Friday, April 9, 2010
2010 Spring Break with Sacred Road
Having just returned from a month on the rez in Yakama I cannot help but be in awe of the blessings God has lavished upon us. We have a nice, secure house to live in. We have a complete family that is free from abuse. We can walk around my neighborhood without fear. We have an income to sustain our daily needs and I have my truck to get me where I want and/or need to go when I want it to. These are all things that most of us take for granted.
Why is it, then, that in this same United States of America, in the little town of White Swan, on the Yakama Indian reservation, there are hundreds of people who do not have all or even any of these things? Most of the homes in White Swan are at some level of disrepair. Most are worse instead of better. We worked on a home during the spring break session in which its only toilet was literally ready to fall through the rotten floor. It was no longer secured to the drainpipe and much of what was flushed went to the ground below the house. Thankfully, a spring break work team was able to put a new floor in this bathroom and a sanitary connection to the drain, giving the young single mother and child living in the house a safe and clean bathroom. Unfortunately, this did not make the home secure. Someone has challenged her family’s ownership of the house and wants to kick her out so they can move in. She and her child are facing possible homelessness.
Most of the families in White Swan are not complete. Many are single parent or no parent homes. Quite often children are being raised by grandparents, aunts and uncles and sometimes even siblings not much older then the children they care for. And 100% of the families are affected by alcohol and/or drug abuse. Vandalism and violence is the norm. Gangs recruit children even at the pre-school level. The unemployment rate is near, if not at, 75%. Only a small income comes from the tribe. It will not sustain a family. Jobs are scarce. During the summer months, children will often come to our afternoon kids club so they can have the snack we hand out. That snack may be the only “meal” they get that day. If you are a Yakama Indian living in White Swan and are fortunate enough to have a car that runs, it is likely that you regularly do not have money to put gas in it or repair it when it breaks down. There is very limited public transportation.
There is very little that you can take for granted in White Swan or even that you will be alive tomorrow. The average life span of a Yakama Indian is reportedly 39 years with some of the leading causes of death being suicide, traffic fatalities and heart disease. And if you wake up in the morning, it is likely that you or someone in your family are dealing with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder, alcohol or drug abuse, or sexual abuse just to name a few. It isn’t hard to understand why I feel so blessed but it is even more of a blessing watching how God is working in the lives of many of the people who most of us would describe as “Victims of White Swan”. And they feel blessed.
My plans are to return to White Swan in May to assist with summer teams. Cheryl, along with our grandson, Josiah, will join me there later to conclude the summer before returning to Florida. If you have been a partner with me in this ministry I wish to thank you for enabling me to have the privilege of serving God and His people in this way. If you have not would you consider checking one or more of the boxes on the coupon below?
Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Hosea 1:5
(Print and send this coupon to : Sacred Road Ministries22116 SE 51st Place, Issaquah, WA 98029-9221
Checks are to be made payable to: Sacred Road Ministries) Yes, I would like to support Dave to serve with Sacred Road Ministries in 2010 ________
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One–time gift ________
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Checks are to be made payable to: Sacred Road Ministries
Please return this card with your donation
Dave and Cheryl Koerner
2939 Shepard Dr
Rockledge, FL 32955
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Please visit our videos at youtube to see the recent baptism service and listen to Jack "Wildman" Spencer's testimony and thoughts on the service. There are two videos (part 1 and 2). You'll need to listen to the second to hear "the rest of Jack's story" because I couldn't fit his whole testimony on one, but it's worth it :).
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Please lift up Madison (5th grade) who is facing surgery this week. Her family is raising support to join the Sacred Road team here on the Yakama Indian Reservation full time. Here is the prayer request from her home church, Oak Mountain Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL...
Update on Madison Yarbrough (5th grade daughter of Bill and Tina Yarbrough) They met with the surgeon today and he is going to admit her to Children's Hospital tomorrow (Tuesday around 9-10am). He will do 2 days of testing and then has surgery set up for Thursday. They know it is a large tumor but didn't say 100% on whether it is benign or not. It will be a pretty large, almost hip to hip incision (like a C-section). Madison is understandably afraid and sad about the whole thing. Meals are taken care of for the next 3 weeks - PTL! Please continue to PRAY!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
A dictionary of the Yakama language was recently completed. Experts say that "language is the cornerstone of culture". Today there may only be about ten fluent speakers of the Yakama language (Sahaptin) remaining, so this is dictionary is significant.
Greetings in Christ,
It's already April and once again we are excited to report another wonderful month of blessings and joy in our Lord.
Last weekend we drove to Spokane, WA for some support meetings and to share during the Sunday School classes at Foothills Community Church. This trip was such a blessing on many levels, although we were sad that we weren't able to visit with Jesse's family since they have been ill for the past few weeks. We have been so encouraged by God's constant care for us and I have been trying to keep track of the many ways He has provided during the past few months for all of our needs. The most recent one is related to our trip to Spokane. We decided at the last minute to book a hotel room for our weekend trip, knowing that if we did so, money would be particularly tight for the rest of the month. We prayed about it and found a great deal on a room not far from the church and the families we were planning to meet with. While Jesse finished his workday, I stopped frequently to pray for God's provision. I asked Him to continue increasing our faith in His sovereign plan and provision, so I shouldn't have been surprised when He, once again, provided for us in an unexpected way: when Jesse checked the mail, there were two checks waiting for us, both of which we knew were on their way eventually. The fact that they both came on the same day and on the very day when we were taking a leap of faith was a beautiful demonstration of how easy it is for our Awesome God to provide for our every need. These small miracles have been happening every week for months now, and I take such joy in writing of His goodness to us. Praise the Lord!
Here are some other praises:
- We are now at 40% of our monthly support, very close to the 50% we need to be be able to start living on the support that's being sent so Jesse can work on support raising full time! Support raising is hard work and time consuming, and we long for the ability to devote all of our energies to it instead of doing it only in the evenings and on weekends. If you have pledged monthly support to us but haven't started giving, now would be a great time so we can have an income during full time support raising. Join us in praying that this month would bring us another 10% closer to our goal!
- Praise the Lord for a wonderful trip to Spokane and for the families that were willing to meet with us and even invite other families to join for our sharing time! Thank you to Foothills Community Church for allowing us to come share during your Sunday School hour! If you are from Spokane or North Idaho and are interested in meeting with us or hearing more, we are planning another trip to the area at the end of April, so please let us know if you're interestedin meeting us for coffee! You can reply to this email or give us a call: 253-639-3087
- We have been asked to be the missionaries supported by First Evangelical Presbyterian Church's Vacation Bible School this summer, which means we will get to share with many children and adults about the work the Lord is doing on the Yakama Reservation, and will receive the offering from the week to go toward our ministry with Sacred Road. We are so excited and thankful for this opportunity!
- Praise for the three Spring Break teams that just finished their work in White Swan! You can see current videos here: http://www.youtube.com/sacredroad
Ways you can pray for us, Sacred Road, and the Yakama Indians this month: