Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yee-Haw Cowboy (and some other ministry updates)

The last few weeks have been eventful to say the least. We thought after the summer we would spend some time catching up on much needed rest and family time. (Just a side note, we had an amazing summer filled with mission teams from OK, GA, & KY, God used them in unbelievable ways!)

As many of you know, one of the biggest blessings that we have encountered while being on the mission field is the privilege of ministering with our new friend Doug. We met Doug the first day here and he has become a vital aspect of our ministry. Without his connections in the community, we would not be able to do many of the things that we do. Not only have we been able to minister with him, but we have seen God transform his heart each and every day.

This is Doug, continue to pray for him as God continues to use him!
Before God changed his life, Doug's past was a roller coaster of hard circumstances, bad  decisions, and tough times(to say the least). He had seemingly had "everything" only to have lost it all due to certain lifestyle choices and events. However, nine months ago God stepped in and put a stop to the ups and downs of the roller coaster and began Doug on a upward climb toward Him. Brittany and I have been able to witness first hand the transformation that has taken place and we daily stand in awe of Gods working in his life.

I said all of that to say this- Doug has a passion to reach the people of his community and introduce them to the same God that transformed his life. One way that he has recently done this is by holding the first ever cowboy church service at a rodeo here on the reservation. This wasn't just any rodeo, this rodeo was held by his Dad, and most of the people participating only knew Doug from his former way of life. So it was a crowd of people that probably knew him better than anyone, and now he was standing before them explaining to them, first hand, about the power of God and the salvation that comes only through knowing Jesus Christ.

I was privileged enough to get to participate, in the church service  not the rodeo :), and it truly was awesome. Here are a few pics of the church service and the rodeo.

Some of the singers during the service (Harold & Patricia)

My little cowboy and his rodeo buddy

This is his version of bull riding!

This is Doug's dad, Joker, getting ready to present the awards. I got to present the buckle for open bull riding champion!
 Another story along these lines that I would like to share also has to do with Doug. When Brittany and I arrived on the mission field we began seeking out people and places to build relationships with. One of the places that we came across was a Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse- Rehab Center. It is a 4 month residential program for Native American teenagers from all over the country. It is also very traditional and doesn't allow alot of outside influence from churches or ministries. But we (Brittany, Doug, and I) began to pray that God would allow us the opportunity to minster to these young people and He did. The teenagers from the rehab center have come to church several times but it was primarily for special events (VBS, Movie night, etc.) but never on a consistent basis. During this time God allowed us to build relationships with the kids and just fall in love with them. They are awesome. So we continued to pray that God would open the door wider for ministry there and he kicked it wide open.

A few weeks ago one of the counselors from the rehab center approached me and told me that there were job openings for male counselors and asked if I knew anyone who would be interested and/or qualified. So I immediately talked to Doug about it. He was very interested and we both saw it as God saying "here's your door, now go minister."

He went to the interview and they hired him on the spot! He started working there yesterday! Wow, God is Good!  Please pray that God would use him in big ways as he shows and shares the love of Christ to the teenagers there.


We have been able to meet some wonderful people since arriving in AZ, and many of them have become very dear to our hearts. One of the young ladies whom God has blessed us with just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. We are so proud of her for choosing life and for standing strong in her faith when others in her situation would not. She is an amazing young woman and is already being a great mother!

Brittany and Brayden with Baby Jace
It is often hard to put into words what we see God do on a daily basis. So please continue to be in prayer for us we strive to glorify Him and reach people with the Gospel.

Look For these updates in the next Post:

Cockelburr Ministry

Casa Blanca Baptist Church

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Baptist Church Fredonia

Wow!  What a summer!  Our last group of the summer just left on Friday.  They were from First Baptist Church Fredonia Kentucky.  Their team had 21 team members, and we had a great week!! 

We first started the week by attending church at Casa Blanca Baptist Church on Sunday morning.  Several ladies from the team taught Sunday School and Bro. Kyle Noffsinger brought the message.  After church, we had a potluck dinner with lots of yummy food.  We had a great time!

During the afternoon, we went to pass out flyers advertising the VBS we were going to do that week.  We went to Districts 1 and 2 (we have never done anything in these districts before.)  We spent several hours going door-to-door.  Overall, it was a great time and experience.  However, we did have a little bit of trouble at one house.  One of the men from the team, Earl, went to take a flyer to a man standing outside a house.  When he got up close to the man, several more men came outside.  They had been drinking.  The man from the house picked up the biggest 2 X 4  I have ever seen and started coming at Earl.  He told him they didn't have any children at the house and we went quickly on to the next house.  We finished passing out the flyers in the neighborhood and had to drive back by the house where all the partying was going on.  But this time, the guy had a gun pointing it towards the vans as we drove by.  It was quite the experience to say the least!  No one ever felt really threatened; it was more like the guy was just trying to tell us not to come back.  I, personally, think that this gave everyone a pretty good reality check.  The reality is that not everyone wants to hear about/know Jesus.  It shows just how big the mission field is.  Lost people act like lost people!  You can't expect differently! 

Anyway, I think that made for a memorable experience.  Later that night, we attended church at First Pima Baptist Church.  The team was able to participate in the Singspiration (a night of singing songs and giving testimonies).  Several team members sang specials.  We had a great first day!

Tom, Pam, and Phillip all singing a special

All the men singing together.  The ladies sang after this, but I didn't get a picture because I was up there with them.
 Monday was our first day of VBS.  We did this in District 2 (Hashan Kehk).  We had no idea what to expect because we had never done anything in this district before.  In fact, this was the first VBS to take place in 40 years!!  So, we just drove around to see if any of the kids we passed out flyers to wanted to come.  We had about 12-15 kids every day!  We truly had an amazing experience with these kiddos.  We were able to spend individualized attention with each one and really get to know them. 

Singing songs

It was funny because at the beginning of the week none of the kids had even heard any of the songs and they were kind of stand-offish.  But at the end of the week, they were singing the songs by themselves and begging to sing them!

Mrs. Beth and Caleb with their new friends

Mrs. Rena and Micayla with their new friends

Mrs. Pam helping one of her students with a craft

Brayden and his new friend, Alex

Mrs. Helen's class- pretty cute kiddos if I do say so myself :)

This was a letter that one of the girls wrote to everyone on the last day!  It was so sweet!  It says thank you for coming and teaching us about God and the Bible!
 Please continue to pray for these kiddos and this District!  Also, pray for us as we continue to try to serve this community.

On Monday night, we went to the village of Chuichu and passed out school supplies.  Some of the guys from the mission team also were able to build CB (the lady that lives there) a pavillion so that we can continue to do things at her house since there is no church.  She said that we are welcome to use her house anytime. 

We also passed out clothes too!

Setting up the school supplies

The pavillion the guys built!  CB was so excited!!!
Please continue to pray for this ministry as well.  The village seems to be opening up to us/church being there.  One of the boys even went to talk to CB about what it means to be saved!!! 

On Tuesday night, we went out to Cockleburr to pass out school supplies and we also had our church service.  It was great having so much help with all the kids!!  The adults had a great service as well.  Also, some of the men from the team were able to get Cindy's electric pole up and get everything hooked up so that she can have electricity for the first time!!!
Craft time!!

Sweet Tony

David giving Matt some love!

Ready for electricity

The team had a movie night Wednesday for the teens at First Pima and the girls at Desert Visions.  We watched "To Save a Life"  which is a fabulous movie that deals with most everything these girls are dealing with.  A couple of the girls are graduating from Desert Visions and one of our youth is moving to CA to go to boarding school this year, so we had a going away party for them too!!

On Thursday night, the women from the mission team had a Women's Bible Study.  We ate really good food, played some games, got to know each other, and studied the Word together.  It was a great night!!

The men from the mission team finished building the bunk beds for the dorm!!!  YAY!  No more cots!!!  Justin was also able to fix the lights so that each room has it's own switch!!

Just the beginning- I can't find a finished picture right now, but I promise they are!!

The mattresses!!

Thanks once again First Baptist Fredonia!!!  We had a great week and really appreciate all your hard work!!!  

By the way, we dropped them off at the airport just in time because on the way back home we got a flat tire in the church van :(  We were right in the middle of I-10 and everyone just drove by and watched.  Thankfully, we got it fixed in time to pick Ella up from school.  Then we got a call from a friend that also had a flat tire and needed help.  She was also on I-10.  It was not a good day for tires. 

This week, we hope to rest a little.  Thank you to eveyone that has prayed for us this summer.  It's been an amazing one.  But, please don't stop.  We still need them!!!