Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A story from Tuesday night

by: Joshua Tsavatewa
Children's Ministry Director

When ‘the troublemaker’ climbed out the van, I immediately thought, “Oh boy. I’ve to keep an eye on him and he’ll be going home soon.” ‘The troublemaker’ doesn’t usually come to Bible Study and when he does, he winds up going home early. He hadn’t been around since April, and he was sent home three of the four weeks he came. I didn’t expect much from him and kept an eye on him, waiting for him to throw rocks, hit a kid, knock stuff over, or cause mayhem. And, it never happened. He played well, ate supper, colored, sang, and eventually joined my small group.

Throughout the whole time with the children, ‘the troublemaker’ was exemplary. I ask my boys questions from the lesson, and it got to the point where I said, “Ok, this question is for everyone else,” because ‘the troublemaker’ was answering every single one and I didn’t get to hear from the others. As the evening progressed, I asked the kids, “What’s something that we learn about Jesus?” And he pipes up, “He heals us!” When we did the craft, ‘the troublemaker’ painted a big heart on his page, so I asked if he knew what a heart represented and he did. I asked him, “Who do you love?” And he answered, “I love Jesus.”

It’s amazing how God works in the hearts of the children. Even those we don’t see for months. How He convicts us of our lack of faith. How He shows us what He’s doing in the lives of these kids. I don’t know what the future holds for this kid, but when he left he asked me, “Can I be your helper next week?” My heart welled up with tears and I told him: “Yes, you did a great job tonight, and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fantastic Summer Update from Our Youth Director, Chuck Clevenger

Dear Friends and Family

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. – Philippians 1:6 (The Message)

We (the Clevengers) have just finished our third summer of ministry here on the Reservation and it was a wonderful time of growth in the youth group. There are more stories than I could possibly share in an email so I have included links to our blog with stories and pictures from the summer. Thanks to all of you for your prayers, support and encouragement that make our life and ministry on the Yakama Reservation possible.

I want to tell you about the fifth and last closing ceremonies we had at the end of the last team week. “Say so” is always a powerful end to every team week - we ask everyone if they saw God do something during the week to say so. The idea is based on our responsibility and privilege as believers to witness and then testify to the work of our Savior.

This summer saw Chis Granberry baptize 11 of the kids in the youth group as well as fifteen of them work side by side with the summer church teams - roofing homes, improving the new church building and playing with kids in Totus Park. A number of them were there at closing ceremonies that last Friday as well, and you could sense the power of God’s Holy Spirit as they testified publicly and privately to the way they, themselves, had seen God changing their hearts and minds. Closing ceremonies can sometimes be a very emotional experience but I have never felt as proud of our youth leadership as I did that night. I thank God for each of them and for the summer he gave us all.

I’ve spent a lot of time since that night, filled with wonder, thinking about it and trying to remember how it all happened. I’ve written about several key events during the summer and included links below:

Summer Roof Number 2 - The second team week started in the middle of June after the school year had ended so it gave me an opportunity to take some of the guys from my D-Group to the work site with me … (more)

Promotion Monday - At the very beginning of the summer we had an ice cream party to celebrate our rising sixth graders graduating from the children’s ministry in the youth group … (more)

Camp High Rock - The week of Camp High Rock - the week of July 4th - coincided with a team week this summer, so we could only send Heather and myself with the high school junior counselors to camp … (more)

A Week in Warm Springs - I spent the fourth team week in Warm Springs with Eric. I had hoped to take my whole D-Group with me for the week but in the ten days leading up everyone but Eric had to cancel … (more)

Skateland Trip 3 - Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words - or at least several hundred. We took the youth group to Skateland in mid July. It was one of our biggest outing yet with 54 of us on the rink … (more)


All of the Clevengers are gearing up for Fall after a two-week break at the end of the Summer. It was a sweet time of rest and for us to have a long spell of quality time with each other.

Asha will start third grade next week which doesn’t seem to be possible. Her teacher is the pastor at one of the churches we work with on the Reservation so we are thankful that we have a friend in her classroom.

Isaac was moved to a toddler bed a week ago. Neena and I braced ourselves for a long night of him being able to get out of bed on his own, but he never did. The downside - he won’t get up in the morning without one of us getting him. So our mornings usually begin with him calling us over and over again from bed until someone comes.

Prayers and Praises:

We praise God for the arrival of Bill and Tina Yarbrough and their four daughters to the Sacred Road Team. Bill will be working as mercy ministry coordinator and has already built a bed for one of the children in his first week here.

As great as the summer was, it felt like it came to a screeching halt in August as we learned about two deaths in our Hope Fellowship family. One was a nine-year-old boy who was killed in a car accident in the closed area of the Reservation. We had just played kickball together the week before, He had been a big part of our Kid’s Club Bible skits and a regular attender on Tuesday nights. Please pray for his family and his little sister.

The father of three of the kids in the youth group died last week after recently being diagnosed with cancer in the stomach. The family had recently moved next to the Longhouse where he was working as the groundskeeper. He was always very kind to me when we showed up at the Longhouse to decorate for the Christmas feast and various interactions in the community. In a recent talk with Chris, he confessed a saving faith in Jesus and asked Chris to perform a wedding ceremony for him and the kids’ mom. They were married just a couple of weeks before his passing. Please pray for his family, especially his daughter, who has spent a lot of time with Chris and Mary this summer.

With the frenzy of summer behind us, I have more time to devote to support raising. Please join me in prayer that others might be as excited as you about what God is doing in the hearts of teenagers in White Swan and be moved to give generously so that we can continue to grow this ministry that means so much to us.

Thank you again and may God Bless you a hundredfold,

In Him, By Him, For Him

Chuck, Neena, Asha and Isaac

The Clevengers (for mail)
155 Kamiakin Avenue
Wapato, Washington 98951
Phone: 509-388-3669

Sacred Road Ministries
22116 SE 51st Place
Issaquah, WA 98029-9221

Links: - Clevenger blog - videos

An Excellent August Update from Heather German

Hello Family and Friends,
As I reflect over the summer on all of the joys and the sorrows I am reminded of a verse in 1 Peter 5:7 which says, "Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you." With all the people that come and go in the summer months sometimes it is hard to know what to do with all of the memories- the good and the bad. What a comfort it is to know that the Lord is our friend who bears all our anxieties and cares.
It hardly seems possible that our twelve week summer program has come to an end. We had a very eventful summer. 19 houses were roofed here in Yakama, several hundred kids were loved on and heard the gospel both in Yakama and in Warm Springs, Oregon, and 29 people were baptised. Most of the baptisms were of children and youth who regularly attend our Tuesday night Bible study. Also, we had five full teams serve on the Warm Springs Reservation as well as on the Yakama Reservation. To watch videos of the teams and baptism services visit you tube.
I enjoyed spending more time with several of the girls from our youth group. We spent several weeks this summer building and priming 21 picnic tables for our new church facility. It was fun to learn how to use the power tools with them and to share a feeling of accomplishment. I enjoyed seeing how proud they were of their own work. To read more about the tables and to see a picture visit my blog here.
I was also able to spend a week at summer camp with our youth director, Chuck Clevenger. Camp High Rock is the work of four churches coming together to serve kids 4th though 8th grade. This year there were about 80 kids. The high schoolers worked as junior counselors. We had about 10 of our youth who worked as junior counselors. They did an amazing job of serving the kids by helping them with their crafts, leading small groups based on the Bible lessons, and helping serve and clean up all of the meals. Chuck and I led the evening Bible lessons and we were able to use the youth to help us retell the stories to the kids. To watch a video of camp click here.
Also, I was able to spend a week with one of our youth, Felicia, serving with a team down in Warm Springs. It was good to watch Felicia serve Native America not only on her home reservation, but also on another reservation. We worked with the tribe on several projects which included: painting planters in their community garden, painting and posting house markers for the fire department, and cleaning the community center. It was good to see our youth group find their role in the church this summer through working with the teams here in Yakama, helping at Camp High Rock, and serving down on the Warm Springs Reservation.
As a team we continue to taste the pain and sadness in the community. A couple of weeks ago a 9 year old boy, Sonny (pictured above), who has been a part of kids club in Totus Park and has attended Tuesday night Bible study off and on was killed in a car accident. It is hard to know why the Lord would take Sonny at this time in his life, but we know the Lord is good and just. Pray for his family, especially his younger sister sissy who has also been a part of kid's club and Bible study. Pray that we would have good interactions with his family over the coming months.
I just received word today that the recent caretaker of the Long house, Jesse Gomez, past away. He was diagnosed with untreatable stomach cancer at the beginning of the summer. His wife Leah, one of his three daughters Thelma, and two of his three sons, Sam and Manny, have been a part of our Bible study. Chris Granberry had a few chances to talk to Jesse before he passed away and he did confess Jesus as his Savior. Pray for his family as they go through the several day funeral process. Pray for comfort and strength for them over the coming months and that they would cast there sorrows onto Jesus.
I continue to be so thankful to be living and working and the Yakama Reservation. Thank you for all of your prayers and support for me and for the community of White Swan.
Heather German
PO Box 218
Harrah, WA- 98933

August Update from Our Children's Director, Joshua Tsavatewa

Family and Friends,

The summer is nearly over and looking back, it’s been a good summer. Lots of work has been done, kids have been loved, and the love and truth of Christ has been proclaimed and demonstrated.

My favorite story of the summer is about a little 6 or 7 year old boy named Asha. I met Asha two years ago, and he had a tendency to be angry and/or disrespectful. This summer, he’s been much friendlier and openly affectionate, at times holding my hand or giving me hugs – this from a boy who two years ago would kick me in the shins. I noticed his increasing affection and openness and have thought God is working in his heart. A few Tuesdays back, we were sitting on the bench, waiting for the vans to pull around to give him a ride home, and I said “Asha, do you want to hear a story?” He said, “Yes,” and I asked “What kind of story do you want to hear?” Asha said, “Jesus.” Of all the stories in the world, he wanted to hear about Jesus. Of all the superheroes or dragons or monsters that captivate a child’s mind, Asha wanted to know more about Jesus. That’s why we are here and it makes everything else worth it.

The most amazing part of the summer has been being a part of 29 baptisms. It was a true blessing to be a part of the services and see adults, teenagers, and children publicly profess faith in Jesus.

During the summer, the youth took a greater leadership role at the work sites and kid’s club. Several went to Warm Springs, getting to share Jesus on the Warm Springs Reservation. I wasn’t at camp, but I heard our youth did a great job serving as junior counselors and also had a great time! It’s been really exciting to see the youth grow into leaders and minister to others.

Kid’s Club has gone really well, which is amazing considering we’ve been stretched thin most of the summer. The skits have been on the life of Jesus, from birth to Ascension, and the kids love dressing up and acting. We had to cancel several times due to wind, but it’s been good ministry this summer.

Although the summer has gone well, there have been some hard times in the community. A Christian man who has two youth regularly involved in Bible Study, and a third who comes occasionally has terminal cancer. His name is Jesse and his family needs prayer. A man and his son who come to Bible Study were in a rough car accident. I saw a woman arrested for a DUI while her 4 daughters watched. The girls have at times have regularly come to Bible Study and Kid’s Club and I got to spend 40 minutes with them, waiting for their grandmother and giving them ice cream. It was good that I was there to be with the girls and help them in a small way, but it broke my heart.

Throughout the summer and the year, we see many families in turmoil, and it’s hard because there’s often little we can do, but try to love people well and point them to Jesus. A key verse for Sacred Road is “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love” Galatians 5:6. I know I’m often not very loving and my faith is weak, but I pray that God gives me His love and give me faith for the situations we encounter.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Please pray for the families out here and the dysfunction that hurts the children. Please pray for those we see inconsistently – we see many kids for a month, then they are gone for three, then they are back. It’s really hard to build a relationship and then have to restart.

I’ll be back in Macon on August 13, speaking at North Macon Presbyterian Church on August 14 at 5:30, and at Fitzgerald First Presbyterian Church on August 17 at 6:30. I’d love to catch up with everyone, so call or email me if you’d like to talk.

Grace and Peace to you all,

Joshua Tsavatewa – see Sacred Road’s videos

Address (mail)

PO Box 223

Harrah, WA 98933

Cell 509-930-0100

Address (support)

Sacred Road Ministries

22116 SE 51st Place

Issaquah WA 98029-9221

Summer 2011 in Review

Wow! What an amazing summer we had! When I try to figure out how too effectively communicate what we've seen the Lord doing I am at a loss for words. There is much more to the story than "numbers" but they may help tell the story. The first number I think of is "29". We had 29 of our regular attenders (of Tuesday Night Bible Study) get baptized! In my mind's eye I can still see the face of each as I had the honor of baptizing them. 29 people amounts to about 25% of our regular attenders! On top of that, about ten more people are planning on being baptized in September! The Lord is on the move.

Another number that comes to mind is "2". As I write this, two families are moving to the reservation to join our team full time! The Yarbroughs are currently driving through Montana on their way here. They should arrive on August 15th. The Dempsens are moving out in September! That is four adults and six children ages infant through 16. A total of ten new people will be added to our team over the next month! That brings the total number of our full time team (including children, who contribute in various ways from leading roofing crews, making team week and promotional videos, working with slightly younger children and youth, to being cute/adorable) to 24 people! Amazing!

Another number that gets my attention is "8". Our family (the Granberrys) moved to the Yakama reservation with the desire to be used by the Lord to plant a healthy church 8 years ago. The experts said we wouldn't last two years on the reservation (apparently most pastors don't) but by God's grace we are still here, still reasonably sane, and the church and our team are still growing. Praise God.

Another exciting number is "387". That is how many believers came to serve here in White Swan and on the reservation in Warm Springs, OR combine! The people of God are responding to the needs and the opportunities to love our "first neighbors" well in record numbers (in spite of the lousy economy). We are so encouraged by the overwhelming response (we had to turn about ten churches/team who wanted to come because we simply didn't have the space to put them).

"19" is a special number because that is how many new roofs were completed by teams working in White Swan. The most we have ever done before in one summer was 10! Another great worksite related number is "0". That's the number of serious injuries we have had on worksite over the last nine summers! Can you imagine that?! Literally thousands of people on roofs, ladders, hauling trash, etc. and no significant injuries! The Lord has faithfully watched over all of us.

"Six" is the number of couples who expressed interest in joining our team full time with the desire to move to Warm Springs and facilitate ministry there year round! (I was hoping/praying for one significant conversation with one couple!)

Finally, a number that I am very happy about is "250". That is the approximate number of children who came to one of the Kid's Clubs that we host here on the Yakama Reservation or in Warm Springs. I believe that each and every one of those children experienced the love of Jesus and heard the truth of Jesus (the Gospel) through our teams (the kids call us and our teams "the church people"). One little boy touched my heart last week in Warm Springs. He is about 7 and loves to participate in rodeos (yes, he is an "Indian cowboy"). He is proud to let you know that he has moved up from "mutton busting" (riding sheep) to "calf riding". He is a bull rider in the making. After story time, the story teller asked the children, "What do we learn about Jesus through this story?" Our future bull rider began shouting out various attributes of Christ like: "He is strong! He is faithful! He will never leave us! He does miracles! He is good! He loves us!" and more! None of those answers were exactly what the story teller was after that day, but those answers are exactly what we are after year in year out!

May the Lord raise us a generation of bull riders and teachers, loggers and nurses, fishermen and homemakers, hunters and ranchers, gatherers and preachers, who are above all else lovers and followers of Jesus on this reservation and in Warm Springs, OR and all over the northwest and throughout Native America. And may His Kingdom Come on the Reservation as it is in Heaven. Amen.

The last special number that I'll mention is "20". That's how many years Mary and I have been married (as of August 10th)! What a blessing she is to me and to so many others. What an honor and a privilege to serve together.

Thank you for praying, giving and coming. Thank you for joining us as we join the Lord in what He is doing on the reservations. We could not do it without you.

In Him and for His Kingdom,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

White Swan Fire

(written by Joshua Tsavatewa)

Chris and I drove around White Swan and visited people this morning/afternoon. I made a map that shows which areas were damaged. Most of the town and Totus Park were spared. The fire fortunately missed the Cougar Den with their above ground propane tanks. Seventeen houses burned down, of which sixteen were occupied. The town has water and parts have electricity. The parts that don't have power should have power by this evening. Everyone can get back into town except for the Coburn Loop neighborhood which has lots of downed power lines.

Click Here to see the map.

The fire spread quickly because of the high winds: winds from 50-60 miles an hour with gusts up to 70. The wind also tore shingles and tar paper off of lots of buildings. Probably half of the houses around White Swan have roof damage. Some were missing half the shingles.

Chris and I spoke with one lady who told us she saw the fire heading straight to her house. She started praying in Jesus' name and as she prayed the wind changed direction and the fire turned northeast and missed her house. She was crying and very encouraging to us.

The immediate needs in the community are not as severe as we had feared, but lots of homes need roofing and there's also a need for homes. Chris is in talks with the Tribal Emergency Group and with Mission to North America about what work needs to be done and what needs we can meet.

Thankfully, most of the town was spared and we have heard of no major injuries or fatalities. Thanks for your prayers. If you'd like to make a donation to help those displaced by the fire/wind, send a tax-deductible donation marked "Mercy Ministry" to:

Sacred Road Ministries
22116 SE 51st Place
Issaquah, WA 98029.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tuesday Night Bible Study - February 1, 2011

by: Morgan Granberry

This last Tuesday we didn’t take the kids as one group to tell them the Bible story for that night, but instead split up to tell each of our individual groups the story while they did their worksheets. My group consists of the older girls (grades 3-5, once they reach 6th grade they enter the youth group if they want to. The girls that came last Tuesday were Violetta who is in 6th grade, yet she prefers to stay in my small group instead of gong to youth group, Alexa (5th grade), Lanisha (5th grade), Janisha (5th grade) and her impossible to please sister Tajah, and Violetta’ s sweet younger sister Lorenda (3rd grade).

(Janisha, pictured above)

As soon as I began to read the Bible story for that night Janisha tried to disrupt the entire group. She would interrupt, talk with the other girls who were trying to listen, and do anything that she knew would make everyone else as miserable as she felt. In the end none of the girls knew the story of the Sheppards and Wise Men, or about King Harrod who was ready to kill this new King. When I asked them questions on the story each time the said, “ Jesus?”

I gave up on the questions on the sheet and asked them a different one: “ Why is Jesus so great? What makes him so uniquely important?” the answers I got were, “Because He’ s a King.” Which seemed to be one of the few things they picked up from the story.

“What difference does that make? There were lots of kings, why was Jesus and better than any of them?”

Lorenda answered my question first, “ He had money and gold.” Several other girls added in that He had power, strength, and freedom. Each girl gave an example of what would make a king; each girl said an example of something they had never had. As all of the girls gave examples Janisha whispered, “ He had a home.” As soon as the words left her mouth I remembered that Janisha, Tajah, Unique (4), and Yakama (2) had all lost their house. No one had been living in the house since they couldn’t pay the electricity bill, the girls had been going from place to place for some time, but nonetheless, they had lost the place they called home to a fire, and probably felt more homeless than they had before. “ He had a castle, kings have castles.” All of the girls turned to me as though expecting me to do something; I have no idea what they were waiting for.

Janisha looked confused, “ What?”
“ Jesus was homeless.”
“ He was?”
“ Yep, Jesus never had a home, or gold, or power. So why is it so important that he came?”
The rest of the girls followed Janisha into silent thought. After a few moments Alexa spoke up, “He died on the cross!”
“ Why?”
“ To save us!”

Something told me that even though these girls had been coming to Bible Study and Kids Club as long as they could remember they didn't really understand what it all meant even though they knew the answers. I asked if any of them remembered when we did a story at kids club when we had two people and two sheets, one of the sheets had been splattered with mud and was torn, the other was white and clean. They all remembered, especially Lanisha whose brother had been the one to wear the white sheet. I explained how we wore dirty sheets, we were dirty with sin and Jesus was clean and pure. I explained why we should’ve been the ones to die, and why Jesus died to save us. And how Jesus took our sin on himself and put his pure white sheet over our sinfulness. The girls all understood and now, I’ m sure, feel different about Jesus, especially Janisha who hopefully will welcome the gospel more openly having found something she had in common with him.

Monday, January 3, 2011

More on the Christmas Feast

(Due to the generosity of God's people we (the Gberries and Sacred Road staff along with many teenagers from White Swan) were able to deliver gifts, Walmart gift cards, blankets and quilts, food, and a variety of other Christmas goodies to about 60 homes (approximately 230 people) this year! Amazing in light of the "struggling economy"!) ~Chris

Mary shares...

One elder we visited, shared stories with us for over and hour and a half. She stays pretty busy, but had come home to an empty house that evening and was happy to see us. Her home was roofed and painted by a team last summer and we have been close since then.

“I don’t know if you realize what you are doing through your Christmas feast" she told us. She talked about how full the longhouse was that night. (We fed well over 425 people.) The elder said she saw families there from all parts of the reservation. "They came from Satus, from Wapato, from Toppenish, from Brownstown, and of course from White Swan." She told us a story of how things were just before she came along and had continued until she was a little girl. When the longhouse in White Swan was an old building, and when so many of the men and young men were off at war; the women would gather up their children in the winter and go to the longhouse. They would take whatever food they had, some bedding, and go to stay there together. There was a potbelly stove on the east end and one on the west end of the "home". The women would spread out in the room, put their provisions together and cook their meals together. While they stayed together, the older women would teach songs and stories to the children. They sang and talked together. Even when the war was over, gatherings like these would continue; but while this elder was a little girl, the gathering stopped. At the Christmas feast, she saw families gathered together, filling the building to eat together. The families represented families she had gathered with there when she was a little girl. According to her, not since then had families come like this from all parts of the reservation.

The Christmas feast is a big gathering. We are celebrating and inviting families to join in the celebration. The community is coming out to enjoy the celebration, a celebration of Christ’s birth. One of the Indian women who sat next to this elder at the Christmas feast was a visitor to the Yakama reservation. At the end of the meal, the visitor turned to the elder and said, “Do you do this every year?” The elder hesitated a moment and responded that they have a church group that uses the longhouse each week for Bible Study and hosts the Christmas feast each year. She explained that the church group has helpers from all over and especially from While Swan. The woman was astonished at this use of the longhouse home. She couldn’t understand why the longhouse elders would let those of a different religion come in and use the "home".

Our friend was happy to tell us this story during our visit to her house, she looked at Chris and me and said that we serve the same Creator. The visitor who sat next to her at the feast told her that "they sure do things differently there at the White Swan longhouse". She implied that her tribe would never do such a thing. Our friend simply replied, "I know you wouldn't."