Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ministry In Wal-Mart's Parking Lot

On Friday, December 17th, 3:18 Ministries hosted a Christmas party for the children and staff of the San Carlos Youth Home. We go to the Youth Home on Fridays and provide a Bible story, crafts, snacks and games. Friday the 17th was a special time together. People all across the United States sent money, gift cards, fleece blankets, fleece hats and quilts so we could bless the children and staff with a wonderful Christmas memory.

Instead of being at the Youth Home, two staff members brought the children to our local Wal-Mart. The mother of four of the children, who was visiting them at the Youth Home, also came. Kara had met her at the parenting classes. Ron & Peggy Dew, 3:18 Ministries’ Board members, also joined us for the adventure. We spent an hour at Wal-Mart helping the children pick out a toy or two and then finding a piece of clothing they needed. It was so much fun to see the children receive a special gift and have a small need met. Next we invaded McDonalds for dinner. Happy Meals all around! Melissa Brown, 3:18 Ministries’ teammate, joined us there. The kids ate, laughed and played on the playground for awhile. To wrap up our evening, the children and staff came back to our house for hot chocolate and Christmas goodies. The kids also were able to pick out a hand tied fleece blanket and a fleece hat.

My highlight of the evening occurred as we were leaving Wal-Mart. During our time at Wal-Mart I helped the two older boys from the Youth Home get what they needed. We have known these two boys, ages 6 and 8, for a couple of years and have had a lot of fun spending time with them at the Youth Home. A couple weeks ago we were already at the Youth Home when the boys got home from school. When the 8 year old walked into the living room he said, “Finally I get to see you guys again!” I had a blast the evening of the Christmas party shopping with the boys. The younger boy needed shoes. It was quite an adventure trying on many different pairs to find just the right one. Two of my boys were helping him try to find the right pair. Shoes were flying everywhere. Several people walked by the shoe department and stared. It was quite the scene! We laughed a lot, but eventually found everything we needed.

As we were leaving Wal-Mart, Kara said, “My kids…get a hand.” Josiah, the 6 year old, looked up at me and held out his hand. I asked him if he wanted to hold my hand in the parking lot and he nodded his head yes. He grabbed my left hand and my 6 year old grabbed my right hand and the three of us walked out to the vehicles together.

As we were walking to the vehicles I realized this is what ministry is all about. For that moment, ministry was providing security and safety for a 6 year old in the scary world known as the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was simply walking alongside a young man who needed a hand to hold during this time of his life. Walking alongside, holding his hand and pointing him towards Jesus. I love my job!

I believe there are two truths about ministry from this encounter. Ministry can’t happen at an arm’s length. You have to be close to those to whom you are trying to minister. You have to be close both physically and emotionally. You have to be close and you have to build trust. Trust does not happen overnight…and especially with kids who find themselves at the Youth Home, or children of alcoholics, or children who have been abused. Trust takes some time as you continue to build relationships. Our goal from day one has been to walk alongside our Apache brothers and sisters and build a relationship with them so we have the right to share Jesus. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t have perfect solutions, but we know a man named Jesus who has changed our lives. And we are willing to walk hand-in-hand as we face this life together.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


Several years ago a girl named Jasmyn came over to us while we were parked in the Basha's parking lot. She asked us to put up a sign for her puppy that had been stolen from her house. Her puppy was now lost and they were offering a reward for the small dog. She was very upset about her puppy that was taken right off of his tether in front of their house.

It caused me to think of how Satan is stealing children left and right from the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Sometimes he just snatches them away with force and children are robbed of their childhood by bad choices the adults in their lives make. Many times this causes them to be angry and bitter. Others are lured away like a puppy with a toy or snack. They are offered things like alcohol or drugs with the promise of a good time. It breaks my heart more than Jasmyn losing her puppy to see the souls of children who Satan is holding tight in his grip.

Although this is a grim picture, there is HOPE!! God loves them so much that He gave His one and only son Jesus as a ransom for all these precious souls!! There is an amazing reward waiting for the children as they surrender their lives to a God that loves them more than they can ever imagine!!

Please pray as we continue to share with them about their rescuer, Jesus, that they would see the sacrifice He made and accept the reward!!

His Child,

Monday, December 13, 2010

Words of Wisdom from the Prophet Joel

I love studying the prophets of the Bible. I am not completely sure why I have been so drawn to them. Maybe it is their close relationship with God...hearing His voice daily. Maybe it is the concept of continuously proclaiming God’s Word in the wilderness and wondering if anyone is listening (that hits a little close to home at times!). Maybe it is the urgency of their message. I am not really sure.

The prophet Joel is probably my favorite. I find myself drawn back to this little three chapter book time and time again. God has taught me so much from the book of Joel! The biggest challenge and encouragement God has given me is from Joel 3:14-16. It reads,
“Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. It is there that the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the earth and heavens will begin to shake. But to his people of Israel, the Lord will be a welcoming refuge and a strong fortress.” (NLT)
That first phrase motivates me and haunts me all at the same time. There are thousands upon thousands in this world who are lost, dying and going to hell. They are waiting in the valley of decision. The suicide rate in San Carlos is seven times the national average. During our first trip here in 2001, Kara was teaching the first day of the Vacation Bible School on “sin.” She asked the kids to give her an example of a sin. A 5 year old boy in the front row raised his hand and with the first answer to the discussion said, “Suicide.” I am haunted by the tragic deaths of teenagers we know. Death on reservations is not limited to the elderly. I look around and I see so many who are separated from God. Can a relationship with a welcoming refuge and a strong fortress make a difference in peoples’ lives? Most definitely! How many more are in the valley of decision? And then I begin to wonder...Has the church become too complacent? Is the church more concerned about being comfortable or about reaching out to those in the valley of decision? I pray our eyes will be open to the lost around us, both on the reservations in our country and those who live right across the street from us.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Interesting Article

I read an interesting article last night.  It was posted to Facebook by a fellow missionary to Native Americans.  I am still thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it, but thought I would share the article.  What are your thoughts?  Please comment!