It was fun helping at Kids’ Club. The children really enjoyed piggyback rides, and we played tag a lot. Also I am glad I was able to help build the playground at Hope Fellowship. It will be an amazing place for the children to play when it is finished.
When I was a part of the Yakama mission trip team in 2012, I saw the impact Sacred Road’s ministry had on the Yakama youth. I had the opportunity to experience Sacred Road’s weekly ministry to the middle and high school youth of the community. About 75 youth played games, ate pizza, sang praise songs, and dug into scripture with small groups. Some of the youth assisted the adults with leading the songs and small group discussions. It was a vibrant and hopeful atmosphere. I heard youth share about their relationships with Jesus and how He is their hope and salvation. Some high school students’ participation with Sacred Road extended beyond youth group to homes in the community where they helped replace roofs and paint homes. Yakama youth, not just missionaries, participated in the work of sharing the Faith in both word and deed! I hope and pray that in a generation these Yakama youth will be the primary ones who will be sharing the gospel and impacting their own children and community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the mission trip, I was blessed to help build a fence and the main sign for the church. I enjoyed being able to help the church with their projects. Douglas, our work team leader, was from Mississippi. Therefore, we enjoyed learning how to do a southern accent while working. During kids club, I would usually run the jump rope station. Every day I held the jump ropes while the kids would try the challenge of the Double Dutch. For some kids, it was their first time; while others were making it to 120 jumps! It was a blessing to work with the ministry to help provide hope for the children.
I found this year’s trip to be a little different for me. Excited to go I had a few mixed emotions upon returning. Part of the trip is geared for new comers. Sitting through orientation, going to the museum and so forth is repetitive but necessary for those coming the first time.
This being the third year it was exciting to see God move through the building of His church. Getting to be a part of service was awesome. Seeing acquaintances that we have made. Spending time with Thomas, Al, and the Granberry’s. Talking with Chuck, Veronica, Joshua, Jade and Wendell. Being part of something and serving God outside of our home town and ERC which is w hat we are called to do.
I really did not make any new connections with any particular child and I am not sure why. Was it me or the kids? Thomas and Al are grown and Thomas is heading to college. It would be nice to make a new connection to continue helping a child when we leave. To be more than just a one week stay and back to life in Tacoma without a connection. I cherish my relationships made with Thomas and Al. I sort of missed working at someone’s home, but in that same breath we were building a home for many in Christ’s church. Many children call Hope Fellowship their home.
A highlight outside of serving to our brothers in Yakama is spending time with the kids from ERC that I usually do not know well enough. I see them every week; I walk by, smile and nod. Something about road trips, living in the same quarters, passing the evenings together, talking about the day’s events. Hearing stories about their families, finding out about their talents. Watching some come out of their shell. Not letting them be quiet, not letting them sit on the side lines when we are playing. Now back at home, I can talk with them, we have something in common. We communicate at church and on facebook. I talk more to their parents as well. Al in all, the Mission trip helps me to grow, to open up and love others and to serve God. I am blessed for every trip I have made and I am humbled by what God has given me.
White Swan Mission Trip 2014
I was thinking about the trip and I thought it’s not about me, it’s not about playing basketball at the church or talking with the other church kids. It’s about the youth there, talking to them, playing with them. it’s also about what you can do to serve. What you can say to them about God. It was my time there and I saw dirt, I saw houses that needed some repair just like the rez. I want that place to excel. I want that place to lift up their eyes to God. I want them to put their trust in Him. In closing I want that nation to open up their arms wide to all. I hope that one day they can see that even though they have little, they can be rich in the mercy of God. That’s what I have to say about my experience in White Swan Washington.
I have loved the past 4 years I’ve been at the rez. I have seen the beauty in brokenness, [more like God’s love in brokenness] I have made so many friends, young and old. The work is hard, hot and extremely satisfying whether we work on a native family’s house or the Hope fellowship Church. Playing with the kids is heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time. To be up close and personal with the kids at the park, to see the neglect and the abuse is heart wrenching. But to see their faces light up when someone actually wants to engage them and play with them and pay attention to them…priceless. The native youth that help work on houses, churches and playgrounds are so encouraging. They are making a home for themselves, a safe place to call their own and they respect and cherish that space. The Sacred Road Ministry team is one of the most amazing, loving and selfless group of people ever.
Sacred Road ministries is engaging, loving and praying for the next generation of native youth to become whole in Christ. I pray the new church Hope Fellowship will be a little heaven on earth for the youth and all that attend.
2014 Mission Trip Debrief
I’ve had the great fortune to be on a mission team for Sacred Road for three consecutive years. Every experience has opened my eyes to the immense poverty hidden so close to home, but also to the capacity for the Church to take an active role in meeting the needs in this community. My introduction to mission work on the Reservation was possibly also my most labor-intensive year there, since our team was working to replace a roof. My experience with construction and demolition work had been minimal up to this point. You could trust me to know which end of a hammer to use- most of the time, but not too much beyond that. In addition, I wasn’t a big fan of heights. Fortunately (in that respect) there aren’t many houses there that are more than one story. In spite of all of this, I was struck by the amount of work our team was able to complete, and with the quality of it. A small group of staff and interns were able to guide a group of volunteers of varying levels of skill and experience, united only in our willingness to improve things, to do a professional level of work in a relatively short time. And this story has been the same every time I’ve been there. Equally impressively, they, and we, have managed to do it without anyone having been injured on a work site. Yes, even I managed not to fall off of the roof my first time around. Clearly, the hand of God is at work here. The following years our team worked on demolition and construction, respectively, at the new Hope Fellowship Church. While this was less personal than working on someone’s house, the work we did there was laying the foundation for a ministry that could bring community, healing, and most importantly grace to many people where it is much needed. It has been encouraging to see the impact our efforts have had. Even though each time I’ve been there a relatively short time, we always leave having made significant progress.
I would, of course, be remiss not to mention my experience with the other arm of the Sacred Road, the children’s and youth ministry. At first, I had a similar level of doubt as to my inexperience with construction. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to relate to the kids there, or if they would trust me. But thanks to the years of work that have put into creating a supportive and safe ministry, it was something that came relatively naturally. It’s a sobering, nay tragic statistic that nearly all of the children and youth on the Reservation have experienced abuse, neglect, or both. It can make you wonder what you could do in the face of such a reality. The time we spent leading activities for the children seems like a simple thing, but it’s possible that this is the only positive influence they have. From what I have seen and from what I heard from the local youth, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting, it’s had a definite impact. Even small gestures can go a long way, and God has a way of multiplying them.
This year a friend and I have had the ability to enter into a sponsorship for Sacred Road. Through this I’ll be able to continue to lend my support from home. I’m very glad that our church has been partnered with a mission program that is relatively close to home. It’s for this reason that I’ve been able to participate. While there’s nothing wrong with going far abroad for missionary work, the increased amount of resources required can make it prohibitive for some, and there are still needs to be met locally. It can be those that are closest that can be easy to overlook. In closing, I consider myself very blessed to have had the opportunity to serve with Sacred Road. It has been my honor to show the love of Christ to, as they put it, our First Neighbors. I also value the closer friendship I have with everyone I’ve gone with. I plan to keep going as much as I am able.
“…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
So glad to have been with these people on these trips, so glad for the friendships we have made and hopefully for the lives we have touched.