As many of you know, this is a very exciting time in the life of this ministry. Almost nine years ago the Granberry family moved here with the desire to see the Lord establish a church in the town of White Swan. Over the years a lot has changed. More families and individuals have joined our full time team, hundreds of people have come on one week teams to love and serve, thousands of believers have prayed faithfully and invested generously (including you!). We've also hosted over 400 Bible Studies in the longhouse for hundreds of people from the community. Hundreds move have attended the annual Christmas feast (sometimes 450 at a time). We have also had the joy of baptizing 75 people of all ages! All along the vision and the goal has remained the same: to see a healthy church established in White Swan. Well, on Easter Sunday, April 8th, we had our first official Sunday Worship Service! It took almost 9 years (I predicted it would take at least 12). We gathered in the longhouse for a meal at 6:30, then had worship and concluded with a baptism service.
Everyone loved the meal that the "Hope Fellowship" ladies made for us. The worship service went really well too. About 160 folks came and four were baptized! I was particularly struck by the singing (which resonated through the longhouse) and so many smiling faces. Another great moment was when a friend of ours, Bob, surprised us by singing a song about the resurrection before he prayed during the service. Also, it was really special to listen as Thomas, one of our teenagers, volunteered to read the account of the resurrection from the gospel of John. I had the joy of baptizing a five month old little girl named Ekko. She stole my heart with her big, chubby cheeks, black hair, and "huckleberry" eyes. I also got to baptize two brothers who are about 6 and 8 years old. They were so excited. And finally, a sixteen year old young lady named Amanda, who was beaming! I also had the joy of picking up an elderly couple, Slim and Sally, who had never come to our Bible Study before. They went to a lot of trouble to come because Sally is in a wheelchair and their car is in the shop because the ran into a horse a couple of weeks ago! It was hard for Sally to get in my vehicle, but she made it in. I thought this would be a one time visit to our church but at the end of the night, Slim and Sally were all smiles and said they would start coming every week! They also asked me about baptizing their great granddaughter, Sally Ann.
Please pray that all of the 140 (or so) folks who have been coming to Tuesday Night Bible Study will make the transition to coming to church on Sundays and that they will truly take "ownership" and recognize that this is "their" church. Pray too that many would "be added to our number". Pray that the Lord would raise up local leaders and that we would have many opportunities to continue to share the Gospel, disciple new believers, and "equip the saints for ministry" here on the rez.As I said above, it is a very exciting time in the life of the ministry and we hope that you share that same sense of excitement. The Lord is good and He is truly "on the move" here in White Swan. He is drawing many people to Himself and we believe the best is yet to come.
We could not be here without you. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your prayers, love, and generosity. May the Lord "repay" you ten times over.
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Rev. Chris Granberry (for all of us)