The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Saturday, March 28, 2015

a full heart

My heart is full. At the end of week three, I am overwhelmed by the glimpses of true hope and the love of God the Father that I see descending on the Yakama Reservation in these clear times of beauty and of brokenness. These three weeks have come with their joys and their sorrows, but His grace will never cease to be sufficient.
Kids Club this past week broke my heart and refilled and overflowed the cracks of leaving home behind for a new home more times than I can count. I'm making new tiny native friends and laughing as if no time has passed with native friends from the past. As I watched the team members this past week, many of whom came out here for the first time and had no idea what they were getting themselves into, I was reminded of my first trip out to the Rez in 2013. The constant reminders each afternoon of the Lord's everlasting, abundant faithfulness to His beloved children blessed my soul again and again: the kids I interacted with who didn't speak or smile or laugh two summers ago are the ones jumping up to reach my shoulders and give me hugs. They're the ones giggling hysterically and giving high-fives, the little the ones getting a running/jump-start to a piggy back ride and "claiming" their spot in my lap for story time. Such a significant, obvious change has taken place here, and I know I'm not alone in saying that I feel so blessed and privileged to see it as a "local." The Lord has been and will continue to be a solid foundation of sufficient grace and mercy for His people. My heart is overflowing with the knowledge of the unconditional love and forever promises that God has made to all of us, His children; thank you for your prayers for this community. God is faithful, and He is answering the prayers and cries of His people.

The Lord is blessing the people of White Swan with a knowledge of Himself and His unchanging nature, and He is working through and in and among His people from all over the world. He who called you is faithful, and He will do surely it. What a joy it was to be able to say see-you-laters on Friday afternoon with the knowledge of the fact that we finally live here, that these relationships will grow in the hope of the Lord.


Monday, March 16, 2015

First Week on the Rez

We are HERE!  Our first week has flown by.  Amazingly, our first week just so happened to be the first spring mission team week so we were able to participate each afternoon in the Kid's Club that happened at one of the housing projects.  I spent a good part of the Kid's Club helping turn the jump rope.  Most of the jumpers are ages 6 to 10 years old -- this is an age category I just adore.  I love their smiles, giggles and excitement as they learn to jump in or improve their jumping record.  They are precious.  I found myself sometimes just looking at each child and praying that Jesus will fill their little hearts.  There were about 50 kids each day at the housing project we helped at and about 100 kids each day at the other housing project.  During the Kid's Club, the children are loved on as everyone enjoys games, crafts, baseball, four square, snack,s and a Bible story that the children help act out.

Our mornings this first week were spent driving around looking at homes for rent or sale.  We are staying with a very generous empty-nester couple with two extra bedrooms.  This has been such a blessing to us.  We have been living out of suitcases for almost two months so we are anxious to find something to settle into.

There is not much for sale on the Reservation.  We saw one home that had possibilities but it was across a highway (sort of like Aurora -- for you Seattle people) and no light there to help with crossing.  We were not feeling peace about it.  The very next morning I felt like the Lord gave us an answer.  We happened to drive by a home we had not seen, with a "For Sale By Owner" sign.   I felt like the Lord was showing us to wait for His timing and He will bring along a house for us.  This particular home is in a much better location than the one across the highway.   (The owners will be ready to sell it in the next month or two and we have let them know we are interested.)

We currently have an apartment on hold in Yakima but our first choice is to be living on the Yakama reservation.  We also found out about a mobile home for rent on the reservation so we are pursuing that as well.  Thank you for continued prayers about our home.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Off We Go

It is a very bittersweet night thinking about our plane ride to Seattle tomorrow. MTI has been an experience of a lifetime: it is not often that you are plunged into a group of 60+ people for 4 weeks, to be with them for such a chunk of time, and then possibly never see most of them again. The shortest span of time with a person can have the biggest impact.

We have been blessed and encouraged to learn how to deal with conflict, how to experience healthy hello's and goodbye's, and how to transfer into a new culture. We have learned so much about ourselves, which is the first step in entering the mission field. One of the hugest blessings received is learning all of these techniques with some amazing believers and serving hearts. As we head off into the next stage of this transition, I cannot express what a gift it will be to have these lessons and memories with us.

And with that, we are looking forward to Kid's Club in Yakima in THREE DAYS.

I hope you can get a glimpse into this past month with the pictures below. :)

MTI Family


Beautiful scenery along the Santa Fe Trail

My buddy, Marty

All of the Teens out on a Field Trip

Field Trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

New Family Friends, the Shanks, also serving Native America

I got the privilege to lead worship each week with a few of the other girls

Ebenezer Goodbye Project

Manitou Cliff Dwelling Field Trip with the Kids

Enjoying three weeks of snow


Class Time

MTI Building

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Sabbath: A Time to Grab Hold of God

What a blessing our time at MTI has been. Not very many people have the opportunity to "step out of life" for a period of four weeks to learn about God, yourself and how you interact with others. This weekend I have the privilege to meet with four other men that have been part of my growth group and have them tell me one weakness they have observed and 3-4 strength areas. I have the opportunity to share the same with them. What a privilege!

Last Friday we spent the day thinking a lot about the Christian Sabbath. It was a very helpful time rethinking through why we set aside the Lord's Day for worship, hospitality, fellowship, acts of mercy and rest. It was a bit convicting as to how we, as a family, have slacked lately. We haven't been as purposeful and intentional about how we spend the Lord's Day. So instead we end up spending the time for our own purposes and not the Lord's.

The discussion got a bit lively as we talked through what the Lord's Day Sabbath means for believers today. All of us here come from different Christian backgrounds, different denominations, and different understandings of Scripture. Some have been part of traditions that have a more developed view of the Sabbath and some don't. But, we are all part of the family of God, adopted sons and daughters, called by God to serve Him throughout the world.

It is interesting to me though, how the modern church has lost sight of the Sabbath. The culture around us gave up on the Sabbath long ago. Now, we go to soccer practice on Sunday, watch football all day, and if we feel like it, actually go to church.

I find it curious that we often act like there are only nine Commandments. We read in Scripture that Jesus came to fulfill the law. While that has many applications, one is that we understand that the ceremonial and sacrificial law don't apply to us as New Covenant believers. For some reason, we also throw in the Sabbath as part of that ceremonial law that doesn't apply to us.

But I wonder if we can think about it differently.

What did Jesus do in the Sermon on the Mount? He didn't eliminate the application of the ten commandments, he broadened them.  He broadened them to apply to more than our deeds and externally, but to our inward thoughts, heart and mind.

The day of rest was initiated at creation (Genesis 2:1-3). God applied Sabbath principals when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and collected enough manna on the sixth day for two days (Exodus 16:22-30). Both of these were before the Ten Commandments were instituted. The principal of the Sabbath rest was instituted before the Ten commandments, was included in the Ten Commandments, and applies to believers even today.

Take a look at Isaiah 58. In the first five verses God is chastising the Israelites for their faith without works; for their inward focus and their neglect and abuse of those under their care. He then goes on to tell them in verses six through twelve what true faith and fasting looks like: outward focused, feeding the hungry, freeing the oppressed and sheltering the homeless. If they pour themselves out for the hungry, "the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places. . . ." (v. 10, 11)

And then here's the part I haven't understood until a couple months ago. The last two verses of that chapter address the proper observance of the Sabbath. Why are there verses regarding the Sabbath in this section in which God tells Israel the proper way to fast unto the Lord?

"If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 58:13-14

I think the only way we can have a faith that is active, outward focused, and selfless is to find rest in the Sabbath of God. The only way we can work with all our might in our God given vocations and also live a life pursuing the mind of Christ, is to ground it in the Sabbath rest of God. If I can't trust that God will provide for my needs, my schedule, my to-do list, how can I trust that He is sovereign over all of our lives? It takes faith. But where else should we place our faith than in the Creator of all the Universe?

So next time church contemplates canceling service so people can stay home and watch the football game (which some churches did in Seattle when the Seahawks played in the playoffs), or even the next time I contemplate turning on the Mariner's game on a Sunday afternoon (which for me is not healthy, but may be fine for you), ask whether you are "doing your pleasure on my holy day" or pursuing after God?