Sunday, February 27, 2011

The truth of the matter is...

As the days continue to go by, we often stand in amazement at the power and provision of God in our lives and the life of His ministry to the Native Americans that He has called us to serve. But we are also reminded daily of the growing needs of the people that we are called to reach. Everytime we turn around God is showing us or introducing us to people who need Him in a huge way. Many times the circumstances and situations that we encounter are unexplainable through words; it is truly something you would have to experience to understand.

We get to share these needs with different people and churches a great deal and many times when we do we get asked the question..."why are they like that?"  or many people will say.."you know they are like that because...." and they'll have a hundred reasons for the needs that are present and the circumstances that come from them. The first question I often want to ask them is ... "what is that??" they are like what?? I want to say if it was that simple don't you think that someone would have "fixed" the problems already.  Don't get me wrong- the question of why is a legitimate question and the asker is often asking the question from a pure heart, but to try and answer it completely would be nearly impossible. The truth of the matter is... the only answer I can come up with is one that comes straight from scripture and it comes from John 9:2-3.

His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus,
"But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

I'm not at all saying that the people here are without sin, but what I am saying is that when the situations, circumstances, and people (whom many have deemed hopeless) are changed with the power of the Gospel, God's work is displayed in an all the more unbelievable way. When we see God changing a culture by changing lives it is no doubt that it is only by HIS power, and praise God that we get to be along for the ride!!

I say all of that to say this: Please continue to pray for the work that God is doing here on the reservations, especially in the village of Cockleburr.  This village is so close to our heart.  There is so much need and work to be done that, at times, it is overwhelming.  We desperately want to help Cindy and her family as much as we possibly can.  Just this week, we went back to put tarps on the roof of her house so that when it rained this weekend hopefully they would get a little less wet. 

Eric even had a little helper from the village

Of course, this is temporary.  Please pray about how we can help long term.  We have groups that have volunteered to come in and help build this family a very small (one room), but new house with plumbing.  However, this will cost several thousand dollars.  Another option is to find a mobile home and move it out to the reservation.  The moving cost alone is $3,000.   While we know that we don't have the money to do this, we know that God will provide a way.  God still performs miracles everyday, and we truly believe that He will perform a miracle in this village so that He gets all the honor and praise.  We also know that God chooses to use his followers to help serve and minister.  If you, a group you are involved in, a Sunday School class, church, etc. would like to financially give and get involved in this work please contact us and let us know.  You may send donations to our address: PO Box 2237, Sacaton, AZ 85147 and include a note specifying the work you are giving to.  If you would like more information, feel free to call or email and ask questions.  Feel free to also pass this along to anyone that you think would love to be involved in ministering to this village. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and remembering us as we love and minister to these villages and people! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This and That

We have been very busy these past couple of weeks (actually since we arrived in AZ).  It seems that everywhere we look there is a need to be met, everytime we turn around someone is at our door, and Eric's phone is the most used phone in the entire world (probably not but it seems that way) :)  But we love it!  It is the best "job" that we could possibly have.  We get to see God work miracles every day!  We get to see God change the lives of people!!  There is no way to describe it- just awesome!

Last week was our first Wednesday night youth service.  We had 10 students that attended, which is really good.  (You have to realize that AZ is not in the Bible Belt.  There are youth groups in surrounding cities that don't have 10 students on a regular basis.)  We had an awesome time hanging out with them.  When it was time to start the lesson, there was absolute silence.  The students were very attentive and hung on every word that Eric said.  It was just amazing.  It was the first time many of them had ever heard the Gospel.  Several of them admitted at the end that they knew they did not have a relationship with Christ.  Please continue to pray for these students and the new youth ministry.

Eric teaching under the ramada

Also, last week we went to look at a camp facility to take the students to either for a retreat or a camp this summer.  It was up in the mountains and really beautiful.   When we left our house it was about 75-80 degrees and by the time we got to the top of the mountain it was about 55 degrees.  There was even snow, which the kids were really excited to see!  Please keep this in your prayers as well.  We really would like to take the students here.  Most of them have never experienced anything like this before so we know that they would love it.  However, the church is not able to pay for them to go and the students can not pay for themselves to go.  So, we pray that God will provide a way. 

They picked out the bed they wanted to sleep in!

I have a lot more that I want to share, but the kiddos are needing me.  I hope to post again soon!  But before I go, I want to leave you with a verse that I have been meditating on this week.

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ..."  Colossians 4:2-3


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Just Jesus

This morning we had the opportunity and privilege to go to another church on the reservation.  Our purpose in going was to teach Sunday School to the kids or teens or whoever showed up.  The Sunday School program has dwindled to almost nothing, especially for the kids/students.  However, the pastor said that he was going to announce that we were coming and he was hopeful that kids/students would come. 

We were told that Sunday School started at 10 am.  Of course, here on the reservation, that could mean 10 or 10:15 or 10:30 or whatever time anyone wants to start, but we got there right at 10.  We were the second car in the parking lot.  There was one man and two teen boys.  We found out that we were doing Sunday School outside under the ramada, which was great because it was and is such a beautiful day-like 80 degrees. 

So we started out to the ramada with the boys and started talking.  Before we knew it, more kids had arrived.  We looked up again and we could see kids walking to the church.  Eric started the lesson and as he taught more kids came.  Before class was over, there were about 20-25 kids!!

After Sunday School was over, we got the chance to talk with the pastor for a while.  He was telling us the reason that we had class outside was because the electricty had been shut off.  People that live nearby had been stealing the electricity from the church and ran the bill up so high that the church couldn't pay it.  Also, the water had been shut off as well because a pipe had burst. 

So, this morning we had a "Just Jesus" (as Eric and I like to call it) service.  There were no lights, no water, no heat/air, no music or piano, etc.  just the presence of God.  It was an amazing service.  The members of the church were genuine.  They stood up and gave testimonies.  They asked for prayer for family members that were not Christians.  One younger woman asked prayer for a family member that had been missing since Thursday.  And do you know what happened?  We prayed right then for that family and for the person.  It wasn't in the program to happen or in the "order of service" so many times that churches think they have to stick to.  It was a time that was led by the Spirit of God.

As I sat and listened to the sermon, the preacher was giving accounts of some things that had happened in his life.  He is a very transparent man.  He used to be involved with drug trafficking and was even the driver for a drug cartel which landed him in jail/prison several times.  By God's grace and nothing else, he is a radically changed man.  His congregation loves him because he is able to relate to them and the issues that they face in their lives. 

It was just a neat service.  It was a service that focused on Christ.  The only distractions were the whispering of small children and the cries of a baby.  No one was worried about the lights or the instruments or if a song got left out.  God was glorifed in so many ways!  I think maybe there needs to be more "Just Jesus" services!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day After Day

We love this song!  You need to listen to it if you've never heard it.  It's by Kristian Stanfill. 

Men will try to rule the world You made
But we know power is Yours alone to give and take
A day will come when every knee will bow
And every tongue confess that You are Lord both now and forever

Day after day our God is reigning
He's never shaken
My hope is in the Lord
Time after time our God is faithful
Trustworthy Savior
My hope is in the Lord

The fear of man and what they plan will fade
When we know you alone are God of everyday
Like the flowers man will rise and fall
But you are everlasting never-ending God eternal

Let the songs of adoration rise
Our God is reigning up on high
He's worthy to receive the praise and the glory


Monday, February 7, 2011

Update in Pictures

Wow!  We have been really busy the past couple of weeks.  Here are some pictures so you can see what we have been up to.

We went back to the village mentioned in a previous post several times.  We took toys, food, blankets, clothes, shoes, etc.  We are going to help this family in any way possible.  We look forward to starting a Bible study soon!

My little darlings sang "Jesus Loves Me" in front of the church!

We had a Super Bowl party for the youth in the area.  We had about 8 girls come and had an awesome time!  They planned how they were going to invite more youth to come to church and decided they wanted to have a youth worship service on Wednesday nights!  We are all going door-to-door this Wednesday night!

We found a really cool park today in Chandler.  It has a playground, dog park, and archery range (which Eric was really excited about)!

Hot Stuff Baby with spaghetti mouth and all

Thanks for keeping up with us and especially thanks for your prayers.  We have seen God answer prayers so many times in the last couple of weeks!  We hope to update again soon!