Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Granberrys!

I love Christmas. The Christmas story reminds me that God uses unlikely means, unlikely characters, and unlikely places to unfold the story of His salvation! Praise Him for His wondrous love which allows and enables us to be a part of His story. There are so many of you I wish I could greet personally, hug, thank, share a conversation or a cup of coffee with, this Christmas season. Also, I want you to hear from my children (who many of you have ministered to as you have been involved in our lives). Enjoy, and Merry Christmas from all of us in the Granberry household! ~ Mary

I usually enjoy history. I usually admire historical figures, and am usually intrigued by historical events. But recently, in my studies, I have been shocked and disgusted by how broken and fallen our world is. I think that the reality of the matter hits me so hard partly because of where the Lord has placed me. I am faced with broken homes, broken people, and broken hearts every day. On the Reservation brokenness isn’t just something you hear about on the news, read about in books, or watch in a movie. It is sickening to me. Racism, abuse, discrimination, and pure hatred live and thrive all over the world, even in America. It is because we live in a broken and fallen world. But there is hope. There is hope because God is a gracious God who loves to use broken tools. With the brokenness of the world comes beauty. As Christians, we know that our Father is working. As we go into this Christmas season I see the beauty. Jesus came to suffer with us and just to be with us in this broken world. There is hope because in the end He was literally broken so that we could be made whole. That is the beauty. This world is broken, but we will be taken to a place that is perfect, beautiful, and whole. So as I look at the broken things that have happened I try to bear in mind the beautiful things that are to come. ~ Ann Marie (16)

One of the names we think of during the Christmas season is Emmanuel. A normal Christmas season means playing in snow, drinking hot chocolate, and getting presents under the tree. To the Granberry family it means having loads of gifts come in while we are preparing for the Christmas feast, and handing out food boxes and gift cards to houses all over White Swan. A normal summer means swimming, soaking up the sun, and playing. For us summer means interns, roofing, loving on kids who don’t know what love is. Throughout the past six and a half years, I have learned that there are numerous ways of ministering. All these acts only lead up to the major key, seeing lost people come to know Christ, our Savior. Having groups of strangers fix your house and watching those people play with your kids really doesn’t make much sense. We can’t fix the brokenness that is going on inside of people, but we can be with them. Emmanuel means; God with us. Just by being with people we help them want the brokenness to transform into righteousness. Christmas is about being with, it’s about Emmanuel. ~ Beth (14)

One thing I have learned not only from the past year but from our entire time on the reservation is about unconditional love. Each of the Granberry children have “their kid” on the reservation, usually we have more than one; I have two beautiful girls that are “mine”. Firstly there is Lenelle who turned four this last spring, I met Lenelle two years ago when she came up to me only wanting to be held, she didn’t talk much and to this day doesn’t feel comfortable around other people. My other child is Lenelle’s older sister, Leandra, who is eight years old but cares for Lenelle and their two brothers Lonzelle (5) and Levander (10) Leandra keeps them all under her supervision even though Levander is older she feels the responsibility her own rather than her mom or grandma’s but the more Leandra comes to VBS the more she feels that she can trust the sacred road team knowing we will care for them and watch them for her. Lenelle and Leandra are not used to being loved, wanted or cared for and the first year I met Lenelle she always seemed to be worried about doing something wrong that would suddenly cause my love for her to cease but now she is comfortable around me knowing I love her unconditionally. Leandra is a smart girl who grasps every hope of something good she can get, luckily she counts God as good, and she seizes every bible story and asks questions wanting to know more. Lenelle understands very little about the bible because it is hard for her to accept the concept of someone she doesn’t even know loving her enough to die for her. Lenelle soon becomes to confused by the stories and though I would rather tell her the meanings in a way she can better understand I play with her anyway; Lenelle doesn’t learn from the stories but by God’s love for her through me I can see her feel safe in a way she can’t be at her home which is certainly the way we as Christians feel in Jesus and I know that one day she will be old enough to understand the meaning of unconditional love. ~Morgan (13)

So many blessings and so many problems happen in life. But the more I have struggles, the more I think that God is with me every step of the way. At the beginning of 2009, I feel I wasn’t as close to God. Now, thinking about it, I feel as if my faith has grown ten times its size. Even though this year God put me through my dad not working, to my mom also not having a job. But within the months of November and December my mom found a job and is very happy, and that’s all I care about, family being happy. My dad also is getting better and will soon be going back to work, hopefully by the end of January or sooner. At the end of December my sister will be leaving to North Idaho College. She will be the first Romero ever to attend college. Even though I will miss her, I am happy that she has her life together. There is still one important part of my life that I should tell and that is the Granberrys. Mary and Chris have been there for my family through thick and thin. My life would be so different right now if the Granberry’s hadn’t moved to WA. My mom always tells me I am lucky to have them in my life, I think so too. But one thing I know is that all that happens in my life is because God placed it in my path. God has blessed not only me, but also my family. I cannot wait for what is to come this year of two-thousand and ten. Merry Christmas! ~ Marisol (12)

I have been learning through many ways this year to be patient. One way I have learned this is by traveling to Seattle for school. It is good but very hard. I go to school on Sunday night and come back on Tuesday night. It is a two and a half hour drive to Seattle. My sister, Marisol, and I get back in time for Bible study at the long house. At Bible study I am now going to youth group, it is very good and I admire how Chuck Clevenger manages it. At Bible study I also have to be patient as I am going to youth group with teenagers that have not been growing up in stable homes. It is not the same as a youth group would be in suburbia because these kids are going through some really rough times right now. I think youth group is making a big impact in their lives. I have to be patient with these things but I know that they are all blessings and God is working in my life and I just have to be patient. ~Davy (11)

This Christmas I’ve found myself considering the amazing humility Christ displays in His birth and throughout his life. When someone leaves a door open after walking through it folks often tease them saying, “Were you born in a barn?” Well, Jesus was actually born in a barn! The concept of the God of the universe wearing diapers blows my mind! Ken Gire writes, “Jesus, coming as a baby, so small and helpless, willingly put Himself at our mercy.” I think Jesus’ coming is very instructive for us as His people. It makes me think twice about how I “come” to (or approach) lost, hurting, desperate people in this dark, cold place. Do I come humbly. Do I trust the Lord enough to “put myself at their mercy” in the same sort of way Jesus did? Do I recognize how baby-like I am (so small and weak) when it comes to saying or doing anything of eternal value on my own? I long for people here to come to know Christ and be saved but I cannot make it happen on my own. Thanks be to God that He loved us enough to send Jesus to do what we could not. Thanks be to God for Immanuel, “God with us”. The fact that He is with us makes all the difference. Because He is with us we can afford to humble ourselves before our hurting neighbors, acknowledge (even boast in) our weakness and inability as we look to Him to accomplish what only He can accomplish: the building of His Church, the gathering of His people, the building of His Kingdom. He loves to use small, weak, humble things (and people) to make “big” things happen! May it be so with us, Lord Jesus. Amen ~Chris