God is so good. He is faithful to fulfill each one of His promises to us. What an amazing year this has been so far for Chanku Waste Ranch and the Hadden family. I know that we have just a couple of months left of 2023, but I did want to take a moment to share with you all some things that God has done so far this year.
2023 Summer was a great camp season at the ranch. It felt more like pre-pandemic camp, which was such a blessing. We had our highest daily average throughout the summer, with 90 kids in attendance each day. We had over 280 total kids come to camp through the summer. Our most significant hurdle seemed to be keeping buses and vans going. We praise God, and because of His faithfulness and your generous giving, we acquired two (new to us) buses. We also had a church partner in NE donate one of their passenger vans to us for camp. We currently have a need and are praying for a new minibus and one more passenger van to accommodate the growth we expect next year.
We began this lane of ministry in 2019, and it has been quite the journey. In June of 2022, we officially opened the Wellness center and began to see dental and optometry patients. It was a slow start as we, as a team and new building and equipment, have had much to learn and figure out in this endeavor. By the time we came into January of this year, it was picking up quite a momentum, and it has been so exciting to watch firsthand how God is using this ministry to bless the people in our community. This year, we have seen 241 dental patients, and over 420 people have received an eye exam and prescription glasses if needed. There have been many more that we have been able to offer referrals and give financial assistance to take care of their physical well-being. There is still more yet to come before the year is out. We are currently praying for healthy partnerships in this lane of ministry. We need Dental health professionals and specifically pray for added local (SD Dentist) Dentists to partner with us. We pray for financial partners to help us walk with more patients and cover lab fees going forward.
This year, we believed the Lord was calling us to step into some much larger projects in our community. I believe wholeheartedly the Lord is positioning us to begin building houses in our community in the coming years. The caliber of our volunteers and the resources He has given, I believe, call us to do more in this area of ministry. There is not anyone in our community who does not have housing needs in some fashion facing them. This year, our volunteers have worked over 12000 man hours working on homes in our community. Our little team could not do that. Many of you volunteered your time to make that happen. I am genuinely amazed at the sacrificial labor I have seen from many of you over the years. We do plan to start building a new home next year. This home will be for a local Pastor and his family. We trust God for the resources to accomplish this big vision and are excited to see how He will accomplish this for this faithful Pastor.
All of those numbers are very exciting. I do love to celebrate the wins God gives us. We are on a mission to give everyone in our community access to a restored life. All of these areas are areas of needed restoration. It is so exciting to see the restoration process, whether it is someone's home, dental or optometric health or even sanity. All those restoration areas do not bring complete restoration to someone's life. Total restoration only comes through a transformative relationship with Jesus. This year, we have seen eleven people wholly restored by the Lord Jesus. Eleven people gave their lives in faith to Him. Much of what we do is hard to measure on an eternal scale, so I have found myself praying that there would be one to come back and worship the Lord with their lives. I praise God first for the redeeming work of Jesus in my life and secondly for inviting me into His kingdom work. What a privilege it is to serve Him.
Amanda and I have been well. In August, we celebrated eighteen years of marriage. What a great blessing it is to do life together. I cannot imagine what the Lord has for us in the next eighteen years.
This school year has been very different for us and kind of difficult in many ways. Through much prayer and God's total provision, Jacob and Leah are attending Sunshine Bible Academy in MiIller, SD. Miller is about 3.5 hours away, so they stay Monday through Friday at the school and are home on the weekends. This is tough because they are away so much. They both are growing so much, involved in various sports, and doing well academically. Noah is being homeschooled this year. This has been tough because his older siblings are not here during the week, and it is confusing for him why he can't be in a different school setting. We trust the Lord's direction in these school decisions, and He has certainly given us peace about where each one of our children are. We still have a little foster baby in the house, and he just turned two years old. He is such a blessing to us, and we are constantly praying for his future and for God to be the source of joy in life.
We could only do what we do here with your generosity and various partnerships. Thank you for how you bless us. Please continue to pray for the Lakota people group. Pray for Jesus to be glorified and for His church to mature in our community.
Learning to serve the Lord in all we do,
Matt, Amanda, Jacob, Leah, Noah, and Baby L.