is our home, but it is also a launching point for missions. Tucked away in a beautiful remote canyon, beside a seasonal stream bed full of native oaks and sycamore trees, and surrounded by rolling hills, the land has a history of inviting people of all ages to get closer to God. If you choose to accept the invitation, you will have to disconnect with many of the things that often distract you from God's presence...
Taking time off from many of the everyday responsibilities of life, including taking care of an abundance of things, is part of the design of the FDTS. Simplifying life and living in a tiny house is a way of walking away from the normal distractions of life in order to focus on realigning our lives with Jesus. Each family stays in a small cabin with a queen size bed downstairs and a loft for kids to stay upstairs. Each cabin comes with complete bedding and towels for everyone, just bring your own toiletries. The bathhouse is located nearby the cabins, but a "camping style toilet" can be provided for any family upon request.
Jesus calls us to walk with others. He chose to live in community with disciples, rather than alone. Living in community is a way of taking part in the refining process of discipleship... for others and for ourselves. Loving God and loving others are the two greatest commands. The people whom the Lord brings to walk together during this season are all part of discipleship. Learning to walk alongside people who are all members of the same family of God, but from different cultures and backgrounds, is a beautiful thing.
Biblical training and discipleship is all part of the FDTS program and there are many facets to it. We have incredible teaching from God's word, but discipleship goes far deeper than just "hearing". In FDTS, we go about processing the teaching and learning in many ways. For example, each student has a "one on one"; a staff member that they meet with weekly to process, share, and digest the teaching. We also meet weekly in small groups, to again, give an opportunity to process what God is doing in a safe setting with brothers and sisters. The Lord has each of us on our own individualized growth plan, and it's amazing to see the transformation that takes place in just five months. He loves to prune us, heal us, and restore us to Himself in order for us to "bear much fruit".
We are still building facilities at Rancho Abierto. Work duty or "opportunity to serve" (OTS) is a way to work with our hands alongside our family and community, where we build each other up while doing practical things around the ranch. Growing and preparing food, taking care of ranch animals, and working on construction projects, are just a few examples of OTS.