Saturday, August 1, 2009

Near the End

The last week finished well and right now I'm just tired and have a small sore throat. Getting ready to come home and see what happens from there. It's been a great summer - I've met great friends, learned and grown a lot, and been able to help out a lot. It's been great to see all that's happened this summer and look back on the many good things. I'll try to post more detailed thoughts in the near future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Running out of time

Only 2 weeks left, and I'm excited about coming home, but also sad about leaving here. Things went well last week - we finished the work and the teams had a good experience, but we did have some rough patches with the house by the longhouse, but everything ended up ok. We painted and roofed one house, painted another, roofed another, and built a wheelchair ramp at another. I painted a house with a crew from Mississippi and our site went especially well. Out interactions with Polly and her daughter Jessie were very good and hopefully are the beginning of a longer relationship.

As we come to the end, we still need prayer - these past few days have been rough on the Rez. One of the families we helped on the second week had a cousin who hung himself in their yard on Tuesday - they have four young daughters who are very active with Sacred Road. Another family close to Sacred Road had a cousin who died in a car wreck this past weekend. Four kids we pick up every Tuesday for the Bible Study and come to Kid's Club every time were in a bad car wreck this weekend which shook them up pretty good - they were in a car wreck 2 years ago this month in which their mother died. It's tough seeing the children going through these rough experiences, but it's good that Sacred Road can be here to love and help those who are hurting.

The Bible Study went well last night - we had 42 children and 11 youth. The youth had a great Bible Study; they initiated discussion about how Jesus can be 100% God and 100% man. Chuck, the youth leader did a good job of explaining the humanity/deity of Christ. Also, more youth came last night, in part by invitation from their friends and also because they heard about the Bible study and wanted to come.

Things are going well and the team is holding together - thanks again for your prayers and we need them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Camp High Rock News

Camp High Rock went very well. I'm tired, but very excited about how everything went. The kids had tons of fun, made friends, and wrestled with spiritual things. My last post was about a boy who started a fire and one of the best experiences of camp was with him.

His name is Brandon and he is 11, not 10. He was in my cabin and spent a lot of time hanging out with me and another Sacred Road Intern, Mark. Throughout the week, he was on his best behavior which is a huge blessing because he tends to act up and cause problems. I was blown over simply by how helpful, friendly, and talkative he was. The biggest thing was that he prayed for the very first time (publicly) in his life on Tuesday, and on Thursday he and another boy in the cabin wanted to pray to ask Jesus into their hearts. The other counselor and I were blown away because of everything with him and the other boy. Camp was an amazing experience and it really blew me away - what blew me away the most is that I went in to camp with a lot of fear and doubts, especially regarding Brandon. I thought all he would do is cause trouble and strife for me, but God did an amazing work with him and chastised me for doubting God's willingness/ability to help Brandon. I was really blown away, and am in prayer for him and the other boy that their spiritual growth would continue and their decision to follow Christ would be genuine and lasting. I was also able to interact with lots of other kids and build relationships and friendships with them. Please pray for Brandon and his sisters Takoda and Alexa, his brother Tony, and his mother Buffy. That whole family is in need of lots of prayer. I'm also happy that Sacred Road is here with a permanent presence to work with that family, encouraging and helping them.

Thanks for your prayers for this past week and please pray for this next team week - a lot of the team is tired (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) and we get a new team in tonight. Please pray especially for Scott and Mark (two interns) and their team as they're working on a house next to the longhouse and pow-wow grounds and there is a lot spiritual warfare/activity around that area. Thanks again for your prayers - we need them lots.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Third Team Week

The third team week is over and Sacred Road should be posting a new video on youtube within a few days. You can see it by clicking here.

The third team week went very well and we had 48 people (46 from one church in Issaquah and 2 friends of the Granberrys from AL). We wound up working on 8 different work sights - 2 new roofs, 4 paint jobs, 1 wheelchair ramp, and 1 yard cleaning. A very busy and rewarding week. I led a painting crew and they did a very good job. Kid's Club has been going very smoothly this summer and it's great getting to know the kids better.

This week I got to fight a fire, which was both exciting and scary. On Thursday, we were picking up kids for Kid's Club when we saw a yard on fire and as we got closer we realized it was at a house where we pick up three kids. At first we thought it was a controlled burn, but realized it was not. Their 10 year old son was shooting bottle rockets and their mom was away - he was being supervised by his 21 year old sister who is special needs. When we pulled up in the van, I jumped out and used a garden hose to spray down some flames keeping it away from the house and after a few minutes, the firemen arrived and put the rest of it out. It came within a few feet from the house, and at the time was extremely scary. Thankfully, the wind was blowing the fire parallel to the house, otherwise it could have all burned up. After the firemen arrived, we scooped up the kids and their older siblings (the 4 older siblings are all special needs) and took them to Kid's Club.

The experience with the fire and the situation the family was in really struck me because it's easy to blame the 10 year old boy, but also the mother for leaving her kids uncared for. One of the kids in the house is a six year old girl who I've grown really close to, and it was really hard to see her house nearly burn. The situation was made more difficult when we found out their mother was returning that night and it appeared that she was going to beat them severly for the fire. The Granberrys tried to mediate and we prayed a bunch on Thursday and Friday, and thankfully, the children were fine on Friday. The entire situation surrounding the fire is tragic and frustrating, and helped drive home something we as a team have been thinking about all summer: All of our best efforts and attempts here on the Rez mean nothing unless God moves - the problems are too big and our solutions are too small. Unless God changes parents and protects children, changing hearts and moving people, bad things will continue to happen and the chaos, death, and dysfunction that are so normal out here will continue.

Please keep praying for the Sacred Road staff and interns as we keep working with one week teams and attempt to show God's love to the community here. Also please pray for us as we work with kids at Camp High Rock this next week. Camp should be great, but also pretty demanding. Thanks again for all of your prayer and support.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Second Team Week & Camp High Rock

The second team week is over and it went well. We painted the outside of one house and the inside & outside and did the roof of another. The week was a bit tougher for me and I hit a wall on Thursday (last week), but turned around after talking with an intern and Uncle Dave. It's great to have such a good team that helps out and encourages. The week ended on a high note though, as we finished all of our work on time and kid's club went very well. I've really drawn close to a couple of the kids and am getting a feel for how to help the kids have fun and "be security." Sacred Road posted a video from last week's team and you can see it here (it's probably their best video so far, not just this summer but all past teams).

Things are going well and it's kind of sad realizing that we're nearly half-way through. In a neat story: On Saturday, the team got together and talked about the team week and good moments from the past week. There were many good ones, but one I liked was told by Davy G (the Granberry's son): He said that at Kid's Club last week, one of his friends told him, "I want to be like him." When Davy asked him who, the kid replied "Your Dad." The kid saying that struck me because of the lack of fathers on the Reservation and the fact that this Sunday was Father's Day. It's a really good thing that Sacred Road serves as a positive influence on so many kids.

In other news, Camp High Rock begins on July 5th, and most of the staff and interns will be there as counselors/leaders. Camp High Rock is sponsored by a local church, Sacred Road, and a church near Seattle. The Camp takes 60 kids and 45 kids from the Reservation to a Camp in the Cascades for a week. I'm excited about going and looking forward to it. Chris Granberry told us that most of the Rezervation kids come on scholarship and right now they are $1500.00 short (it costs $100.00 per kid). If you are able/willing to make a donation to send a kid to camp for the week, you can send a check to Sacred Road @

12116 SE 51st Pl.
Issaquah WA 98029

If you're going to send money please let me know by email ( or phone 478-737-4178 so I can let them know (the check will take about a week to get out here). I probably won't answer my phone, but you can leave a voicemail and I'll let the Granberrys know.

Thanks so much to all of you out there for your prayers and support. Please keep praying for us as we have a new team coming on Saturday. It's really good out here, but it's also a struggle requiring me to limp to Christ continually, leaning on the everlasting arms for strength and help.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Second Week

The Second Week is over and I've post some pictures on webshots and videos on youtube.

This past week, we had 40 people from Cullman and Birmingham, AL. They worked very hard and it was a good week. We put on a new roof and decking, painted inside and outside, cleaned and mowed the yard, and built a water pumphouse. By the end of the week, we filled up 3 industrial size dumpsters. We finished just about everything, and the guy interns will head out there Tuesday or Wednesday to finish up a few things. The week went well - no injuries, but we faced a struggle throughout the week as lots of stuff went missing. You can see the two part video from last week by clicking here. Check out the video - it's very good and helps show what we're doing.

This past weekend is a three day celebration of the treaty the Yakama people signed in 1855 and "Treaty Days" includes an all-Indian Rodeo and a massive Pow-wow with about 200 hundred dancers and many drummers. I really enjoyed the Pow-wow and Rodeo - it was a good time to fellowship and observe. The drumming, singing, and dancing is very engrossing. The webshots site has a few pictures from the Pow-wow and a few short videos.

This week is our training week and we have to clean up a lot of stuff and prepare for the next week when new teams come. Things are going well and it's been a very good experience. I really like it here and it's also a big challenge to stretch yourself and pour yourself out, both for the one-week team & to the children.

We also hosted "Kid's Club" at two different parks throughout the week. At Kid's Club, we and the team play with the kids, feed them snacks, sing a little, and go over a Bible story. Janel & Sadie, two summer interns, did a great job making skits for the kids to show the Bible story, and the kids really enjoyed and learned from it. Kid's Club is a great way to get to know the kids, share the Gospel with them, and provide a safe place for them to play, and just show them love. The kids come from a rough place, and they face constant bullying. Chuck, one of the guys here on staff, says the schools and playgrounds run on the "law of the jungle" where the strong rule. Kid's Club is probably the only place where the kids can play without having to deal with bullying or fights. This picture below is from the Rodeo and it is of several children who are playing and they're throwing rocks and dirt clods at teach other. Either the parents don't know or don't care how their kids play.

On the last day of the week before the teams leave, Sacred Road has "Say so" where the team members get a chance to talk about their experiences and one of the girls from Totus Park in White Swan who hangs out with Sacred Road a good bit said that she really appreciated Kid's Club because of the laughing. She said that she rarely hears the kids laughing in the neighborhood and Kid's Club is the only place where they are all laughing and having fun. Her comment really struck me as laughing and childhood are supposed to be tied together, yet many of these kids don't get to experience that as they grow up.

Natalie - Sacred Road doesn't need anything in particular - I think they're facing a bit of a financial crunch, but they don't need any specific things/objects. Thanks for the comment though.

Here's a picture of the Sacred Road Team:

From left to right, front row: Veronica Vasquez, Anne Marie Granberry, Morgan Granberry, Emily Schmidt, Uncle Dave Koerner, Sadie Corbett, Me, Mark Shaw/David Granberry, Mary Granberry, Rebekah Griffin, & back row: Luke Irwin, Chris Granberry, Scott Burnett, Janel Corbett, Gretchen Becker, Heather German, & Beth Granberry. This picture has everyone except Chuck, Neena, Asha, & Isaac Clevenger who didn't come with us to Chinook Pass.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Week

I've been here for a week and it's been busy. We've finished orientation and have done a lot of team building and we've come together very well. Wednesday, we all took a trip together to Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, had a picnic, saw Multnomah Waterfall, hiked into an isolated canyon and waterfall, and ate fresh salmon with Jack Spencer. Jack comes to the Tuesday Bible Study and is a full-time hunter/fisherman. It was great getting to visit with him and hear his stories. The salmon he caught for us was AMAZING.

On Tuesday night, we had the weekly Bible Study at the Longhouse and I helped lead a group of 4 10-12 year old boys with coloring, crafts, a word search, and maze focused on Paul's conversion. The night was amazing and heart-breaking; it was amazing to see what Sacred Road is doing and the impact that work is having. It was also heart-breaking because all of the children came from broken families. Pretty much the entire evening, a little girl played with me, clung to me, hugged me, and was so excited and happy to be there. It made me very happy to be there to love her and sad b/c her family situation is a disaster.

On Friday, we had Kid's Club at Totus Park in White Swan WA and it went very well with maybe 30 children. We spent time playing with them, fed them snacks, and went over the story of David and Goliath.

Next week it kicks into high gear as we'll be roofing and painting a house with the team and we'll get little rest. Pray that we work hard, love much, and lead well.

My thoughts so far: I really love what Sacred Road is doing here in terms of combining both mercy ministry work and church planting. We have a great team with amazing interns and staff. I have a lot of thoughts on this type of ministry and will organize and share them in the future. The ministry has made great inroads into the community and is loving people well.

I'll try to post pictures in the near future.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

First Post

Ok - I've been here 5 days including Wednesday and today, and it's been great so far. There are 3 other male interns and we're all staying in a tipi behind the Granberry house while the 3 female summer interns are staying with the 4 female staffers who live about 3 minutes away. The countryside is beautiful here, but very dry so skin drys out quickly and I've been having sinus trouble; claritin has been helping. The Granberry house is a small farm with 4 horses, 4 peacocks, 5 dogs, 2 cats, 20 chickens, 3 turkeys, 2 guineas, and lots of flys. The Granberry family is great - they're fun, wise, kind-hearted, open to God, humble, loving, open, friendly, and great. They've been very welcoming and loving, treating us like family.

These past few days and the next week are the interns orientation as we focus on team building and educational exercises that help us to think through what we'll be doing this summer and focus on how to lead the teams that will be coming soon. Team building is important in making us one unit for the summer and there's a lot to think through regarding this type of ministry. The type of ministry is regarded as fourth world ministry because it is ministering to a third world type situation that is surrounded both physically and culturally by a dominant culture. We've been thinking and talking through issues of culture and community while next week we'll spend time on other issues and prep for the team that comes the following week.

I've really enjoyed the discussions we have and feel convicted and blessed as we talk both in our structured environment and to each other throughout the day.

We haven't really begun ministering yet to the Yakam people, but I wanted to recount a few things I've seen so far. Yesterday (Saturday), we went to a small high school pow-wow and I was struck by two things. First, Uncle Dave (a guy from Florida who is here to lead the construction stuff) was asked by Stacy, a close friend of the Granberry's who is active in the Bible study, to dance with her during the dance. Last year, Uncle Dave helped her financially and physically to get a van which she and her two small children use. I was struck by the honor he received of being asked to dance, and the special place that he earned. The second thing that struck me was that Chris Granberry (our leader) was asked by the pow-wow organizers to judge a dance competition. It's amazing how the Granberrys have been able to enter into their world and earn their trust and acceptance.

Thanks again for your prayers and support. I've raised all my money and will post some pictures within the week. Thanks again!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prayer Requests

It is late Tuesday night and I fly out tomorrow morning. I finished up all of the school stuff and graduated this past Friday. Please pray for me, the other interns, the Sacred Road team, and the short-term teams that are coming. I did a Directed Study this Semester that focused on Native Americans and Christianity and was convicted of my own sinfulness and the great need that exists.

Please pray for me to be humble and open.

Pray that I'd have a broken heart open to the needs before me.

Pray for God to work in spite of my sinfulness and for me to work against my laziness and indifference.

Pray for God to move this summer and beyond on the Yakima Reservation and among Native Americans.

Thanks for your prayers and I'll do my best to update this as I go along.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Intern Handbook

I got my Intern Handbook in the mail today! I'm excited and flipped through it, looking over different parts. I won't have time to read it till later, because now is crunch time for school, so I've been busy this week reading and writing papers and the next two weeks are full of work, and then I have finals, graduation, then heading to Washington on the 20th.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wrong Address

(This is an amended post)

I've become aware over the past 2-3 days that the little envelopes I sent out have the wrong address. Originally, the reply cards had the right address, but the wrong zip code. I messed up by putting the wrong street address on the return envelopes. Strangely enough, some of the letters have gone through with the wrong zip code & address, but some haven't Here's the right address:

Sacred Road Ministries
22116 SE 51st Place
Issaquah WA 98029

I'm so sorry for any confusion or problems this may have called - I hope people are reading this and it helps you out if you've had any troubles. Also, you can email me at or call me at 478-737-4178 if you have any questions/issues. I'm also sending everyone the correct address through the snail mail. Again, I apologize for my mistake.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good Search

I wanted to let ya'll know about a new website I just found out about. Goodsearch is a website that donates 50% of its ad revenue to a charity, and it lets you choose the charity you want to receive the money. It doesn't have as many returns as Google does, but it uses the Yahoo search engine and is pretty good (I never thought I could use 80 thousand webpages anyway). Sacred Road Ministries is one of the charities you can designate to receive money every time you do a search - every search gives $ 0.01 to a designated charity. So far, Sacred Road has had $2.01 donated because of searches.

I really like that you can give money to charity and let your web searching do some good instead of fattening the pockets of the Google people - they seem to be pretty good folks and run a good business, but I'd rather that ad revenue go to a good cause. I can also use goodsearch to justify my wanderings on the internet, b/c now I'm not just wasting time, but raising money for charity! :)

Check goodsearch out - you can even make it your default search engine for your search browser. Seriously, check it out - just click the blue underlined text.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yakima vs. Yakama

The Yakama are officially known as "The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation." Yakama used to be spelled "Yakima" but was changed in 1994. Some older works spell the name Yakima and a large city in central Washington is spelled Yakima, but current custom is to spell it Yakama because of pronunciation rules.

As a confederated nation, there are actually 14 tribes that live on the Yakama Reservation. The Sioux and Iroquois are similarly structured in that the commonly used name refers to a confederacy/nation made up of several smaller tribes. I'm not sure how the 14 tribes on the Yakama reservation get along, but it appears that they have one government that represents all the different tribes. The 14 tribes once lived on 11.5 million acres in central Washington but ceded most of the land after some wars in the 1840s and 50s with the USA, and now live on a 1.2 million acre reservation near Mt. Adams in South-Central Washington. I'll hopefully learn more about their history and inter-tribal relations and I'll post more in the future, maybe after the Summer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


After much travailing and no paper cuts, I sent off all of the letters today. No doubt some of you will receive them by Friday/Saturday and this could be the first post you see - sorry not much info here. If you want a more detailed explanation of things, check out the first two posts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Support Letters

School has been very busy and I'll be sending out my letters tomorrow. I started filling out the addresses by hand but I was informed by a friend that my writing is crooked and looks like a 2nd Grader's. I'm going to buy some labels and print them up, and they should be good to go tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Yakama People

I haven't received any new information but would like to further elaborate on what I'll be doing. Sacred Road is focused on "Mercy Ministry" and ministers to the Yakama people through "Word and Deed." To those unfamiliar with these terms let me explain. Mercy ministry is the formal term for those who minister in "word and deed." Ministry in word and deed seeks to follow the ministry of Christ by reaching the lost through sharing the Gospel in word and deed, through verbal communication and action. Throughout the Gosepls, Christ not only talks to people addressing their spiritual needs, but also works to address their physical needs. In Acts, the early church provided for those in need. The Old Testament is full of instances of God providing for His people and the prophets often chastise Israel for not taking in the stranger, providing for the needy, feeding the hungy, and comforting the widows and orphans.

Sacred Road Ministries was established by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Granberrys lead Sacred Road and live on the Reservation. Sacred Road's mission is:

"The plan is to lovingly respond to the physical, emotional, and social needs of our neighbors in order to address the deeper spiritual need. We believe that the truth of God and the love of God work hand in hand in this way to establish and build His Kingdom."

The need on the Reservation is great as the Yakama people are not just poor but are in many ways a broken people. They, like many of the other tribes, are stuck in cycles of poverty and dysfunction, and it can be seen in the following:

* The average life expectancy for those on the Reservation is 39.
* Infant mortality rate is twice the national average.
* The dropout rate for grades 6-12 is 65%
* 30% of teens in White Swan are homeless
* Lost vision and hopelessness
* Alcoholism and drug abuse
* Broken and dysfunctional families
* Neglected and abused children
* Crime & violence
* Suicide

I don't have all the specific statistics, but I've read their blog for the past two years and it's not a good situation on the Reservation. On the Reservation, death occurs regularly and many of the people have become numb to the death of loved ones, accepting it as just a part of life. Sacred Road is engaged in a long-term mission project that will take place over many years. I encourage you to check out their blog to see some specifics of what they're doing and read some of their stories. They're very heart-wrenching and in them we see the immense influence of sin in this world and also moments when God's grace reaches down into that. This blog post by Chris especially illustrates what they are working towards.

I am greatly priveleged to come alongside Sacred Road for the summer and help bring the light of Christ into the darkness, and the darkness cannot resist the light. For Christ came into this world "to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found." Finally, I greatly appreciate your prayers and support and you can email me at if you wish. For a final thought, consider this: three million Indians live in America and only 2% of them are Christians.

*UPDATE* Today I received info from Sacred Road - a waver form, background check form, a sample support letter, and a what and what not to bring list. I should begin sending out letters on Monday (the 23rd).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First Post

I found out yesterday the Granberrys picked me to be an intern with Sacred Road this summer. I'm very excited but also kind of scared because I've never done anything like this before. I think this is a great opportunity to share Christ's love in Word and Deed. I'm graduating on May 15th and flying to Washington on May 20th.

What's Sacred Road?
Excellent Question and here are a few links to help explain:
Sacred Road Ministries' Website
Sacred Road Ministries' blog
My Church Denomination's info on Sacred Road
Now - if you want to take a shortcut and just read my explanation here goes: Sacred Road Ministries is a Church Mission of the Presbyterian Church in America that seeks to minister to the Yakama People through mercy ministries.

What I'll be doing:
I don't know yet. Basically, I'll serve as a summer intern with Sacred Road and do whatever I'm told. Now there is more to it than that of course, but I really don't know yet - I could be cooking, painting, building, roofing, digging, cleaning up, and/or leading Backyard Bible Clubs for kids. From what I understand, it's an intense 10 week summer internship during which churches send short term teams every other week and the interns "lead" the groups.

Now, what is the purpose of this blog?? Well, I intend to use it as a communication tool. I plan to post news, pictures, maybe some video clips, and sometimes my reflections. As part of this summer internship, I have to raise some money and this is an excellent medium for my supporters to follow what's happening.

So, that's basically all there is to it. I'll let ya'll know more as I know more. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or input.