Living Waters Ranch has been pretty quiet for the past year or so. Covid completely shut everything down at LWR with schools being closed in March 2020, which meant no field trips. Special needs adults were advised to stay home and not get out among the general population, so special touch day camps were not scheduled.
In November of 2020, the beautiful century plus old barn that had been restored in 2013, was destroyed in a straight line windstorm. The barn loft was used for activities for the camp on many occasions. The storm also blew down an old and very large oak tree that had provided shade for the slide at the ranch. Fortunately, it didn’t do any major damage at the camp, as it just destroyed a couple of picnic tables Dennis had built in 2008.
December 2020 LWR was able to host the Blessings Store for parents and grandparents to choose gifts for their children and grandchildren. LWR also coordinated family adoptions for Christmas gifts for children. 2020 was a trying year for many people.
January 2021 brought personal loss to the founders of LWR. In mid-January Dennis Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away just 2 weeks later, leaving behind his wife, Joyce, six children and many cherished grandchildren. Until his retirement in June of 2019 Dennis spent each week driving his truck for Dennis Brown Trucking and spent time on the weekends and his weeks off, working with the cattle on the ranch and helping Joyce with the mowing and upkeep of the campgrounds. But his most precious time was spent with his wife, kids and grandkids. Dennis and Joyce founded LWR in the fall of 2007 as a way to reach out to children and families with the love of Jesus. Dennis’ presence is missed every single day. With great assurance his loved ones will see him again in heaven.
At the time of Dennis’ passing, he and Joyce had two grandsons living with them and attending local schools. It was necessary to postpone field trips for local schools once again as everyone adjusted to the loss of a wonderful husband, father, and grandpa. It hasn’t been an easy 2021 for Dennis’ family, but Joyce and the Board of Directors decided it was time to resume the work that was so lovingly started years ago. Sadly, special needs adults are still being asked to stay close to home, but as soon as that whole cloud lifts, the special touch day camps will resume.
However, one of the highlights of LWR has been the annual Fall Festival that is now offered free of charge for area families, will resume this year. It is on the schedule for October 2, 2021, from 11 am to 5 pm. The day will be full of family friendly activities: zipline, hayride, giant slide, archery, forging station, BB guns, local fire department on hand to share info, wild edibles, and much more. With the loss of the big barn that housed the petting zoo and allowed space for candle dipping and homemade butter in a jar, it’s not certain that these activities will be available this year.
This year’s festival will be dedicated in loving memory of Dennis Brown. Please make plans to attend the festival and enjoy a beautiful fall day at the ranch. The address of the ranch is 4520 SE 450 Road, Osceola, Missouri. The festival is free and concessions are available throughout the day. Please no outside food or drinks.
For more information you can email [email protected]. Donations are currently being accepted in memory of Dennis and will be used for the construction of a large foot bridge at the bluff that will allow safe access to the zipline. The bluff area will also be home to a natural sanctuary to be used for prayer, services, and worship for visitors to the ranch.
LWR would like to thank the many sponsors and visitors from the past who have made this camp ministry possible. With God’s help and provision many years of blessings are still to come.