Saturday, January 22, 2011

Broken Hearted

That is the only word that I can think of after we left the village we went to yesterday.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about everything that I saw (neither has Eric for that matter).  I couldn't sleep last night.  I don't even really know how to describe it.  Just poverty and oppression.

We went to the village to meet with a lady about starting a Bible study/church in her home.  She is open to this.  At this time, there is no church in the area.  It would be considered an unreached village.  Exciting, right?  The only thing is that it is not possible to meet in her home.  It is falling down.  Part of the roof is missing. There is no electricity and no water.  Not to mention rattlesnakes. 

This was their shower and bathroom-when they had water.

The precious little ones that live there too

This is the stove she made herself

We prayed with her and the kids, and told her that we would try to help her in any way that we can.  Most importantly we tried to share Christ and that, through a relationship with Him, there is hope.  Please pray for this family and community-as this is just one of many houses like this there.  Pray also for us as we minister to them.  Pray that we meet their physical needs the best we can.  Pray that they see Jesus in us.  Pray for a church to be started, that lives will be given to Christ, and a community be changed for His glory!!

"Jesus replied, 'What is impossible with men is possible with God." -Luke 18:27

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Prayer Requests

As we have began the ministry God has called us to here in AZ, it seems the conversation that has been talked about the most is spiritual warfare.  Here are the verses we read and discussed last night during church:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12
We know that Satan has a stronghold in this community, with the children and teens especially.  We have been gearing up for battle since we knew we were moving here, but now, we know that we are heading to the frontlines.  We ask that you please continue to pray for us!
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

Here are some specific requests:

1. When we arrived, we met a man named Doug.  He is a church member and has a very willing and eager heart to serve his community.  He was so excited that we were here.  What we didn't know in the beginning was that he had been away from church for some time (years).  He had struggled with lots of stuff.  It wasn't until October that he started coming back to church again and getting involved.  He saw that people were working on our house here and came to see what it was all about.  Then he started coming every day and helping too.  God has truly transformed his life, and he is on fire and ready to serve,teach, help,etc.  Please pray for him as he battles his "old" life and shows his family and friends his "new" self.  Pray for Eric as he starts to disciple him and teach him how to teach a Sunday School class.

Eric and Doug
 2. We are going out into the community on Saturday inviting kids/teens/families to church.  There was one 8th grade student that came to church last week.  As Eric and Doug started talking with her in Sunday School, they asked her who would she want to come to church with her.  She started listing off names of other teens and they had 15 before they knew it!  So, we are going on Saturday to try to find these kids. We asked other church members last night if anyone would want to go with us.  We know for sure of one other lady that said she would go.  This is a big deal.  Outreach events don't happen very much here.  Please pray for us as we go.  Pray for the students/families we will come in contact with. 

3. We got the opportunity yesterday to meet another missionary family that moved to the Tohono O'odham reservation.  They moved one week before we did.  They will be working in Sells, which is the capital of that reservation.  It's funny because they are just like our family but a few years older.  He was a youth pastor, they have 2 children, and they are focusing primarily on children/teenagers/and young adults.  They also live right next to the church they are working with.  It was a neat time of sharing what Christ had done in our lives, of how we had gotten to where we were, and the visions we had for our ministries.  Did I mention that they are from Tennessee?  It was nice to hear someone else with a southern accent :)  Seriously though, I think we will become good friends and ministry partners.  Please pray for their family: The Ware's-Eddie, Candy, Dakota, and Caleb

Ken and Thurleen Bain, Eric and Brittany Gibbs, and Eddie and Candy Ware

4.  Please pray for these spiritual leaders here on the Gila River Indian Community. 

Eric, Dr. James Cecil, and Aaron Johns-pastor of First Pima Baptist Church

We'll keep you posted on how things are going and give you more prayer requests.  Thanks for going to the throne of God with us and for us!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The first week

Well, it has been a little over a week since we have became residents of AZ.  It's been a great, busy, and a little overwhelming week.  We've had the opportunity to meet many new people and experience lots of new things.

The day before it was time to take my family to the airport, we decided to do something fun.  We drove along the Apache Trail.  It was absolutley beautiful!!  There were many places to stop along the way.  Here are some pics of our fun day:

Superstition Mountain

Canyon Lake- absolutley beautiful!!

Goldfield Ghost Town

We were also able to make many significant connections this week with the help of a new friend, Doug.  The first connection was with a youth center for drug and alcohol abuse.  This center is really close to our house.  There were about 5 youth that came to the church on Sunday from this center, however, everyone at the church said they were very inconsistent about coming.  So, we went to find out why.  The clinical director explained that there were not enough staff on the weekends to really allow them to come very much.  We asked if would be a possibility for us to come there and have church/ Bible study with them.  He said that it would be great for us to come!  He told us that no one had ever done anything like this before!  We are super excited about this because the youth are in the center for a minimum of 12 weeks; so we know for sure that is how long we will have to minister to them and share Christ with them!

Two other connections were made this week.  One with a group home that houses 24 children ages infant-17.   We intend to go back this week and talk some more.  Another with the local Boys and Girls Club of Sacaton.  We have to fill out volunteer applications, and we have had our fingerprints done and sent off.  We would be able to volunteer at the center everyday if we wanted to.  It is open in the summer as well.  The director said they have about 150 kids during the summer and some stay from 8 am-8 pm.  Wow!  What a ministry!  Although we can't do Bible studies with them (yet) we can still minister and share Christ with them on a personal level. 

Speaking of children, Ella and Brayden met their first friend this week.  She is a granddaughter of a church member, but she nor the rest of her family come.  She played at our house for about 4 hours one afternoon.  All the kids had a great time.  Ella said, "I hope she will start to come to church!"  This just goes to show that our children are just as much missionaries as Eric and I are.

On a different note, Eric and I went and got a new driver's license.  It was quite the experience!  We thought we would just walk in and get a new one just like we were still in Benton, KY.  However, we pulled in the parking lot and there were a jillion cars in the parking lot with twice that many people inside waiting.  We had to wait in line for information, then fill out a paper, then get back in line to turn in the paper, then get a number, and sit and wait for a complete hour to be called.  Exhausting! 

Eric and Brayden also needed haircuts.  This was quite the ordeal because only one person, maybe two have ever cut their hair before.  It was hard to know who to choose, so we just picked one off the street and crossed our fingers.  It ended up being fine.  Their new haircuts look good!

So, that's about enough for one post.  Please continue to pray for our family and the Gila River and Tohono O'odham Communites, as well as the San Carlos Apache tribe.  

Much love,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Packing, Traveling, Moving, & Settling

Wow these last couple of weeks have been wild! But we are now officially on the mission field! It is hard to believe that what we planned for and anticipated for the last 15 months is finally here. It has been a great journey so far and it has only just begun.

We began packing our belongings last Friday, (thanks to the help of several family members and friends) and continued packing all day Saturday. You really dont realize how much stuff you have until you try packing it all into a moving truck. We rented the biggest moving truck that Penske had and it took the entire thing and then some, but we got it all!
We started our 1700 mile journey early Monday morning. We drove for about ten hours or so and ended up in town about an hour east of Dallas. It was our first experience driving in Texas and I now know one thing for sure, Texas is a HUGE state! We continued this task of driving for hours on end for three days, but we were able to see some neat stuff along the way . We saw wind turbines for the first time, it was awesome to watch hundreds of them turn as they seemed to go on for miles. On our third and final day of traveling we got caught in an interesting situation while we were eating lunch. A ladies car burst into flames in the Pizza Hut parking lot. No one was hurt but it did make for some interesting pictures while we were blocked in by the fire trucks. Although the drive was VERY long, praise God it was smooth and relatively uneventful.

As we have said before, the way God has orchestrated this entire process has been absolutely mind blowing and when we arrived on the reservation on Wednesday we were again blown away at his amazing hand at work.

We're Here!

When we arrived, we were greeted by several people who were anxiously awaiting our arrival. They were eager to show us and tell us how God had been working on their end and in their lives throughout this entire process as well. We stepped out of the moving truck and the blessings began to pour out. The men and woman who had worked tirelessly preparing the home we would be living in are amazing and the work they did on the house was just as amazing as they were. They walked us through a house that has had a total face-lift, (again it was all through Gods guidance and the obediance of His saints that this remodeling could have taken place). We were truly in awe.

Once the tour was over it was unloading time. Many people jumped in to help and it was quite a bit less painful than the packing was. It has been four days now and each day we are settling in more and finding our way around the community and meeting its wonderful people. We have been able to experience alot of things in just four days. We have now had two wonderful services with the people of First Pima Baptist Church, attended a rodeo on the reservation, eaten the local cuisine, and seen many people who need Christ. Continue to pray for us as we serve with these wonderful people to which God has called us.



Indian Taco-- Delicious!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support, we are expecting great things from God as we begin to minster to and with the people of the Gila River Indian Community!