Carolyn Koons

Executive Director, President of the Board – Seventeen years old and as a new Christian, Carolyn went on a mission trip with her church youth group 200 miles below the Mexico border where she had a life changing experiences which propelled her into a path of ministry and missions.

As a Professor of Christian Education at Azusa Pacific University then founder of the Institute for Outreach Ministries at the university, Carolyn has taken thousands of high school, college students, and adults from churches throughout the US and Canada on missions trips to Mexico and throughout the world.

Authoring four books, “Tony Our Journey Together” about her adoption of a little twelve year old Mexican boy who spent seven years in a Mexican prison, and “Beyond Betrayal, Healing Our Broken Past,” a story of Carolyn growing up in an abusive alcoholic home, Carolyn speaks in a wide variety of settings: conferences, schools, churches, radio and television both nationally and internationally.

With her heart still in Mexico, Carolyn had a vision to establish a year around center for ministry and in 1998 purchased and founded Rancho El Refugio, a beautiful 17-acre ranch outside of Ensenada, 65 miles south of Tijuana.

Don and Susan Schwaiger

Ranch Operations Coordination – Don and Susan Schwaiger arrived at the ranch to serve full time in February of 2013.  Don first came to the ranch with Monte Vista Church youth group in 1999.  Susan began coming to the ranch in 2006 to assist building the school.  The Schwaiger’s brought Monte Vista Church on more than 30 construction trips in 7 years.

Susan is using her skills gained from an 11 year history teaching Bible Study Fellowship to teach the Mom’s in Ojos Negros Bible lessons. Susan is an integral part of a local orphanage (casa hogar) where she feeds, loves, transports, lifts up and supports that ministry. Susan is also aiding in the school kitchen each morning, giving help to needy students, starting micro enterprises for Mom’s in Ojos Negros, mentoring female interns and taking Spanish lessons in Ensenada.

Don is using his 35 years from the fire department to support male interns, and complete construction projects.

The Schwaiger’s have two grown son’s married to awesome women of faith.  Daniel is in Santa ClaraCalifornia and Justin is in Denver Colorado.  Both are engineers.  They have one grandson and another grandchild due July 2016.

Lorna (Happy) Dean

(Finance, Puente de Vida School, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board)

Lorna (Happy) Dean – Happy took her first missions trip to in Mexico in 1959 and met Carolyn Koons (Executive Director of LBMI) in 1960. She has been involved in various ministries in the U.S.A. and Mexico since then and now takes a leadership role working with the prison ministry and Puente de Vida School. Happy had an accounting background and works to make sure all of the LBMI corporations papers are approved by both the state and federal governments. Her love to see lives changed through serving keeps her motivated. Happy is married to Jerry Dean and have two adult children who are both teachers and actively involved in education.

Tim Pauls

(Operations, Puente de Vida School, Board Member)

Tim and Hannah first came to the Ranch after working with teams in Sonora, mexico and in the Dominican Republic. The inspiration for engaging in work among the poor was ignited when they observed the impact of the personal and direct engagement of their own church in the community of maria Auxilliadora in the DR, both among the Dominican families and their own Canadian church. After working in Sonora during 2010, Tim met with Carolyn at Rancho El Refugio and the dream of working in Ensenada was born. Tim and Hannah and their four children, Devon, Shalayna, Stephanie and Mikaela, moved down to the Ranch in October 2011 to help start Puete de Vida and run the Ranch.

Tim was able to apply his farm-made handy background around the ranch, his engineering training in continued development of the Ranch facilities and property. Tim is a board member of the Life Bridge Ministries International and Life Bridge mexico, and Hannah continue to support the ongoing operation of Puente de Vida with her teaching expertise.

Brian McPike

(Logistics, Board Member)

Brian’s first mission’s trip to Mexico was in the spring of 1990, from that point, life has never been the same! God continually spoke to him about short term missions to Mexico and how it changes lives. In 1998 Brian led his first trip and with the help of his wife Chris, they have been coming Ensenada 2-3 times per year, bringing student and adults, and challenging them to step out of their comfort zone to share their faith. Brian and his wife have three children and run a health insurance agency in Lincoln, NE, helping individuals and small groups with their health insurance needs.


Antonia Peralta

(Puente de Vida Principal)

Bill & Judy Nazaroff

(International Ministry Coordination)

ruben and elizabeth

Ricardo & Erika Green

(Ricardo & Erika Green – National Ministry Coordination)

anotonia perality

Ruben & Elizabeth Solis

(Ranch Ministry Coordination)

Jonathan Dean

(Partner Relations, Vice President of the Board)