The video summarizing our week at Sacred Road.
One satisfying aspect of helping at Sacred Road Ministries is looking back at the physical work that you’ve done as part of a team. I was grateful to be on a team that worked on a house. We helped a specific family with some tangible needs. The change is dramatic, and will be very practical this coming winter especially.
Here’s the “before” picture:
And here’s the “after” picture:
I was hoping to post here during the week, but was busy busy busy interacting with those around me all day and late into the evening. There are also so many things to process during a week on ‘The Rez’ that I’m only just starting to do so.
Blog posts are supposed to be short, but I want to share a couple of the many stories with you from the week of how God is working in the lives and hearts of these dear children, youth, and adults who live on The Rez.
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The children on The Rez grow up with so much abuse around them/done to them that effect them for the rest of their lives. Most don’t grow up with a parent (let alone two parents) around so they’ll be taken care of by an older sibling (who may sometimes not even be in their teens yet) or a grandparent. Their whole life is unstable. They come to Day Camp or Kids Club with such heavy hearts, so many fears, so much uncertainty. I was able to work at Day Camp with ‘The Cheetahs’ (younger group of boys) for the second time and it was such a blessing and joy. But these kids’ lives are SO rough. And it comes out in their actions and words and it is so painful and hard to see just how much hurt they are experiencing. One day a dear little boy I hung out with a lot during the week, came to Day Camp and volunteered to pray in our small group time. Through tears (basically sobbing) he prayed that Jesus would save him and that He’d heal his mom (who has been in the hospital). I just sat next to him hugging him and praying for this dear dear little soul.
Another day I stood pushing a dear boy on a swing for about 30mins not saying anything because he was so overwhelmed and just needed a few moments of quiet.
On day two of the week I was asked to ride in one of the vans that pick up kids for Kids’ Club. All of the kids had been given Jesus Storybook Bibles and three siblings brought them on the van with them. One in the passenger seat started reading out loud to the driver while the other two sitting next to me farther back in the van flipped through their Bibles to find different stories and started reading aloud too. A little later in the week I got to read stories they all chose out loud to the entire group. It was beautiful seeing just how excited they were to hear and read God’s Word!
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A group called Agape Puppets came to The Rez right before we arrived. They travel all over the world to put on a puppet show that includes puppets like Elsa and Spiderman (so all of the kids would recognize the characters) that dance to upbeat Christian music and then they share a Bible story using art and at the end some of the group share their testimonies. They then train the youth to run their own show in order to share about Jesus with others! They worked with the youth out on The Rez all week and I was able to see the youth put on their show. The lady who runs the puppet group shared that she has been praying that they’d be able to come to an Indian Reservation for 29 years to do this and this week her prayer was answered! I will never forget that night. Absolutely blown away by the ways God is working in the youth on The Rez and how He answered this lady’s prayer.
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Hearing one of the Native American adult women share about the power and goodness of the Lord and give Him all of the glory on our last night during “Say So” (where everyone gets to share stories from the week), was amazing. Was also able to hear about how the Lord is working in incredible ways in the hearts of other adults we were able to serve through the week…Praise God!
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Half of my heart has belonged to these people and this place for about 14/15 years. I’ve been reminded of God’s faithfulness even in the midst of near to absolute darkness this past week. He is the Light of the World. And He is on the move on The Rez.
“…Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” – Isaiah 58:8
The one-week mission has come to an end. On Friday evening after our family dinner meal, Chris Granberry gave an opportunity for anyone to share how God has shown himself in the week. Several have stood up and described their experience.
God showed himself in mighty ways last week.
Here’s a photo of our team (Chantel is missing from the photo) just before Kid’s Club on Friday afternoon.
Early this morning I grabbed a shot of my lodge with Mt Adams and a hop field in the distant background.
Thank you for your prayers. It was a little cooler Wednesday on the worksites and there was a gentle breeze to turn our sweat into a natural coolant.
Sacred Road sells t-shirts with a variety of logos and sayings. One looks like the “Life Is Good” brand shirts but instead it says “Life is Hard but God is Good.”
Some more pictures of what going on.
Up on the roof, after tearing off old roofing, putting down new roofing. Off with the old, on with the new. Restoration.
Anita is showing how it’s done digging holes for posts for building a fence.
One of the worksite teams was working on the church campus. Shiv, Namhui and Anita joined folks from Highland Church in Mississippi.
Kid’s Club in the afternoon during Bible Story time. Joshua is the Children’s Ministry Director filling in for Jesse while he’s on sabbatical. Joshua is so good with the children. We all love him.
The heat out here is intense. On my worksite we would work for about 15 or 20 minutes, then stop for a water break, drinking 20 ounces or more, and then repeat that.
At another worksite where we are putting on new shingles for a house, the danger is wasps. The house has 3 layers of old shingles that need to be removed and wasps have been huddled there for years it seems. They buzz around as our team works and by the Lord’s mercy no one has yet to be stung.
Prayer request: please pray for the Lord’s protection from injury and to give us strength for our tasks.
Alright, now for some photos.
After getting ready for worksites, we wait in the air conditioned church building for the command to muster, get final instructions and pray for going to our sites. Below Jackson is tossing a ball back and forth with a young Native American girl named Forever. She is an important member of the tribe and I image she will do great things for her community in years to come.
Sacred Road has a small wood mill on the church grounds. Here they are shaving off a couple inches of a beam, for use on restoring the deck.
On my worksite we are clearing brush off of a resident’s property. The trees are diseased and they will use the wood to heat their home this coming winter.
After a hard day of work and Kid’s Club in the intense heat, we are starving for dinner. In the evening all of the Sacred Road mission teams gather for a meal like a family, well, because we are a family. It was nice to have Jean and Melinda visit us on Monday!
Joshua’s kittens are therapeutic. The teens love them.
Our throats may be dry here, but not our eyes. The water of the Holy Spirit overflows in this parched land of Yakama Nation! Sacred Road is an oasis of living water for a forgotten people. Forgotten by the world, but not by God, and therefore not by his church, the body of Christ.
The Old Testament is full of unlikely, ridiculous, unthinkable battle strategies. Be it Moses’ lifted staff, circling and shouting for walls of a city to come down or reduction of a mighty army to mere 300. God says: the battle is mine and I will surely prevail.
How did Jesus defeat Satan? How did he win us? Another unlikely strategy: shedding blood on a Roman cross. It didn’t strike me until Joshua, a staff here at Sacred Road, told the story of Gideon to a group of Native American kids in a dusty park on a hot, sunny afternoon. These kids who are coming from poor and broken homes, clothes dirty, faces unclean. Yet no less loved by God who made each one of them.
Here’s the unlikely strategy of Sacred Road to bring hope and healing to an entire race of outcasts: to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and show the love of God in tangible, compelling ways.
I’m tempted to ask how does what I’m doing help? Mowing a lawn, painting a wall, playing games with little kids. Btw, it was my first time ever to mow or paint. I wonder if I’m the one learning these skills using Sacred Road’s resources. Well, Joshua’s story telling convinced me that these temptations are a sign that God’s unlikely strategy is at work. I don’t need to figure it out. I don’t need to be discouraged or overwhelmed. I just need to trust, to obey and to love. To play my tiny part faithfully in God’s grand plan.
First day on the worksite was somewhat chaotic. Things just don’t go as planned. One project got canceled to resume next week. The “tiny house project” was canceled for the day but hopefully we get to work on it the next day.
However, God is sovereign, even over chaos.
I try not to get disappointed when things don’t go as plan. The best way I cope with this is to lower my expectation and let the Lord unfold his plan before us. However, the scheduled continual prayer on my worksite didn’t happen for my team and that is simply unacceptable.
Please pray that we are not thwarted from praying. We use some power tools on the site, but the most powerful tool we use is prayer!!
Some pictures of us getting ready for first day of work.
One of the job sites was to do some drywall work at Village of Hope, a place were the Rez is building tiny houses to combat homelessness.
T’liia and I were on point to get supplies at Ace Hardware in Toppenish. Our job of working on the Longhouse was canceled for the week so most of the morning we selected and delivered supplies to other sites.
Kid’s club is held from 4-6pm every day this week. The first half of kid’s club is spent playing with the kids. The objective of kid’s club is to let the kids just play and enjoy being a kid. Many of them may live in homes where they essentially take care of themselves, so they may not be able to just be a kid.
There are various “stations” of activity – a craft activity, a tree swing, jump rope, and car mat in the following photos. There were so many more activities in which the kids could participate – face painting, water sprinkler, bean bag toss, shoot hoops… or just being given “horse back rides” by an intern, staff, or a member of one of the mission teams. They jump from one activity to another and it is a joy to see their smiles!
The second half is spent sitting on tarps, eating snacks and listening to a Bible story. Today, we had a guest performance by The Agape Puppets. It was truly amazing! I think the adults loved it as much as the kids. The whole presentation, told as Bible stories, illustrated that money, possessions, or people cannot give you what you ultimately need – peace, hope, and love in your heart – but that Jesus can. All you have to do is talk to Jesus and he will hear you. Afterwards, each kid was given a children’s Bible to take home so they can read more about the stories that they heard and about Jesus. It was very moving to see how much the kids enjoyed the whole thing.
The message of the gospel is so simple! Sometimes as adults, I think we forget how simple it really is. Please pray that the kids will remember these stories, read the Bible that was given to them, and call on the Lord and know him in a very real and personal way.
The Sacred Road devotional helps us keep our minds and hearts focused on Jesus as we serve to work out at the worksites. An important lesson we’re learning is that we are not going to fix poverty or an economic problem. What may work in our American culture may likely not work in the Native American culture.
The devotion for today, our first day of doing our service here, comes from Joshua 1:6-9 and Hebrews 12:1-3.
Today our prayer is asking the Lord to keep us from veering left or right and to fix our eyes on Jesus and his endurance!