Circle M Club member, David Evans, is a lifelong devotee of Mo-Ranch and has been a member of our legacy society since its induction. Here, he explains what Mo-Ranch means to him and why he’s dedicated to leaving “his mark” for generations to come.
“Mo-Ranch has been my home away from home for over fifty years. My journey began in August of 1966 as I eased my Dad’s Impala onto the old low-water crossing just above the crystal-clear waters of the North Fork of the Guadalupe River and through the old gate by the pump house. I did not know then, but soon discovered, that I had passed through a “portal” into a magical world, much like the one Lucy discovered when she stepped through the doors of an old wardroom in C.S. Lewis’ magical world of Narnia.
Beside me that day was a pretty brown-eyed brunette coed who would in three years become my wife. In the back seat was another couple who would also wed and become our lifelong best friends. The four of us had just completed our freshman year of college and had come to Mo-Ranch for the College Conference. I had a broken arm, the result of an ill-fated dive into third base during the last game of summer baseball. But that did not deter me from wrapping plastic around my plaster cast and hurling myself down the water slide. Since then, I have coaxed countless fearful but willing children to make the plunge over the years, including my own grandchildren. Then, I graduated from college and went away to the East Coast for nine long years. And when we moved back to Texas in the late ‘70s, Linda and I immediately introduced our children to Mo-Ranch.
Since 1966, I have made the winding drive across low water crossings and down FM 1340 more times than I can count. No longer do I have to slow down at the North Fork of the Guadalupe when I arrive at Mo-Ranch. I sail across a new “high” bridge and feast my eyes on the water slide and Guest Lodge to the right and the rapids to the left before once again I drive into the magic “portal” that is Mo-Ranch. Four generations of Evans’ have now been transformed by the power of the hard-scrabble limestone hills and the crystal-clear waters that form the heart and soul of Mo-Ranch. My parents were volunteers there for twelve years, and our son and daughter have believed from childhood that Mo-Ranch was our family ranch. Nothing I can say or do has dissuaded them in the intervening decades! Now, our five grandchildren have been captured by the magic that is Mo-Ranch and constantly remind us that it is a grandparent’s “duty” to take them there often. Wherever we have lived over the years, Mo-Ranch has been one of the constants in life and our heart’s true home.
I have attended and led countless workshops, conferences and retreats there. I did almost all of my Doctor of Ministry coursework in Manor House. My colleague group, the Nicklos Place Friends, has met (guess where!) at Mo-Ranch the last week of October for thirty six years. These are the deepest friendships of my life. One January, as I was writing my doctoral dissertation in Manor House, it snowed and I saw the ranch covered in white for the first time. I have seen the banks of the North Fork of the Guadalupe River overflow its banks up to the front porch of the Guest Lodge. And I have sat for hours watching the cypress trees turn burnt orange seemingly in front of my very eyes.
I have hiked nearly every square inch of Mo and introduced dozens of hardy souls to the wonders of the Middens. I have been at Mo-Ranch in every season of the year and love them all. I sometimes wander off the ranch and down 1340 to Boneyard Crossing at dusk and watch hundreds of Rio Grande Turkeys cross the road to their roost on the Guadalupe. I still marvel at the magic of the rapids, watching kids who are usually absorbed in electronics lose all sense of inhibition as they body surf down the rapids, time and time and time again, until they are exhausted.
And best of all, I have seen the transformative power of Jesus Christ’s work in the lives of people I love.
I have to confess that my years at Mo-Ranch have even changed my understanding of baptism. We all know, in order to be a Christian in the Presbyterian tradition, you must be sprinkled at the baptismal font. But you only become a “Texas Presbyterian” when you are immersed in the sacred waters of the Guadalupe by slipping and sliding down the rapids or by racing head-long down the water slide and discovering in a moment of panic that your life truly belongs to God and no other. I hope I inspire all of you to drive through the “portal” and immerse yourself in the healing waters of the North Fork of the Guadalupe River.”
-David & Linda Evans
Find out how you can become a member of The Circle M Club here