The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sacred Road and Economic Development

This is an announcement we have long awaited to be able to share. March 8th was our 2-year anniversary of living here on the Reservation. It has taken us some time to get here, find a place to live, and be part of the ministry. We are just starting to learn about the culture, about poverty issues, and becoming familiar with current economic development ideas.

We have determined a plan of action for our economic development efforts here on the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Summary of Project
Basic job skills and financial literacy are limited with youth and young adults in the White Swan community. Many youth do not graduate from high school. Even if they do graduate, they are often not prepared for college. They have limited examples of working, career minded adults. Many lack the character skills to take advantage of employment opportunities. We seek to help build character skills in the youth of White Swan to make future employees.

We are starting a silk-screening business with the purpose of teaching youth and young adults vocational skills by running an actual small business. We will combine this small business training with WorkLife (learn more about this class here) and Financial Literacy curricula to provide additional job skill training in a classroom setting. Youth involved in the program can either stay in the program to work in the business or move on to other business opportunities.

Character Skills
There is economic research done by Nobel prize winning economist James Heckman, that shows character skills (emotional stability, agreeableness, extra-version, conscientiousness, and openness) predict a wide range of life outcomes, including educational achievement, labor market outcomes, health, and criminality. The predictive power of character skills rivals that of measures of cognitive ability (IQ). Sacred Road currently has limited ability to help with cognitive and education levels, however we can be involved in helping individuals learn character skills.

Programs intended to help young adults that are the most promising integrate aspects of work into traditional education. In years past, adolescents took apprenticeships where they were supervised and mentored by adults. This mentoring involved teaching valuable character skills—showing up for work, cooperating with others, and persevering on tasks. Many skills not fostered in today's high schools. We hope to be able to have a program that recovers the combination of vocational and character skills.

Proposed Program
We seek to combine actual vocational training through the operation of a small business with job skill training of the WorkLife curriculum. This serves to replicate a more traditional apprenticeship program.

There are many different skills youth will have the opportunity to learn in the business operations portion of this program. The youth will be involved in the purchasing of materials and supplies; creating t-shirt designs; computer software skills; printing and developing film; creating silk screens; printing t-shirts and sweatshirts and even posters; taking pictures for website sales; listing products on the website, and packing and shipping sold t-shirts.

We also foresee the youth involved in the marketing and selling portion of the business, and learning communication and presentation skills. They will also have opportunities for janitorial and other more basic skills.

The WorkLife curriculum provides basic job skills information that is significantly needed. This curriculum is written from a Christian perspective and provides the following skills: the need to arrive at work on time and consistently, resume preparation, job interviewing skills, conflict management skills, and the need for adapting to a workplace environment, among others. We will also add a financial literacy component once the WorkLife class is completed.

Providing youth with character skill training while showing them they can learn new skills and succeed will help provide a foundation in which future employment opportunities can be built.

I'll keep you updated on the progress of this program as we move forward. Let me know if you have any questions or might be interested in helping out in some way.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Mission Team

This past week was our first spring mission team here at Sacred Road.  There were teams from Covenant College and two RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) groups from James Madison in Virginia and University of Pittsburgh.  Here are some pictures from the week.  

On Monday it was so cold and windy that we bussed about 100 children to the church to play inside.

This little cutie on the left has the sweetest smile.  The dollhouse here on the right is something Heather German made and the little girls LOVED playing with it.  
Rachel had fun holding this little girl one day at Kids Club.  And these children on the right helped tell the Bible story -- can you guess what our story was about?  
Let me give you a hint -- plague of frogs!

I hadn't seen these two sisters since last summer.  The first summer I met them they were so quiet and reserved.  Now they know the routine and run around, giggling and having fun.  

This flower the kids colored was so neat -- a little hint of spring!!

I hadn't seen this sweet girl since August.  

Enjoying Sunday meal after church!

Thank you for continued prayers for this ministry as we share the love of Christ in the community.  

Friday, March 3, 2017

Les Schwab

I have never been in Les Schwab more in my life than when we moved here.  Our cars take a bit of a beating out here.  Not to mention there seems to always be a Sacred Road van or truck that Darren is dropping off at Les Schwab for repair. 

Today was one of those “I spy God” moments at Les Schwab of all places.  I’m sitting in the waiting room -- did I mention they have free popcorn?  I’m in the middle of a really good book so I was actually thankful for the time to read.  The hour was going by fairly quickly for me. 

Pretty soon a young blonde mom and her preschool age son came in.  She was friendly and we began chatting.  She said the roads near her home are really hard on her car --- and she just so happened to mention the roads she lives on (Mint and Tecumseh).  I kept my poker face on but in my head I was thinking, “what?  Those roads are right on the way to Hope Fellowship!”  I told her I heard some of the roads out that way had flooded with the melting snow. 

The conversation continued and as it unfolded, I told her we moved here so my husband could work on staff at Sacred Road.  She got excited and chatted away even more.  She said, “that’s right down the road from me!”  We talked all about the “house” that Sacred Road bought and I told her the mission teams came to help remodel it.  She said it’s been so neat to see the transformation of the church building.

Image may contain: 1 person, standingShe loved the connection we’d made and then she told me they’d taken their kids to the “Trunk or Treat” at Halloween in October!   (I didn’t tell her I was the lady in the silly spiderman sweatshirt but I was cracking up inside.) 

She told me how much they’d appreciated this event for their children.  She went on to tell me she works at Walmart and next year we should write a letter and request candy donations.  What a blessing to hear her enthusiasm.

She talked about the buses and vans she sees going up and down the road transporting kids.  I told her 80-90 youth come every Tuesday night for youth group and that we’d be taking them to Skateland this Tuesday.  She was so interested in everything. 

I don’t know if she’ll step inside that church someday, but I hope she might!  And maybe in 8 or 9 years when her little preschooler is youth age, he will join in with the BYGE (Best Youth Group Ever).  The story God is writing continues to unfold….

The children are growing up

Three summers ago I met a girl at one of the housing projects.  When we eventually moved to the reservation, this girl seemed to come to church fairly regularly.  Now I only see her only occasionally.  I have worried about her.  I see her growing up.  I worry about her future -- decisions that she will make or that others will make for her. 

She came to church this past Sunday.  I was thrilled to see her.  She is growing up – fifth grade now. You can see her on the brink of feeling like she is older and not a kid so much.  I hugged her and told her how happy I was to see her.  She smiled and then after church she came into the kitchen and asked if I needed any help.  I told her I’d love her help.  She worked carefully and thoroughly.  We exchanged sweet smiles as we worked.  She slipped by me and said, “Remember when we went to your house for the Valentine’s Day party?  That was so fun.”  I hugged her and told I remembered. 

She will graduate to the youth group this summer.  I can hardly wait.  I’m hoping that I might start seeing her again on a more regular basis on Tuesday nights. 

The children are growing up.  And just when they feel too old for Sunday School or sleep in too late and miss the bus on Sunday mornings, there is the BYGE (Best Youth Group Ever) waiting with welcoming arms. 

Monday, October 10, 2016


If I'm honest, I left for college at the end of the summer so worn out. I left exhausted and overwhelmed by the needs of my kids and worried about when I'd come back and for how long. I knew that as sad as I was to leave for college, the Lord wasn't calling me to stay on the rez. I know He wants me here in Idaho.

I was only here for two days before I realized that I had no idea how spiritually dry I had been. Being at church to sit in the pew and worship without scanning the isle for itchy heads and teary eyes made my heart ache so badly and at the same time felt like something I'd missed. I'm a month in and it still feels almost like a luxury. I sit there taking notes frantically and feeling like I need to soak it all in.
NNU offers chapel three times a week and student led worship on Wednesday nights and I've been to every single one of all of them; I sit there soaking all of it in, too, letting myself be filled up again and again and coming away each time more thankful for my Father's grace. My professors pray and read Scripture at the beginning of almost all of my classes and I'm getting more of His grace there too.

For He satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul He fills with good things.
Psalm 107:9

I'm filled to the point where I feel so full and I'm tempted to wonder how the Lord could possibly fill me more, but He does and it is so good! I've struggled a little with feeling guilty for being so full. I don't feel like I'm pouring myself back out, out of that fullness. Shouldn't now be the time that I'm able to pour myself back out, now that I'm so full? is the question I've asked over and over these past few weeks.

Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Psalm 116:7

Fall break has been this weekend. I've needed this time to think about the past couple of years and also the future, and the Lord has blessed it. I'm realizing that as much as I miss the rez, I need this time for my soul to rest and be refreshed. I'm realizing that although college is a calling and a ministry in and of itself, this season of my life doesn't look anything like the first and that's okay. It's good, even. Jesus himself spent 30 years of preparation before His 3 years of ministry. I can say with confidence that the Lord is having His will and that He is preparing me for the next season of ministry.

It is well with my soul.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Church family here too.

I went to United Reformed Church of Nampa for the second time yesterday. They're my new church family and the worship already feels like home and the rest will soon. I got home from church and pulled off my dress that I never used to wear to church because I knew I'd hold toddlers. I changed into jeans and a tshirt as fast as I could so that I could FaceTime my kids. 

The first held the phone from the beginning to end and I saw real smiles and heard her laugh, "Emily, there's something I need to tell you" and "I have friends in my class" and felt at home as she walked me around church home. She let me feel the wind on the swings and go down the slide. She told me about Gideon and his 100 men who helped him win the battle, and I told her that I'm taking a class at school so I'm learning about the Bible too.  

She asked me when I'll be done with school.
"I'll be here till summer." Four years seemed like an awful answer.
"When will I get to see you?"
"I'll see you at Christmas, and I can't wait."  

Then the phone got shaky for a second and I saw another set of huckleberry eyes behind little rectangular-rimmed glasses as she climbed on the monkey bars. She balances now and controls herself and my heart swelled with joy for her as she smiled.

"Do you remember me?" I hadn't seen her since July.
"HEY I remember you! Where you at?"

The first took the phone back and told me that she was going to look in the jumprope line for her brother because he usually jumps rope after church.
"Hey Emily! How's it going?!" were the first things out of his mouth and I barely had time to answer before little sister took the phone back.

I'm thankful for the love of these little friends. I'm also beginning to love worshipping with a new church family here where I'm blessed by all ages and thankful for the kind people who invite me into their home for lunch on Sunday.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Memorizing Scripture

I get really, really excited when I hear someone is memorizing Scripture.  Having Scripture in our hearts and minds is life changing.  The Word of God is living and active, as you know, and I believe our lives can be transformed when we have Scripture stored up within us.

This past summer the BYGE Hope Fellowship youth group (BYGE means Best Youth Group Ever) began memorizing Scripture.  I was pretty excited to hear they would be doing this.  Chuck Clevenger (he oversees the youth of Sacred Road) picked 11 verses for them to learn.  Each week there was a lesson at youth group and a verse to memorize that corresponded with the lesson.

The youth blew me away.  They began learning the verses.  Each week Chuck would review verses at the beginning of youth group and hands would shoot up around the crowd.  The youth would recite the verses aloud.  They were hiding God's Word in their hearts.  It thrilled me and brought a few tears to my eyes more than once.  Interestingly, school can be a challenge for many and some youth struggle to read, but they were able to retain some Scripture.

Love these gals from BYGE
At the end of the summer, the youth were rewarded with prizes depending on how many verses they could say.  In fact, there were 6 or 7 youth who quoted all 11 verses.  It was incredible!

Here are a few of the verses they learned:

"All who call out to the Lord will be saved."  Romans 10:13

"There is nothing truthful about the devil.  Everything he says is a lie."  John 8:44

"God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete."  Philippians 1:6

"Christ gives me the strength to face anything."  Philippians 4:13

God is doing great things in the hearts of these youth.  Please pray that the Scripture they now have in their minds and hearts will transform them, encourage them and bring them hope.

Romans 15:4 "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."