I love adding a new page because that means I’ve added a new reservation ministry! This one is much closer to home than the other reservations I go to so the drive of 5 hours didn’t seem to take too long. That being the case I decided to take the road less traveled…aka the Natchez Trace. Here are a couple of pictures I took in Natchez and along the Trace…textured for an added effect.
As always, God used people in my life to get this ministry in motion. Randy Carruth of I Am Able Ministries let me know there was a need for ministry after visiting with Pastor Mark Patrick, the pastor of Corinth Baptist Church, a Native church on the reservation. Julie Woodrum, who I worked with at the Baptist Building told her sister in law, Nichole Woodrum about my ministry last year. Nichole’s church, Lismore Baptist of Monterey, LA was interested in a summer mission trip for the adults and youth of their church. After a few emails between us all, God put together a great team.
Also as always God likes to mess with me…when I asked Pastor Mark what they most needed he said, “A Sports Camp.” Me being the athlete I am (cough, cough) I was just so excited to be putting together ANOTHER Sports Camp! However, I explained the details to Nichole and it was ON! I may not be an athlete but every single person in the Lismore group is! I have never been around so many teens that play nearly every sport out there but these kids did. He even sent me another 18 year old with a softball scholarship to help…Destyne Canoe, a Native American herself. She found me through my blog. I’m beginning to quit doubting the whole “I can’t do this” thing because even if I can’t, God CAN!
We arrived on Saturday and got settled in at a hotel 25 miles from the reservation. I got to meet most of this group for the first time that evening. It didn’t take long to love them all. On Sunday we attended church and handed out flyers. Then, on Monday the fun (and work) began.
We started the day with a Group Activity…
Then we split into groups and had rotations of Softball and sometimes Kickball or Frisbee depending on the age group.
Then there was Volleyball or Hula Hoops; again depending upon the age group.
There was Basketball. Believe me when I tell you there are never any substitutions for basketball on the reservation, no matter what the age group!
The most important part of the day was Bible Study. These kids loved “Uncle Lee” and I appreciate him being willing to lead each age group’s Bible Study. It’s important that they have a male figure to look up to that loves Jesus.
Snacks were provided for each age group as well.
We also provided a special VBS style class for Pre-K through Kindergarten. Nan Mount and her assistants, Jessie Woodrum and Sarah Jane Gray, did a wonderful job providing lessons and activities for these little ones.
The most comical part of the day was picking the kids up and taking them home. There are no laws on the rez about riding in the back of a truck or filling a vehicle to capacity so…
We also had a group of men who worked every day making some much needed repairs to the church. I don’t have any pictures of them working but I want to give a huge thank you to P.K. Paul, Acie White, Phil Malbrough, Whit Mount and Byron Gray. Y’all worked long and hard and you are very appreciated!
In the evenings we would head back to the hotel. Some of us rested and others swam while others prepared a meal for us. Then we would all come together, eat, discuss the day and have a devotional. There was a sweet spirit of fellowship with this group and they worked hard! I look forward to working with them again.
On our final day we had an awards ceremony. There were 25 with perfect attendance, 4 with best sportsmanship, 4 best in sport and 2 awarded for bringing the most friends.
Then on our final night there we had a church service that was standing room only and we served chili dogs. Counting our group, we had 110 in attendance. It was a great night!
The week was a spiritual success! Over 110 children and teens had the Gospel shared with them at least once…most of them more than once. 25 of these were grades 7-12. That may not sound like a big deal to you but it is. The only time I can ever get teens is when we do a Basketball Camp but these teenagers were willing to participate in every activity. They blessed all of us more than they can imagine.
Another great blessing to us was Pastor Mark Patrick. He shared his church and community with us and we left knowing that these kids had someone they could depend on in him.
Friendships were formed that won’t soon be forgotten…
…and the reservation communities of Tucker East and Tucker West in Philadelphia, Mississippi have captured our hearts.
Just a few of the pictures taken of our group. Enjoy!