An Unlikely Candidate
Irene Logsdon grew up in a Christian family in the small town of Alton, IL during the Great Depression. She remained single her entire life, and prior to her calling to Mexico, had no experience. Irene even boasted that she had only changed one diaper in her life, and her nephew crawled right out of it! Irene was an active member of her local church and eventually became the women’s choir director. She loved Jesus and had a strong prayer life. She owned a florist shop and also worked at the YWCA, where she taught tennis and later became the adult program director. And although she had a few offers, she never married.
A Major Turn in Life
At the age of 47, during a time of prayer, the Lord clearly called Irene to minister to children in Mexico. This call was confirmed by other members of her church and her friend, Marietta, was also led by the Lord to help Irene in this work.
The two single ladies moved to Juarez, Mexico, where they worked at an orphanage to receive training and experience. After two years, with the help of a pastor, they purchased a small building on government land in Guadalupe, an arid and sparse town outside of Juarez. The horse-shoe shaped building (no longer standing) became the dormitory of the new orphanage.
Publicity from an Unexpected Source
Irene and Marietta made preparations and prayed, asking the Lord to send the children whom He wanted there. Not long after that, a plane filled with illegal drugs crashed close to the building they had just purchased. A newspaper reporter from Juarez soon arrived, eager to get a good story. Seeing the Ranch, he decided to stay there and wait with the military for the pilot to come back for the drugs. While waiting, the reporter received warm hospitality from Irene. The owner of the plane never returned for his illegal cargo, so, after asking Irene many questions, the reporter decided to write his story on the ranch instead. Because of this publicity, the word spread quickly about the new orphanage. On March 17, 1969, Rancho 3M opened, and Irene accepted her first seven children, who were brought by the Mexican authorities. In those early days it was tough going: for the first few years of operation, there was no electricity or running water.
aN UNLikely Candidate
Dean and Denise met at a bar in New Orleans in 1991. They were not exactly the kind of people who should have been running an orphanage. Nevertheless, God used a book given to Dean by a college professor called More than a Carpenter (by Josh McDowell) to open their eyes. They were made to see their need to read the Bible, and, more specifically, their need to repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Years later, they repented and put their trust in Jesus, and upon doing so began to be dramatically changed by Him. They married two years after their salvation in 1995.
A Major Turn in Life
Dean and Denise had been praying for two years asking God for direction when, in 1996, through God´s provision, they went on a week-long missions trip to the interior of Mexico with their New Orleans home church, Lakeview Christian Center (LCC). It was on that missions trip that God put firmly on their hearts His calling for them to live and serve there. After two years of preparation and the birth of their first son, they packed up and moved to central Mexico, where they supported missions work going on in the region and spent time in language school.
During a time of prayer and fasting, Dean felt God reveal His desire that he and Denise work in an orphanage and disciple children in the ways of Jesus Christ. They began to search for an orphanage where they could serve. The Lord closed all the doors that they investigated except one: Rancho 3M in Guadalupe D.B., Mexico. A year later, Dean and Denise loaded their belongings into their ’86 Ford pickup and started the 36-hour trek north. At the time, Denise was six months pregnant with their third son.
After arriving at the orphanage, they soon realized that the director, Irene Logsdon, who had co-founded the orphanage in 1969, was in poor health. One day that summer, Irene called Dean into the office and told him that she had been praying and felt that the Lord wanted him to take over the orphanage. Dean spoke with his pastors at LCC, and after seeking the Lord they agreed that Dean should take over the Ranch and the Lord’s work there.
Transition of Leadership
In 2001, Dean accepted the position as director of the Rancho 3M orphanage. God’s timing was perfect as Irene died unexpectedly five weeks later just before her eightieth birthday.
For over 50 years, the Lord has used Rancho 3M to care for and minister to thousands of children, many of whom have responded to the Gospel and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.