The Maxfields

The Maxfields

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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beauty in the Brokenness

 After being out here on the Rez during the last team week and now this week, the Lord has done nothing but encourage and confirm his plan for us to be here. All of my doubts and worries have washed away, and it's as if they were never even there. I'm so thankful to be here and to be able to move out here and serve Christ in this way. 

He's truly helped me see all of the beauty in this broken land. I love to get down in the dirt and make crafts with these kids, to run through the sprinklers with squealing children on my back, to buy seventy loaves of bread at bakery outlets for team breakfasts, and to see these smiles every day.

Me and Hunnie


Me, Rida, Emily, and Azie

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sacred Road Mission Trip 2014

Last week I spent a week on the Yakama Indian Reservation.  We went with a team from our church - 16 of us in total.  (We were joined by two other churches making a grand total of almost 40 people.)  There is so much to share about the trip.  I'm not sure how to condense everything but here is an overall picture of the week and all that goes on each day. 

First of all, the Sacred Road Board requires anyone considering coming onto the Sacred Road staff full-time to spend a full week on the reservation.  I really understood the value in this after being there a week.  It was good for me to live in the little house behind Harrah church -- which felt like indoor camping....a few air-conditioning...air-mattresses that deflate at bathroom to share amongst 12 women...scheduled showers, etc.  I enjoyed laughs and fellowship with the other women from the other teams.  It was wonderful to get a taste of what other church teams experience when they come.

It was so great to participate as a real team member with the week's schedule.  The daily schedule was basically breakfast, make lunch for the day, leave for worksite, work at the worksite until 2:30, come back and clean up, head to one of the housing projects and help with Sacred Road's Kid's Club for two hours, back for dinner and then meet with your church team or hear from the Sacred Road staff or sometimes a bit of downtime.

Our team worked at Hope Fellowship, the new church of Sacred Road.  Our church helped put up new fences, make fence gates, a sprinkler system for the future lawn, painted the deck, painted the sunroom floor, dug and prepared a tiered landscape next to the basketball court as well as preparations and helping lay concrete near the basketball court.  Lots of hard work going on.

My heart was touched throughout the week by our own church team (Exile Presbyterian) being there with us.  We had 14 men and young boys working very, very hard in the hot sun each day.  It was such a blessing and encouragement that they had taken vacation time to travel with us and to give of themselves so graciously each day.  One of my favorite things was to look around during Kid's Club and see these men loving, encouraging, laughing, engaging with the children of Totus Housing Project.  I took mental pictures of this sweet fellowship between the children and my brothers in Christ. 

There is much, much more to write.  My heart and mind are still processing everything.  I will definitely need to spend a blog post just on the Kid's Club and also personal thoughts since returning home. 

I'll close with this verse:  "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,"  Psalm 33:12.  This was the verse for July 4th on my daily calendar.  I smiled when I read it.  I get excited thinking about this being true of the Yakama nation someday.  Please keep praying for these people and for the work the Lord is doing over there! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Banker to the Poor

I just finished a book written by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, titled "Banker to the Poor:  Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty."  Yunus was an economics professor and head of the Economics Department at Chittagong University in Bangladesh before starting Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with micro-loans as a way to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty.  As I begin a crash course in learning about economic development and what people have done around the world I found this to be a really interesting book.

Yunus became disenchanted with theoretical economics and decided to spend time directly with the poor to try to figure out how he might be able to truly help the poor, rather than just talking about helping the poor. What he stumbled upon was this idea of making small loans to the poor so they might use that capital to buy the equipment, tools or supplies to start their own business and provide for themselves rather than be dependent on those with capital who tended to take advantage of the poor.

He has some interesting thoughts regarding the Left's ideological position regarding the State being the solution to the poor's plight and also the Right's ideological position of trickle down economics.  I thought I would share some of his thoughts in this post as a way get people thinking about ways to help those in financial need. (In no way does this book attempt to deal with the spiritual, emotional or is it in any way Christian.  But it does raise some very interesting questions and analysis of how to help the poor from a financial and economic perspective.)

"In the United States I saw how the market liberates the individual and allows people to be free to make personal choices.  But the biggest drawback was that the market always pushes things to the side of the powerful.  I thought the poor should be able to take advantage of the system in order to improve their lot.

Grameen is a private-sector self-help bank, and as its members gain personal wealth they acquire water-pumps, latrines, housing, education, access to health care, and so on.

Another way to achieve this is to let business earn profit that is then taxed by the government, and the tax can be used to provide services to the poor.  But in practice it never works that way.  In real life, taxes only pay for a government bureaucracy that collects the tax and provides little or nothing to the poor.  And since most government bureaucracies are not profit motivated, they have little incentive to increase their efficiency.  In fact, they have a disincentive: governments often cannot cut social services without a public outcry, so the behemoth continues, blind and inefficient, year after year.

Poverty is not created by the poor.  It is created by the structures of society and the policies pursued by society.  Change the structure as we are doing in Bangladesh, and you will see that the poor change their own lives.

Somehow we have persuaded ourselves that the capitalist economy must be fueled only by greed.  This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Only the profit maximizers get to play in the marketplace and try their luck.

We can condemn the private sector for all its mistakes, but we cannot justify why we ourselves are not trying to change things, not trying to make things better by participating in the economy."  Pgs 203-206

Please know that I'm not advocating anything here.  Nor am I trying to come up with any solution separate from Biblical principles.  But I think Yunus brings up some interesting things to consider.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs."  I Timothy 6:6-10

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Exile Presbyterian Sacred Road Mission Trip

We just returned from spending a week in White Swan with the mission team from Exile Presbyterian Church.  We were joined for the week by Plateau True Light Church from Issaquah, WA and First Evangelical Presbyterian Church from Kent, WA.

What a blessing to see God working among the people of White Swan and also the team from Exile.

I'm sure there will be more blog posts to follow.  But in the meantime, check out this video made by Davy Granberry about our week.

Sacred Road Trip - Summer 2014, Week 3