The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Friday, December 26, 2014

A History Lesson

Joshua Tsavatewa is the Children's Director at Sacred Road Ministries. He recently sent out the update below regarding a trip he took with Wendell Lee, a Yakama elder back to the east coast. He talks about the Indian Boarding Schools and their place in Native American history. It is very well done and, with his permission, I thought many of you might be interested in learning more about this.

As you read, keep in mind the ministry Joshua has with the children of the Yakama Nation. Joshua could use partners to come alongside him in prayer and finances. Financial partners that might come alongside him to help with his personal support as well as to fully fund the needs of the Children's Ministry. If the Lord so moves, here is the link.

Dear Friends and Family.

“And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”  Exodus 2:24-25

We recently covered the story of Moses with the children and this passage has been on my mind, and it’s long been one of my favorites. I love the sequence of God hears, God remembers, God sees, God knows, and then God MOVES, as the story of the Exodus then unfolds. His timing is not always ours but He is always at work. 

I’ve also thought about that passage because of recent events. At the end of September, Wendell Lee and I traveled to Pennsylvania for the East Coast Talking Circle. While we were there we went to Carlisle to see the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. In my letters, I haven’t talked about much of the past regarding Native history, and most of you have a general grasp of the tragic history.

Sadly, few know of the legacy of the boarding schools. Until the 1970s, thousands and thousands of Indian children were taken (often by force) from their families and raised by strangers while their culture was systematically destroyed and/or undermined. There are countless stories of neglect, abuse, mistreatment, and death. The schools were always run by whites and usually had Christian denominational ties. The schools have left many scars on Native communities, and the influence is especially seen today with many parents and grandparents who do not know how to love or care for children, as they were not loved as a child.

Carlisle was the first Indian Boarding School, and its founder famously said, “Kill the Indian, and save the man.” So when Wendell and I went to Carlisle, it was with very heavy and sad hearts. It was made even worse when we visited the old campus. It’s now a military base with no memorial to what happened. There’s barely any recognition of the hurt and pain that Native communities experienced and still feel today that came from those schools. Wendell and I had just been at The Talking Circle where we both shared about how Native communities feel forgotten, invisible, and ignored. Then we visited Carlisle to see one of the most important events in Native history brushed off. It’s not exactly the same, but imagine if Auschwitz were a giant German military base today with a few plaques? 

Carlisle, and every other Indian Boarding School, has a cemetery. 186 children are buried there. A few weeks ago, Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald spoke here on the Yakama Reservation regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Process in Canada and the trauma of Canadian Boarding Schools. He pointed out, “What kind of schools have cemeteries?”  At Carlisle, and all the others, hundreds of children died, and when you read their stories, it breaks your heart. I walked through the cemetery at Carlisle and read off the names – names that also belong to children I work with: Charles, Alfred, Maggie, Anthony, Lucy, Leah, Robert, Elizabeth, Percy, and so on. I also thought about the pain and heartache they face because of what was inflicted on their grandparents and passed on to them. 

There’s a lot of pain, death, hurt, and sadness in Native communities, and when I got back to the Rez, it all kind of overwhelmed me. I began to feel overcome by grief and despair. I talked with Chuck about my trip to Carlisle and it became clear that I can be nowhere else but here, working with the kids here to give them hope in the light of Christ. I thought of John 6 when many disciples leave Jesus and Jesus asks Peter, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter responds, “Where are we going to go? You have eternal life.” At times, it appears the light is going to be snuffed out and darkness will triumph. However, we, like Anna and Simeon, hold on to the promise, and believe in the one who has eternal life. 

We also know that the story of The Exodus is replayed over and over again in our lives and in others. God hears His people’s cry, remembers His covenant, sees the pain and hurt, knows our weakness and that we are dust, and then He Himself comes to deliver us. 

I write all this so you can have more insights into what we face here and how you can pray for us. I know God’s people have been praying for White Swan for many years and He is moving here. It’s a wonderful thing! Many are coming to faith and walking with God. But there are 310 Reservations in the USA, and 961 Reserves in Canada and I don’t know about the Indigenous communities of Latin America. But there are hundreds of pockets of poverty and darkness with layer upon layer of sin and sadness. Thank you for your continued prayer and support and please pray especially that God would bring more people and reach more Native Peoples. Pray that God’s people cry out on behalf of Native people, that God would hear His people, and He would move in Native communities. 

Here a couple of links if you want to find out more about boarding schools:
Here’s a great article from the Washington Post regarding a visit to Carlisle, and the story of Ernest, son of Chief White Thunder.

Rabbit Proof Fence is the best movie dealing with boarding schools. Aboriginal boarding schools, but basically the exact same as what happened here. Here’s the Trailer. Watch it; it’s a powerful movie. 

Here are some pictures I took at Carlisle. 

Please pray for us during the Christmas season. It’s very busy and the roads can get icy.

Please pray for me as I’m now teaching the lesson for the Middle School kids

We’ve been averaging 70 teenagers for Youth Group on Tuesdays, and as a result split them so the High school kids meet downstairs and the Middle School kids meet upstairs. It’s a great problem to have too many kids!

We took a record 95 teenagers to the Corn Maze in October, and it was a huge success, lots of fun, and a great outreach. 

We had an awesome Art Day in November! You can read and see more about it by clicking here

Grace and Peace,
Joshua Tsavatewa

Address (mail)                             
PO Box 223                                 
Harrah, WA 98933                                              

Address (support)
Sacred Road Ministries
PO Box 400
Harrah, WA 98933

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas 2014

Throughout this past week, I told the Lord that it would really make my Christmas if Rida and Azie showed up at church. But "Thy will be done," so I also told Him that I wouldn't be disappointed if they didn't come.

Fast-forward a few days, and there I was on Sunday morning at 10:30, dressing up three awesome Wise Men in some pretty cool make-shift capes and putting oversized foam crowns covered with shiny glued-on jewels on their heads. It was so priceless, especially when you tell them to follow the bright, stolid little Star, as featured below.

         I hadn't seen the girls, and I didn't really have any chance to be disappointed: the Wise Men kept me on my toes. It was 10:40 when I looked out the window. And who did I see walking from their car and into the church building? None but little Rida and Azie and their family! The girls looked like little beautiful, glittering snowballs, arriving in their white puffy dresses with white sweaters, creamy tights, and black mary-jane shoes. I don't ever want to forget the thought of seeing them in those little snowball dresses.

"Harmony," I whisper. 
The little girl's eyes light up and she gets a running start, her arms stretched out and ready to envelop that girl who comes to help in the preschool room sometimes. She hugs me and I'm not prepared for but very thrilled with the jump that lands her in my lap. Her huckleberry eyes focus on the picture she makes as she sits in her own little silence amidst the noise of at least a hundred kids. She colors, and I stroke her black hair that is half-braided and half undone, whispering one more time that I'm so happy she got on that red bus.


Her voice is four times higher than the average person's and she's at least four times smaller than the average person. Her bangs are uneven and she pointed to the words of Christmas carols, singing loudly the choruses that she knew. Her laugh is one of my favorite sounds in the world.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Little Reminders

As we’ve just come home from Hope Fellowship’s Christmas service and feast, evident reminders of God’s calling continue to encourage me. Little giggles and hands gripping my fingers make me stop and give thanks for this opportunity. God answering my prayers and bringing kids to church that I haven’t seen since the summer. The living nativity skit during church bringing smiles and laughter. Kids stuffing their faces with potatoes and cookies. Little voices singing songs about the birth of our Savior. Laughing my head off with fifth graders. Candy canes and beads flying everywhere. You can’t love too much or be too loved on with these kids. I can’t express how grateful I am to love on these kids and spend the next part of my life on the Yakama Rez.

Here’s a glimpse of Christmas at Sacred Road.

Me and Jill

Craft time

Alma and Tatiana


Me and Daylene
Emily and Alma

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Call to Missions

Our family will head to Colorado for a month of missionary/cross-cultural training in February 2015.  This is done through Mission Training International (MTI) -- a missionary training organization that has been around for 60 years.  We will attend classes and learn practical skills to help us through the challenges and adjustments of another culture.  We are all pretty excited to see what we will learn.  I've been amazed too, at the small world of how many people we know who have either been to MTI or know someone who attended it -- all with rave reviews. 

Interestingly, the last time I was in Colorado was when I was in high school.  I attended a nationwide Christian and Missionary Alliance youth conference, called "LIFE", at Colorado State University.  Hundreds of youth from the CMA denomination attended.  There were wonderful speakers and times of worship each day.

One evening someone spoke -- possibly Morris Dirks, I don't quite remember -- and it was about the call to missions.  The message touched my heart and I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about missions.  I went forward, prayed and told the Lord that if He ever called me into missions, I would obey and go.  I was pretty convinced that missions was going to be in my future.

Fast forward a few years later.  Darren and I were dating and I told him I thought I was supposed to be a missionary. He told me he did not picture himself ever doing that.  But he encouraged me and said, "We will serve the Lord in the church here in the U.S."  I agreed that would be good as well, but I did wonder why I had felt that strong call to missions that one night in Colorado.

When this whole idea of leaving our current life and moving to Sacred Road came up last year, one of my first thoughts went back to this night at the LIFE conference, of course.

I wrestled with it.  "Lord, you aren't asking me to go now, are you?  Things are different now.  My life feels settled and good.  We can't just pick up and go."  Hadn't that door to missions closed years ago?

Thankfully the Lord gently showed me that He was calling me now.  He reminded me that His timing and ways are different than mine.  He reminded me that He had put that seed in my heart long ago and now it was time to obey.  

I love how the Lord weaves our lives and how He knew He would be sending me back to Colorado someday -- for missionary training!  I never cease to be amazed at His goodness and perfect plan!

Monday, December 15, 2014

bittersweet weeks

These past few weeks have felt really bittersweet, and I write that honestly. This "both feet in both worlds" is hitting me hard. Lot 42 in the Porter's Landing Development is sold. I've been thinking and journaling and reading quite a bit lately, and Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt is hitting me over the head hard. Kind teachers and sweet friends have told me each day this week that they want me to stay in Bothell. It really does mean a lot - I'm thankful for the relationships that I've made, but they are exactly what makes this whole transition so difficult! Last night, with little Rida's sparkly summer butterfly from Kids Club hanging in my room, I wrote what ended up to be quite a long "statement" detailing why I want to be a part of Cedar Park's Independent Study Program. It was hard, I'll admit.

When you ask me if I'm excited, I'll tell you that I'm so excited, that I absolutely cannot wait to get to the Rez. The wobbly, singing preschoolers during church, the car mat at Totus Park, the see-saw and swings. The faces at Christmas, the tiny kiddos in the donated puffy jackets that are a size too big. I can't help but smile as I write this (I get to experience Christmas with them again this year!) The warm church in the middle of a cold, dry desert. Most of my heart was left in White Swan a year and a half ago. I'm beyond excited to be there all the time.

But on the other hand, this semester is moving much faster than I thought it would, and this transition much harder than I thought it would be. I'm so thankful for all of the prayers and encouragement over the past year and a half - it has been such a blessing. Don't stop praying for us now - please don't stop.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jesus Christ the Scandal of God

I'm in the midst of another good book that I'd like to share with you.

It is so easy to think of myself as this important person that does important things. As we go to White Swan, I frequently have to check myself. We tend to get many kind people saying very nice things about us and what we are doing. We are very thankful for this. But it doesn't help me to be humble. It doesn't help me to give glory to God for what He is doing in and through me. It is so easy for me to turn something into a me thing instead of a God thing.

I've been reading The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning and it has some really good things to say. Some of it I've questioned theologically, but there are some really helpful insights that Manning has regarding the grace of God that covers all our sin.

"According to Hosea, God is willing to maintain a relationship even when His spouse [Israel or the Church or me] has become a coarse and vulgar prostitute. This same conviction is carried into the New Testament. The adulterous woman is brought before Jesus. The god of religious leaders, who never got over Hosea's contribution, is expected to judge her. She has been unfaithful and the divine posture embodied in leadership would stone her. The God of the Pharisees is interested in the contract, in justice first and foremost. Let us kill the woman for the contract. The person is expendable. 

"But in the man, Jesus, we see the human face of God, one in keeping with Old Testament revelation. He is interested in the woman. His love moves beyond justice and proves more salvific than spelling out the ground rules all over again.

"Unjust? To our way of thinking, yes. Thank God! I am wonderfully content with a God who doesn't deal with me as my sins deserve. On the last day when Jesus calls me by name, 'Come, Brennan, blessed of my Father,' it will not be because Abba is just, but because His name is mercy." Pgs 103-104

I would add that God's justice is satisfied because Christ took the punishment for our sins. So He is both just and the justifier.  He is both just and merciful.

"For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, 'Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,' He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love. He knew that physical pain, the loss of loved ones, failure, loneliness, rejection, abandonment, and betrayal would sap our spirits; that the day would come when faith would no longer offer any drive, reassurance, or comfort; that prayer would lack any sense of reality or progress; that we would echo the cry of Teresa of Avila; 'Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!'" Pg 115

Isn't this just like God? He always flips everything on its head. Or more correctly, we've flipped everything over and He puts it right again. We are so focused on duty, on doing right. Jesus is focused on relationship, "Come to me . . ."

"Will we ever understand the gospel of grace, the furious love of God, the world of grace in which we live? Jesus Christ is the scandal of God. When the Baptizer is imprisoned by Herod, he sends a couple of his followers to ask Jesus, 'Are you the One who is to come into the world or should we wait for another?' Jesus says, 'Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the poor have the gospel preached to them, the messianic era has erupted into history, and the love of my Father is revealed. Blessed is he who is not scandalized in me.' 

We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground." Pg 104

We make Jesus into our own image. A peaceful, conservative, baby Jesus. (We even think we know what Jesus looks like, thanks to borderline, or maybe not borderline, but actually blasphemous books like Heaven is for Real.) But He turned to the peaceful and conservative of the day and called them a "brood of vipers." If Jesus doesn't scandalize, then we aren't seeing the real Jesus.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Banality of Evil

[Editors Note: This post has nothing to with Sacred Road and could be controversial. The fact that it could be controversial, however, is a statement in itself.]

Adolf Eichmann
This summer I read the book by Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. This book describes the trial of the German Nazi leader that occurred in Israel in 1961. Eichmann was accused of committing crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the whole period of the Nazi regime but especially during the War. Eichmann was instrumental in the deportation of Jews from various countries in Europe and then eventually in the transporting of Jews to the extermination camps.

What I'd like to do is quote several passages from this book with the purpose of showing how people like Eichmann could be instrumental in accomplishing the Holocaust and the entire German nation could support (or at least stand by and allow) the Holocaust to happen. And then draw an analogy to how the United States is passively and some actively allowing the holocaust of abortion to happen right under our noses.

In trying to justify his actions, Eichmann tried to point to the Kantian definition of duty. He defined this as "'I meant by my remark about Kant that the principle of my will must always be such that it can become the principle of general laws' (which is not the case with theft or murder, for instance, because the thief or the murderer cannot conceivably wish to live under a legal system that would give others the right to rob or murder him). . . . In this 'period of crimes legalized by the state,' as he himself now called it, he had not simply dismissed the Kantian formula as no longer applicable, he had distorted it to read: Act as if the principle of your actions were the same as that of the legislator or of the law of the land--or, in Hans Frank's formulation of 'the categorical imperative in the Third Reich,' which Eichmann might have known: 'Act in such a way that the Fuhrer, if he knew your action, would approve it. . . . It is true that Eichmann's unconscious distortion [of Kant's principle] agrees with what he himself called the version of Kant 'for the household use of the little man.' In this household use, all that is left of Kant's spirit is the demand that a man do more than obey the law, that he go beyond the mere call of obedience and identify his own will with the principle behind the law--the source from which the law sprang. In Kant's philosophy, that source was practical reason; in Eichmann's household us of him, it was the will of the Fuhrer. Much of the horribly painstaking thoroughness in the execution of the Final Solution . . . can be traced to the odd notion, indeed very common in Germany, that to be law-abiding means not merely to obey the laws but to act as though one were the legislator of the laws that one obeys. Hence the conviction that nothing less than going beyond the call of duty will do." pgs, 136-137

"Confronted with documentary proof of [Eichmann's] extraordinary loyalty to Hitler and the Fuhrer's order, Eichmann tried a number of times to explain that during the Third Reigh 'the Fuhrer's words had the force of law', which meant, among other things, that if the order came directly from Hitler it did not have to be in writing. . . . Within this 'legal' framework, every order contrary in letter or spirit to a word spoken by Hitler was, by definition, unlawful. Eichmann's position, therefore, showed a most unpleasant resemblance to that of the often-cited soldier who, acting in a normal legal framework, refuses to carry out orders that run counter to his ordinary experience of lawfulness and hence can be recognized by him as criminal. p. 148

"Eichmann . . . at least dimly realized that it was not an order but a law which had turned them all into criminals. The distinction between an order and the Fuhrer's word was that the latter's validity was not limited in time and space, which is the outstanding characteristic of the former.  This is also the true reason why the Fuhrer's order for the Final Solution was followed by a huge shower of regulations and directives, all drafter by expert lawyers and legal advisers, not by mere administrators; this order, in contrast to ordinary orders, was treated as a law.  Needless to add, the resulting legal paraphernalia, far from being a mere symptom of German pedantry or thoroughness, served most effectively to give the whole business its outward appearance of legality.

"And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody "Thou shalt not kill,' even though men's natural desires and inclinations may at time be murderous, so the law of Hitler's land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: 'Thou shalt kill,' although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it--the quality of temptation. Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to become accomplices in all these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation." pgs, 149-150.

I agree that comparing the US with Nazi Germany is controversial and not accurate.  However, it struck me as I was reading this book that we have so thoroughly cloaked abortion in politics and court cases and precedent that it seems to insulate us from the horror of what it actually is, the murder of our offspring. We have cloaked the discussion in conversations about choice and a choice it is, to murder our offspring.

The Nazi's were able to cloak their actions by changing the law to sanction the massacre of Jews, Gypsys and others that were defenseless and without advocates.  How different is this from the United States cloaking its actions (and Christians not doing much about it) under Roe v. Wade to sanction the murder of the defenseless unborn?

Friday, December 5, 2014


I've been thinking a lot about what is happening to us right now. In all areas of our life we seem to be cutting ties. I don't mean this to be a pity party. In fact, the opposite. We are in the place God wants us to be and excited to see what He does over the coming months.

At work, I've spent the last couple months calling clients, meeting with clients, and calling referral sources to tell them what we are doing and that I'm leaving VWC. Relationships I've had for years and years are ending (or significantly changing). I've spent a significant part of my life working alongside my co-workers that I won't be working with anymore. During some parts of the year I've spent more time with them than I have with my own family.

At church we feel like we are saying goodbye to everyone each week. Our brothers and sisters in Christ that we have been worshiping, praying and fellowshipping with have truly become our family.

Emily and Rachel are saying goodbye to their friends from school, co-op and church.

Susie has many friends that she scrapbooks with, met at co-ops and other homeschooling events, or as Susie is known to do, just become friends with.

Our family all lives here in the Puget Sound area. We frequently get together with them for holidays, birthday parties and just because. We've always lived close to both sides of the family. And while we will only be living 3 hours away, it's not 15 minutes.

While we've cut ties on this side of the mountains, we haven't fully established ties on the east side. We don't even know where we will be living yet.

In a sense, we are cutting ties from the world.


Not floating in the sense of the old Modest Mouse song. Not in the sense that we don't care about life and regardless of what happens we will just keep floating on.

But floating on the power of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of God's people.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Cost of Discipleship

What does it mean to follow Christ? How much of what we believe is affected by our culture? What lenses do we read Scripture through and how do those lenses impact how we understand Scripture? And then how does that understanding influence how we apply Scripture to our lives?

I've been thinking about these types questions lately. One of my concerns is how difficult it is to see blind spots in my understanding of Scripture. In my own life I've noticed how difficult it is to recognize when I am looking at things through a middle class American lense rather than a Christian lense. We live impacted and influenced by our surroundings and often can't see how those surroundings alter the way we think (or don't think) about things.

A book written a few years ago by David Platt, attempts to address some of these questions.  The book is titled, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. There are a few quotes I'd like to share.

"Somewhere along the way we had missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable. We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves." Pg. 7

"Yet the kind of abandonment Jesus asked of the rich young man is at the core of Jesus' invitation throughout the Gospels. Even his simple call in Matthew 4 to his disciples--'Follow me'--contained radical implications for their lives. Jesus was calling them to abandon their comforts, all that was familiar to them and natural for them." Pg. 11
Christ and the Rich Young Ruler

What do we do with the verse after verse in Scripture that tells us to give of ourselves, give up our lives, give up our belongings, give up our family? Many of these verses speak directly against what the American dream is telling us. Frankly, many are speaking against what today's American church is telling us.
  • Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-20a, 21
  • Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10: 37-39
  • Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let them deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26
  • At the end of Christ's interaction with the Rich Young Ruler Christ says, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Matthew 19:29-30
  • Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:32-34
  • Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. . . . So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:25-27, 33
  • Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me: and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:25-26
  • And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. Acts 2:44-45
It is really hard to know what to do with these verses.  It is easy to read them in a spiritual way and say that what we are to give up are simply moral vices. And we know that is true.

But its too easy to stop there.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Hearts

What a crazy year it's been! There are so many things that we have to be thankful for.  On this Thanksgiving Day I thought we'd  list a few of the things the Lord has done in our lives this year.

1. My firm has been especially gracious to us.  The long period of transition has enabled us to raise funds while at the same time providing for a proper transition to clients to others at the firm.
2. So many people have been encouraging and supporting of us as we've told them what we are doing. Particularly my clients that are affected negatively by the change.
3. I'm thankful for our family, parents and siblings, that has been behind us 100%.
4. It was great to have our Exile church family join us on a mission trip to Sacred Road last July. And now to see even more people signed up to go this next summer. To have our brothers and sisters in Christ coming alongside is amazing.
5. Susie and the girls spent three weeks on the Reservation in July and August. It was a make or break period of time and the Lord used it to strengthen and confirm our calling to join Sacred Road.
6. Yesterday, within two weeks of putting our house on the market, we signed papers to sell. In November to sell within two weeks? Praise God!
7. Raising funds has been an amazing experience.  People have responded like we never would have expected.  We have been able to tell hundreds of people about the ministry of Sacred Road.
8. We are thankful to be nearly to the end of this stage of this transition period.  The Lord has been so good this year. But having feet in both worlds has been difficult for all of us.
9. I am thankful that my two girls, ages 14 and 16, are excited to serve the Yakama Nation in White Swan. While leaving suburban life has it's difficulties, they want to serve the Lord.
10. I'm thankful for books like Don't Waste Your Life, by John Piper and Radical:Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, by David Platt.  They encourage believers to take risks for the glory of God.
11. I'm thankful for books like Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World, by Michael Horton that stress how important regular, consistent, obedient church life is in the life of every believer.

Above all, I'm excited the Lord has placed this call upon us. What an amazing experience to be in a place in which we daily know that the Lord is working on our behalf.  And while we know that He does that in the life of every believer we have been able to see Him in action in amazing ways this year.

"And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.'" Revelation 7:11-12

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Eye of the Storm

It has been a very interesting time for the Maxfield family the last few weeks. Through all of this I often think about what it means to live by faith. We use the words "step of faith" a lot. We usually use it to say that we live our normal life and then periodically we take a "step of faith" and do something when we don't know what the result is going to be. As if it is only in those "step of faith" moments when we can't see the future.

We too often don't realize that every step we take is a step of faith. Every breath is dependent on God sustaining us. How do we get outside the box that we have created for our lives? As long as everything fits inside our box then we think we are in control and we are content. The only problem with that is then we don't need God.

We put our house on the market on Thursday. It looks great and Lord willing, it will sell quickly. One slight problem though, we haven't found anything to move to yet. This is one of those moments where I'm sure people think we are a bit crazy. Moving full steam ahead to sell our house and get on the Reservation in January -- without any place to go if our house sells.

One of the other interesting things going on now is the many conversations with clients and referral sources telling them what we are doing.  This week I was talking to an investment advisor and had a very nice conversation. He referred to what we are doing as giving our life a sense of urgency. I hadn't thought of it that way before. But I really liked that word and the perspective it gives.

Sometimes it seems like one day just follows another. I go to work, come home, then go back to work the next day. While I know there are things that I accomplish, there is also a certain sense that it is just one more day at the office. (I've been listening to old UFO songs as I've been typing and one of the lines was "it's got so predictable, feel I've been doing time." Another song had the chorus "chains, chains, pulling us down." There really is a sense that we've created a life for ourselves that can feel like a prison.)

But when the focus is not on the job, or making money, or helping millionaires save more money on taxes, there is a sense of urgency to helping people.  There is a sense of urgency to trying to help create jobs so that someone unemployed can provide for themselves and their family. There is a sense of urgency to sharing the Gospel with someone that has never heard of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

December 2nd is my last day of going into the office every day at VWC.  All sorts of mixed feelings about it. There are a lot of good people that work there (several that I hired). I've worked with many of them for a significant period of time over the 16 years that I've been there. Many clients that I would call my friends I won't be talking to or seeing much going forward.

Looking forward to living life among the Yakama people. Sharing in the good and the bad, the easy and the hard. Living in a community in which we will be able to minister to others, while they minister to us. Being dependent on the prayers of God's people as they pray for us, Sacred Road and the Yakama people. But most importantly being dependent on the Lord as He works in us and through us.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Day on the Rez

We made another trip over to the Rez today.  Even though it makes for a long day -- get up early, drive over, go to church, stay for lunch and play with the kids, look at a couple of houses, then drive back -- we always love the trip.  Seeing the staff, catching up a bit and then spending some with the kids helps to reconfirm why we are doing this.

Two highlights of the day.

The first was seeing Octavia (named changed of this precious little girl).  I often refer to Octavia as appearing shell shocked.  Whether she has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is a crack baby, has other mental and emotional issues, or has any combination of those is not really in doubt. She is a handful to say the least. In the past, it has taken one person specifically assigned to Octavia to keep her focused and without creating chaos around her.

But as the kids were lining up to go into church this morning, I look over and all by herself Octavia is picking up pens and crayons and putting them in their containers. Then she was stacking up the containers to get things organized. I was amazed. In the last few months she has started to settle down, learn to control herself and is now even making a positive contribution. She's able to sit through church too and seems to be able to listen to the service and participate. Very cool to see how the time spent with her is having an impact on her life.

Me and Daylene on the teeter-totter
The other highlight was the little cutie, Daylene. I was able to spend some time with her a few weeks ago -- putting together a puzzle and then pushing her on the swing for what seemed like 30 minutes. Today she came in and sat down by me. I didn't recognize her until later, but when she first sat down she was her normal, quiet, shy self. She wouldn't talk to me until I commented about her temporary tattoos on her arms and then she wanted to show them to me. After church it was a bit of a struggle to get her to eat lunch; she really wanted to go play on the playground.

Once we got on the playground she wanted to swing on the tire swing, super fast, in her words. She wanted to slide down the slide, play on the teeter totter (see the picture), and pet the dog (Cooper). She asked me if I knew her brother and talked about what a nice dog Cooper was and told me about her dog. I found out later that she is known for not talking to anyone. Even her older sister talks about her not talking to people.

These kids struggle.  Their home life is a mess. It shows itself in many ways.  Like Octavia, they might be out of control, unable to focus and acting out.  Or they may be like Daylene, who doesn't talk to anyone and is a bit difficult to manage.

To be able to spend time with them, give them fun experiences where they can get away from the issues in their life and be around people that love and care for them is very special.  It can be easy to focus on that and say, "Look at all the good we are doing!"  There is good being done and the love of Christ is being extended to "the least of these."

But it can't stop there. Showing mercy without sharing the Good News of the resurrection of Christ does nothing eternally. It's like giving a band-aid to someone with cancer. Those of us in Christ are called to help alleviate suffering in this world.

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" Isaiah 58:6, 7

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. True suffering, suffering beyond just physical, mental and emotional suffering, can only be alleviated in Christ.  Suffering of the soul is alleviated by the true Shepherd.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You set a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23

Sunday, October 12, 2014

An Eternal Perspective

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently finished the book, The Christian Mind, by Harry Blamires. One area I would like to probe a bit more is this idea that Mr. Blamires brings up the supernatural orientation that Christians should have in their thinking.

He writes, "a prime mark of the Christian mind is that it cultivates the eternal perspective. That is to say, it looks beyond this life to another one. It is supernaturally orientated, and brings to bear upon earthly considerations the fact of Heaven and the fact of Hell. . . . The Christian mind sees human life and human history held in the hands of God. It sees the whole universe sustained by his power and his love. It sees the natural order as dependent upon the supernatural order, time as contained within eternity. It sees this life as an inconclusive experience, preparing us for another; this world as a temporary place of refuge, not our true and final home."  Pg. 67

Too often we think and act like eternity is not real. We think like all we have is the here and now.

If we think like the non-believer, the concerns over our retirement account, type of car we have or where we live take on an importance well beyond what they should. The pleasures of this life and today's circumstances take precedence over the love of God and our neighbor.

Our life right now is full of all kinds of things that take our minds off what is important eternally. Selling our house, packing and getting organized, transitioning out of my firm, trying to find a home on the Reservation. It is easy to get caught up in the uncertainty; to be anxious and try to take things in our hands. Even to begin to doubt when things don't go as smooth as we would hope.

It is also easy to get caught in all the things that we have to do and not focus life here and now. Emily going to Homecoming, our Pastor's wife that had a miscarriage and showing them love and care, taking advantage of opportunities to share the Gospel as we tell people what we are doing, speaking the truth to friends that are having marriage troubles. Life is going on around us and it is so easy to lose sight of what is important and what the Lord has before us - specifically - to do for His glory.

But then we go to church on a day like today and hear the following passages of Scripture read. A true dose of reality that helps focus perspective on life.

Preparation of Confession:  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in mercy to all who call upon you.  Psalm 86:5

Assurance of Pardon:  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

The Law of Christ:  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  II Peter 2:9-10

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Risk of Serving Christ

What is a risk? 


a noun: exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous choice.

Though some might say that my family is taking a great risk, I don't agree. John Piper sums up my thoughts exactly in his book, Don't Waste Your Life. 

“The tragic hypocrisy is that the enchantment of security lets us take risks every day for ourselves but paralyzes us from taking risks for others on the Calvary road of love. We are deluded and think that it may jeopardize a security that in fact does not even exist." (81)

In other words: risk is not real. Your heart could stop beating before the end of this sentence, yet you didn't think anything of opening up the link to this post. But if you were asked to travel to Africa with the "risk" of getting ebola, would you think twice? 

In my PNW History this week, I'm studying the gospel brought to the Northwest. The Spalding and Whitman's stories have been very impacting. On the day that Eliza Spalding and her husband moved onto the mission field with the Nez Perce Native Americans, she wrote, "I trust it is the love of Christ which has made me, not only willing, but anxious to promote my Master's cause among the benighted Indians. O blessed privilege to labor in the vineyard of my Savior; and point the lost and perishing to Him, for He is the way, the truth, and the life."

I don't believe that my family is taking a risk. I'm not saying I don't get scared, but I try to keep my mind on the fact that whatever happens will be God's will. The Lord has given me so much comfort as we keep moving on this journey. Even though I'm going to miss my friends here, I feel so privileged to go and serve in a place that needs Jesus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

change in the little ones

That little one that used to walk around with a tear stained face and messed hair - it can't be the same girl! The one who could only be comforted by one person - can it be that she is really laughing? The Lord has His hand on her! Now she runs to the playground, she holds the words to the songs in her hands, she sits calmly! She responds eagerly to conversation. She hugs the members littler than herself. She responds to love and she loves.

He used to sit quietly, shyly looking at everything from his spot on the car mat. He grew cold in the winter months and wouldn't tell a soul, his little self nearly numb to the icy shivers. Now he laughs and laughs, trying to speak words and laugh at the same time! He laughs, watching his younger brother throw the basketball as hard as his tiny arms will let him. He laughs, stuffing blue cotton candy into his mouth, smearing his Cheeto covered hands on my face and getting the most precious kick out of himself. He grows in the light and hope of the Lord.

We never thought she'd run, we never expected her to laugh. She fought, tensed in anger, refusing to engage. That was the little two-year-old I knew: the one that toppled over and turned down attention from those she didn't know. Now, just a year later, the same little girl runs, so fast that I think she will land on the ground! She laughs, running to the see-saws and swings. She knows of Jesus.

Change is taking place in even the littlest ones, and what a beautiful blessing it is to see.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Next Few Months....

The days seem to be flying now that school is back in session.  We wanted to give an update on where we are at in this process of joining the Sacred Road staff.  Here is a bit of a timeline:

September-October:   Start preparing house to sell.  Boxes are already being packed and the "to do" list of repairs/projects, before it goes on the market, continues to grow. 

November:  Put house up for sale. 
December:  Hopefully our house will sell around this time and we can close in late December or early January.  We are trusting the Lord about these details.  Darren's job will probably be winding down.  His firm has been very gracious and patient as he makes this transition out of the firm - we are so grateful. 
January:  Purchase or rent a home on the Reservation; Emily finishes up at Cedar Park first semester January 23rd.  Lots of transition and trips over Snoqualmie Pass this month! 
February 7-March 9:  Attend month long missionary training in Colorado.  We are all registered for this.  This is at MTI (Missionary Training International) -- we have heard rave reviews about it.  We will learn about cross-cultural stuff and how to handle challenges/stress while on the mission field.
March 2015:   Be full-time with Sacred Road -- living there and everything!  :)  We are very anxious to be there.  March will be a busy month for Sacred Road as the spring mission teams arrive.     
Summer 2015:  A quick note to say how exciting and encouraging it is when we hear from some of you who are planning to come to Sacred Road this summer on a missions trip with your church!  Mission team sign-ups are happening right now and we look forward to the summer and serving the Lord together with you! 
Through all of this we are continuing to fund raise.  Every staff member of Sacred Road raises their own salary.  We need to have our first year's salary in the bank by the time we head to the Reservation in January.  It's been humbling to walk this part of the process, but also amazing as we trust the Lord and see him steadily providing.  We are at 80% of our annual budget and hope the last 20% will come soon. 
Thank you to all who are praying regularly for us and/or supporting us financially.  It is such a testimony and encouragement to us.  The body of Christ is an incredible thing. 
And lastly, thank you for listening to us talk non-stop about Sacred Road. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Favorite Bus

One of my favorite things from the summer was spending time with the Yakama children.  Seeing them at Kid's Club (VBS) each afternoon or stepping off of the red Sacred Road bus as they came to church on Sundays filled my heart with happiness. 

A Beautiful Red Bus
Every Sunday morning, especially, I think about the children.  Wondering if they will get on the bus to come to church.  I picture the bus in my mind and it makes me smile.  I'm so thankful for Veronica who faithfully drives the bus around the reservation every Sunday morning and picks up the children.  Please pray that the children will wake up early on Sunday mornings and be able to get on the bus. 

There is one little girl that especially stands out in my mind.  I met her at Kid's Club.  I looked for her each afternoon - hoping she would come.  We drew pictures of Snoopy with the sidewalk chalk.  We jumped rope together.  We did crafts together.  We blew bubbles together and we sat together during the Bible story.  She was quiet but listening all the time - soaking everything up.  She said she was living with her grandpa for the summer and would be moving away in the fall. 

The last Sunday I was at Hope Fellowship (Sacred Road's church), she asked me why only the adults got to have the fry bread and pop (communion).  I chuckled at the word "pop".  I told her it was grape juice and that it was for people who believed in Jesus.  Of course right away, she told me she believed in Jesus.  Joshua (one of the full-time staff of Sacred Road) came over to talk with us and Joshua shared more with her -- about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, how He rose from the dead and lives in Heaven now.  I was so happy she heard this story and I think it was the first time she may have begun to have a deeper understanding of who this "Jesus" was that she had heard about during Kid's Club. 

I'm thankful to have this photo of her
I told her I was going back home but that I hoped she'd get on the bus every Sunday and come to church - at least until she had to move away.  I told her I hoped she might live with her grandpa again next summer so I could see her again at Kid's Club.  But deep down in my heart I was saying good-bye.  I knew she would probably move away.  I knew I might not see her again.  It was hard knowing this, but I felt like God had given me a precious gift to be able to spend time with her. 

Then a few weeks ago, I heard she was still coming to church!  She was in Morgan Granberry's Sunday School group and she was listening in her quiet way.  She was hearing God's truths proclaimed.  I can't tell you how happy I was.  I cried and felt all the more anxious to get to the reservation. 

This past Sunday we visited the reservation and I hoped I might see her.  The bus arrived and I learned that she had moved away.  My heart was sad but I am continuing to pray for this precious girl.  Even though her time was brief with Sacred Road, she heard about Jesus.  She heard that He loves her and I think she experienced His love through the staff of Sacred Road. 

We are so grateful for your faithful prayers and for helping to get us to the Yakama Reservation.  I'll try to include a bit of a timeline of where we are at in our next post.   

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Christian is losing his mind

[Editor's note:  While this post has some bearing on Sacred Road it is not directly related.]

I recently read again a great book by Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind: How should a Christian think? (ISBN: 1-56955-044-1) Several years ago Pastor Irwin at Covenant Presbyterian Church had the Elders and Deacons read this book.  My current Pastor Nease recently reminded me about it and so I thought I would read it again.  It is a great book and I recommend that everyone read it.

His basic premise is that the modern Christian has forgotten how to think Christianly. He argues that secularism has infiltrated the way we think about society, politics, and everything else so that now we don't even realize that we think about things with the mindset of the the secular world rather than based on Biblical truths and premises.

You might wonder about this statement.  But he wrote this book in 1963 and I believe his points are even more relevant today.

Mr. Blamires does a great job of reminding the reader that as a Christian we should have an eternal perspective about almost every decision that we make.  This eternal perspective is based on the objective truth that has been revealed to us in Scripture.  Too often we enter into discussions forgetting the fact that we actually have a firmer foundation to engage others.

Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite:

"An important contributory factor to the loss of mental morale by the Church has been a misguided conception of Christian charity.  It has been assumed that the charitable man suppresses his views in the same way that he subordinates personal interest. . . . [Christians] have come to imagine that just as the unselfish man restrains himself from snatching another piece of cake, so too he restrains himself from putting forward his point of view. And just as it is bad form to boast about your private possessions or loudly recapitulate your personal achievements, so too it is bad form to announce what your convictions are. By analogy with that charity of the spirit which never asks or claims but always gives and gives again, we have manufactured a false "charity" of the mind, which never takes a stand, but continually yields ground. . . . A man's religious convictions and understanding of the truth are not private possessions in the sense that his suit and the contents of his note-case are private possessions. . . . Your beliefs, as a Christian, are not yours in the sense that you have rights over them, either to tamper with them or to throw them away. . . . One of the crucial tasks in reconstituting the Christian mind will be to re-establish the status of objective truth as distinct from personal opinions, to rehabilitate knowledge and wisdom in contradistinction from predilection and whim." Pgs. 39-40

"The Christian mind looks at the propaganda of modern secularism and is astonished to learn that under man's management the world is supposed to be on the whole in a tolerable shape.  The normal course through life is pictured as a progress through an increasing number of acquisitions and comforts. You get a house, then you get a fridge, then you get a telly, then you get a car; and all the time you are peacefully maturing, with a pretty young wife at your side, from youth to early middle age.  For in the world of advertisements no man ever grows older than thirty-five and no woman grows older than twenty-seven. It is a cosy picture of life, full of color and ease. There is always plenty to eat and drink. The furniture never gets old or drab. The wallpaper never peels off the walls. The sun shines. The gardens appear to weed themselves. There is no pain, except for a fleeting hint of indigestion which can be magically whisked away by the right pills. . . . The Christian mind is shocked, bewildered, and, as it seems, rendered impotent to communicate meaningfully with a secular mind so cut off from its dearest and most illuminating presuppositions.  Therefore the Christian mind instinctively withdraws, turns its attention to other matters--say, the individual spiritual life, or the problem of Church disunity."  Pg. 74

"To believe that men will be called to account for each wrong committed and each good committed is itself enough to give an urgency to human deliberations and decisions which the secular mind cannot sense. . . . When one weighs the full momentousness of this particular distinction between the Christian mind and the secular mind, one is awestruck. . . . On the one hand is the assumption that all is over when you die; that after sixty or seventy years, sheltered and cushioned by the Welfare State, you can sign off for good; that eating, sleeping, growing, learning, breeding, and the rest, constitute the total sum of things; that in worldly prosperity and well-being lies the source of all meaning and value. On the other hand is the almost crushing awareness of a spiritual war tearing at the heart of the universe, pushing its ruthless way into the lives of men--stabbing at you now, now, now, in the impulses and choices of every waking moment; the belief that the thoughts and actions of every hour are molding a soul which is on its way to eternity; that we are choosing every moment of our lives in obedience or disobedience to the God who created and sustains all that is; that we are always responsible, always at war, always involved in what is spiritual and deathless; that we are committing ourselves with every breath to salvation or damnation." Pgs. 75-76

If you find the ideas raised here interesting, I would recommend reading this book.  He speaks to many interesting topics such as the Christian mind's: 1) supernatural orientation; 2) awareness of evil; 3) conception of truth; 4) acceptance of authority; 5) concern for the person; 6) sacramental cast.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Financial Update

After seven-plus months of fundraising it seemed appropriate to provide an update as to where we are at in this process and where we still have to go.

As it stands today, the Lord has provided pledges from many people that total 78% of our annual budget needed. Many have already started giving to the account that is set up at Sacred Road. When we add the amount of cash that is building up in this account plus the pledges, the total is almost 59% of the two year budget amount that the SRM Board requires for us to move out to the Reservation.

We think this is incredible and awesome!  We have been so encouraged by everyone that has heard our story and responded by committing to pray for us and support us financially.

I'm currently moving full speed ahead and transitioning clients at work. Engaging in many interesting and some strange conversations with clients and other professionals as I tell them what I am going to be doing. All for the glory of God, I pray.

What does this mean?  We need another 22% of our budget before we can start the process of selling our home and moving to the Reservation. It would be great to have these funds raised by the end of October so we can move to the Reservation in January 2015, go to cross-cultural training in February and come back to begin ministry in March.

If you are already supporting us financially, thank you so much.  We are very grateful.  We are really looking forward to seeing how the Lord uses this partnership in our lives, your lives and in the lives of people on the Reservation.

If you have thought about supporting us financially, we would humbly ask that you start now.  The Lord will guide you in this, we just ask that you pray about it and consider how you can be involved with us in this ministry.

If you know of someone that might be interested in this ministry, we would love to share our story with them.

We are looking for churches who would consider partnering with us as well.  If you think your church missions committee could be interested in Sacred Road Ministries we would love to be able to talk with them.

Darren, Susie, Emily and Rachel Maxfield

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why We Are Joining Sacred Road Ministries

I spent some time with a little boy recently.  One of the same children that I spent time with last summer on our mission trip to White Swan.

Last summer he was a quiet little boy that didn't talk and hardly interacted.  He had sores on his arms and legs from an infection that was going around at the time.  He wasn't eating very much.  He spent a fair amount of time just sitting on my lap.

Last Thursday night there was an Open House for the community to get a chance to see the new church building for Hope Fellowship. I was able to spend some more time with him.

This little boy didn't look much taller than last summer.  A sure sign that he still isn't eating much.  It took him awhile but he started to open up as we played on the new play equipment. Laughing a bit and having fun climbing around on the new play toys.

After a bit, I was finally able to talk him into getting some dinner.  Sacred Road provided free hot dogs, chips, watermelon and drinks for everyone that came.  He said he didn't want a hot dog so we just had some watermelon and chips.

Have you ever thought about what our sin is like in the eyes of God?  We compare ourselves to others.  Our sin isn't nearly as bad as theirs so we must be pretty good.  But God compares our sin to His perfect law.  He compares our sin to His perfect, righteous and holy nature.  And our sin isn't just bad, it is evil in His eyes.

After eating we went back up to the play equipment.  Shortly after, the little boy had a bathroom accident. He's probably 4 or 5 years old.  It got all over the slide, the sidewalk, his shoes and pants.  One of the interns (bless her heart) and I gave him a shower and cleaned him up.  I threw away his old clothes and we gave him some new ones.

So what did God do?  He sent His Son, His perfect Son, to bear the wrath that our sin deserved.  

After getting him cleaned up, we went and played basketball for a really long time.  One of the basketball hoops was lowered to about 6 feet.   I would lift him up and he would dunk the basketball.  Then he would kick the ball and we'd chase after it.  He would be laughing the whole time.  We both had a blast.

I try not to think about what might be happening in this boy's home. But what I do think about is that the love of Christ is being extended to this little boy through the actions of His people. Through the actions of His church in White Swan.

This little boy walking around in his own filth is not all that different than me walking around in my sin. Without Christ I would be no different.  Without the gift of faith that God gives I would be walking around in the filth of my sin, dead in my sin.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6

I'm thankful for the opportunity to share the love of Christ to those like this little boy.  I pray that God will change his heart.  I'm daily amazed by the fact that He has chosen to change mine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Through the Eyes of a Journalist

Sunday, July 13:
These little kiddos are my favorite! I love hearing the tiny voices behind me sing of God's mighty grace and love. Forever sat with me during church: she's a sweetheart that whines at the tiniest accidental scratch from my finger nail and wears a ripped tank top. She is squirmy and always moving around. Her brother Drake was baptized a few weeks back at Hope Fellowship's dedication service. I love the preschoolers.

Monday, July 14:
Ahhh! I saw Rida at Kids Club!!! I haven't seen her since November. She seemed better off last summer: cleaner, more aware of things going on around her, better fed, easier to understand. She came to Kids Club late; I gave her a big hug and told her that I was so glad to see her. She mumbled something about food, how she came for the snacks. Later, during snack and story time, I asked her if she had eaten today, and she said no. She doesn't speak as clearly as many of the other kids. But I have missed that girl like CRAZY. It was such a joy to see her pop bubbles and laugh, hold her, let her lean against me during story time, paint her nails, just to see her smile.


Tuesday, July 15:
Rida came to Kids Club again! She would tug on my braid all afternoon to get my attention from her secure grip on my shoulders. Her little voice told me that she wanted me to braid her hair like mine was braided. So we found a spot in the shade: she sat; I braided. I was told later that doing someone's hair is an honor here, something that is typically only done by people that you really care about, like your family. I loved watching Rida fling her braid from shoulder to shoulder. This girl is such a joy and I'm so thankful for every minute that I can spend with her.

Rida and her sister, Azie

Wednesday, July 16:
104 degrees at Kids Club = hot. And it's even warmer when kids want you to play tag with them on your back! The attendance was low today, I felt. Leah and I did chalk and made our fingerprints on the concrete. Marcus, one that my dad played with last summer, sat with me during snack time. He would crack up upon discovering that he could blow air into his empty Capri Sun juice pouch. He blew it up and held it to my lips: "Drink it! There's lots!" I pretended to drink it, licking my lips. He's a smart little one: "No, drink it for reals!" Lucas, Marcus' younger brother, doesn't talk much, if at all. Both of them loved the sprinklers all week. The Lord is working out here, and it is so awesome to see the smiles on each little face.


Thursday, July 17:
Today was our off day, and I'm already drinking my second cup of coffee. It has been hot and busy and I feel like I'm going to be endlessly low on sleep when I live here! But sitting with those kids at Kids Club confirms that this is where the Lord wants me. I love playing with the kids and hearing them laugh as other interns and I chase each other with squealing kiddos on my back. I love letting them sit in my lap and make crafts. I love their messy faces and watching them gulp down water. These kids need Jesus.


Friday, July 18:
Anna tells me that she is five, but she looks three years old. She hardly smiled today, but she did let me pick her up for a tiny bit. She spent a good 10 minutes making a single beaded bracelet. I watched, agreeing with youth interns about the low attendance and laughing about the week. Anna just sat there, focused and silent. Her face lit up a couple of times, the first being when she finished the bracelet and put it on my wrist. I love this little one.

Saturday, July 19:
I'm multitasking twenty-four-seven, always thinking, running low on sleep, busy, tired, dirty, and out of my comfort zone, but the Lord is faithfully pouring me out for the hungry and satisfying the desires of the afflicted. He is continually showing me that this is where I'm supposed to be. It's hard, hard to see the straight faces and scars and hear the silence of oh, so many hurts. It's hard to know that there's nothing I can do except try to show them a fraction of what Christ showed me. I am not enough. I will never be enough,  I can never do enough. But Christ is enough.

Today, Sunday, July 20:
The time I spent with the preschoolers this morning was so awesome. We had six kids in there today: three native children and three children of staff members. I love all of them. I love watching the missionary kids play dolls and cook in the pretend kitchen with the native girls after they are dismissed for preschool. I love seeing how each of them is artistic in his own way. Harmony puts her baby dolls to sleep. Millie and Lyddie read books together. Joey races his cars. Anna came to church, the same little one from Kids Club on Friday. She was happier today, but she still doesn't like to be held much. I was pleasantly surprised when she sat on my lap for a good portion of the service without squirming too much. She sat and played with the bracelets on my hands, one of which was the one that she had beaded for me at Kids Club. She sat quietly, fingering them and pulling the rubber band bracelet that another sweet girl, Samantha, made for me. I think it was a calming distraction for her. She played dolls so sweetly with the other girls during preschool time, sharing and laughing and taking care of her babies, cooking for them and dressing them. There are around twelve kids living in her house as of now. Her hair is tangled and her lips are either chapped or covered in lollipop or popsicle. Pray for her safety and for this little girl, along with so many others, to know that the joy of the Lord will be her strength.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Snapshot of the Week

The days are flying so far on the reservation.  As many of you know, Emily, Rachel and I are spending 3 weeks here this summer -- working alongside the staff and interns at Sacred Road. 

What an incredible experience we are having.  We are seeing so much of the "behind the scenes" work of the ministry.  This summertime is a flurry of activity with mission teams arriving every other week and many preparations happening during the weeks in between. 

I don't even know where to begin, but here is a snapshot of our week so far: 

Emily and Rachel are helping at the worksite which is at the new church building this summer.  Rachel is helping prepare crafts and skit props for the Kid's Club (VBS). Thank you for praying for her as she continues to recover from pneumonia.  Emily is working outside (in the 100 degree weather) caulking and helping with various other projects outside. 

I have been shadowing Mary Granberry the past 4 days.  I am amazed at the many ways the Lord is using her in this ministry.  Her home is a hub of activity -- interns and staff coming and going throughout the day.  She fields phone calls/texts from the staff, interns and people in the community during the day, not to mention the hours and hours of food planning and preparation. 

When I arrive at her house each morning at 8 a.m. the day has already started.  The "manterns" (the male interns) and Granberry family are usually finishing up breakfast and packing lunches for the workday.  Mary is making lists, hanging laundry, and preparing for the day.  Each day is different depending on what is a priority.  On Monday we visited two appliance places to research ovens for the kitchen of the new church building.  We stopped at Cash and Carry before heading back to her place to prepare the evening's meal as well as get ahead with some food preparation for the week.  One day I bought 70 loaves of bread at the nearby Franz bread outlet.  Another day we helped a mother in the community who needed a way to get to the DSHS office and Mary treated this mother and her son to lunch as well as helped supply the mother with a box of food.  The needs are great in the community.  Many people do not eat regularly.  Some do not even have power or a refrigerator. 

My days have been filled with cooking and food preparation.  I am learning a lot about bulk cooking!

Around 3 p.m. every day Mary's car is loaded up with the evening dinner to take to the Harrah Church where the mission teams (50 people from teams this week) will eat dinner after the Kid's Club (VBS). 

We put the food in the oven or where it needs to go and then scoot out the door to the Kid's Club where we spend the next two hours loving and playing with the beautiful, precious children of the Yakama reservation. 

Bible Story Time at Kid's Club
Kid's Club is one of my favorite times of the day.  We drive up and it is so fun to watch children suddenly appear from the housing project.  Two Sacred Road vans pull up with more children to join in on the fun.  I look around and see children enjoying crafts, bubbles, kickball, jump rope, four square, chalk coloring, water games, snacks, a Bible story, and songs.  The time flies and for two hours these children enjoy a safe, loving environment that I hope carries them away from their burdens of life.  What a blessing and joy it brings to my heart as I see the children being loved by the mission teams, interns, and Sacred Road staff.  The children's faces light up.  I hear about children who are opening up week by week and I see them answering questions at the end of the Bible story.  The Bible stories this week have been about how Jesus healed people.  The children are told that Jesus heals our hearts too and cares for us.  I watch the seeds of the Gospel being dropped onto the Yakama reservation.  And I feel very blessed and happy to be here.