Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More on Chuck, Neena & Asha Clevenger

Married in June of 1996, we have been involved with varied ministries of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga for over 15 years. Having been introduced to the Yakama Indian Reservation through a number of short term mission trips, we began to reflect on what we believed was God’s call to join the work of Sacred Road Ministry on the reservation. After meeting with pastors, elders, the board of Sacred Road and successfully completing Mission to the World’s Readiness Evaluation - we are now convinced of God’s leading our family to be part of the team in Washington.

Chuck has worked for 15 years as a graphic artist and web designer while serving as a deacon since 1999. Neena has taught elementary school for almost 18 years and has served with the World Missions Committee from 2003 to present. In September of 2003, the Lord blessed us with our precious daughter, Asha. (Asha is the Hindi word for hope - an acknowledgement of Neena’s ancestry in India and Pakistan.)

We hope to join Chris and Mary Granberry and their children on the Reservation by the summer of 2008. The immediate goal of Sacred Road is to see a PCA church planted in the impoverished community of White Swan. We hope to help the outreach and ministry of this church through after-school programs, establishing a Christian school and youth ministry for teenagers. Please prayerfully consider supporting us by praying for us regularly and giving financially. God Bless!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Quote from Yakama Nation Elder

"Good counsel is a mark of wisdom, whether in the family or the circle of society. Good counsel is modest not assertive; considerate of the opinion of others. How we shall proceed together is as important as what we now should do. Good counsel will create a consensus which unites."

Interesting Article from "Indian Country" Newspaper

Harjo: Reject genocide-denier's propaganda
by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Indian Country Today
© Indian Country Today September 27, 2007. All Rights Reserved

Michael Medved wants his audience to ''reject the lie of white 'genocide' against Native Americans'' and says this is one of the ''most urgent needs in culture and education.'' The neocon author blogged on Sept. 19 that ''the word 'genocide' in no way fits as a description of the treatment of Native Americans by British colonists or, later, American settlers.''

Colonial and American government ''never endorsed or practiced a policy of Indian extermination,'' wrote Medved. Rather, ''official leaders of white society tried to restrain some of their settlers and militias and paramilitary groups from unnecessary conflict and brutality.''

Medved rose to national prominence as guest-host for talk radio star Rush Limbaugh and as a movie critic who defended director Mel Gibson's ''The Passion of the Christ'' when many other Jewish-Americans denounced it as anti-Semitic.

Medved claims that the ''real decimation of Indian populations had nothing to do with massacres or military actions, but stemmed from infectious diseases that white settlers brought with them at the time they first arrived in the New World.'' Would that Medved were correct in his use of the word ''decimation.'' That would mean that only 10 percent, rather than 95 percent, of Native people actually died by 1900.

Medved is wrong about his main point, too. While many Native people died of foreign diseases, non-Natives killed and nearly killed entire nations and cultures, and meant to do so. Thus, genocide is the right word.

The most widely accepted definition of genocide is in the United Nations' 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 2 defines genocide as ''any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.''

Article 3 lists the following punishable acts: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide. Article 4 states, ''Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.''

A reasonable person (or even just a reading person) would be hard-pressed to make a case that there were no European or American genocidal crimes committed against Native peoples. Did officials, entities or individuals intend, direct, incite or conspire to commit genocide? Yes. Were some complicit in genocide? Yes. Did they succeed in genocide in some cases? Yes. Did they attempt genocide without actually succeeding? Yes.

That about covers it.

Medved claims that describing early colonists and settlers in ''Hitlerian, mass-murdering terms represents an act of brain-dead defamation.'' Official colonial and territorial bounty proclamations, which announced pay scales for scalps as proof of Indian kill, were Hitlerian, mass-murdering edicts that produced Hitlerian mass murders.

All the forced marches of Native peoples under President Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policies - notably, the Muscogee and Cherokee Trails of Tears, the Potawatomi Trail of Death and the Navajo Long Walk - resulted in Hitlerian mass murders, ethnic cleansings and generational dislocation and damage that continues today.

It is more precise chronologically to say that Hitler's Holocaust or the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia may be described in Jacksonian or Sheridanesque or Custerish, mass-murdering terms. In analyzing genocidal plans, it is fair to compare the ''Final Solution to the Jewish Question'' to the federal ''Indian Crania Study'' or to the ''Civilization Regulations'' that brutalized, confined and killed American Indians, criminalized traditional ceremonies and customs and wrenched Indian children from their families.

The world knows there was genocide and attempted genocide against Native peoples. Only fools and propagandists would make a claim to the contrary, which brings us back to Medved, who is no fool.

We need not guess why he is raising this issue now. He tells us. And he reveals much along the way: ''The notion that unique viciousness to Native Americans represents our 'original sin' fails to put European contact with these struggling Stone Age societies in any context whatever, and only serves the purposes of those who want to foster inappropriate guilt, uncertainty and shame in young Americans. A nation ashamed of its past will fear its future.''

Where to start? Let's jump right in at ''Stone Age societies,'' shall we? Medved is very smart, so he probably knows about those Native peoples who perfected irrigation systems, performed brain surgery and formed democracies and confederacies, which some Europeans dreamt about but never saw until coming here. He might respond that only some Native peoples did that. And I would like to say to him that, of all the ships and wagons filled with white folks, there wasn't a Shakespeare among them.

Medved uses that ''Stone Age'' term to plant a falsehood in readers' minds that advanced Europeans simply had to do something about the backward Native peoples - kill them or tame them. Using this ''context,'' Medved actually pins genocide on the colonists and settlers. As Christians, they were supposed to help struggling societies, not try to exterminate them.

I don't know what ''inappropriate guilt'' means, but a quest for historical truth is not the same as a guilt trip. Honorable people are strengthened by facing their fears, even if acknowledging past shame is part of it.

Medved calls on his readers to discard the ''stupid, groundless and anti-American lies that characterize contemporary political correctness'' and ''to confront, resist and reject the all-too-common line that our rightly admired forebears involved themselves in genocide.''

The truth is that many admired forebears did involve themselves in genocide. Georgians and Coloradoans and Californians and all those who killed Indian people in their rush for gold were involved. Those who massacred innocents at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee were involved. Those who raped Native women and children were involved. Those who killed Indian people for praying, decapitated them and robbed their graves were involved. Anyone who looked the other way was involved.

Here are a few lies that are anti-American Indian: that Native children and women and men had it coming; that massacres were battles; that ''harvesting skulls'' was science; that torturing little kids for speaking their mother's language was OK in anyone's culture; that genocide wasn't genocide when it was committed against Native peoples.

Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is president of the Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C., and a columnist for Indian Country Today.


Are Boys an Endangered Species?

I found this article this morning about significantly decreaseing birth rates of boys in some indigenous people groups. Very interesting, check it out.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Ordination Process

Thanks for your prayers regarding my efforts to be ordained as a church planting pastor in the PCA. So far so good! I have passed four of the six written exams and half of the oral exams and preached on the floor of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery. I took the fifth written exam (Christian Counseling) yesterday and think I did ok on it. In a couple of months I will take the last written exam (Church History). It only covers 2000 years of information! Please Pray! If I pass the last one and that one, I will go before the Credentials Committee for the second time to be examined on all the information I got wrong on these three exams (The Sacraments, Christian Counseling, and Church History). If I pass the oral examination then I go before the Presbytery to be examined in those three areas. If I pass that then I will be ordained. Oh yeah, I forgot, I have to write an exegetical paper on a scripture passage from the origional Greek too!

If I am ordained this spring, we will plan on having our first church service with Hope Fellowship in September!

"Wildman" Jack's Story

I first met Jack at a Huckleberry Feast at Uncle Sam’s (Sam Smartlowit). Jack was cooking an elk he had killed in the mountains. We hit it off and talked about hunting. Jack’s “Indian name” is He’cus-win (“Wildman”)! He is a wild man. Jack is a big time hunter and fisherman but he gives 95% of the meat and fish away to needy neighbors and family members. He drives an old truck which normally has a bunch of hooves and antlers sticking out of the back and blood running down the side! When he comes by to visit he gets out and reaches in the back of the truck and pulls out and entire elk or deer leg (femur + tibia + fibula+ hoof) and tosses it to my dogs. (Yes, we have elk femurs laying around our yard… one of the joys of living in the country is not having to try to keep your yard looking as good or better than the neighbors, so elk bones are “ok”). Needless to say, my dogs love Jack. Jack is normally dressed in coveralls or jeans and a flannel shirt. He is usually covered in blood from cleaning large game or salmon.
When Jack first started coming to Hope Fellowship (Tuesday Night Bible Study in the longhouse) he was nervous. At first he would only stay for dinner then leave. Then he started staying for the singing time. Eventually he came in with the adults for the Bible Study. The first night someone offered him a Bible but he kept his arms crossed, his chin high, and shook his head. He didn’t seem to want to even touch it (he is very traditional). That week he got so excited about the lesson that he was sitting wide eyed on the edge of his chair, hanging on every word.
The next week he took a Bible then realized he did not have his reading glasses. One of the ladies that attends regularly jokingly offered him hers (which were purple with pink polka dots). I thought to myself, “There is absolutely no way Jack/Wildman is going to wear women’s glasses to read a ‘white man’s book’!” Guess what! I was wrong! Jack put on those purple and pink glasses and read the passage for us that night! Once again he was enthralled with the lesson (we were studying the conversion of Paul in Acts). He asked great questions and made good observations as we discussed the passage. When we finished he came to me and asked if he could take the extra hand outs with him to the sweat lodge to re-teach the lesson to his elders, friends, and cousins! He has done that several times since then and is trying to get them to join us on Tuesday nights. He has been bringing his son and grandson a good bit.
Since then we have roofed Jack’s mother’s home. I’ve had the chance to go elk hunting with him and several of his relatives. And Jack and I have had many good discussions and times of prayer together.
Jack has been working down by the Columbia River all summer in a cannery and we have really missed him. He normally calls me on Wednesday to ask what we discussed at “church” and to say he was sorry he couldn’t be there. Recently, he said he started to go down and sit by the river and pray during the time we are meeting in the longhouse. I told him about how Jesus said he was the “living water” and how, like the “ultimate river”, He brings life to us and is powerful and beautiful. I was hoping Jack would meditate on Jesus as he sat by the river in the future. Jack responded by saying, “Chris, you know I believe it. I believe all you say is true!” I encouraged Jack to think and pray about being baptized since he believes. He said he would and that he wanted to talk more about it with me soon.
Please pray for Jack and his son, Cody, and grandson, Dante. Pray for their salvation. I have a hunch that Jack might be our first elder in the church here one day!

Spring & Summer Teams!

We opened the sign up/reservation process for summer teams on September 15th. By October 15th the spots for summer teams were basically full! There are a few openings here and there throughout the summer where groups of two or three could jump in if they want. The spot for spring break teams are rapidly filling up as well. We will have four weeks of spring break teams this year. Altogether, we will have close to 350 folks come out for a week this spring and summer to “love our first neighbors” by roofing, painting, hosting Backyard Bible Club, etc! It is such and encouragement to see God’s People respond strongly, lovingly and appropriately to the needs of our friends and family (spiritually speaking) here in this “forgotten corner” of the nation. “Our Tribe” (Christians) are building strong bridges and relationship with the Yakama Nation for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom! What a joy, what a privilege to be a small part of this!

Good Times with My Folks

My Dad (Perry Granberry) and his wife (Robyn) came to visit in early October just in time for the State Fair (which is hosted by the town of Yakima) and my 38th birthday! Our family enters a lot of things in the fair each year ranging from photography to zucchini to homemade birdhouses to canned vegetables to chickens! In the end we came home with about 50 ribbons and $50 in prize money! We’ve discovered that the fair is even more fun when you have a variety of items to search for. Dad and Robyn really enjoyed the time there as well.
I had a great birthday. I was able to play golf with Dad, go for a bike ride with David, and eat out at a steak place with the whole family!
Overall, the time we had with Dad and Robyn was enjoyed by each of us very much and we were very grateful that they were able to come out to see us. As you can imagine (or may know from experience), time with extended family is precious when you live 3000 mile from home!

A Wonderful Visit with Redeember Pres, Santa Rosa

In mid-October Wendell and I were able to fly down to Santa Rosa, CA to visit Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Redeemer has prayed for us, supported us financially, and sent teams for the last five years! We are so grateful for them and their partnership in the ministry. As you can imagine, the visit with this church family was wonderful. We enjoyed staying with the Hall Family and visiting with them. Wendell and I were both overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and concern for us and the Yakama people from this church. To my surprise, Wendell opened up to the church at lunch on Sunday and share about the suicide of his son which took place last November. We all wept and the elders came up to pray for him and his family. The whole experience was very moving and powerful.

A Story of an Elder and an Oven

We recently heard from a new “regular attender” of Hope Fellowship named Charlene that her mother, a widow named Helen, desperately needed a stove. Her old one had died back in the spring and she had been cooking for her grandkids, great grandkids and everyone else in the home on a propane camping stove all summer and fall. Charlene wondered if we could help. Some folks down in Santa Rosa, CA from Redeemer Presbyterian got the money together and Mary and I went to Home Depot and picked one out. David and I delivered and installed it the next day. Helen was so happy she had tears in her eyes. She started talking about all the things she was going to cook on her new stove (biscuits and cookies were at the top of the list). Helen lives in a very old and very run down doublewide trailer. After installing the new white stove I stepped back to look at it and realized it was by far the prettiest/nicest thing on her property times ten. The next Tuesday night at Hope Fellowship Charlene (Helen’s daughter) was beaming! What a joy to see the body of Christ love our first neighbors well! Pray for Helen, Charlene, and their family. Pray that the rest would join Charlene and us at Hope Fellowship. Thanks to those at Redeemer Pres in Santa Rosa for providing the stove for this sweet lady.

A Story of an Elder and an Alarm System

Many of you remember Martina “Dovie” Thrasher because many of you have worked on her home. A while back we put a new roof and new paint on it and did a lot of work in the yard for her. She is a sweet Christian widow who lives just two miles down the road from us. Over the years she has had a lot of trouble with thieves breaking into her home. A few weeks ago she called me at midnight because someone had broken in and she thought they might still be in the house (now imagine me running around her place in my pajamas and boots with a flash light in one hand and a pistol in the other). No one was there, thankfully. It took the cops 45 minutes to respond and then they did nothing. A few days later someone broke in again! Same story. Well, long story short, I wound up installing a motion sensing system that is hooked up to the loudest siren I could find (120 decibels, the equivalent of a jet plane taking off). I’m tempted to install a video surveillance system too so we can see those guys run when that siren goes off!

"The School Without Walls"

Dave Hopkins and Hugh Grant are traveling teachers and preachers with C.H.I.E.F. (Christian Hope for Indian and Eskimo Fellowship) who came for a weekend of teaching and fellowship in late October. They travel all up and down the west coast visiting, teaching and encouraging churches and ministries on Indian Reservations. Hope Fellowship (our “baby” church) joined with McKinley Mission (a 60 year old church near Toppenish, 20 miles away) to host these meetings. We enjoyed wonderful food provided by Mary and others, sharing of testimonies (Hugh’s is very powerful), teaching from God’s Word, and fellowship. Dave and Hugh were excited to see approximately 80-100 folks from the community involved and said it was the largest gathering they had seen this year. For more on C.H.I.E.F. and "The School Without Walls" visit www.chief.org.

Chuck & Neena Clevenger

(left - A few teens who Chuck and Neena will be serving.) (right - Some Team Leaders from First Pres Chatanooga with kids at Totus, Chuck is on the far right.)

Chuck came up in mid to late October for a five day visit. As you probably know, Chuck and his wife, Neena and daughter, Asha will be joining our full time team soon (hopefully this summer). They are from Chattanooga, TN and are currently raising financial support to come out. Chuck will be serving as the youth director and Neena will be working on developing an after-school program that we believe will become a school one day.
It was so encouraging to have Chuck with us for a few days and to see him connect immediately with adults, teens, and children. Please pray for Chuck, Neena, and Asha as they raise support to join us. We all hope they will be able to move out this summer. As you can imagine, raising support and making this transition is a difficult thing. Please lift them up regularly. We can’t wait for them to get here!

The Broncheau Girls' Car Wreck

Not long after Chuck arrived we got a call from Katie Broncheau. She and her sister Sam (both teens) had just had a car wreck. Chuck and I jumped in the truck and rushed to the scene. Katie had lost control of the car (she was going too fast because she had a fight with her brother), left the road, plowed through about 50 yards of vineyard, finally stopping in someone’s front yard about 6 feet from the house. Chuck and I were pretty much the first people on the scene. Both girls had cuts and bruises but neither was seriously hurt. They had hit 6 or 7 posts in the orchard and one had nearly come through the windshield and would have hit Sam. The girls were in shock.
The sheriff decided that they were going 134 mph when they left the road. I don’t see how this could be anywhere close to the truth. Katie is facing “reckless endangerment” charges. Please pray for her.

Halloween Party at Totus Park

Thank you for your prayers related to the annual Halloween Party at Totus. It went very well. We also wanted to thank Kerrin Molten and John Stone for bringing the team out from Bethel Church in Tri Cities to help us. Also, thanks to Lynn Cayton for sending treats and toys for the goody bags we gave out. Chantel Kreiger from Covenant Pres in Issaquah, WA rounded up snacks for us as well. Chuck was also with us for the party. He’s a natural with the children and teens, they love him! About 60 kids from the community came. A lot of our “regulars” were not around that afternoon, though. We shared the gospel and the concept of sanctification by discussing the process of cleaning out the yucky stuff in a pumpkin, putting a happy face on it and a light inside. We pointed out that the work Jesus does in us is similar. He cleans us and forgives us, changes our attitude and heart, and fills us with His Spirit and His light.

A Wonderful Visit with Oak Hills Pres in KC

We had the joy of traveling as a family to spend a long weekend with our friends at Oak Hills Presbyterian. A year ago I was able to visit with Wendell, which was great but having Mary, the kids, and Veronica along was a real treat. I enjoyed attending and speaking at their annual Men’s Retreat, a lot of great BBQ, watching football, a bonfire with 100+ folks from the church, preaching on Sunday morning, meeting many new families, spending time with the pastor (Russ Ramsey) and his family, the Stalvey family, the Mauks, the Chestnuts and so many others. Our kids really enjoyed spending time with youth who had come out on teams during the summer. Russ also walked Veronica and me through the orientation process he and his team leaders use with their teams (which is fantastic). We’ll be passing it on to all of this year’s team leaders soon! We are so grateful for the relationship we have with Oak Hills and look forward to many years of partnership.

A Great Visit with First Evangelical Presbyterian, Renton, WA

FEPC has been praying for us and supporting us for five years now! They also invite us to their annual missions conference every year! This year was no exception. Once again, we had a wonderful visit with the folks there. We enjoyed staying with Joe Mann (the SRM book keeper) and his wife Janet, meeting the other missionaries involved in the conference, a banquet for the missionaries prepared and served by the missions committee, and seeing many old friends and meeting some new ones. I was very impressed by the number of folks who came up to us saying they were reading the weekly prayer requests and praying regularly for us and the folks here on the rez! Twenty-eight new people signed up to get emails and pray! A young couple (who will remain nameless for the time being) expressed serious interest in joining us full time! They are going to pursue the possibility.

Hope Fellowship 11/6/07

Agape Presbyterian Church from Federal Way, WA is comprised primarily of first, second, and third generation Korean Americans. Last Tuesday they brought about ten or twelve folks out to the longhouse to prepare a traditional Korean meal and sing some songs (such as “Amazing Grace” in Korean and English). The associate pastor, Samuel Choi brought a good friend/youth pastor (from another Korean American church in Federal Way) named John to teach the adults. This is the second time Agape has sent a team of adults to prepare the meal and visit with us at Hope Fellowship. Agape also prays for us regularly, supports us financially, and has brought one week ministry teams. It was a real treat to share the time with them. It is very good for Indians to hear the gospel from believers who are not of European descent because so often Native people have come to believe Jesus is the “white man’s way”. Thanks to Samuel, John, and the folks from Agape for your love and service! We look forward to seeing you again soon!

New DVDs & Brochures

As some of you know, James Griffen of Highlands Presbyterian Church made a 30 minute documentary style, informational/promotional DVD for us this summer. He has done a wonderful job on it and we are very excited and eager to share it with you. My favorite thing about the DVD is the interviews with Wendell and other folks from the community who share their thoughts on Sacred Road. James volunteered his time and expertise and Highlands Pres help with some of the expenses involved. Thank you so much!

We also now have new brochures! Nancy Carroll and Tracy Brabner from our home church (Oak Mountain Pres) in Birmingham, AL helped put together the design. A variety of folks took the photos. And Tadd and Luke Benson of Faith Pres Tacoma offered to do the final design work and the printing! The end result is a great brochure which is exactly what Mary and I were hoping for! Thanks to everyone who helped with this!

If you are interested in receiving DVDs and/or brochures please email Veronica and request them at sacredroadministries@hotmail.com.

Sweet Home Alabama!

We are excited to make a trip home to Birmingham soon. Mary and the kids are heading out Monday. I will be coming with Martina Thrasher and Marisol a week from Sunday. We are looking forward to time with family, friends, supporting churches and individuals. We are also grateful that a supporter who (I think) wishes to remain anonymous covered the cost of all of our plane tickets!

Here’s the schedule as we know it right now:
Nov. 25 morning - visiting Oak Mtn Pres with lunch after church
evening – visit Briarwood Pres
Nov. 26 evening - get together at the Carroll’s with folks who’ve come on OMPC teams
Nov. 27 evening - get together with Missions Committee from Altadena Valley Pres at Murphys’
Nov. 28 evening - visit Christ Covenant Pres in Cullman, AL
Dec. 2 morning - visit Shades Valley Community Church with lunch after service
Evening - visit with Briarwood’s National Missions Committee