? Son Shine Ranch Mission auctioning off furniture, land

By Melissa A. Wabnitz

Transcript Staff Writer

After more than 20 years of "providing a safe, nurturing sanctuary for those in need," Sarah Cochnauer is shutting down her ministry and auctioning off pieces of her 20-some-odd efforts one at a time Saturday. The auction is set for 10 a.m. at 4702 N. Porter Ave. Cochnauer, also known as "Sister Sarah" to those she's assisted throughout the years, said she's been forced to shut down her Son Shine Ranch Mission as it recently has faced mounting debts and other difficulties.

"I am so blessed God used me as an extension of his love," she said. "If people can just open their hearts and bless us now that we are in need, that's what we can use. I appreciate everyone who has been a blessing."

Cochnauer said through the years, she's reached out to "hundreds" in the community. Some came to her when they separated from spouses. Others came to her spiritual refuge after battling drugs and alcohol or even depression. To live at the ranch, she said, one must adhere to a number of behavior and moral standards including not using drugs, alcohol, tobacco products or having sexual partners at the facility.

"We were self-supporting all those years," she lamented. "We never did take any taxpayer money and were able to live pretty well. Every person contributed what they could if they had jobs, and had responsibilities around the ranch when they didn't."

Son Shine Ranch Mission, Cochnauer said, recently ran into financial difficulties after several residents "did not live up to responsibilities," among other problems.

Still, Cochnauer contends she was happy to have helped those who sought her aid and hopes in future years to continue her efforts in other capacities.

"All of us have the potential to turn a life around, prevent a suicide and help someone," she said.

A number of items from the ranch including household items, antiques, air-conditioning and heating units, video games, furniture, a juke box, saddles and tacks, metal storage buildings, a pool table and a registered goat will be auctioned off.

Volunteers are sought to prepare the items for the 10 a.m. Saturday auction. The mission's 5.68 acres of land also is for sale. Call 812-4240 for more information about the auction or 447-0310 for more information about the mission.

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