(Each member of the Granberry family has put a thought on the past year in writing for you, I hope you enjoy!)
Putting this Christmas card and letter together has reminded me of the joys and blessings of raising our 4 children and serving with Chris. I enjoy the "young adult" phase our kids are entering into and hope you get a glimpse of them as well. Chris has been studying for the last 2 years for his licensure and ordination in the PCA. We were so proud of him when he passed all examinations and was approved by the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest! At that point we began planning the ordination service to be held here on the reservation. I am proud to be a Pastor's wife this year, and proud of Chris. We continue to seek wisdom together in the ministry of Sacred Road and in raising our family here. I am grateful for the opportunity to have Marisol and sometimes Stephen as part of our family. I am grateful for all the Covenant Christian Middle School families for their ministry to our family. I am grateful for this past summers' awesome intern team and the future growth of the Sacred Road team! We have experienced so many blessings through our connections with the Body of Christ. Thank you all for your love. ~ Mary
This year I have really enjoyed community. I feel that all throughout the year the community in my family has been growing deeper. This year I have really enjoyed just hanging out with Beth, Morgan and David. I’m only their older sister but I have seen the Lord work in them in so many ways. They all have amazing gifts, and they all really know how to love well. I see their ability to love especially when they interact with the kids on the reservation. God has given us so many little blessings this year, little blessings like community, and family.
As we go into the Christmas season I think of the reason Christ came, and I am thankful that now we can be a part of a greater community and bigger family with Him.
~ Ann Marie (15)
Through out this year there have been many things that I have so loved and enjoyed. One of which are the memories that I have had with the native kids at Totus Park. Their lives are filled with tragedies and still they run to us for the bubbles, kickball, or crafts. But in the meantime they learn about Jesus and his love for us. Coming into the Christmas season, I love to think of these kids that don’t know what God can do for them in their lives. They trust in us to bring the toys and snacks for them and we trust God to bring them to Himself. We don’t get to see the kids very much in the winter, but I know they are being watched over by the Lord. And I trust Him to take care of them for the coming year.
One week this May we went to a place in Colorado called MTI, they held a week long training session called DAR (Debriefing And Renewing). We went and met lots of different missionaries from all around the world. It helped a lot for us kids to be with people who understand us entirely without having to be an intern or come on a team. They understood how most people who hear of us think of church planting as only done by the parents, but that the kids are also as involved as the parents and we love the people of the Yakama tribe like our own family. Now as more people come to hear about us, more people come to realize that. Our job as missionaries is hard and not easy for many to handle. We don’t get to live a normal everyday life, there is no way of saying what is going to happen next. The plans will change from needing to set the table for teams to fighting a wild fire that would devour everything around you. But I love the reservation and couldn’t stand being away from it for a month.
One of my favorite memories this year was playing football. I was defensive tackle. I played for the Wapato wolves, we played six games, we won three and we lost three. I enjoyed practicing with dad and getting tips.
It was fun playing defensive tackle because I’m on the line and all the action is in that area. My dad said that I averaged three tackles a game.
Some more of my favorite memories from this year are going on road trips with the interns this summer. We went to the Yakima river canyon, the Columbia river gorge in Oregon, Seattle, Mt. Rainier, and we went sledding on White Pass in June.
I liked going in the Box Canyon in Oregon and swimming under a freezing cold waterfall.
I’m the type of guy that thinks in “key words”. I often find myself in the midst of chaos for some reason. I don’t know if I create chaos or simply attract it or some combination of both, but in the midst of chaos, key words help me stay oriented and enable me to keep moving forward. When I think about the words that float around at Christmas time I remember words like “wonderful”, “manger”, “tinsel”, “Macy’s”, “gingersnap”, and many other great words, but my favorite Christmas word is not just a Christmas word (it works great in mid-February and in the summer and everyday). My favorite Christmas word is the simple, non-assuming, little word “with”.
Believe it or not, that little, sort of bland sounding, word can reorient me any day of the year as fast as any other. It reminds me immediately of “Emmanuel”, the name Gabriel told Mary to give Jesus. That name literally means, as you know, “God with us”. That little word “with” makes all the difference. Notice the difference between these situations: a mother with her child versus a child without a mother; a man with a life jacket versus a drowning man without one; a soldier with his family versus a soldier on a battlefield. “With” makes all the difference. What if God had instructed Gabriel to have Mary name baby Jesus something slightly different. What if He was not “God with us” but was “God has forsaken us” or “God against us”! Can you imagine what your life would be like? Can you imagine what this world would be like?
“With” makes all the difference.
Many days, in the midst of the chaos of life and ministry, even in the midst of times, as Paul called them, of “despairing even of life itself”, that simple word “with” can remind me of the fact that God has not abandoned us. On the contrary, He had remembered us and has “risen up to take action” on our behalf, for His Kingdom and His Glory. Jesus, Emmanuel, came to “live the life we should have lived and die the death we should have died” (enduring on that cross the ultimate abandonment of the Father, the opposite of “union”, for the first time in eternity past) so that we could be “with” Him, in the presence of the Father, for all eternity!
We are united, inextricably, with Christ, by God-given faith. Dr. Bryan Chapell calls our union with Christ “a knot tied in Heaven that we cannot untie or even reach”. We are with Him because He came… to be with us… forever.
In the midst of the chaos…
Fight… for Him, for His Kingdom.
He is with us.
~ Merry Christmas!