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.