Thursday, March 31, 2011

God Is Doing Something Big!

“Attempt something so impossible that unless God is in it, it’s doomed to failure.” John Haggai

I love this quote. I have used this quote on several occasions (although I didn’t know who was responsible for this profound sentence until today). But now that I am walking this quote…it is scary and overwhelming. This journey God has us on is so big that when it plays out and we reach the other side, He WILL get all the glory and honor.

In January I received a phone call from a friend, Benny, who is one of the leaders of the San Carlos Housing Authority. Several elderly Tribal members had applied for grants through the United States Department of Agriculture to have repairs done to their homes (i.e. new roof, new windows, new doors, basic winterization, etc.). Benny thought if they could find volunteer labor it would help the grants go farther. This idea led to a meeting with the Tribal Chairman, the Director and the Finance Director of the Housing Authority, Benny and myself. We were able to talk about the needs of the elderly. This conversation had a heaviness and urgency to it as an elderly Tribal member froze to death in January. He had been living in substandard conditions. Everyone was in agreement to work together to do what we could to meet the needs of the elderly.

After another meeting with the Tribal Chairman and the Director of Housing, we found out the grants required licensed contractors to do the work. As we looked at the need and the Housing Authority looked at the finances, the San Carlos Housing Authority volunteered to provide funding for 3:18 Ministries to do seven projects for elderly Tribal members. I am still amazed at how God works and opens doors we weren’t even knocking on! These projects will be a combination of rehabbing some houses, but several will have to be new construction built from the ground up due to their current conditions. Our short-term ministry team last week from Vail Christian Church was able to build part of a house for one of the gentlemen on the list. His house was pretty rough. For pictures check out:

They were able to build a 10 foot by 12 foot room onto the existing structure. Next we hope to build on a 20 foot by 12 foot extension on to the home and maybe even give this gentleman a front porch. On Friday the Public Health Nurse stopped by. She had done a presentation last year to the San Carlos Housing Authority Board regarding several elderly Tribal members. She showed pictures of the living conditions and asked for someone to do something to help. Friday she said to me, “You guys made my week. I have been asking for someone to help and finally something is being done.” I received a copy of the PowerPoint presentation she did and am trying to figure out how to post it on this blog.

This past Monday Benny and I went to check out the living conditions of a couple of other people on the list. The first home we visited was rough. This elderly gentleman had pieced together various sizes of 2x4’s to build a structure. I can’t even find the words to describe it. No elderly person should have to live that way. This couple has medical problems and needs a stable, solid place out of the elements. Our next stop was at a house that had a fire less than a year ago. The walls were covered in soot. The ceiling was gone and the rafters were burned. Two elderly Tribe members live there along with a younger man who takes care of them. The lady is unable to get out of her wheelchair by herself. They have been living for several years without running water and their only electricity is an extension cord run from the neighbor’s house. I was heartbroken and overwhelmed.

God has called us to come alongside the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council and Housing Authority to do something about these situations. I feel like I am in over my head! I am in no way qualified to lead these builds. I have very little experience in this type of thing and yet God has opened the doors and shoved us through. Here is what I do know…we are attempting something so big that without God it is completely and totally bound for failure. However, I believe deeply that with God, He can and will accomplish what He wants to do for His glory. How is this going to work out? I don’t know, but God has His perfect plan all laid out. I feel once again we are on a rollercoaster and the cars are ticking as we are beginning the initial climb. We are getting closer and closer to the top when we will start this ride of our lives. We just have to hold on as He lead and guides!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From Our Teammate: Melissa Brown

“Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done here.” from Chris Tomlin's “God of This City”

Four years ago I was a college freshmen and came to Arizona with my campus ministry on a mission trip to San Carlos. My heart was immediately broken for this people group. The hopelessness, the longing to be loved and cared for pulled on my heart. Completely overwhelmed I went back home to North Carolina knowing I would be back. I came back for every spring after that and two summers, by myself. Each time God’s will and passion for my life became more and more evident. The spring break of my senior year I interviewed for a teaching job in the San Carlos Unified School District. I found out in May that I for sure had a job either at the Alternative or regular High School. I drove across the country in July to move out here still not knowing if I was at the Alternative or the traditional High School, I did not want to be at the Alternative at all. Well, God had other plans….a few days before teachers were to report to school I found out that I was at the Alternative School.

At the beginning I was unsure of why God put me at the Alternative…”I’m a first year teacher”…”I don’t have the experience”…”Why?”. After the first few weeks it became very clear why God chose the Alternative High School for me. This group of students that lack a couple or all of the following: credits, motivation, belief in themselves, purpose, love and hope. Though these can be found at the high school too, I have more option for one on one time and I see my students for more than 55 minutes a day.

“My eyes are small but they have seen enormous things…” Over half of the students enrolled at the alternative school are parents or are soon to be parents. So far this year we have had two students stabbed near the heart. Also we have had students threaten to kill themselves, though I’m 99% sure almost all have thought about it and some have tried. Some of the things the children in San Carlos have to go through in their lives I don’t know that I could deal with. For example, everyone in your family is an alcoholic yet you have the heart of a teddy bear and you aren’t loved. Being kicked out of the home you’re living in because your baby’s father is not liked and then having nowhere to go. Lying in bed listening to your dad and mom fight in the next room and then the fight ending with your dad killing your mom. Being blamed for every problem your alcoholic mother has. This is just a few of the lives my students have to live. Through all of this no one has shown them how to deal with the pain and hurt. Instead they think very low of themselves, cut themselves or other physical mutilation, drink, do drugs, try and fill their empty hearts with “love” from a gang or a lover. They are crying out to be loved, cared for, thought of and wanted.

From day one I have been transparent allowing my students to ask any question and I would give an honest answer. My students have asked me to pray for them, some have asked to come to church, some ask if Jesus is “cool”, others ask questions about my opinion on things they have seen or heard of the church . God is working on some many hearts.

Pray that God breaks their hearts even more and that more questions will come, a spark will ignite, He will be seen and felt, and that my lost students will be found and come into His kingdom of LOVE.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Article on Native American Youth Suicides

This is an interesting article.  Take 5 minutes and read the struggles facing the reservations in the United States.  One statement jumped out at me..."Spiritual leaders say the suicides are rooted in an identity crisis that goes to a cultural and spiritual bankruptcy among Native American youth."  Social programming won't help.  Education by itself won't cut it.  The reservations, our Native American brothers and sisters, need Jesus!  These spiritual bankrupt teenagers need Jesus!  Read the article and then please share your thoughts and comments under the comment section of this post.


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Revolve Tour 2011

Melissa, my friend and 3:18 Ministries’ teammate, and I took two Apache girls to Women of Faith’s teen conference, The Revolve Tour. We went with the youth ministry from our church and community. The conference had amazing drama, speakers and music. The teen girls were challenged to Dream On! They were challenged to hold on to the dreams God gave them regardless of whether or not they seem impossible. They were encouraged to have healthy relationships with guys and to make sure the guys' actions matched the words they were being told. They were also challenged that they could have the relationships they dream of.

Our girls soaked up every minute. On our way home we had a great conversation about what they learned. I was most impressed by the answer to one question I asked the girls. I asked them, “What do you wish they would have talked about at Revolve?” They both answered, “They should have talked more about sex and what God says about it, because God talks about everything in the Bible.” The thing is both of our girls are teen moms. They are doing a great job with their little ones and working hard to finish school and provide good lives for their children. I began to wonder if they would have known at the time what God says if it would have made a difference in their lives. I pray that we can show them who Jesus is everyday and let them know what God says about issues in their lives so that they can make Godly choices that will help them to fulfill His dreams for them.

One of the girls, Natalie, has been going to church and has gotten a glimpse of how great God is. Through this process she wants to get her life right with Him. She has asked that people pray for her, her baby girl, her boyfriend and her whole family that they would know the love of Christ and give their lives to Him. She specifically gave me permission to mention her by name so people would pray for her!

It was amazing and humbling that I was allowed to be part of their spiritual journey and will get to continue to walk alongside of them!

His Child - Kara