Friday, January 6, 2012

(left to right: Davy, Mary, Chris, Beth, Morgan, Ann Marie, Connie, Marisol)

Merry Christmas from the Granberrys!

This year the first verse of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” has really gotten my attention. It tells us to “rest”, to let nothing “dismay” us, as we “remember” that Jesus has come! I can’t think of a more timely message than that! Can you? It goes on to remind us why He came; to “save us from Satan’s power, when we had gone astray”. The song tells us that these are “tidings of comfort and joy” and truly they are! When you think about it, there are no words that come close to providing the comfort and joy that this message contains. The fact that God has loved us enough to send Jesus to save us from the devil and from ourselves is the best news the human ear could ever hear! In light of these “glad tidings” I hope and pray that you too can rest, remember, and rejoice in the amazing love of God the Father and in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf, this Christmas. May the Lord bless you and yours richly this Christmas and throughout this year. ~Chris

As a worksite leader, I was put in charge of roofing the house of Rainbow (7) and Adora (5) on the first team week of the summer. Two of their cousins, Odessa (5) and Sharyce (3), live just across the street. On the third team week I was overseeing the roofing of the house next door to Rainbow and Adora’s. Both of these weeks have had a big impact on me. I was shown again and again the effect that so many people have on the children where we work. These four girls have been my special buddies for a long time. It was fun for them to watch me as I worked on these roofs. Each morning they would be roused by the banging of hammers on the roof and know that we had arrived. I would watch as they slowly came outside to observe us as we were pounding away. It became routine to hear them call my name, one after another. They would shout, “Beth!” (Adora and Sharyce had trouble saying my name and it sounded more like, “Bess”) Watching, as I turned to wave, they would grow silent. I started to call them my sheep because when they yelled my name it sounded more like little lambs crying “baaaa”. Gathering at a window, they would share a little pair of red binoculars, with Toy Story characters on both sides, to get a better view. Every two or three minutes I would have to come back into view and reassure that I was there to watch them play on a small and beat up set of swings or chase each other around the dirt yard. All I needed to do was simply stand on the edge of the roof, smiling, waving, and ever so often answering their calls. Just by doing such a small thing, I was able to love on these four girls in a meaningful way. Every time I heard my name I was filled with pride and delight, not because they were so good at swinging or running, but because they were “my girls”. Near the end of the summer, Rainbow and Adora’s dad was released from prison and they moved away to live with him again. Odessa and Sharyce were often not at home and I couldn’t see any of my girls. The longing and need I felt to embrace them reminded me of how much Christ wants to embrace us as his children and the delight He has in us. When you think about it, that’s why he came. He came to be with us, to cleanse us, and to delight in us! ~Beth (16)

I think Christmas is amazing because that is when Jesus was born! It is wonderful that Jesus was born because without Him we wouldn’t be alive! He is awesome. He has brought us all together. If I didn’t know the Granberrys we wouldn’t be a family. I’m excited this year because I get to spend time with my new family (especially my new cousins) as we all gather around. When I think about Jesus being born I’m glad that the shepherds and kings and angels came to see Him. I’m glad that they brought Him gifts, sang new songs to Him, worshiped Him and told everyone about Him! We should be like them too if we love Him! ~Connie (9)

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.’” (Luke 2:13-14) I wonder what it was like for the shepherds that night. Getting to hear a choir of Angels, singing praises to God. One minute they’re listening to the bleating of the lambs and the chirping of crickets, the next they’re witnessing the most extraordinary vocal performance of all time. For the last year or so, I have been leading praise and worship for our “baby church”. My favorite part about this time is getting to watch the children. As soon as my guitar is out, there are at least five kids following me around. Once I’m sitting down, they all gather at my feet to watch me. Listening to the kids sing gives me goose bumps. I love the looks on their faces as they watch me play. Not all of them know the words to the songs, most of them can’t even read along, but they love watching and listening as everyone else sings. It fills me with hope. Most of the children knew nothing of Jesus nine years ago, and now they’re singing praises to Him. It says in Revelation, that “every tribe, every tongue, and every nation” will be gathered around the throne. We will cast our crowns at His feet and join the Heavenly Host in singing praises to Him. I look forward to the day when many of “our kids” will sit at Christ’s feet, eyes and hearts fixed on Him, singing with the same angels who sang before the shepherds. ~Ann Marie (18)

“Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” John 16:32

Our first summer on the reservation I followed my dad as he got pictures and put together a simple slideshow for the teams to take home to share with their family and friends. I wanted to take part in taking the pictures or putting everything together. In a few years the slideshows began to include video clips and became less like a slideshow. Interns took on the job of putting together ten to fifteen minute videos and I helped collect video clips and a few pictures. I loved helping but always wanted to learn how to put everything together. A little less than two years ago I finally got the job. Having taken part in the photography and watching past interns and staff members work on it all on the computer I knew how to do everything. When I first got the job I thought I would still take part in the painting and especially the roofing on the worksites and tried to do what I could while still managing to get the footage I needed. Ann Marie and Marisol helped a lot by taking pictures, but as I tried to do it all I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish the videos on time and get to work with everyone. This last summer I focused only on making videos. Taking pictures and videos. Working on the video. Playing with “my” kids at Totus Park. Taking pictures and videos. Working on the video. Go to sleep early in the morning then wake up and start again. I felt alone. For about seven years I had gotten to know the teams, worked with the teams, interns, and my family, and gotten to hang out with my siblings. In getting the position I had wanted I had been separated from everyone around me as I spent time in the office trailer editing pictures. I have needed constant reminder that God is with me. In making videos the last two summers I have been given the chance to view everything that happens in one week and have seen that God is moving and working in unexpected ways through the people in White Swan and Warm Springs, which is a miracle few get to witness but is brought by the prayers of many and the incredible love of our Sovereign Lord. ~Morgan (15)

This year I was sent many places, such as Warm Springs, White Swan, and a three month furlough. I spent most of the summer in Warm Springs in charge of taking photos and making video that Morgan needed. It was a great learning experience for me, and I enjoyed it a lot. By the end of the summer, the children at kids club in Warm Springs all knew my name and would want to play with me. This was really special. Two of the five weeks of the summer I was in Yakima and I worked on the roofs and went to both Adams View and Totus Park housing projects for kids club. I enjoyed playing with multiple children in Yakima this summer each I can’t wait to see them when I return. This fall my whole family was sent on a furlough. It has been such a blessing. I have gone to six national parks and have gotten to spend two months in Florida. It has been a great rest for our family. So, I have been sent many places lately. All of which have been a huge blessing. All of this then makes me consider where Jesus was sent. Not so he could be blessed, but so that we could. He was sent to earth, from his comfortable, heavenly home, so we could be with him forever. The Lord of the universe was placed in a feeding trough, as a baby in rags, so that we could live forever. That is what I consider when I think about Christmas in relation to my past year. – Davy (13)

This summer I was on the roof with Beth all summer except the week that I went to Warm Springs for the first time. What was supposed to be a two-day visit ended up being the whole week. It was great to see the different ways God has spread his gospel through Sacred Road. My first day I was there I could not wait to go to kids club. When I arrived a little girl came up to me and played with me all day in the sprinklers and blowing bubbles. I never saw her again but when I was playing with she told me some of the Bible stories she had heard and how she loved hanging out with the previous teams that had come. I think until then I had forgotten how much the kids are processing about the word of God and remembering it even weeks later. When I became a small group leader at the end of the summer I got to see more of the kids on the Yakama Reservation. We were talking about Jesus’ life from his birth through the time where he raised Lazarus from the dead. Another great time this year when I got to see the word of God spreading is when we went to First Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama. The Sunday we were there the whole service was about missions and how you can help. They showed us videos of people working with the people in Guatemala, Jamaica, and right in their hometown, Dothan. Just seeing other peoples mission work and how the lives of people have been changed through Christians all over the world. This is what God has called us to do in the Great Commission. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Which is why Jesus came into the world. So I hope your Christmas is full of joy and the spreading of Gods Word. ~Marisol (14)

At the manger, those who were strangers became family and just like today, “ those who were far off have been brought near.” (Eph 2:13). How astounding it is that a simple couple from Nazareth, rough shepherds, educated wise men, and hosts of angels were all brought near to the newborn Savior that first Christmas. It makes me smile to see myself as part of this odd assortment of folks. It reminds me of my favorite Christmas memory. I was 13 or 14 when my family celebrated our first Christmas as a Christian family. This change caused some dissension among our extended family and we had no one to celebrate Christmas with that year. My parents did something unusual and invited others, who would have been alone on Christmas, to join us for dinner that year. We greeted our newborn Savior and strangers in our home that day and I was forever changed. After all, it is what Jesus would have done and the sort of thing he did do. After a sabbatical rest, I too am looking forward again to opening the doors of our home to our Savior and strangers. My parents’ example that “first” Christmas in the Murphy house has become a pattern for the Granberry family, as we share our joy of being brought near! ~Mary