Education, nutrition and religion meet
By Tucker Stephenson
Article from Seguin Gazette
SEGUIN — In the Bible, one of Jesus’ most famous miracles occurred when he turned water into wine.
It’s no surprise that this and other examples of his work have been emulated by the founders of the Everything Jesus Ranch, who are using old-fashioned hard work to turn the fruits of their labor into education and opportunity.
“We’re a Christian church, but we’re a Christian church that’s not the typical sort of, ‘this is the church, this is the steeple,’” Genesis Christian Church Director and Pastor Gina Tillman-Young said. “What we try to do is, through ministry, address all of the aspects that are involved in whole and healthy and happy lives, first for children and then for the families of children.”
You see, the ranch is home to the Genesis Christian Academy, a free-tuition school with a current enrollment of 18 students. But that’s not the only structure built on the 100-acre property, nor is it the most surprising.
Within the borders of the Everything Jesus Ranch also stands a licensed hand-milking dairy, which produces raw milk that is sold to fund the small school’s educational programs.
“One of the first things we did when we got here was get cows and start learning about dairy farming,” Tillman-Young said. “I knew only from reading that raw milk was very, very good for you, and at that point in time, it was all theoretical because I’m lactose-intolerant and I didn’t even care for the taste of milk.”
That was until Tillman-Young began to drink raw milk, which is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized, but rather strained through a micron filter — a process that is done three times at the ranch before being sold. After Tillman-Young began to drink the beverage, she began to lose weight and also found that her severe joint pains simply vanished.
“I was having problems with what looked like early onset arthritis, wake up in the morning and can’t stand up straight, that kind of thing,” Tillman-Young said. “And as I started drinking milk, I just started losing weight and the other thing I found was that the joint problems just went away.”
Other things like skin problems and complexion — those types of things, just cleared up. So my experience supports all of the research and the anecdotes about raw milk.”
Tillman-Young isn’t the only one learning about the benefits of raw milk, however. The students at Genesis Christian Academy are hands-on participants in the milking process and have also learned more about the animals along the way.
It’s all part of what Tillman-Young refers to as the practical application of faith.
“Our kids take a course, and we say this jokingly because we really just sort of expose them to the dairy and barn life, but we call it ‘Cow 101,’” Tillman-Young said. “So they go down to the barn and they know about the anatomy and physiology of the cow and they’re learning how to milk and they understand a lot about sanitation, so it’s all integrated and the learning that they do in the classroom now has a purpose and sort of a final objective.”
In addition to the sale of the raw milk, which does have a noticeably cleaner taste, the ranch also offers certified naturally grown produce and has recently added pasture-fed meats to the list of items sold at its country store.
Think of it as a much smaller, yet more authentic version of Whole Foods.
“The selling of the products is recent,” Tillman-Young said. “We were only licensed, I think it was the end of July. What we did is we used ourselves as guinea pigs first, we sort of perfected the process of milking, we went ahead and built the barn, we helped ourselves to understand what all the sanitary considerations were, in terms of being able to create a product that we could present to the public and know that it was going to be really clean and healthy for them.
“It was only after we were licensed that we were able to tell people, ‘Here we are.’”
The best part of the store’s credo is Tillman-Young’s belief that healthy, organic foods shouldn’t just be available to the elite. And all of that ties back into the academy’s teachings, which are centered around a Christian-based lifestyle.
“It was actually part of our church’s wellness ministry because now the raw milk attracts people, and people come in on Saturday, which is really our biggest store day,” Tillman-Young said. “People come in and they start to pray and they exchange with each other health problems they’re having or successes they’ve had through natural kinds of processes and so on and we usually have a table full of samples there with milk and other types of products.”
Because of the economy’s recent slump, this little country store is now the main source of funding for the Genesis Christian Academy. Fortunately, there are quite a few volunteers who ensure that the ranch keeps running as it should. After all, everyone there is working towards a common goal.
“We’re in a partnership here, and our partnership has to do with the mutual interest in two things — God and the children,” Tillman-Young said.
Visit www.moojesus.com for more information about the store, school and dairy, including an informative video made by some of the students. The Everything Jesus Ranch is located at 12061 FM 466 and can be reached at (830) 379-9700.