Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sacred Road Staff Reflect on Recent Events in the Community

Mike Shaw on White Swan High's Football Game

A couple weeks back we had the opportunity to attend White Swan High’s first home football game. It was a cool late summer evening under the lights and it was exciting to see the community come out. We saw many familiar faces and had the joy of witnessing the kids’ reactions to seeing us outside of “church” or Kids’ Club. Most importantly, we had the pleasure of being a part of the community in cheering on their team. For once we weren’t outsiders and it felt good to relax and hang out in the place in which we live and work. I think our presence on a weekend night surprised a lot of people, both kids and adults, but we enjoyed the occasion to sit with friends as part of the community and watch the Cougars win.

Emily Schmidt Talks About Her Time With Youth

These past few months I've been hanging out with Aqua and her 7-month old baby, Shane. In the past, I've always had a plan for what to do when hanging out with her, but this last week I wanted to let her decide. We sat on the couch in her house, played with Shane, and just talked for a while. Then Aqua suggested that we go to "Dads", a local diner, and get root beer floats...which was the perfect suggestion. I had been wanting to go to "Dads", we both love root beer floats, and it was something that she suggested and wanted to do. It was perfect. The whole afternoon was full of goodness.

In addition to being with Aqua this past week, I was happy to spend time with some other teenagers from the rez. The Yakama Cultural Center's theater shows new movies each Thursday evening, so Mike Shaw, three youth, and I were able to go see a movie last Thursday. The movie ended up being less than awesome, but just being with the youth was so great.


Gretchen Becker Writes About The Harrah Fall Festival

Fall is approaching, which means school, colder weather, and of course, parades and festivals. A couple weeks ago there was a Fall Festival in the small town of Harrah here on the reservation. The day began at 8:30 for us as we put the finishing touches on the Sacred Road float that would be in the parade. During the parade we threw out candy to all the children, passed out invitations for Tuesday night Bible Study, and had an all around great time. As we passed by the float judging table during the parade, we heard over the sound system that our float had won FIRST PLACE! The rest of the day we walked around Harrah Park where there was music, tons of food, games, and, best of all, a 3-on-3-basketball tournament. It was great to feel like part of the community and not just by-standers. We ran into many familiar faces from the summer and from Bible Study.

I have been hoping to start mentoring two young girls that have been coming to Bible Study for a while now. Their names are Lisa and Lateet. They were both at the festival and it gave us a chance to hang out together in a very casual setting. I had a good time talking and watching some basketball with them.
From 1st place in the parade, to Indian tacos, to an Italian soda made by the White Swan Cheerleaders, to being beat horribly in 3-on-3 B-ball, Saturday was an enjoyable day for all and a good day to put down in Sacred Road history.

Heather German's Thoughts on the Back to School BBQ

A couple of weeks ago Sacred Road hosted a Back to School BBQ for the community of White Swan in Totus Park housing project. 180 people enjoyed a meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, watermelon, and pop. The highlight of the evening for the kids was a blow-up bouncy castle. Most importantly, though, we saw people who regularly attend Bible study volunteer to serve their community. As soon as the Sacred Road team arrived at Totus, kids and youth immediately started helping by setting up tables and chairs. Two men, Greg Arquette and Allen Slome grilled with staff member, Chuck Clevenger for 2 1/2 hours to make sure everyone had enough to eat. Wendell Hannigan was the Emcee for the night opening the evening by thanking everyone for being there. Several women enjoyed helping out as well. Kate Enyes helped set up the buffet table and Leah Wyman tied down 200 helium balloons donated from Little Caesars, and handed out 100 Sacred Road T-shirts with her daughter Nita.

 The BBQ seemed to be one step closer in the journey towards a functioning church in White Swan. Many people heard about Tuesday night Bible study that had not heard of it before and this past week at Bible study we had lots of new faces. The evening was one more good memory in my mind associated with Sacred Road and Christ's love, and hopefully it was in the minds of all the kids, youth and adults who came.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Photos Taken by One Week Ministry Team Member Tom Bilbro

You are invited to view tombilbro's photo album: whiteSwan
Jun 28, 2009
by tombilbro
Message from tombilbro:
Some pictures from the CPC White Swan trip.
To share your photos or receive notification when your friends share photos, get your own free Picasa Web Albums account.

A Beautiful Story from a One Week Ministry Team Member, Julie Bilbro of Seattle

(for more photos of Julie's week see the previous blog entry featuring her father's photography from their week on the rez)

The Life of Faith

As we laid out sleeping bags and suitcases on the old carpet of a Sunday School room in Harrah Community Church, White Swan, Washington, I realized I had left my Bible and journal in my bag in the car, which was locked. This was the first night of our mission trip to Sacred Road, a ministry which serves the Yakama Indians, and it was almost lights out. Dad, keeper of the van keys, was settled into a tent in man territory (girls were in the church, boys were in two tents and a house behind the main building). So I accepted, first begrudgingly and then trusting that it truly was best, that I would be without these tools until breakfast the next day.

I woke early on Sunday morning, the sun just throwing its golden light on the underside of the green leaves outside my window, coloring the sky a perfect blue. I rolled over on my stomach and began to pray. Surrounding me, in my room and the two rooms next door, were thirteen young girls with a special place in my heart, many who had been on this trip before, all who were eager to be serving together this week. One by one, I prayed for each girl, for any special concerns I knew of or guessed at, and for their ministry in the week ahead, and there was no rush to be done praying. I got up a little before 7:00, dressed for the day, and went to the piano. The sleeping rooms open off of a balcony around the sanctuary, but all three of the girls' rooms had told me the night before that they planned to have their alarms go off at 7:00, and I figured the fans were loud anyway and would provide some white noise if people wanted to still be asleep, so it would be okay if I made a little noise. I played for an hour, talking to my Father in the words of the songs and lilt of the music, and also sharing my own fellowship with God with all the girls and women in the church. The message God had for my heart in all this was: "Let go of your expectations and routines, and trust me to do my work in my way. You don't have to have your usual trappings to meet with me. Learn to live a life of faith, depending only on me." It was the same message He has been laying before me at home, in the context of my relationships with unbelieving coworkers: trust Me, live by faith. I looked forward to seeing how He would flesh out this lesson during the week.

After breakfast, we gathered for Sunday School. We met in a big circle of folding chairs in the pavilion behind the church, and after we sang a few songs, Chris (head of Sacred Road) opened the Word. "Most of you probably know that Isaiah 58:6-12 is a passage that is special to us here at Sacred Road," he began. I was awestruck for a moment, and then filled with warmth at the sudden knowledge of my Father's specific preparation of my heart.

Two days before, on Friday, it had been so warm and inviting on the bench beside the house that I took a break from watering, laundry, and cleaning and brought my Bible and journal out to spend a moment with God in the midst of the busy afternoon. I was preparing to be gone from my house sitting job for a week, and coming to terms with the fact that I was going on one of those mission trips I always looked down on.

Why, I wondered, would we leave the mission field God had placed us on, spending money (ours or the money of friends and family goaded by support letters) to travel to a people whose culture and language are totally unfamiliar, staying for only a brief window of time and then leaving the needs and brokenness totally behind and returning to our comfortable daily lives? Why not serve the needy who we see every day at work, on the way to the grocery store, on the bus, next door? Why not serve in a place where we have already gained trust through daily relationships, where the language and culture are second nature, where God has already opened doors and orchestrated connections? Mission trips seemed to me like a guilt-soothing endeavor to be good people, to fulfill the year's requirements for good deeds so that comfortable, affluent lives could be maintained for the remaining 51 weeks.

Yet I was going on one. So it was time for a heart-to-heart with God about my attitude on this trip. "God," I asked. "Why am I going on this trip? What purpose do you have for me here?" He directed me to Isaiah 58, and I turned there with eagerness. I have felt a strong pull to this chapter in the past, and have loved the richness of the promises found there. But it has made me feel guilty: do I, could I EVER live up to these words? Do I break the yoke of the oppressed, clothe the naked, care for the poor, stop doing what I please in order to do as God requires? I read the chapter hungrily, with an excitement that perhaps this week I could do some of these things and gain a vision for continuing to do them in my daily life back at home. I saw that what bothered me about mission trips bothered God too: "Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?" Only a week in Mexico for a man to serve the poor? Holding these pictures and promises in my mind, I returned to my packing, eager for what the week would hold.

And now, first thing on Sunday morning, God was already reinforcing His vision to me. We divided into three groups and discussed three aspects of the passage. Our group looked for qualities of God described in Isaiah 58. He is a generous God, and one who wants to restore and repair that which is broken. Someone pointed out that it's a lot easier to start from scratch than to keep the old structure and rebuild it, but that renewing and remaking is exactly what God does to our hearts. In the week ahead, I would see a lot of brokenness on the Indian reservation, a picture of the state of every human heart. God does not want to wipe us out, but to rescue us from the cycle of death we are trapped in.

Sunday afternoon, we went to the Yakama Cultural Center, where the interns, staff, and Granberry kids guided us through the museum, making the exhibits come to life and answering our questions. Sadie and Josh talked about the Indians' attitude toward nature, their gratitude for the sacrifice the salmon, elk, berries, and roots offered to make in order to feed the Indians. About their worship of one God, and their belief in many spirits that needed to be placated or honored or acknowledged. About the dam the white men made which flooded the falls the Indians had gathered at and fished from for hundreds of years, and the boarding schools they had formed for Indian children, purposing to "kill the Indian to save the man," and the treaties the white men had signed, requiring the Indians to hold up their end without showing integrity to their own side of the treaty.

Back at the church, Chris asked for our impressions of the museum, specifically what emotions it aroused in us. Shame, said Hani. Hopelessness, I said. It's such a mess, and I don't see how it could have been done right in the first place, much less how to fix it now. Chris talked to my statement for a long time, answering with such passion that tears gathered in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. After his first trip to the reservation with his Alabama youth group, he asked some of the same questions on his flight home. As the plane flew over the reservation, he looked over the broken land, asking God how it could ever be healed and what to do with all the brokenness. One word shone in his mind: HOPE. God is not overcome by these problems, though they could never be solved by human solutions. God is a miracle worker, the healer of the broken heart, able to bring hope even to this dark place. I think Chris's eyes were wet, too, as he shared the vision God has given him for this place. It is not to formulate solutions to all the problems of abuse and alcoholism and unemployment, but to invite the presence of a God who heals. My heart said, "Amen!" to his words, knowing that there is no such thing as hopelessness where God is concerned.

Monday morning I again woke to the golden glow of the first full rays of sun, and I enjoyed Bible and journal to enrich my time with God. At the end of my devotions, I wrote, "I feel totally unable to build meaningful bridges with the Indians--the time is short, we are so different, I'm not very good at that anyway—and I'm totally content with my own inability. I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, Christ in me, the hope of glory. You make your appeal through me—I am your body. I am a jar of clay—the excellency of power is from you. What have I to fear--the LORD is my helper. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. To live is Christ. Can this be said of me? May I conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

At 8:00 the mayhem of the day began with Cheerios and English muffins, mayonnaise, sandwich bags, and granola bars in the church basement. Somehow everyone discerned which of the four worksites they were assigned to, and the water coolers and lunch ice chests were loaded in the right vans and trucks. Mom and I were together with a bunch of other girls, Jay Stacy, Super Al (an Indian friend of Sacred Road's) and Joshua, an intern and the leader of our project. We unloaded a pile of brushes, buckets, tarps, and ladders at Peaches’s house. She came out to say hello, making the effort to shake each person’s hand. Joshua gave us instructions and we went to work. I loved that prayer was counted of utmost importance, and that two workers were always praying while the rest were painting. Susan Dedo and I prayed together each day, forging a new bond. The day went fast, and when it was time to leave at two, the house was scraped and swept and we were well into the first primer coat.

Kid's club was the focal point of all the stories the kids from our youth group had told me about White Swan. The love and enthusiasm of the children had touched their hearts, lending passion and personality to their stories even months and years later. And I love kids, anyway, so I was excited for the time with them.

Totus Park was a dry field, more dust than grass; a concrete pad with plywood skateboarding ramps; a single gracious tree who gave the gift of shade; a scattering of garbage and broken glass. The kids flowed in from the nearby houses; Veronica drove the Sacred Road van around the rez to pick up those who lived farther away. I set up the craft for the day on a tarp under the shade tree, helped kids get started with their beaded bracelets, or tied it when they were done, or helped them to choose colors. One little girl, Trinity, accepted and even requested my help, but was quiet and withdrawn, speaking so softly I could hardly hear and staring into space, not meeting my eyes. But after I tied her necklace around her neck, holding her dark hair out of the way with my arm, she looked straight into my eyes, slipping her hand into mine. "Let's go play something else together," she said. And that was it. We were friends. "I want to get on your back," she said next, and her body was warm and trusting on mine, giving little squeezes, laying her head down on my shoulder. We wandered around the park, visiting her friends and mine, and it was soon time to clean up the craft and have snack and story. Trinity settled into my lap, eating and listening quietly as she leaned into me. Janelle and Rebecca told the story of Jesus healing Jarius's daughter. We sang a few songs, Chris prayed, and Trinity and I had time for one more piggyback ride before we loaded into our vans to go home, and she ran across the street to her blue house in Totus Park.

Monday night I sat with my cousin Mary in the front pew of the church, taking in the C.S. Lewis quote fest which had been organized in honor of Pastor Eric’s birthday. I loved hearing why each quote was chosen, learning a bit more about both the people who shared and also Eric’s influence and ministry, and I loved sharing it all with Mary. Dan, Jana, Mary, and I led a few songs to start the evening off, and then the quote readers were supposed to share from youngest to oldest. It wasn’t a polished event, but instead of feeling clumsy, it felt like we were family. There was a sweet letting down of the guard, an opening of our hearts to each other.

Tuesday morning, sitting in a folding chair at the edge of the basketball court and waiting for the sun to come and bring some warmth, I read about Joseph in Matthew 2. Because of a dream, Joseph gets up in the middle of the night, wakes his wife and son, and leaves the country. Would I even get out of bed after such a dream? If I did, would I wake others who might think I was overreacting? And if I woke the others, would I pack and leave, go to a foreign country, right at that moment? Eustace, in the quote Dad had read the night before, let Aslan rip through ALL the layers of dragon skin that kept him bound. Joseph, too, held nothing back—God owned him. Above reputation, homeland, and ease, he honored God. I asked God that morning, “I still have not given all, have I, Father? Today, what does that look like, that lying flat on my back beneath the lion’s claw?”

The day was long with painting, kid’s club (Trinity wasn’t there), and dinner at the longhouse (we joined the weekly dinner which Mary serves every Tuesday before Bible study) and left me a little flat at the end. Had I really done it, trusted in God to live through me instead of seeking to accomplish good on my own? Thinking the day over before bed, I looked for God’s hand in what had occurred:

~ Devotions in the sunrise for almost one and a half hours. What could be better preparation for any day?

~ The gift of a bag of cherries from a family who was selling them in the longhouse parking lot. Perhaps it was the end of their cherries, all that had not sold; perhaps it was because I was chatting with Peaches, the lady whose house we were painting and also a friend of this family. I received it as an echo of the free and undeserved gifts that God give to us.

~ Peaches: we gave her a ride home from the longhouse, and met her son when we dropped her off at her house – what a sweet and open heart she had towards us.

~ Chats with some of the girls in free moments throughout the day – with Emily in the bathroom, with Sally while waiting for some next event to begin. Their desire to share their view on life with me is something I treasure and do not take for granted.

~ Phone chat with my brother Tim, at home. He asked to talk to me after he’d chatted with Mom for a while, and we shared fun and interesting bits from our weeks thus far – nothing important, but a welcome connection and a reminder of his love for me.

No, God had not been absent from the day.

Wednesday night we had Girls’ Night and Ladies’ Night. I pondered which I would attend – while I was neither a high school girl or a mother, I felt welcomed by both groups. I first joined the women’s circle, where we shared Random Facts and learned who used to be disco dancers and scuba divers and who had visited sketchy parts of Mexico, and then shared about what God is doing in our lives right now. I shared about living by faith in the context of witnessing to Jana at work, and delighted to hear the hearts of the other ladies, and to pray together for them. And then I joined the girls, whose event had started later. They were still in the midst of their Ceremony, an annual event involving many rituals whose details cannot be spoken of outside the four walls of the gathering room. We, too, shared Random Facts and then impressions of the week, especially asking those who were in White Swan for the first time what their perceptions were. I love to hear how God is shaping their moldable hearts.

One mom had asked me when we arrived if I would like to chaperone the girls and sleep in the area of the church they were occupying, or if I would rather sleep with the women. I learned later that she had told Mom she thought my age a hard one, out of place with every group. I went to bed on Wednesday night thinking I was the perfect age because I can fit into ALL the groups.

The last sentence I wrote in my journal on Thursday morning was “And please bring Trinity back to kid’s club.” Thursday was our free day, and I joined the six-car caravan to Rimrock Lake. It felt cleansing and childlike to plunge into the lake, to eat a picnic lunch on the bank while listening to Hannah read “The Magician’s Nephew,” to sit quiet in the sun.

We left the lake in time to get back to the church and prepare for kid’s club, arriving at Totus Park at 4:00 as usual. And Trinity came. I was busy with the craft, answering questions and passing out supplies and trying to keep order. She came to the craft area and sat down, quiet, beside me. When I looked up, there she was! She was my little shadow, decorating her canvas bag at my side as I both helped her and kept the others going with their crafts. I traced her hand on her bag and wrote “God Loves.” Then I asked her if she knew who God loved. “Church people,” she answered. “Trinity, God loves YOU!” I told her. Her brown eyes registered surprise at this. When she was finished, I left the craft tarp with her on my back, and we spent the rest of the afternoon together. She watched her friends jumping rope and worked up the courage to take a turn herself. She snuggled in my lap for snack and story time, and sang the songs in my arms, doing the motions to “My God is so Big” awkwardly around me. After one last jump rope session, when it was time for me to leave, I helped her pull on her socks and shoes and she raced away across the cement pad, gone for another day. We only had one left.

Thursday night, after the mostly comic refreshment of a talent show, I sat outside the church with Dad, Mom, Kathy, and Eric, discussing spiritual gifts, the health of the church, and, once again, the life of faith. The youth gathered in the pavilion behind the church to sing together, and my heart was torn between the meaningful conversation we shared around the flower planter and worshipping with my young friends. I delighted in the sound of their voices soaring up to the starry night sky, and my heart was raised with theirs to our Father.

Friday we finished painting Peaches’s house, taking a final picture of our group (including Peaches, who had joined our team, painting and eating lunch with us every day) on her porch in front of the fresh, clean house. Wreathed in smiles, eyes misty, she said goodbye to Lisa and me on the sidewalk, trying to put words to the uplift and encouragement she had received this week. II Chronicles 29 came to me: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything we have comes from You.”

In the in-between hour before kids’ club, I helped cut up watermelon for the snack and got the final craft ready for each site and then wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I felt in limbo, anticipating the shift that was approaching with our departure the following day. Not knowing what else to do, I sat in a chair by the craft corner in the basement, watching the comings and goings, talking to God, asking Him to un-disgruntle me. Veronica came in, looking for someone who wanted to ride in the van to pick up kids. Yes, I did—maybe that’s what I had been waiting for.

The land was beautiful, wide plains running to meet rolling hills and blue sky, Mount Adams crowning the horizon. The homes, mostly on gravel side roads, were surrounded by all that was old and rejected and ugly. The children ran out their front doors at Veronica’s tap on the horn, eager smiles lighting up the bleak surroundings. I delighted in each one, and in their willingness to befriend me immediately. Allen and Damien, though their speech is delayed, engaged me with smiles and welcomed me into their world with games of high five, peek-a-boo, and tickle fingers. Damien grinned from ear to ear as I “searched” for him while he hid his eyes behind his hands, then leaned forward to place his small hands over my eyes so we could reverse the rolls. Other kids clambered into the big van, all eager.

When we got to the park, Trinity was back, and warmed up to me even more. “Why do you always wear this same skirt?” she asked me. I told her I hadn’t brought very many clothes, because I was only there for a week. Furrowed brow. Then something else she wanted to tell me: “See, I have a skirt on today, too.” I smiled, and recognized the sense of responsibility that comes with someone looking up to me so surely and trustingly. Yet I would be gone so soon. She worked some more on jump roping. She was improving, but something was bothering her bare foot, so she finally sat down to have a look. A drop of blood oozed from her foot, and I knelt down to pull out a sliver of glass and then went to find a Band-Aid. Barefoot in broken glass—that was daily life for these kids. “Why do you have those brown dots on your arms?” Trinity asked as I bent over her foot. I told her they were called moles, and that that was how God had made me. “God made you?” she asked, incredulous.

At the end of the allotted time, I walked Trinity, in her skirt like mine, to her house across the street, setting her down in the weed patch next to her house to play with the two stray dogs who cavorted in the weeds. It was not a traumatic goodbye; how many goodbyes has she said, and in her five short years of life, has she known the security of even a single constant presence?

Veronica was backing up the van when I returned, so I climbed inside to join the kids for the trip home. I was finding my seatbelt when Mikey tapped me on the shoulder. “Did you see that guy playing Jesus? That was me! She picked me! I’m going to tell my dad she picked me. Maybe it was because of my yellow shirt. She picked me!” Janelle had chosen him to help act out her story of the day about Jesus healing the blind man—he had been quiet and shy on “stage,” but now I saw how he really felt about the matter! Veronica passed out cherries to us all, and Allen began singing with Joshua in the back seat to the music that was playing (the song was Micah 7:7; he sang “walk – name – Lord – forever, ever, ever”); Takoda asked me if I would like to be her friend, and Damien grinned and played beside me. My heart was at home with these kids.

Friday night was the sharing service, and I had been trying all day to sort through the kaleidoscope of lessons and impressions I’d gathered over the week in order to bring some shining jewel to the surface. But I ended up in the pew still lacking a concise, shareable testimony. I released the matter to God: “At the moment, I have nothing to share—or rather I have everything to share, but it’s too much. If You want me to say something, put the idea in my mind and prompt my heart!” The service was supposed to be done in time for us to head over to the powwow going on that night, and there wasn’t time for everyone to share; maybe it was a time for me to listen rather than speak.

We listened to Jack, an Indian friend of the Granberry’s (who had provided us with fresh salmon for dinner), share about his initial mistrust of Sacred Road and the immense gratefulness he now has for the work they do. Kids and adults shared about how God had touched their hearts. Moses, another Indian friend, shared, also grateful. Suddenly, I knew. I knew that I must speak, and exactly what to say. I raised my hand and stood. I told about my moment of irritation the first night when I discovered my Bible and journal were locked in the car, and the sweet time of fellowship I had with God the next morning even though my usual tools for connecting with Him were unavailable. God was preparing me for a week that would be outside my usual routines and expectations, and he was asking me to trust Him, to live by faith. This lesson was not just for a week in White Swan, but was a continuation of what He had been teaching me at home, and something I could take home with me when the week was over. Chris picked up where I left off, reading my heart so perfectly I knew the same Spirit was speaking to both of us. He encouraged us to live the life of faith all the time, not just on a missions trip.

Saturday morning, after we had packed and eaten and cleaned and packed some more, we milled in the church foyer and parking lot, waiting to say goodbye to the Granberrys, staff, and interns. They arrived and we milled some more, one of those long goodbyes where you run out of things to say but don’t want to leave. Chris came over to shake my hand and say he’d love to have me back, for a weekend or a summer or . . . I said I would love to come back, and I’d be in touch.

Re-entering the routine at home, I am desperate to continue to live by faith, to be unafraid of the impossible and the hopelessly broken and the challenges that dwarf me and my abilities. Eric addressed the life of faith again in his sermon on Sunday, and at prayer meeting. Jana at work asked me about the week, and her response was what mine had been: hopelessness. I told her that White Swan is not the only place that is hopeless by human standards, but that there is One who holds out hope, for the Indians and for us, too.

“Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.

O my God, I trust in thee.

Let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.”

Upcoming Native American Awareness Conference with John Piper and Native Pastor Huron Claus

You are invited to join a special Native American Awareness Conference hosted by Dr. John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 11 & 12, 2009, Friday, 6:00–9:00 PM & Saturday, 8:00 AM–2:30 PM. The purpose of the conference is two-fold. Dr. Piper will be challenging the church at large to gain a heart in partnership with Native ministries. He will also be giving a charge to the Native pastors, leaders, and fellow ministers to continue to lift up the name of Christ to the Indigenous Nations in the Americas.
Huron Claus, President of CHIEF Inc., from Phoenix, Arizona, will be another guest speaker and will be communicating the picture of ministry among Native Americans in the 21st Century. There will be displays and exhibits of various Native ministries and opportunities to partner with the ministries represented.
Did you know that though Native Americans have been exposed to the gospel for more than 500 years, only 5% of them have become believers? Join us for this conference, designed to inspire and equip Christians for Native American outreach. Guest speakers Pastor John Piper, Greg Mott, and Huron Claus.

Our theme is "Maajiigin," the Ojibwe word meaning "beginning" or "begin to grow." We pray that God would use this conference to plant his Word deep in us, water it, and grow our love for and awareness of the Native American community. The conference sessions will better equip us to effectively reach out to Native Americans with the gospel.

Schedule for Friday, September 11

  • 6:00 PM Registration/Check-in
  • 6:30 PM Worship
    Session 1: Pastor John Piper "I have other sheep" John 10:16
    Break (snacks provided)
  • 8:30 PM Panel Discussion with
    Pastor John Piper, Huron Claus, and Greg Mott
    Moderator: David Mathis

Schedule for Saturday, September 12

  • 8:00 AM Bagel Breakfast
  • 8:30 AM Worship
    Session 2: Huron Claus
  • 10:20 AM Session 3: Huron Claus
  • 11:30 AM Box Lunch
  • 12:30 PM Session 4: Greg Mott
    Q & A Session with Huron Claus and Greg Mott
  • 2:30 PM Dismiss
Plan now to attend. Tell others who you think would be interested in attending.
For further information about the Native American Awareness Conference:
Contact Betty Dodge at 612.455.3490 for more detailed information.

Huron Claus

Christian hope indian eskimo fellowship. Inc.

1644 E Campo Bello Dr.
Phoenix AZ 85022

602-482-0860 fax

Sadie Corbett's Reflections on Her Second Summer as an Intern

Hello Everyone!

I'm home! Thank-you for all of your prayers and support! It is good to be back home, but I feel as though I left a piece of my heart on the Yakama Indian Reservation.

There are pages and pages of stories I could share about what is happening at Sacred Road, so I'll just share a few of the highlights from this summer:

The Huckleberry Feast

The Huckleberry is one of the traditional foods of the Yakama people. Each year, when the huckleberries are first ripe, there is a huge feast to commemorate the beginning of the huckleberry season. It is a happy time for the whole community to get together and celebrate their culture together. This year, the feast fell on a day when we had a team of people from Seattle. At first, we were not going to go (we didn't want to overwhelm the community by bringing 50 white people to their traditional feast!). However, one of the tribal leaders invited the whole team to come! It ended up being a special time of the Native Americans in the community sharing some of the beauty of their culture with us. At the end of the feast, the elders asked for the whole Sacred Road team to come up to the front of the longhouse. Then, several people whose houses we had worked on came up and thanked us for the work that Sacred Road has been doing on the reservation. A handful of the people walked through our group and shook each persons hand—which is a very Native American way of welcoming someone. It was a humbling and honoring experience to be so welcomed and accepted by the Yakama people.

Story time at Kid's Club

I was the story teller at Adam's View, one of the tribal housing projects where we did a Kid's Club in the afternoons. Many of the children call Kid's Club “church,” and for quite a few of them it is the only exposure they have to the Gospel. There were many sweet times of seeing the kids starting to understand the gospel, but one stands out in particular. Over the summer, we had different themes for each week learning about God's roles in our lives. The first week, we learned about how God is our father. There is one girl who always came to Kids Club, Jenny, who has a particularly rough home life—especially in regards to her dad. She is 10 years old, but she acts much older. Often, during story time she would act like she wasn't listening and try to cause distractions so I wasn't sure how much she was hearing from the lessons. One day near the end of the summer I asked the kids “What are some things that we've learned about God this summer?” and Jenny shot her hand in the air and shouted “God is our daddy!” I nearly fell over with surprise. Seeing glimpses of children understanding the gospel was indescribably beautiful.

Camp High Rock

In the middle of the summer, Sacred Road partnered with three other churches to put on a week long camp in the mountains for the kids of the reservation—including many of the kids who lived in the housing projects where we did Kid's Club. We had about 50 kids who came and spent a week with us out in a camp ground in the mountains. Some of the Sacred Road interns got to be counselors! I was a counselor in a cabin with four 6-10 year old girls. Two of the girls in my cabin live in Adam's View, so I got to continue my relationship with them throughout the summer. The whole week was a blast and there are many stories I could share, but basically it was wonderful to see the kids in a place where they were well-taken care of and safe for a week. One night, I was the speaker for the evening chapel service. I explained the great news of the love God has for us that he sent Jesus bring us freedom from sin. While sharing, I was struck with how incredible it is that no matter who we are or where we come from, our only hope is in Jesus, and He is a hope that never fails!

The Granberry Family

Chris and Mary Granberry are the missionaries who started Sacred Road Ministries. They and their four children have been living on the reservation for seven years now. I learned a tremendous amount from the whole family. As a family, they have sacrificed many things in order to love and live with our Native American neighbors. Many mornings Mary and the girl interns would have devotions together and each time it amazed me to see the heart that Mary has for the Yakama people and her commitment to loving them well. It was an honor to contend for the gospel alongside the Granberry family for another summer.

Tuesday Nights

Every Tuesday night Sacred Road does a Bible study that is the seed for the church plant—Hope Fellowship. It has been exciting to see the growth that has been occurring in Sacred Road over the past year. There are now five full-time staff members at Sacred Road and another family—Chuck and Neena Clevenger and their two children—have moved to the reservation. Chuck is the youth minister on Tuesday nights. As Sacred Road has been growing, so has their ministry to the Yakama people. There was one Tuesday night near the end of the summer when 60 people from the community showed up for Bible study!

Another exciting part of Tuesday night is thinking about what a Native American church looks like. Native American culture has a uniquely different perspective on life than most of us have, which will of course affect the way a church will function. There are have been quite a few people in the community who have become Christians and who are now wrestling with what it means to be both Native American and a Christian. One thing that I thought about quite a bit this summer was how much I need to listen to my brothers and sisters from different cultures because my American perspective misses things that people from other cultures see. I am looking forward to seeing how God guides this Native American church in the future!

I could keep going for pages, but this update is already too long :) If you would like to hear more stories I would love to share them. Thank-you to all of you who supported me and prayed for Sacred Road this summer. There were a number of times this summer that I felt as though the only thing holding us up was the power of God through the prayers of his people. Thank-you!

God bless!


Chuck Clevenger's Last Update/Thoughts on Summer

Camp High Rock - One week overnight camp in the Cascades. Hosted by Liberty Bay PCA, Harrah Community Church, and Sacred Road!

Building Jack Spencer's scaffold on the Columbia River

The Sacred Road Staff, Summer Interns, and Granberry Family

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. - Romans 3:21-24 (NIV)

Dear faithful friends and family,

We have been on the Yakama Indian Reservation now for six months and I have spent the last couple of days thinking about how grateful I am to each of you for your generosity and love of God. I want to tell you of how your support has paid for a fun evening of bowling with some Yakama teenagers, or supplies to draw fishermen as we talk about Jesus calling his disciples. However, I have been struck this week how your support is buying diapers for Isaac and school supplies for Asha. I am humbled by and grateful for each one of you.

I am sorry that it has been so long since our last update. The summer has been a whirlwind of challenges and opportunities and a beautiful picture of how God’s kingdom continues to grow here. I have started a number of updates but didn’t finish them - sometimes from fatigue and sometimes from a simple loss of words. We have seen fires and more friends hurt by the suicide of a family member, but also great testimonies to God’s redemptive power. In all of it we continue to try and follow our great shepherd and be where he leads.

We are all doing well. Neena and I both continue to adjust to our new roles - me as a youth ministry director and Neena as a stay at home mom with a five year old and new infant. We continue to fall more deeply in love with our team here - the Granberrys, Veronica, Heather, Emily and Gretchen and now Mike Shaw, who has just arrived.

Asha is getting ready to start the first grade at Camas Elementary in September and is really enjoying her role as big sister. She especially enjoyed our visit from Aunt Mona and Uncle Michael last week and built a mermaid cave with Aunt Mona.

Isaac just passed 100 days old. He continues to get bigger and has started smiling at all of us - especially his big sister. However, he still enjoys waking us up at least once during the night to eat.

I have a lot to share about the summer and I don't want to send a huge email - so I have included some thoughts below with links to our blog with more information and pictures. Just clink on the links to read more.

Youth ministry:

It has been really exciting and challenging as we have sought to share the gospel, the teachings of Christ, and the gospel of Mark itself without any of our cultural trappings. The kids constantly surprise us with their good questions and we hope that they will find their hope in Gods grace.

With the beginning of the summer, we moved the youth group meetings to coincide with the Bible Study at the Long House on Tuesday night. During the last few weeks we have been studying the book of Mark with 12-15 youth. It has been really exciting and challenging as we have sought to share the gospel, the teachings of Christ, and the gospel of Mark itself without any of our cultural trappings. The kids constantly surprise us with their good questions and we hope that they will find their hope in Gods grace.

We also had our first youth “event” as we took twelve youth on a bowling trip in the city of Yakima. I can’t describe how wonderful it was to see the kids God has given us just relaxing, eating nachos and having fun. It felt like we were actually beginning to define ourselves as a group. The girls on our staff have worked really hard with the some of the young girls to begin building real relationships and it really showed that night. It was amazing to see God’s glory in a bowling alley when, in truth, none of us were very good bowlers.

Camp High Rock:

Camp High Rock was a great success!!! (See group photo above) Thanks to many of you for donating extra funds to cover camp expenses. We ended up getting more help than we needed so that we have some funds to put toward next year’s camp.

Camp was great for me as I had never really done the church camp experience. It was amazing to see so many of the kids we work with on the Reservation get away from the chaos in their lives and be able to have fun, feel safe and hear about Jesus throughout the day. In the chapel talks, cabin devotions, singalong songs, and interactions with their counselors - these children were experiencing the love of Christ in virtually everything they did. It was wonderful to see how so many of them responded so well to just having some stability in their daily routine especially three good meals and enough sleep at night.

Part of my responsibility at camp was to watch and see how we might run a youth camp next year for the older kids. I had the privilege of leading teen devotions every night around the campfire for some teens who had come to help serve meals and help out in general. It was a wonderful time and I wonder if all small groups wouldn’t be better with toasted marshmallows.

Teams and Interns:

One of the real treats of the summer was working with the summer interns (see photo of staff and interns, on Mt. Rainer, above) and the visiting teams from churches. Participating with a summer team was the experience that God used to call Neena and I to the Reservation, so it was interesting to see the teams from the staff side of the fence.

It is amazing to see how many people come from Mississippi, California, Washington, Kanas City, etc. and love on our friends in White Swan. We had five team weeks this summer with an average of 45 people per team. Each week, we did two new roofs and painted two houses - sometimes the same house would get a new paint job and roof. We also did some light carpentry and chopped firewood - I got to help build a wheelchair ramp. Then in the afternoon, we did Kids Club at two housing projects - Totus Park and Adams View Park.

Chris has said that we are fighting a war with the enemy but our weapons are paint brushes and jump ropes. If you can imagine an army of love armed with roof shingles and bubble wands, that is exactly what ot looked like.

We had seven interns and Uncle Dave working with all summer as well. Uncle Dave is a contractor that has driven up from Florida for the past three years to coordinate all of the work projects. It was a true blessing getting to know Uncle Dave and watch him mentor the male interns. His presence on the work sites was a blessing to everyone there.

The interns: Mark Shaw, Luke Irwin, Joshua Tsavtewa, Scot Burnett, Sadie Corbet, Janel Corbet and Rebekah Griffin were all amazing as well. They worked so hard in the hot summer but managed to be a lot of fun to be with as well. Mark, in particular, was a great help to me in the youth meetings with the guys. But each one brought a particular gift to the team and I am thankful to God for each of them. It was hard saying goodbye when they all returned home.

Jack Spencer:

There was one special day with the team from Highlands in Mississippi when we were asked by Jack Spencer if we could help repair his fishing scaffold (see photo above) on the Columbia River. There had been a big wind earlier in the week and it had knocked it down. About fifteen of us loaded up and drove down to the river and met Jack. It was a short drive on a dirt road along side some train tracks to Jack’s spot. None of us really knew how to build a scaffold in the river, but by the grace of God and some trial and error, we got a structure up.

Jack kept after me to take lots of pictures and telling me that we were making history. You probably have heard some of Jack and how he wants to give 80 acres of his land to Sacred Road to build a church on. Jack’s role in the community is someone who gathers traditional food (like the salmon) and brings them to ceremonies and gatherings. So you can see, for Jack, fishing isn’t just a fun activity on the weekend. He spends almost the entire summer on the river. When the new scaffold was up, he was visibly moved. He wants Chris to get a plaque to put on it with Sacred Road’s logo and a bible verse so that whenever someone uses it they will know it was built by Christians.

Jack told many of the teams of his newfound belief that it was possible to be an Indian and a Christian. He talked about his first meeting with Chris and Mary and how everyone told him that the white people always wanted to take something. Jack is a very visible symbol of how God is working on the Reservation through Sacred Road.

Prayer Requests

Our lease on the home we have been staying in ends Sept 30 and the owners really want to sell it. We have an option to buy, but have not been able to sell our home in Chattanooga. We really like this neighborhood and have made some friends here so we are exploring what our options are. Please pray that God would make it clear where the best place for us to be is and that we would have peace about it.

Please pray for all of our team adjusting to the new pace of the fall. We will have some challenges in trying to do some of the things we want to, but without the help of the eight additional people we had over the summer.

Please pray for Asha as she starts first grade in September. She is nervous about it and so are Neena and I. Please pray for wisdom for us as we try to get Asha more involved in the ministry - it sometimes requires patience, silence and understanding, things that don’t always come easily to her.

Please pray for Chris’ back - it has been giving him a lot of trouble all summer.

Please pray for some relationships that I am developing with three teenagers that are coming to youth group.

Please continue to pray for financial support for all us out here as the economy has impacted our giving. We know that God will provide.

Please let me know if you would like to be on the Sacred Road mailing list as well as our own update list.

Links: - our blog - Sacred Road videos

The Clevengers (for mail)
155 Kamiakin Avenue
Wapato, Washington 98951

Sacred Road Ministries (for support)
22116 SE 51st Place
Issaquah, WA 98029-9221

God Bless each of you.

Chuck, Neena, Asha and Isaac

Gretchen Becker's Reflections on Summer

This is an update that Gretchen (in photo on the right) sent her prayer/financial support team at the end of summer. Gretchen is on staff with us and handles photography (she took the photos of the pow wow and the little girls on the right), video, multimedia, works with children, and diciples two teenage girls. ~ Chris

Dear Friends,

I cannot believe how fast this summer has gone by, and more than that I cannot believe how much has happened. I want each and everyone of you to know and understand the things that went on through out the summer, but i know that would be quite hard to do.

We said our "see ya laters" to the intern team a couple days ago. The Lord blessed Sacred Road with an outstanding summer team this year and it was hard to see a team that grew so close together, separate. However what God did this summer and what He continues to do is so much bigger than me and our community at Sacred Road. I'm already excited to see where He takes us next and who He brings into our lives. As I sit here, I'm realizing how this has kind of been my first chance to start to process everything that has happened this summer. I think I'll still be processing things months from now, so bear with me as I struggle to communicate so many different emotions and events.

I want to tell you about stephanie and tyron, about the huckleberry feast, about how amazing it was to watch children's eyes as they were told incredible stories from the Bible, I want to tell you about the hurt in these children's faces, I want to tell you how touched Jack was this summer, I want to tell you about Jordan, I want to tell you how much fun i had at times with the team...i could go on and on...but I guess I'll try and point out just a few things that went on this summer.

This summer, my primary job was to document the team weeks, through video clips and pictures. At the end of the team week we would watch a completed video that the team members would take home in order to help them tell the story of their week and be advocates for Native America. At kids club on the first team week, there was a video taken of a young, native girl holding a sign that read 'listen to us" (it was actually a poster used during the story time referring to how our Heavenly Father listens to us) This image was really powerful for me and an excellent picture for me to see going into the summer. Native Americans for so long have been hushed and unable to have a voice. This image of a girl holding the sign looked like a silent plea to be heard. I'm not sure how well the videos I made gave the Yakama community a voice, but that is my hope and desire. Please pray that would be my goal and intention as I continue to work with multi media and publications. And more than that, on a much larger scale, that Native Americans would find a voice and be heard, and that the American people would be given ears to hear their voice.

One of my favorite times this summer was going to the Huckleberry Feast. Huckleberries are one of the Yakama People's traditional foods and every year the community gets together to celebrate the Creator's provision to them. This is one of the few times the Yakama people are able to get together on a joyous occasion, so it's a huge celebration! The Huckleberry feast this year fell on a team week. The entire team was invited to go, which is unheard of to invite 60+ white people to a traditional feast. However the whole team went and were awed to see the hospitality and generosity of the tribe. Later on during the feast, there was a time where people in the community could say some words to everyone there. The entire team was asked to come out to the ceremonial room to be honored and thanked for the work they "had done". Please note that this was the first day of the team week and many of these people had never been to Yakama before. Elders in the community were brought to tears speaking about a paint job that was done on their house up to 7 years ago. This was their way of thanking Sacred Road as a whole (all past teams, going 7 years back) for the work and service they had done. Many people also came and shook everyone's hand on the team to show their gratitude. This was just an extremely humbling and encouraging time. Sometimes it's easy to wonder what painting or roofing someone's house really accomplishes, but it was amazing to see the way God has worked in the community, the relationships that have been built, and how in the end only Christ can get the glory. Praise the Lord!

The first week we went out to Adam's View (a tribal housing neighborhood where we do kids club) this summer, a little girl who is 4 years old wandered in. I did my normal approach asking her what her name was and waited to see if I got any response. She at first acted scared and just kinda bizarre. I think she expected that I would eventually give up trying to get to know her and walk away. Eventually, after 10 or 15 minutes she told me her name was Jordan. I looked for Jordan everyday we were there. Sometimes she came, sometimes she didn't. Jordan talked a lot but I probably understood 50% of what she was saying. I did gather that she knew things that a 4 year old just should not know. Somedays she would come and just be out of control. She wanted to move from one activity to the next, she wanted to do jump rope, and water games, or lick my camera (seriously, i have proof), or jump into her pool fully clothed, shoes and all. Somedays, she just wanted to be held, nothing else. The house that she stays in bothers me. I don't know what goes on there and frankly I don't want to. Please pray for Jordan and her sister Heather. Pray for their safety and that the stories they heard this summer will be in their hearts and minds. Also even if you just pray for Jordan and Heather, know that they represent a community of children who are lost and need the love and touch of Christ. I can hold a child in my arms for a couple hours, but it doesn't even begin to compare to the embrace that their heavenly Father gives them. Pray that they would know and feel that embrace.

Thank you for hanging in there with me and that this update was long in coming. You can pray for this fall as things will take a little different turn. I'm looking forward to working on some new publicity projects and also continue with mentoring some young girls in the community.

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I would love to talk to you all more about what's going on at Sacred Road. I am actually in the 'burg for the next week and a half and again would love to get together with any of you! is where you can view the videos from this summer. They're also on facebook on the Sacred Road fan page. Become a FAN!!!

Love you all,