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 bugs...no air-conditioning...air-mattresses that deflate at night...one 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!