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Men's Ex-Offender Housing & Church Retreats

Fort Good Shepherd Ranch makes a difference through men's ex-offender housing and church retreats on the ranch. In the fall of 1999, Mission Gate Ministry of St. Louis, Missouri, purchased 125 acres of beautiful rolling hills in Cuba, Missouri, for the purpose of developing an educational complex named 'Mission Village.' We want to provide ex-offenders with regeneration, rehabilitation, and reintegration, with the ultimate goal is for them to be productive members of their church and community for the glory and honor of our Lord. This location also serves as a church retreat for parishes in the region. We are located four miles south of Highway 44 on Highway 19. Find out more about the amenities available at the ranch.

Men's Gathering

Brief History

In the 1800's the property was an Indian Reservation and was a popular place for community living, hunting and fishing. One day, two hunters purchased 1,000 acres of the land for their private hunting pursuits and named it Idlewild Lodge. Soon their wives joined them and they had to include indoor plumbing to suit their needs. In the mid-1900's, the property changed hands to a group who named it Broken Arrow Resort, successfully marketing it as one of the finest resorts on the Meramec River. The Lodge burned down and this group sold out to Ed Powers, a St. Louis businessman. He and his wife developed the land to provide themselves an estate to live at and accommodate their many guests. Ed died and his wife sold the remaining 125 acres of property to Mission Gate in the September of 1999. Since that time we have been in the continuing process of developing the land and improving the buildings and since that time we have increased the residency from 10 men to 60 with additional bunkhouses and cabins.

Ideal for Retreats

This wonderful location is not only a home where prisoners can reintegrate into society but a church retreat, as well. We exist to bless participating churches at no charge with:

  • Youth Group Weekend Retreats & Work Projects
  • Church Special Services & Baptisms
  • Ministerial Alliance Meetings for Member Churches
  • Chamber Of Commerce Meetings for Cuba & Steelville
  • Weekend Visits By the Residents Families
  • Short Retreats for Weary Pastors & Visiting Missionaries
  • Quarterly Open-House Cookouts With Fun, Food, & Fellowship
  • Praise Concerts By Various Praise Teams Locally or In Transit
  • Adult Bible Study Retreats & Special Events.
  • Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals or Anniversary Get-Togethers
  • Recovery Support & Access Sites Welcome To All

Support Our Mission

We prayerfully request that you hold this local ministry up in prayer and if so led will include us in your mission giving on a regular basis, one time offering or end of year tax deductible contribution. We can only do what your generous donation will provide and we trust in you to support this work for the Lord as we continue to be a blessing to the local community and all the participating churches.

Fort Good Shepherd Ranch Amenities

Grand Lodge

This is an excellent place to have adult meetings and planning sessions away from any disturbances with a fresh country breeze and a warm sun in the presence of the Lord. It was constructed by master craftsmen and its 3,000 sq. ft. covers a living room, dining room, kitchen, two offices, great room, one guest bedroom, a meeting room, parlor, and two full bathrooms complete with a sauna and sunken Roman tub.


A favorite for eight men, it includes sleeping accommodations with a private bathroom and shower, kitchen, and a country decorated grand room. It dates back to the early 1800's and was brought to the ranch piece by numbered piece for reconstruction by expert craftsmen. It was completely refinished inside and out in the Summer of 2003. Countless numbers of ex-offenders have made it their home they lift up the Lord in their one-year aftercare program with us.

Horse Stables

This three story building was once located in Ladue MO and dates back to the early 1800's and was transported to the ranch by numbered logs and reconstructed by expert craftsmen. Tennessee Walking Horses, Paint and Quarter Horses are all ridden in the equine therapy ministry. Experienced residents adopt a horse to care for and ride on our breathtaking trails.

Caretaker Cabin

The leftovers from the Grand Lodge were more than sufficient to construct a three-bedroom log home that is occupied by staff and senior residents. Steve is our right-hand man when we need peer counseling and employment connections for our residents on a day-to-day basis.

Living Room

Resident Cabins

There are 30 resident cabins that are usually fully occupied by carefully selected Christian ex-offenders and former alcoholics and drug addicts who are in our nine to eighteen month aftercare program. They are supervised by our staff supervisor Rick Mathes who has 30 years of experience with the Missouri Department of Corrections that makes him ideally suited to meet the needs of our residents. Residents are assigned two-hour weekly work projects for the property upkeep.

Kitchen and Living Area

Broken Arrow Bunkhouse

Located right on the Meramec River frontage, we accommodate six new residents as they wait their turn to have a private cabin. It is equipped with a bathroom, shower, kitchen and recreation area plus bunk beds to suit their needs. Great place to fellowship because the swimming, fishing and hiking trails are right at the front door.


We recently had constructed a 40-by-40 outdoor and covered pavilion for picnicking. It's a great place for praise teams to plug in their instruments and bless the residents, guests, and those floating by in their canoes, rafts, and floaters down the Meramec River with music that lifts up the name of Jesus.


This building has 10 individual units for residents that includes a galley kitchen, living area, full bathroom and private bedroom. This was a job training program project that was completed entirely by former inmates under the supervision of an experienced supervisor.


This building has 8 individual units for residents that includes a full kitchen, large living area, full bathroom and private bathroom.

Meramec River

Canoeing and fishing are popular along our half-mile of river bank. Many go upstream and canoe one-hour downstream to the Fort with a staff member or continue another two hours to Bird's Nest Resort, where we drive down and pick them up for their return to the ranch. A special time is when a local church has a baptism service at our 20 cross and then walk down into the river to baptize. Passing visiting canoers can be heard saying, 'Praise the Lord' as they witness these special services and hear us singing praise songs as loud as we can. The canoers and floaters are a mission field all by themselves. Stillwater Pond also has plenty of fish!