Monday, November 9, 2009
I hope that each of you are found in the loving grace and truth of Jesus Christ today and are blessed in knowing you are His and He is yours. Here are some things that have been happening this month...
Besides my daily work in multi-media and promotional material for the ministry, my time has been spent hanging out with four girls from our youth group here.
Jade and Tionna are sisters. The live with their auntie who they call mom and her boyfriend who they just recently started calling dad. They have a little brother named Shane who is so, so cute. He's in 4th grade and can't go to youth group events yet, and therefore will stare out the window when I pick up Jade and Tionna with the most pathetic and heart-melting look on his face. They live in a good home from what I can tell, which is a HUGE blessing and not common here. Both Jade and Tionna show big potential to be strong leaders in the Hope Fellowship youth group. I think they believe in Jesus. They've been a part of the small church here for a while now and know the story of the Gospel. However the pressures and struggles that surround them daily are overwhelming. Pray that they would have strength through the Lord to stand firm.
Lateet and Lisa are also sisters. Lateet's in 7th grade and Lisa's in 6th. They live way out on the reservation with two of their brothers, their baby nephew, their mom and their step-dad. They have so many brother and sisters, I honestly can't even keep track. There are three of them (Lateet, Lisa and their younger brother Bobby) who are full sisters and brother, and then I think there's close to 10 other half and step brothers and sisters. Lateet and Lisa are desperate for something to do. I think they rarely leave their house except for when they're in school and walking around White Swan. I took them to Sonic the other week and it was great. It was so obvious to me at that point that we were off the reservation when I was sitting at Sonic with them. It's amazing how quickly a setting and culture can change and how a place 30 minutes away can seem so foreign. I don't know how they view God. They are both learning from the Bible every week at Bible Study. Pray that from the stories, understanding would come to their hearts. They are very interested in youth group and having fun with everyone there...which is a good thing.
Eleanor Davis is an elder here in the community. I spoke with her a month or so ago about about a project that she is working on. She has been given a grant to help her document a traditional longhouse song on a DVD that has been sung for generations in her community. Many of these same kind of songs have been lost over the years as the Sahaptin language dies more and more each year, because they've never been allowed to document them. She wants to record this song in order to keep it alive as long as possible and bring back part of their culture that has been lost. I offered my help in any way I could since I make short videos out here. After talking with her the first time, I felt like we were talking different languages. I knew there was so much that she wanted me to understand about the reasoning behind this project, but I felt pretty lost. However, we met in person, along with Chris Granberry to talk about the next steps in this project. The Lord answered so many prayers in this meeting. Not only were ideas made clear, but Eleanor and her sister Marlene poured their hearts out to us. Both of these women were extremely honest about their frustration and despair of a lost culture and lost identity within their community. It was heartbreaking to hear about the lives they have lived, yet inspiring to see how they were compelled by their struggles to do this project, and in a small way, try to restore their community. The project has only just begun, but I am looking forward to working with these women and I pray that the Lord would use this to bring hope into Eleanor and Marlene's life.
The coffee table photo book I was working on for the ministry is finished. I have a hard copy sitting next to me right now. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But what does that mean, or what would those words be? I've recently gotten a glimpse of how my role as a photographer out here is a difficult and dangerous one. The longer I'm here, they more words there are to these pictures. I look at the Granberry's lives. They have been here 7 years now and there are lots of words and stories to each face they see and the words get more and more complicated to verbalize and process. I'm still figuring out what this all means and how to go about my role as a photographer here on a reservation that is overflowing with hurt and frustration and groaning. I need help in this. But I see the Lord coming to help me through the people He's put in my life and through the grace God gives me to see the Gospel more clearly.
Again and Always, Thank you so much for your prayers!
Jade, Tionna, Lisa, and Lateet- for our growing relationship and for their relationships with Jesus (attached are pictures of making cookies with Jade and Tionna)
The Eleanor Davis project- for continued clarity on what directions to take in this project and for other opportunities to arrive to share Christ with them
The Hope Fellowship YOUTH GROUP- there are many hurting teenagers in our youth group that need the hope of Jesus Christ. Also for their safety!
Much Love to all,
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion"