Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas on the Rez

I'm going to send out a December update next week, but wanted everyone to know what has been happening. Since the last post, we hosted the Christmas Feast on the 14th and had over 400 people come. It was a really great evening and everyone who came received a great meal, a gift, and heard about Jesus.

After the Christmas Feast, we delivered presents, food boxes, and/or Wal Mart Gift Cards to about 60 households, impacting 250 people. My favorite memory of the deliveries was when we went to one house and 5 boys ages 2-7 sat down on their steps with their faces beaming with joy and excitement over the gifts they were receiving. It was so great to give them a little Christmas fun and happiness. We finished the last of the deliveries on the 22nd and are enjoying a well needed break.

On the 23rd, Chuck and I took our D-Groups to see Tron and get lunch and they/we had a great time. Unfortunately, my camera is dead and I don't have any pictures with the youth guys. Chuck has some photos from the Decorating Night and the past month, and I'll get those from him and post them next week.

You can see the video from the Christmas Feast by clicking here.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 13, 2010


This past Thursday, 31 youth 4 children, and 8 staff gathered in the Toppenish Creek Longhouse and decorated it with a giant red and green paper chain, coffee filter snowflakes, and Christmas lights. It was one of my best nights ever!

The kids had lots of fun, worked well together, took initiative, and I'm really proud of them. They really did great and the Longhouse looks beautiful. The Christmas Feast is tomorrow and we're expecting 400-500 people. It's going to be a busy and wonderful night. Thanks for your continued prayers and support.

In other news: I got a 16 month old Doberman and he's super fun. I've also moved since last week and will post pictures of the dog and home and more info soon. I'm living in the building we're trying to get for the church - staying there to keep an eye on things and burglars out.

Things will be crazy for the next week as we have the Feast and do Christmas deliveries. Merry Christmas to All!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowball Fight!!

This past Thursday, I had a great time with my D-Group (Charles, Brandon, & Davy Granberry). It's been snowing a lot lately, so when I went to pick them up at the Cougar Den, there was a good 10-12 inches of snow. We fought for a while and my fingers were numb for about a half hour. We also had a fight later and I was hit in the side of the head with a chunk of ice. It was a lot of fun and a good time with the guys. Chuck's D-Group & mine were both in the fight and we defeated them. One of his guys was having a birthday, so we met up with them later to celebrate over pizza at Costco. The guys were great and it was a memorable evening!

This week has been pretty good for me, but struggling a bit today. The Christmas Feast is a week away and there's lots to do beforehand. Pray for us as a team to work well together, finish strong, and trust in the Lord. Also pray for people in the community to step into leadership roles for the Feast.

Also, please pray for the community of White Swan: There have been four deaths in the past week.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back on the Rez

Sorry about the long time in between posts. Hopefully everyone out there go my November update and the news in there. If you'd like an update but didn't get one just email me. I had a good Thanksgiving break visiting with family, friends, and churches. I was really encouraged, excited about getting back, and am already missing GA people.

I just got back and already have some news/prayers. The three youth that are facing returning to their abusive father had their appeal heard today by the tribal appellate court, and we don't know when a decision will come down, but please pray for them and the 3 judges. We have no idea what will happen, but really need God to move and keep them with their foster parents.

In other news, it's super cold and there's snow everywhere. The Christmas feast is 2 weeks away, so pray that it comes together smoothly, the weather holds up, and we get everything done.

Thanks again for your prayers. Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SPLICE, New Home, Visit to GA, and News from the Rez

Well I’m back from SPLICE and getting into the swing of things. I really enjoyed SPLICE as a spiritual retreat & a place to learn about myself and God. The three weeks focused on cultural differences, spiritual struggles, intrapersonal issues, team dynamics, conflict styles, stress/stressors, grief/loss, and other things. It was a wonderful experience and I made some great friends and learned a lot.

This past weekend I moved into a house near Toppenish, WA. I’m the caretaker/security for the McKinley Mission Church in Toppenish and live in a house behind the Church. I don’t really take care of much except for the lawn which won’t need care until the spring. Mostly I keep an eye on things, act as a presence on the property, and will talk to the occasional person that comes by needing something/someone. It’s a nice place, but a bit bare and lonely. I’m looking forward to getting a roommate in the spring. My new mailing address is:

PO Box 223

Harrah, WA 98933

I’ll be in Macon from November 20-29. I’m set to visit a Church in Columbus on November 28th and talk to the North Macon Presbyterian Church Sunday School Class on November 21st. I’m excited about coming home for a while, seeing friends, and spending Thanksgiving with my family.

The Bible Study this past Tuesday had about 40 children, 34 youth (a record high!), and 10 adults. It went well, but was a bit chaotic. Over the summer, the children’s lessons focused on Abraham-Joseph and we’re spending the fall on Moses and the Exodus. Last night, I spent time with Chuck and 7 youth guys in a small group. It was a good time to get to know them a little better, have some fun, and eat. This evening, we’re going to play some games with 10-12 youth, and roast hotdogs. It's been a busy and good week.

Grace and Peace to all of you out there!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Great Week & SPLICE

Last week was really good and encouraging. We had a Back To School BBQ to kick off the fall and had 170+ come, and almost 100 of those were children. The Longhouse was packed to overflowing and the evening went really well despite having too few people to watch all the children. It was really great to get back in the community, see old faces, and get started back with Bible Study.

This past Friday, Chuck, Veronica, Heather, and I went to the first home football game of the season for White Swan. They lost, but it was a lot of fun, and a really good way to be in the community and we saw a lot of kids and youth in a setting that's different from usual. We also went to a volleyball game, which featured one of our youth. Unfortunately, they also lost, but it was a lot of fun to root for her and cheer her on.

Right now, I'm outside of Colorado Springs doing the SPLICE program with Mission Training International. I don't know much about it except it's training for doing missions, and everyone with Sacred Road raves about it. So far so good - met some neat people and having fun. I might be AWOL for a while, but will let you know how the training goes.

Grace & Peace!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall Is Here

We're back in the swing of things and Bible Study starts back this Tuesday. Pray for us all as we get the hang of things and the community to respond positively. Bill Yarbrough is visiting for the past few days and he and his family are raising support to move out here full time and work with youth, and he as a project coordinator, and she as a nurse. It's good to visit with him and see his perspectives. This past week, I worked on lessons for the fall, took down & cleaned the tipi, & cleaned up a little around here.

On the 13th, I'm heading to Palmer Springs, CO for 3 weeks of missions training. I'm excited and a bit nervous. This Friday is the first home football game for White Swan High School and I'm SUPER excited about going with the crew and being part of the community in a different context than usual.

Grace & Peace

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Update

I just sent out a fall update, but wanted to post some more pictures for you. Any of you out there that did not get the update, but wish to, please email me at I hope you enjoy these pictures (fyi: I did not take them).


Helping with the Meal

Beth Granberry with Two Girls

Youth Group



Playing with the Parachute


Jump Rope!

Four Square

Mary Granberry with Stacie and her son Scwelelut

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Please Pray for some Teens

Three teenagers in White Swan face the very real possibility of being turned over to their father who was abusive and neglectful towards them. They are great kids and in a good foster home, but their father is trying to get them back despite his record and their desire to not return to him. Please Pray that this doesn't happen. They're scheduled to meet with the judge tomorrow. Thanks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fourth Team Week

Thanks for your prayers - the week went very well and we are all getting some rest today. Yesterday, we began discussing the interns leaving and reentry into regular life and some of the difficulties they will face - it made me sad to consider the summer coming to an end and the departure of some good friends.

The week went well - no major injuries and Kid's Club went very well with some very good interactions with children. This was our first hot week of the summer, so we did a lot of water games with the kids and had lots of fun with water balloons, a giant parachute & water, and water relay races.

Mary Granberry especially encouraged me when she pointed out something that happened when we had the parachute game. In the parachute game, we have this massive parachute with a hole in the middle which we get wet and shake, getting everyone a little wet, especially those under the parachute and in the middle where the hole is. I was in charge of throwing the water and the kids asked me to throw water in their face as well as on the parachute, and Mary pointed out that them allowing me to do that shows they respect and trust me. To most people, the kids do not display trust, but they are beginning to trust me more and I'm kind of like a big brother to many of them, which is really big because many don't have adults they trust or respect who treat them well.

Also, on Friday, a little girl ran up to me, jumped in my arms, and hugged and held me which was a big surprise, because she's a girl I've never played with or interacted with, but I'm sure she's been watching and learned that I'm a friend. It really touched me that she was so loving to me, and helps provide a small picture of the impact we're having on the kids - loving them well, and even when we are loving on other kids, they see it. We also benefit, because that girl has been loved well by others all summer, but I received some of the benefit - some of her love even though I never "invested" in her.

Chris Granberry pointed out how the Bible stories stick with the kids, and how in the past, Indians learned Bible stories, but in the context of Government run schools and boarding schools. In that negative context, Christianity was tied to bad memories, but with the kids from the summer, the Gospel is tied to the happy and fun memories of the summer and the love the kids are showered with. That's going to have a big impact in the near and distant future. If you don't know much about the boarding schools, you can find books or online information, or I'd love to talk with you about it next time we meet.

We've had teams down at the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon over the past eight weeks and it's good to have Warm Springs now wrapped up without any troubles, especially given the dangers down there. Before the summer began, the staff prayed especially about safety for the summer and the Warm Springs teams, and I'm very happy to see our prayers answered, with one more team week here.

Again, thanks so much for your support, help, and love. I won't have much time to talk over the next two weeks, but would welcome phone calls from Aug 7-21, when I'll have some free time. Grace & Peace.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thoughts on Camp and other things

We got back from Camp on Friday and it was a really good week. We spent time with about 50 kids from the Reservation and 30 kids from Churches in Poulsbo & Zillah, WA. The kids had a lot of fun and positive memories. Thankfully, no one had to be sent home, and for the most part, the kids were well behaved. I really enjoyed that during the week we could spent a lot of time with the kids, building relationships and having fun. It was also great to talk with the kids about Jesus and I had some good conversations. A neat part of camp was that it involved four church groups – Poulsbo, Harrah, Sacred Road, & McKinley Mission which works on another part of the reservation. The four groups have run the camp for the past three years and I really enjoy seeing Christians with somewhat different stances coming together for the kids.

Teams arrived yesterday – from Seattle, Mississippi, & a family from Georgia. The summer is in the last stretch and everyone is pretty tired especially after a week of camp. I had a stomach bug yesterday but am feeling better today, but we could all use your prayers over the next week, especially for fatigue and the resulting stress/disunity.

This week, we’re working on two homes and focusing on Jesus’ healings at Kid’s Club. I think it’ll be a good week. Please pray for the community of White Swan which has had many deaths during the past seven months, but has had a break over the past few weeks.

Thanks again for your prayers. Grace and Peace

Monday, June 21, 2010

Second Team Week

The second team week is over and it was better than the first was for me. I mostly worked on children's ministry stuff, getting ahead on skits and crafts for Kid's Club. The Treaty Days Pow-wow was last weekend and it was great to watch the dancers.

The teams from Naperville, IL & Boise worked on roofing and painting one house and roofing another. The work-sites were safe and most of the work was finished. The videos should be up soon on youtube- the videos from the Warm Springs teams are up, but not the ones for here.

Pray for the summer team here because it was a rough week on the team as a whole. One of the leading elders in White Swan passed away and her loss leaves a vacuum of leadership and her family is turning on each other. Mary Granberry was in a minor car wreck, but it was still pretty disruptive to the flow of things. We need prayer for safety at Totus Park because several houses that were once safe houses are no longer because gangsters have moved in. Where we have Kid's Club is safe, but walking the kids home through park is a little less safe now.

Yesterday, we all traveled to Oregon and went to Multnomah Falls, hiked, picniced, and had a great time hanging out and relaxing. Today (Thursday) we knocked out a bunch of work and are getting ready for another team coming in on Saturday. The teams this weekend are from the Seattle area.

This evening, I went bowling and to McDonald's with some of the youth. I had a great time bowling with the guys, laughing over gutterballs, rejoicing over strikes, and laughing at myself when I went too far down the alley and fell down. We had a great time with the youth, and I'm really excited to see friendships beginning and connections being made. I'll post some pictures as soon as I get them.

Thanks for all of your prayers. Grace & Peace to you all.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One Team Done and Gone

The past week was a rough week in the community and I struggled a bit. A teenager set to graduate committed suicide the morning before graduation. One of the few fathers involved in his son's life went on a prescription drug bender last weekend, seemed to be improving through the week, and then overdosed yesterday and has been in the hospital the past two days. These two developments were incredibly depressing. The suicide was especially rough because everyone in the community is excited about graduation and then one of those set to graduate kills himself. It doesn't seem fair and especially wrong because he was one who "succeeded," who made it through school, and then he's gone. A lot of the youth who were his friend were hit hard by his death.

The father who went on a bender hit the team hard because he, his father, and his son are all involved with Sacred Road. The grandfather and grandson were baptized in April, and the whole family professes faith in Christ and is close to the Granberry family. Chris Granberry, the pastor here, spent a lot of time with the father and we thought things had improved but apparently they hadn’t. I found the whole ordeal frustrating because the grandfather is technically homeless, the mother is an addict, the family is in shambles, and it leaves you wondering how that impacts the son who is ten. The son was originally taken away from his mother because of neglect/addiction, and the son has some behavioral & emotional problems linked to his younger years with his mother. Right now, the father is here working with us, and it is possible he could go to a rehab place. Pray for him and family.

A lot of the people associated with the Bible Study were struggling and facing difficulties this past week. The team that was in Warm Springs this past week had a good week, but there were six deaths in the community within a week. I was feeling sad and depressed this week, but I ended on a high note, although the first four days were rough. I was really helped by the lyrics to “Beams of Heaven:”

1. Beams of heaven as I go,
through the wilderness below,
guide my feet in peaceful ways,
turn my midnights into days.
When in the darkness I would grope,
faith always sees a star of hope,
and soon from all life's grief and danger
I shall be free someday.
I shall be free someday.

2. Often times my sky is clear,
joy abounds without a tear;
though a day so bright begun,
clouds may hide tomorrow's sun.
There'll be a day that's always bright,
a day that never yields tonight,
and in its light the streets of glory
I shall behold someday.
I shall behold someday.

3. Harder yet may be the fight;
right may often yield to might;
wickedness a while may reign;
Satan's cause may seem to gain.
But there's a God that rules above
with hand of power and heart of love;
and if I'm right, he'll fight my battle,
I shall have peace someday.
I shall have peace someday.

4. Burdens now may crush me down,
disappointments all around;
troubles speak in mournful sigh,
sorrow through a tear-stained eye.
There is a world where pleasure reigns,
no mourning soul shall roam its plains,
and to that land of peace and glory
I shall want to go someday.
I shall want to go someday.
I shall want to go someday.

The lyrics reminded me of the hope we have in Christ, the hope we have to hold on to in the midst of despair and hopelessness.

The week wasn’t all bad – worksite was safe and we finished, kid’s club went well and we had some good moments. One of the kids asked “Why do they all sound like cowboys?” which is hilarious because the teams were from Alabama and we’re working with Indians – it made me laugh so hard. I was really encouraged when one of the boys I work with on Tuesday night asked me if I’ll be back the next week – it showed that I’ve connected with some of the boys and they are enjoying what we’re doing.

So, we need your prayers – for the community, the team here, the one week teams, and for God to move. Keep praying for me too; I’m far from perfect and need prayer. Also, we’ve got Bible Study tonight and we need prayer for that.

Sorry if this is a long post. Grace & Peace.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Intern Week

Over the past week, we've been working with training the summer interns and working around the Sacred Road compound. We've also had very limited internet access, but we switched to a new provider yesterday which helps us communicate with the outside world a lot more.

Orientation with the interns is going well and it's been great to work with them and get to know them and their strengths and what they bring to the summer. They are a good crew and I expect it'll be a good summer. We've already had a great time hanging out, playing volleyball, hiking, eating, and talking. It's not all fun and games b/c we've been spending a lot of time talking and working, but our free time spent together has been good and the work time has been a really good experience. On Monday, we went on a team trip and hiked in a canyon north of here. I think it's a great team and we have the beginnings of a strong, connected community.

This past Tuesday at Bible Study was a smashing success with the children attentive and reasonably well behaved. The two previous Tuesdays were chaotic and a bit crazy. The summer staff managed very well as Tuesdays can be stressful, fast-paced, and hectic. We've been doing lots of preparation for the summer, and I've been mostly working on preparing skits and props for Kid's Club and making lessons for Bible Study on Tuesday. It's very encouraging to see things coming together and to be a bit ahead.

Pray for the teams that get here Saturday to work next week, safety at worksites and Kid's Club, connections with the kids and adults, and safety for the Warm Springs team as it's a bit of a different situation and slightly more dangerous area. Things are humming along and I appreciate your prayers especially for me to listen to and follow directions without becoming inwardly bitter/angry/self-doubting. The next week will be especially busy and it'll be nice to get a little rest Saturday morning before it all gets crazy.

Grace and peace.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Week Reflections

Well I've been here a week and settled in a bit. I spent the week working around the Sacred Road Property and cleaning and cleaning around the ti-pi in preparation for the guy interns who are getting here Wednesday. Tuesday night Bible study went well, but it was a bit chaotic. I began working on summer lessons and skits for Kid's Club.

On Thursday, Chuck and I hung out with some youth after school at the Cougar Den which is a gas station/restaurant outside the Middle & High School in White Swan. We had a good time talking with them and playing hacky sack. After the Cougar Den, a foster family had Chuck, Veronica, their 6 kids, 3 youths, a family friend and their three grandchildren over for spaghetti (Chuck & Veronica work with Sacred Road; Chuck is over the youth, and Veronica is the administrative assistant).

Today (Sunday) the Sacred Road team visited a church in Kennewick WA that supports Sacred Road and is sending a team to Warm Springs this summer. We had a good time visiting with them, a good sermon, fun with boccie ball, and an overall good experience. The summer interns get here Wednesday and it's gonna get crazy!! I'm excited.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Safe and Sound

After 8 days and 3600 miles, I've safely arrived in Wapato, WA. The trip was exhausting. Despite the difficulties of driving cross country, I really enjoyed it. I got to reconnect with old friends, see some family, fellowship with Christians I'd just met, and it was just a neat week of travel and connections. Thanks for your prayers - things couldn't have gone more smoothly with the car, directions, or accommodations. The next few months should prove exciting!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Almost there

I'm in Boise w/ six hours of driving ahead of me this afternoon. Travelling is going well. Some advice from me: If you are ever faced with driving across Nevada, don't. After I left Las Vegas, it was about 7 or 8 hours of the most repetitive empty landscape. For those of you familiar with driving through I-10 across Florida, it's similar except this is longer and even more boring. I'm just happy I made it through without falling asleep. I'm excited about this afternoon!

Friday, May 7, 2010

15 hours of fun

I just completed a 15 hour drive from Dallas to Flagstaff and am pooped. It wasn't too bad and nothing too exciting. Still on schedule to arrive in WA on Sunday.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On the Road

It's Tuesday evening and I'm in Jackson, MS, but will be heading to Dallas in the morning. The visit in Jackson has been really refreshing - it's wonderful to see old friends and laugh, reminiscence, catch up, and shoot the breeze.

The drive so far has been good and without incident. On Thursday, I'm driving from Dallas to Flagstaff for 15 hours, so I'm not too excited about that drive.

Not much else to report, except things are going smoothly.

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

On the Road (almost) & Foundational Thoughts

It is just past midnight (EST) and I'm all packed and ready to begin the week-long cross-country journey to Washington. I'll make some posts throughout this week and continue posting in the future.

As many of you know, I'm heading out to Washington to work with Sacred Road on the Yakama Reservation. I'll be in charge of children's ministry, working with youth, leading summer teams, and assisting the pastor. I could not do this without your financial and spiritual support and I'm deeply humbled and moved by your prayers, encouragement, giving, and love. Thank you.

In an editorial note, I've changed some stuff on the blog. I changed the title and added a verse on the right. I really like Revelation 5, and especially verse 5 because it is a good reminder that no matter how bad things appear or how bleak the situation appears, we have an advocate in heaven, a high priest who understands our weakness, we are surrounded by the everlasting arms, and He has conquered. A favorite song of mine puts the same idea in a different light: "When Satan tempts be to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there who made an end of all my sin." Our hope and trust does not lie in the situations we are in or our skill, wisdom, preparation, or humility, but in the fact that Christ conquered, it really occurred, and we can trust in it and His promise to be with us until the end of the world.

These are thoughts that encourage me and give me strength and faith. I wanted to share with you that although this verse means a lot to me, I am quick to forget it and the implications it has for me and ministry. I feature this verse prominently on the blog so as to remind myself, but also to remind the readers out there and spur you to pray for me that I would remember this verse and others and live as if they are true. I cannot serve without your prayers and God's strengthening me - I know all too well my weaknesses and tendencies.

Thanks again for your support and continued support. I would weep loudly, despairingly, and without hope if not for the love of Christ that changed all things.

It takes a while to make a post and I need to sleep. Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back in WA

I'm back in Washington and will be here for another 2 weeks. I'm here to help out with Spring Break teams which were here the past week and will come next week and the following. Back-to-back-to-back teams gets pretty overwhelming, and Chris Granberry asked me to come help out for March to help out and it worked out well with my schedule. It's been a great past week, but I'm dead tired and we'll be working like crazy over the next two weeks. I also did not bring my computer and don't get regular access, so I won't be doing another update till April. So that's where things stand right now. Things are going well and I'm excited to be back for a while. In other news, my support raising stands at 72% and I'll be looking at coming out here for two years beginning in May. That's it right now for updates. Thanks for your prayers.