Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas PAR-TAY!!!

Here are a couple pictures from the Youth Christmas Party.  As you can see, I was Santa! The youth really loved seeing me as Santa and joking around.  At the end of the night one of the girls told Heather, "I knew it was really Joshua."  It was a great night with lots of fun. 
We watched The Charlie Brown Christmas, sang a lot of songs, played some games, ate great food, and gave gifts. We also ate the deserts the D Groups made, and they were really proud of the fact they made the sweets for everyone. 
Right now, we just finished Christmas deliveries and are having the Christmas Service this Sunday (the 23rd).  We were going to have it on the 16th, but there was too much snow. 
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Cookies

Last week, we got ready for the Christmas party by making cookies and fudge.  Chuck's guys decorated the tree and downstairs while Heather, Beth, and Veronica decorated and made cookies. It was fun making treats together but our fudge didn't work out :( I think I gave the wrong directions and now the fudge is soupy.  It was a fun night and the cookies tasted wonderful! Here are some pictures:

We don't have the skills to make these.  Veronica and her girls made these.

Chuck and his guys decorated the tree and the downstairs.

Silas and Charles stirring the fudge.  Eric is trying to change our music.

Here are the cookies we made. They were great!

Veronica and co. making more cookies

Silas is washing dishes. Charles doesn't approve. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eat It!

We recently played a game of Eat It with the youth.  Eat It involves two teams competing by eating whatever is in a brown bag and receiving points corresponding to what's in the bag, generally the higher point values have rather disgusting and/or large amounts of food.  The highest value bag was for 500,000 points and was a large bag of dried anchovies, but one of our guys ate it like it was potato chips.  I chose the 300,000 point bag, and I was stuck with a jar of picked ginger which I couldn't finish.  It's nasty stuff, especially in large amounts.

The evening was lots of fun and it was great to see the kids having fun, cheering for each other, and enjoying each other.  I think our team eventually won, but in the end, we weren't really paying attention to the score total.  The kids were talking about the game over the next week and were asking when we will have the next Eat It, especially the ones who didn't make it that night.  Playing games with the youth is loads of fun and it's always great when we have game nights with the youth.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trip Home

(Written Saturday)

Today is a good reading day.  It is cold and rainy mixed with snow.  Snow’s accumulating on the nearby hills and it’s supposed to drop into the 20s tonight.  I just got back from a trip back “home” to Georgia.  After being gone for a while, it feels less and less like home.  People and places are familiar, but things also change.  It leaves me kinda sad, but also enjoying the moments with friends and family, and looking forward to the day when there won’t be anymore sadness and we’ll be in our final forever home.

Some highlights of this trip back were: seeing my new nephew for the first time, visiting with family and friends, long lunches with friends, sharing with Churches about what’s happening on the Reservation, watching election returns (I’m a politics nerd) and the encouragement and love I felt from many.  One of my best memories from this trip was going to near where I grew up in North Carolina and exploring in the woods with my little brother.  We chased wild turkeys, climbed big rocks, built a dam in a creek, skipped rocks, and had good ole time.  I also watched The Princess Bride with my brother, and it was his first time watching.  It was great to watch that with him and laugh together and say silly quotes later.  It stinks that I miss out as he grows up and will miss out on much more with him and my nephew, but I treasure the short times I got with them; making my nephew smile or playing badminton with my little brother.  I love my family and miss them lots.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sing Praises To God, Sing Praises!

One of my greatest privileges out here is to drive the van on Tuesday for Youth Group.  It's always a bit nerve wracking to keep my eyes on 14 youth, the road, and the occasional herd of cows or horses. 

FYI, that picture was taken this past Tuesday by Morgan Granberry as we were stuck in Rez traffic for 10-12 minutes.  

When driving the van, it's a great time to interact with the kids and listen to music.  We usually listen to "Church" music and one of my favorite things is to hear the youth in the back singing and singing loudly.  Without fail, when I put on "Mighty To Save," "All I Owe," or "On Jordan's Stormy Banks," it gets a little quiet and most of the teenagers are chiming in and singing.  Several have great voices and have been helping Heather lead music.  Don't tell them, but when they are sitting right behind me, I can hear every note.  

As we work here to start a church and love the community, one of the most exciting changes I've seen is in the area of music.  It makes me happy and proud to see the teenagers leading worship, playing guitar, and praising the Lord together, in the vans, at Church, and at Youth Group.  Chuck always talks about how one of his favorite things out here is singing with the youth and hearing them praising God together.  It's definitely one of my favorite things too.  The teens are growing in their love for God, and they want to praise and worship Him - it doesn't get much better than that.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jesus Loves Monsters

This is a story that Beth Granberry told me:

At Kid’s Club, I was playing with a little girl and after giving her piggy back rides all day, I was getting tired, so I got her to sit down on the big rocks and pretend we were hiding from monsters.  We pretended that a little dog named Taco was a monster and we hid from him and then drew a rainbow with chalk to cure him so he wouldn’t be a bad monster anymore.  Then we pretended that Joshua was a monster and attacked him with long blades of grass.  We then drew another rainbow to make Joshua safe.  At the end of the day, I was walking her home when she said, “Joshua may be a monster, but Jesus still loves him.”

I love that she’s only 5 but already understanding Jesus’ love, and that it’s for everyone, even those that don’t deserve it. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lord's Supper (Take 2)

We had the Lord’s Supper again this week, and most of our kids come without parents, so each small group leader talks to their kids about what it means and kind of gauges whether or not the kids are ready.  I talked to a group of three boys, explained what it is and means, and who should and shouldn’t take it.  I said, “Not everyone here is a Christian and they shouldn’t take it, and if you’re not a Christian, that’s ok, but you shouldn’t take it.  I want everyone to be Christians, and I think one day they may be, but that’s ok if you don’t believe yet.”  The guys kind of looked at me and said, “I’m going to take it.  God made us right?” I said, “Yes, but…” They quickly cut off my thought and said, “If He made us, then He loves us and we should love Him and worship Him.” Again, I said, “Yes, but…” I then thought for a second, and realized they were right and to them it was simple, straightforward, and obvious.  They might not be able to articulate lots, but they understand that God made us, He loves us, He sent Jesus for us, and we should follow and love Him in return.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Youth Promotion

This past week, we had a bunch of the fifth graders over to the Church to welcome them into the youth group.  It was a happy evening mixed with a tinge of sadness.  For the past two years, I've worked with the boys in my small group and was proud of them but also kind of sad to see them moving on.  We had 7 boys there that evening and another 3 who we couldn't find and it was a great evening of fun and games.  They really enjoyed it and did great later in the week at youth group with the older high school students.  I was excited about getting them into youth group because they've been looking forward to it since they found out there was a youth group :)   Over the next month, we’ll be trying to get them into Discipleship Groups. 

Another team is here now and it’s a busy week!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Lord's Supper

We began regular Sunday services on Easter, and two weeks ago had our first celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  It was an amazing night to see our baby church grow.  Many people weren’t ready to take the Lord’s Supper, but did fine with waiting.  We were worried that some of the kids would not understand and play around too much, but they did great and have been doing really well on Sundays.

We finished our first team week and Kid’s club was great!  Adam’s View averaged around 45 kids, Totus around 60, and Warm Springs averaged around 50.  The highlight for me was when we did the story about Elisha and the Widow whose bread and oil never ran out.  When I was asking the kids about the story, I asked, “What did Elisha ask the woman for?” Someone shouted out bread, and then a 4 year old boy said, “The bread is His body.” I was stumped and overjoyed for a second, but quickly continued with the discussion of the story.  It made me so happy to see these little guys remembering what we’ve covered in previous lessons and connecting it to other stories.  It’s just a small picture of what God’s doing and the growing faith of the children.    

Thanks for your prayers and continue to keep us in prayer as we go through the summer and attempt to lead people to Jesus.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We had our first Sunday service and it was GREAT! It made me so happy to see all the children and adults celebrating Jesus' resurrection. We had about 160 people and the children did a great job singing and going with the program. It was a beautiful service with 4 baptisms, including two boys who are regularly part of Children's Ministry.

One of the best parts was watching one of the boys from my small group overseeing the collection basket and getting coached by one of the adult men from White Swan. We passed out Easter Baskets to all the children who came, and 3 youth took the lead, while I stood back and just talked to the kids.

You can see pictures on Facebook by clicking here. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Don't Play With Marbles

On the last day of Kid’s Club with the teams, a twelve year old boy from Totus Park was around, and I asked him to play marbles. He said, “I don’t play with marbles,” implying he was too old for such things. This guy isn’t a regular part of what we do, but most of the boys love playing marbles. I didn’t press the issue, and was just happy that he was there for the day.

I kept an eye on him and his brothers as they have a tendency to get in trouble. For the most part they did well playing kickball, the bean bag game, balloons, and other activities. Towards the end, I got a game of eternal dodgeball going, and he ran up to me, and said, “Can you hold these for me?” I held out my hand and he gave me 4 marbles. I was surprised for two reasons: 1. He trusts me to keep his marbles safe, and 2. Apparently he wasn’t too old for marbles.

This small interaction reminded me of how important Kid’s Club is. It’s important because we provide a place where “kids can just be kids.” For 2 hours that Friday, he could just be a 12 year old boy and play marbles and have fun. He didn’t have to worry about appearing stronger or tougher than everyone else. He didn’t have to worry about being made fun of or hurt. He could put down his guard, have fun, and do things 12 year old boys are supposed to do.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My New Rig

Here’s a picture of my new van and me. Five years ago, I would not have imagined myself driving a minivan, but it’s a good vehicle and I need to drive people around sometimes. Thanks to everyone who chipped in and helped me get it! It's amazing to see the generosity of God's people and His provision.

Teams arrived over the weekend and we’ve begun working with them. This first team is from Covenant College and they’re really great. I'm looking forward to Kid's Club starting back up and seeing all the kids in Totus Park.

We are having our first youth group at the new building this Tuesday and we're really excited about it. A couple of folks have been working with Bill to get it ready and it looks awesome. We've had youth group before, but never at the new building, so it's a big step to begin having regular meetings there! I'll post some pictures soon...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flannel Pillows

This past Tuesday, we did a craft that the kids LOVED. We made twisty pillows out of flannel with cool patterns like: camo, firemen, horses, hearts, puppies, footballs, bumblebees, and flowers. We had about 40 children, and it was a great night. The kids were SO happy and loved hugging their pillows. One boy said, “I’m going to use and sleep on my pillow all day.”

I hadn't seen one of my guys for several months, and he had a great night and read the passage for everyone. We discussed when Jesus was a boy in the Temple and it provided a great opportunity to discuss the Trinity. Several asked how Jesus could be God yet the Temple is His Father’s House and God’s House. I talked about how the Bible says God is one, yet the Bible talks about Jesus, The Father, and The Holy Spirit as God, and there three persons to the one God. Strangely, they all nodded in agreement! It was a neat moment to see them understand the truths of the Bible, even something that can seem confusing and strange.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Game Night

This past Thursday, we had a bunch of the youth together for Game Night, and it was the most fun we’ve had during a youth event. We played “Snort,” “Psychiatrist,” and “Eat It.” I was one of three who tied for the win in Snort, a game where you snort at your neighbor, and they can’t laugh/smile or they’re out. It was so much fun, and everyone was belly laughing and smiling. Psychiatrist was fun, but a bit difficult for everyone to get.

The highlight was Eat It, a game in which individuals have to eat all of the contents of a bag, without knowing beforehand what’s in the bag. Some notable foods were: horseradish, a pound of Velveeta, sardines, a can of whipped cream, picked pigs feet, and a can of cheese wiz. Some food was nasty, but the hardest part was eating lots of food quickly, without water.

The evening was a huge hit and tons of fun, but the best part was seeing so many of the kids having fun, literally rolling on the floor in laughter, smiling, and just loving life. You can see pictures from the night, by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas Lessons

On the most recent Tuesday Night Bible Study, we finished up the Christmas lessons and one of the boys was confused about how Jesus could have created everything in the world when He was just a little baby. It was a great opportunity to discuss how Jesus was God even though He was a little boy. I really like that the Christmas story is perplexing and not easily answerable. It was great to see the boys wrestling with the idea of Jesus as God and Man.

We had a ton of snow over the past week, about 14 inches in 2.5 days. Much of it has melted now. I was stranded in the building for 3.5 days until Chris G came and rescued me. It was kinda fun being out there for a while by myself and cut off from most technology, but I think I might have lost it if I was out there too long. I posted a couple of pictures here for you. Also, here’s a shout out to Pete :)

Super Icicles:

The view from my window: