Wherever He leads I'll go

It’s been a while since my last blog entry. A lot has happened. I was home for a couple of weeks after I got back from South Dakota. I then headed out again in July to meet Open Door Missions in Farmington, New Mexico. The drive there was incredible…

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Colorado Plateau Mesa on Scenic Hwy. 550 in New Mexico

Part of the beauty of driving everywhere is the chance to enjoy what God has created and Red Rock Country is always my favorite!

When everyone arrived we had to hit the ground running.  We had to prepare for, set up, and begin a VBS all on our first day there! Thanks to Jessica Dubea, David Anderson and my good friends at the Louisiana Baptist Convention, I had the literature for everyone when they arrived or we would have been even more overwhelmed than we were.

We had VBS during the day.  We did this year’s Lifeway VBS, Colossal Coaster World, for an Anglo church in Farmington.

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Then, each evening, we held revival services and handed out backpacks with school supplies in several Native American churches in Bloomfield, Aztec and the surrounding areas.

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Tammy & Morgan Hanson handing out backpacks to some of the children on the Navajo Reservation

My mornings consisted of this…

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The three fifth and sixth grade boys in my class during VBS

And my evenings looked more like this…

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Loving these babies!

Bro. Lavelle Spillers,  a pastor in Homer, LA as well as a board member of Open Door Missions was our leader.  I always enjoy working with Bro. Lavelle and his wife Diane.  This year I got to room with their daughter, Pamela Mathews, and their two grandchildren. Poor Diane broke her arm while we were there and the woman never quit!  Bro. Lavelle was preaching, pouring his heart out each night.  They are both devoted and determined to share the Gospel with everyone they come in contact with.

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Diane & Lavelle Spillers

16 adults, youth and children accepted Christ while we were there!  Here are a few of them from Gospel Victory Baptist Church on the Navajo Reservation.

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Some of those saved at Gospel Victory Baptist Church on the Navajo Reservation

Before heading home I made it a point to visit Monument Valley, part of the Navajo Nation landmarks in southern Utah. It’s a place I’ve wanted to go ever since I saw my first western movie as a child.  I wasn’t disappointed!  Driving in I got my “Forrest Gump” shot.  You know the one where he was running and he just stopped and turned around and went home?  Here it is…

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My “Forrest Gump” shot heading into Monument Valley

Then I proceeded on.  It was hot. The sun was high in the sky.  It was dry and dusty.  The road through the valley is only 17 miles but is a terrible road.  I had red dirt covering everything…inside and outside of my car.  And I loved it all!!!!!

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A picture I had been waiting my whole life to capture!

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Monument Valley did not disappoint!

The summer didn’t end here though.  After a couple of more weeks at home it was time to join my friends at the annual “Gathering” at the Bible Baptist Church on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Wisconsin.

These north woods are as different as night and day in comparison to red rock country but none the less beautiful.  For as much dirt and rock as you see out west, you see just as much grass and water here.

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North Woods country

Fall was even beginning to show it’s colors in a few of the leaves and the underbrush…

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The underbrush was already beginning to change colors

I’m always at peace on this reservation.  There are cool, dry breezes that make the leaves sing and being here is like slipping back in time.  But the true peace that pervades my soul while at Lac du Flambeau is found in Christ who resides in these good people.

Our days were spent attending discipleship classes in the morning, gathering in the evening for jam sessions outside and services at night.

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Evening jam sessions

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The kids would just do their own thing during these jam sessions…

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Sometimes I would just sit back and marvel at the mixture of races coming together…all of us one because of Christ.

The best part was that the leaders for this gathering were also Native American. Pastor Wesley Castillo of Pine Hill Baptist Church and his wife, Paulette, their daughter and three young brothers from their congregation came all the way from the Navajo reservation in Cuba, New Mexico. We were blessed by what God did through them.

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Pine Hill Baptist Church from Cuba, NM

They ministered through music, testimony and sermons that left me in tears each night.  And just when you thought everything was coming to a close, the Holy Spirit would keep it going.  I won’t soon forget any of it.

The group of believers at Lac du Flambeau are strong.  Pam and Dar, Kevin, Mrs. Virginia and Mr. Ed, Mrs. Judy, Bernadine, Mr. Buddy, Pastor Bill and Bridget and their family…they’ve all become my family. But upon returning home I found out that I lost a member of that family.

Mr. Ed Seneca, probably one of the most original men as well as one of the most devoted Christian men I’ve ever known (Red, Yellow, Black or White), went home August 27, 2013.

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Ed Seneca…an original!

Mr. Ed loved Jesus, Mrs. Virginia and music…in that order.  Last year I sat with him in the hospital and found myself amazed that he rejoiced at being there because it gave him the chance to minister to the doctors and nurses who attended him. I’ve listened to him sing in English as well as in his native tongue and each time it left me in tears.  I recorded some of his stories and his songs because I didn’t want to ever forget his voice. I spent as much time with him as I could but it’s never enough is it?

My heart grieves for Mrs. Virginia but rejoices with Mr. Ed because I know he was dancing a jig at the throne!  It makes me smile every time I think about it.  I look forward to seeing him again and I’m grateful God allowed me one more visit with him before He took him.

Mrs. Virginia & Mr. Ed being silly after his stay in the hospital in the spring of 2012

Mrs. Virginia & Mr. Ed being silly after his stay in the hospital in the spring of 2012

This has been a summer filled with beauty, sadness, tears, sickness, frustration and overwhelming joy but more importantly it has been filled with God’s Holy Spirit.

I’ve traveled 12,560 miles. I’ve had the privilege of ministering and being ministered to on reservations in Washington State, South Dakota, New Mexico and Wisconsin. I never had to worry about finances and there were some obstacles but they pale in comparison to what I  witnessed God doing.  I saw lives changed, people saved and experienced God at work in my own life.  I was allowed to minister with some amazing groups…Pisgah Baptist Church in Forest Hill, Twin Bridges Baptist Church in Alexandria, Vicki & Fred James of Morning Star Ministries in Washington State, North Monroe Baptist Church in Monroe, Open Door Missions and Jed & Sally Jezek at LaPlant Baptist Church in South Dakota.

The best part? It never ends!!  I’m so thankful to all of you for being a part of this ministry!  I appreciate and pray for you all.  I’ll keep you posted on what’s next. Until then, I hope you are all happy, happy, happy but remember…happiness comes from your circumstances but joy comes from God! 

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When I was in High School I flunked P.E. One of the many reasons was because the P.E. teacher was a basketball coach and all she wanted to do was play basketball.  I love to watch basketball but I did NOT want to play it…so I sat on the bleachers with a couple of other girls and watched.  Needless to say, when I visited the Cheyenne River Reservation last Fall and was told that what they really needed this summer was a basketball camp, I didn’t think much would come of it. However, we all know that God works in mysterious ways AND has a sense of humor so this P.E. dropout got a group together to do a basketball camp.

Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t play basketball…that would have been an attempt at too little too late…but I did recognize that God was calling me to make this happen. So, after arguing with God for a few days, I gave David McCormick with North Monroe Baptist Church a call and he began the process of putting together a great team. Now, David is not exactly a basketball guru himself so it was like the blind leading the blind here.  But God is like that…He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.  All He wants from us is obedience and it’s a good thing because that’s all David or I had to offer in the form of basketball.

David McCormick, David Tidwell and Coach Delmar Pippins proving that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise!

David McCormick, David Tidwell and Coach Delmar Pippin proving that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise!

North Monroe Baptist Church is a church that can be depended upon to put everything together, provide everything needed and work like their lives depend upon it. I knew this camp was in good hands.  David’s nephew, Blake Bosely, began working and training and so did Lee Ainsworth, another go getter. They were all working hard to provide Cheyenne River with the best they could offer…but God had other plans.  Two weeks before the camp began, through a series of circumstances that only God could have put together, Coach Delmar Pippin and his wife Lori came on board.  Delmar and Lori don’t even go to North Monroe but isn’t it like God to surprise you at the last minute?  Also coming on board at the last minute was Derek Griffon, the youth minister at Simpson Baptist Church, who is also a gifted basketball player.  Two weeks before takeoff God put together the perfect team.

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Front Row: Toni, Shelly Lockwood, Rachel Tillman; 2nd Row: Lee Ainsworth, Melissa Cassiere, Evelyn Tidwell, Jason Bonner; 3rd Row: Richard Ainsworth, Brittany Bosely, David Tidwell, Terry Tanner, Megan Williams; 4th Row: Deborah Golmon, David McCormick, Coach Delmar Pippin, Lori Pippin, Blake Bosely, Derek Griffon

As always, this team worked hard!  We once again had Richard Ainsworth with us to prepare all of our meals and lunch for the kids.  The man is a genius in the kitchen! He was sick most of the time we were there and he never quit working.

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Richard and Lee Ainsworth

The group slept on air mattresses in the church activity building.  Each morning, we awoke to a great breakfast and the day would begin…but only after David and Derek sang “Who Let the Dogs Out” when they saw me each morning! 😛

We started the day by picking the kids up. We worked with Grades 1-6 from 9:30 -12:00…

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Grades 1-6

…and with Grades 7-12 from 1:00-3:30.

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Grades 7-12

Jason Bonner, Brittany Bosely, Lee Ainsworth, Evelyn Tidwell, Deborah Golemon, David Tidwell and Lori Pippin had the job of picking the kids up and bringing them home each day.

We began by checking the kids in….

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Then they would spend hours in a hot gym learning drills.  Coach Pippin was GREAT at holding their interest.  These kids wanted to excel!

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Toward the middle of practice Brittany Bosley would introduce a team building activity that was always a lot of fun…

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We ended each group with a short devotional from David and a testimony from one of the younger adults on our team…

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Then we would feed them lunch…

Jason Bonner dishing up hotdogs for lunch!

Jason Bonner dishing up hotdogs for lunch!

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Lori Pippin is dishing out fajitas to the older kids!

There’s always going to be some children who just don’t want to play basketball.  We were prepared for that. Thanks to my last mission in Washington State (and Twin Bridges Baptist Church) I had craft supplies, face paint and bubbles to keep those kids busy.  Shelly Lockwood and Melissa Cassiere were great about working with them…

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Sometimes the crafts weren’t enough so they would make do with hula hoops and alot of love…

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We also took the opportunity to introduce them to Christ with the “Wordless Book” I told you about in my last blog entry…

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Mrs. Sally Jezek, the Pastor’s wife and Megan Williams, their summer missionary from Alabama teaching the girls about Christ with the Wordless Book.

On our last day of camp some of the players were recognized for their outstanding abilities with certificates…Coach’s Award, Outstanding Player, 3 point Champion, Best Hustler, Best Ball Handler, etc.  These kids were so excited to be recognized for their hard work but this young man really touched my heart.  When the coach called his name, this tough teen jumped up grinning…his excitement was obvious.

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One award that brought tears to my eyes was a special award from the Coach.  Kansas Ghostbear had only made it to camp for two days so he didn’t get a certificate recognizing his abilities; however, he and Coach Pippin had a special bond.  The coach gave Kansas a Cypress Knee with “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me” written on it.  Kansas was all smiles.

Coach Pippins and Kansas Ghostbear

Coach Pippin and Kansas Ghostbear

Kansas even had the Coach write down all the drills for him so he could continue to practice what he had learned.

This basketball camp was incredibly successful.  We gained attendance each day, starting out with 37 on day one and ending up with 52 on day four.  We ministered to a total of 65 children and teens in a community that is extremely small at a school that usually only has 4 or 5 graduating seniors each year.

From time to time I was concerned that we weren’t getting enough of the Gospel to them but God made me realize that we got the chance to show them the Gospel through our love and guidance in ways many of them never would have encountered outside of a basketball camp.  He also showed me that we had paved the way for the upcoming VBS and Women’s Ministry happening the next weeks.

There was a lot more to this week than just the basketball camp.  The first Sunday we were there, North Monroe sang in the morning service…check out my Facebook page to see the video.  I gave a brief testimony about Mission Ventures and the Pastor gave a powerful sermon.  One Native lady said she felt as if she had experienced heaven that day.  The beauty of the service brought new life to their little sanctuary on the reservation and with it a renewed joy.

After the service we had grilled burgers and fries with everyone and got to fellowship…

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Then, on Monday, I got the honor of a lifetime.  A lady who had been in the service on Sunday told her husband some of the things I had said about God using the Native American community and he came to the church to speak with me.  This isn’t a common occurrence and I am still in awe that God put me in that place at that time.  What we discussed is not something I can publish here but it’s something I’ll never forget.

This is Mr. Ronnie, the gentleman who honored me with a visit.

This is Mr. Ronnie, the gentleman who honored me with a visit.

On Wednesday night North Monroe again participated in the service with songs.  This time they also included sign language by Rachel Tillman.

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And then came Thursday night. We extended an invitation to the adults and children alike in the surrounding communities to join us at the church that evening for some Louisiana fun…gumbo, music, etc.  Pastor Jed feared that we would be disappointed with the number of people who would come…we weren’t!  110 adults and children joined us that night!

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The room was filled to capacity and then began to spill outside.

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The line for food was long…

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…but there was plenty for everyone thanks to Richard and Deborah! The gumbo was a big success as well as the spaghetti they prepared for those not brave enough to try the gumbo.

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After the meal we headed over to the chapel where we sang and shared stories of Louisiana and they shared stories of the reservation history.  It was loud and boisterous and crazy and wonderful!

We presented Sally and Jed Jezek with a framed photo of a Louisiana Bayou in the Fall that the talented Deborah Golemon had taken.

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We also left behind two more framed photos, also taken by Deborah, for the Jezek’s to give to the school and to a dedicated member of their congregation.

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Cheyenne River shares many of the same troubles that other reservations have…low or no income, health issues, suicide, alcoholism, drugs and spiritual attacks. I also see God moving here, just as I’ve seen on other reservations…proving that God has something amazing in store for the Native American community.

What happened on this reservation was a mighty work of God.  The Native adults don’t usually participate as much as we experienced here at Cheyenne River.  It’s also unusual to have that many teens participate. The ministry that took place here was nothing short of a miracle.

I’m so grateful I listened to God and pursued the idea of a basketball camp.  I’m grateful that Sally and Jed Jezek obediently answered the phone and invited me into their home to discuss the possibilities of working there this summer.  I stand amazed at the fact that two weeks before we left God provided a Christian coach so that these kids would get a “true” basketball camp.  My mind is still reeling at the fact that an unprecedented number of adults and children joined us in this ministry. And I am beyond thankful that David McCormick and the team from North Monroe said, “We don’t know anything about doing a basketball camp but we’ll do one anyway.”

Vicki and Fred James of Morning Star Ministries have been ministering to the people of the Colville Reservation for over 10 years.  The people here are their family and their love for them is obvious.  The love goes both ways…the people of the reservation love Vicki and Fred as well.

Vicki James and some of "her babies."

Vicki James and some of “her babies.”

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Fred James

You don’t hear much about this reservation in the North/Central area of Washington State…

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…and there are only two churches that work with Vicki and Fred. These two churches offer the children a VBS during the summers.  There’s no building yet so everything has to be done during the summer. The good news is the tribal council is leasing them a piece of land and we are looking forward to seeing God provide the funding for a building that will enable them to have year round ministry.

And now they have another team from Louisiana to work with them as well!

Front Row:  John Philips, Zeb Mathews, Kim Stalsby, Kristy Robertson, Tyler Adams, RoAnn Nichols, Leta Faye Pittman, Terry Tanner...Back Row:  Pastor Josh Adams, Frank Pittman, Garland Nichols, Fred James

Front Row: John Philips, Zeb Mathews, Kim Stalsby, Kristy Robertson, Tyler Adams, RoAnn Nichols, Leta Faye Pittman, Terry Tanner…Back Row: Pastor Josh Adams, Frank Pittman, Garland Nichols, Fred James

What started off as a sketchy summer (as you read on my last post) became a mission I’ll never forget. Everyone arrived Sunday evening and started work first thing Monday morning. We had to get the park ready for the Back Yard Bible Club we were doing so that was our first order of business.

There was lots of mowing…

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Picking up trash…

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Sweeping up broken glass…

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Picking up the broken glass…

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And weed eating.

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The ladies and the teens were done with their part of the clean up job after Monday but Pastor Josh Adams, Mr. Frank Pittman and Mr. Garland Nichols spent the next three mornings continuing to mow the remainder of the property.  Mr. Frank and Mr. Garland also helped Fred put up a new basketball goal. This property would not look nearly as good as it does if not for those guys!

On the evening of the first day we all walked the neighborhoods in the area handing out flyers. The next three days saw the ladies and the teens splitting up into teams of 2 and 3 and prayer walking each neighborhood in the mornings while the men continued cleaning the park. The pastor did take a break from mowing to go prayer walking with us on Thursday.  He and some of the others hiked up a mountain to a waterfall and prayed for all they could see.

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After prayer walking each morning, we would head back to the hotel to get ready for the Back Yard Bible Club that evening.

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Then we would head back out to the park and start setting up.

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The kids started coming before we even got finished!

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We had three stations.  Bible Study…

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You would be amazed at how much they want to participate in Bible Study when you start throwing candy to those who participate! 🙂 Our lessons were based on Genesis 1:1, John 1:1 and Revelation 1:1.

Then it was time for crafts.  Each craft went with the Bible lesson.  Kim Stalsby, the youth minister at Twin Bridges BC in Alexandria, and her youth group worked hard at providing them.

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Brother Josh Adams of Pisgah Baptist Church in Forest Hill led the kids in recreation…and they loved him!

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All of his activities consisted of these…

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…needless to say, many of us got wet every night!

We had snacks every night as well.  Mrs. RoAnn Nichols and Mrs. Leta Faye Pittman, both from Pisgah Baptist Church in Forest Hill, took care of this for us.

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Thanks to the ladies of Pisgah Baptist Church in Forest Hill, we had gifts and prizes for everything…

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But this young man got a huge master blaster water gun for his dedication in picking up the trash every single night!

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The kids played basketball (basketball is always a big deal on every reservation)…

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They enjoyed the swings and slides in the park…

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And they all enjoyed the sidewalk chalk but this young man had a special gift with that chalk.  I think I see a graffiti artist in the making…

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We had bubbles to blow, 4 square, and as many dogs as we had kids (almost).

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On Friday night we had a fry bread fellowship!  I am a devoted fan of fry bread and was quite excited about this.  However, as most of you know, it is best if I don’t participate in cooking.  So…Vicki taught Mrs. RoAnn, Mrs. Leta Faye and Kim how to make it.

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Kim even made Louisiana’s version of fry bread…beignets.  The kids loved them!

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Everything was eaten and I didn’t even get any fry bread!!!! I did get some beignets though and they were SO GOOD!!

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The kids had fun playing with face paint while waiting for the fry bread to cook.  Some went with the traditional look…

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…and some not so traditional.

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Some tried their hand at it with the adults…

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…and with each other.

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Friday night, like every other night, was a great success.

We ministered to approximately 60 children all total and more importantly, we had 17 children ask Jesus to be their Savior!

We all bonded with these children…

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We were blessed to be a part of their lives if even for a brief moment.  I was blessed in many ways…to share this ministry with such a great team and to make new friends I’ll have forever.  I was also honored when this man told me that he liked how I taught the kids.  He said, “You know how to handle them.  You sound like an Indian woman.  They know they better listen.”

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I almost cried when these children brought me a basket full of roses and a bracelet they made for me.

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These are beautiful people…

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…and I was honored to serve them.

But I am most honored that Jesus sent us there so that we could bring the Gospel to them.

Thanks to Mrs. Yvonne Stockman  I have lots of little “Wordless Books” that tell the Gospel with a simple color scheme.  Our team wore these little books and used them to present the Gospel in a way that a child can understand.  Many of these children had never heard of Jesus Christ and now, because of five small pieces of felt and a safety pin, they have heard and can tell their family and friends.

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Today I traveled the Oregon Trail.

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Unlike Lewis and Clark, I had a GPS to lead the way. And unlike the settlers who traveled in wagons, on foot and on horses, I was in a 2007 Saturn Ion.

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It got me to thinking…how on earth did they do it??? I mean, there are rivers…long, deep, wide ones…

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…and mountains.  Big, tall, rocky ones….

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…and miles of undulating, massive ones littered with black, volcanic boulders.

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Over and over again I kept asking the question, how did they do it? How hard it must have been to travel over that kind of terrain for that many miles in a wagon!

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It brought to mind that song Bonnie Tyler sang in the 80’s…”Holding Out for a Hero.”  Remember the line, “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?” Well, we know there is only one God and He reigns supreme so there’s no question there. But really, where have all the good men (and women) gone?

I thought of myself and my circumstances at the beginning of my trip…a little story I like to call “the puke fest of twenty thirteen.” Yes, I drove 11 hours, most of it in Kansas, nauseated and throwing up.  Yes, it was extremely unpleasant to only have enough time to pull over and grab a bag to hurl into only to find that the bag is leaking. I then tried to empty the bag out the window.  Remember how I said I was in Kansas?  Kansas is mostly prairie…no trees…lots of wind.  Therefore, the contents of the bag attempted to re-enter the car.  You can imagine my delight.  And just when I thought there would be an upside to this story, since throwing up usually stops the nausea, I found that all I was going to be allowed was about 2 minutes of relief before the waves of nausea hit again.

I spent 2 days getting over all that and I felt very sorry for myself.  But now, I think about women traveling for months and months in a wagon.  Some of them pregnant…giving birth on the way and suddenly my nausea isn’t quite so bad.  I checked into a motel to recover…not a fancy one but it had a bed, an air conditioner and running water.  That’s a whole lot more than those women had.

The “check engine” light came on in my car and I whined because I couldn’t believe something else was going wrong. Ha! All I had to do was find a mechanic and get it fixed. Then I’m on my way down the road at 75 miles per hour. If something happened to their wagons or their horses, it took ALOT longer to fix.  Sometimes they were stuck for days, even months.

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I know you all didn’t ask for a history lesson. But, like Bonnie Tyler, I’m asking, “Where have all the good men gone?”  We’ve all gone soft.  We’ve got cars and hotels and fast food and hair dryers and hospitals and air conditioning and anything we need right at our fingertips!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go back to a time when we didn’t have those things… especially air conditioning.  Not only do I not want to, I don’t know that I could.

I honestly don’t think I know anyone in the world who could successfully handle that kind of adversity and hardship today….not even Phil Robertson.  He’s old school and can handle a simple life but he ain’t that old school!

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Yet, as I type this I remember…the same God who traveled with those early settlers travels with me.  The same God who healed them heals me. The same God who protected them protects me.  The same God who guided them, guides me. So, I guess we’re really not that different after all.

I’ll keep that in mind as I join my team in Washington and we minister to a people group who know great hardship but do NOT know our God.  Please pray that they know Him before we leave.

I haven’t posted in quite a while…mainly because there is so much to do before I head out again. I figured I would give you all a quick update though.

Daddy smallerMany of you already know my dad had triple bypass surgery. It all happened so quickly but with everyone praying he was home before we knew it and is healing quickly. God is good!

I’ve had the privilege of speaking at several churches and I only hope that they have been as blessed by me as I have been by all of them. I’ve been working toward raising the funds I need to take care of the summer, fall and winter mission trips and I’m about halfway there. Again, God is good!

This summer is coming together wonderfully. I’ve got a good group of 11 from Western Series-Indian Summer smallerTwin Bridges Baptist Church in Alexandria and Pisgah Baptist Church in Forest Hill who are going with me to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. We’ll be doing clean up, backyard Bible clubs, prayer walking and fellowship. I have another group of approximately 12 from North Monroe Baptist Church who are going with me to do a Basketball camp at the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.

I’ll be going with Twin Bridges Baptist Church to a reservation in Oklahoma and with Open Door Missions to minister in New Mexico. We’ll be doing Vacation Bible Schools and Revival Services with both of these groups.

20 smallerChristmas is also on my mind! Mission Ventures will be doing Christmas shoeboxes again this year and I hope to include more than one reservation. If any of you are interested in participating in this ministry just let me know.

As always, I covet your prayers. Please pray for all of these mission that are goingWestern Series-Gods Promise Final smaller on throughout the summer, fall and winter. Pray that many come to know Christ. Pray that there are workers to help the new converts become true disciples. Pray that more Native Americans rise up and become leaders in the midst of their own people. Pray for safe travel for everyone and for finances to cover everything that needs to be done. Pray about how you can be a part of all of it. Pray for our health and even our vehicles. You can never pray too much!

I’ll be heading out around mid May but I plan to get another newsletter out before I go so be on the lookout for it.

God bless you all and I’ll keep you posted!

I stand amazed…

I’ve spent the last several weeks…

Working on gathering groups to go to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington and to the Cheyenne River Reservation in Northern South Dakota.

I’ve signed up with Open Door Missions again to go to New Mexico and with Twin Bridges Baptist Church to go to Oklahoma. I’m also making arrangements to join Bill and Bridget Earl at the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in Wisconsin in August.

I’ve been doing contract work at home for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. I’ve also visited friends in Arkansas and I have a few upcoming speaking engagements.

All of this is par for the course when it comes to missions ministry…we all have details to work out each day no matter what our life’s work is. But then there are the moments that leave you speechless (a major feat for me).

I’ve had a few of those moments lately. For me, the greatest tool in my ministry, after prayer and the Word, is my car. I put a lot of miles on Sophie (yes, I’m one of those dorks that names their vehicle) but I also take better care of her than I do myself! I very rarely get in that car without praying over it and thanking God for it. She’s paid for and even though she has 126,000 miles on her at 6 years old, she has given me very little trouble.

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Zeb Mathews and John Phillips taking care of Sophie in Wisconsin

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the “Check Engine” light had come on. My first thought was the fact that I did not have the funds to have anything fixed at the moment. I was on the way to the Post Office so I just prayed and told God it was all in His hands. I should not have been surprised at what I found when I got to the Post Office….a surprise check for a generous amount from Harmony Baptist Church in Glenmora.

The check was definitely the answer to my prayer but even more important was the letter that accompanied the check. Several weeks before, the pastor, Robbie Rollins, had asked me for 10 prayer requests for my ministry for a missions themed Super Bowl party their church was having. I sent the ten requests and didn’t think about it again. The letter explained that the youth and young adults at their church had a Super Bowl prayer event where they each pledged x-amount of money per point that their team scored to give to my ministry. During commercials and at halftime, the television was turned off and their youth minister covered one of my prayer needs, discussed it and revealed the Biblical relevance of it.

It didn’t stop there. The church body that didn’t participate in the Super Bowl event met at their regular time and did the same thing. Their normal sermon time is approximately 35 minutes but this prayer time lasted over an hour. Afterwards, they received an offering for my ministry. There are even some who have dedicated themselves to keeping my prayer requests before their eyes and before the Lord regularly.

Y’all, the check was the answer to a prayer but the idea that these people had spent so much time in prayer for my prayer requests and would continue to do so was overwhelming and brought tears to my eyes right there in the Post Office.

The story doesn’t end there. I brought my car to have it repaired and all that was needed was for some box to be cleaned…please don’t ask me any questions about what box because I am a woman who knows NOTHING about mechanics of any kind. 🙂 The cost was minimal so I was able to do something I didn’t think I would be able to do…repair my driver’s window after 8 months of having to open my door at drive thru’s, etc. (You can read about that in another post entitled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”).  The window needed to be fixed for the sake of safety but it was last on my list.  Being able to have it repaired was an unexpected blessing.

Two days later my car wouldn’t start at all. I panicked for about 20 minutes (a major improvement over the Terry Tanner I used to know) and then I reminded myself that God was in control. Thanks to Connie and Phil Thomas, I now have AAA so I had the car towed free of charge. I will admit, I was quite aggravated with myself for having that window repaired because I figured now I would need more money for these repairs. I…was…wrong. (I knew that would happen some day. Ha!)

Price Auto informed me that the wires to the fuel something-or-other were bad and had become disconnected. They felt that may have happened when they cleaned that box thing-a-ma-jig; therefore, they repaired it free of charge. Imagine my relief and my dismay at just how faithful God is!

Friends, I get to see this kind of thing so often now. I’ve been surprised with last minute funds that have gotten me home when I didn’t think I was going to have enought to get home. I’ve received monthly pledges from individuals that were totally unexpected. I recently received a monthly pledge from First Baptist, Rayville as a result of the article the Baptist Message did on me. I don’t know anyone from that church and I have never spoken there so, once again, I was left speechless at God’s provision. Zeb Mathews, a young man I’ve ministered with from Twin Bridges Baptist Church, is giving a concert for his senior project and all proceeds are going to my ministry. I am blessed at EVERY turn!

When I stepped out on faith, I had no idea how things would work out but God did. I have not wanted for anything and He has provided for every surprise. I haven’t been buying many purses lately (a past obsession) but, then again, I already had too many of them. 🙂 I don’t live extravagantly but God knows what we need…and He does provide for His children. I find myself constantly standing amazed in His presence.

And as for that letter from Harmony Baptist Church in Glenmora…well, it now hangs on the wall in my office here at home to remind me of just how awesome God is and how awesome His people are! Thank you all so much!

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The letter from Harmony hangs in my office to remind me of God’s faithfulness!

All because two boys…

Happy New Year everyone! I just returned from the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation in Wisconsin where I encountered PLENTY of snow!

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We were all freezing but we still loved it!

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The lakes were already frozen so there was even some “walking on water”.

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Let me introduce these two to you. They are John Phillips and Zeb Mathews. John is a 17 year old Junior at Pineville High School and Zeb is an 18 year old senior, also at Pineville High School. They are members of Twin Bridges Baptist Church in Alexandria and they were part of the group that joined me at the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana this past summer. These are two outstanding young men. While at Ft. Belknap both of these boys asked me to do a mission project with them during the Christmas holidays.

That is what started a very successful ministry to the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation.

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Twin Bridges Baptist Church in Alexandria, New Hope Baptist Church in Monroe and Harmony Baptist Church in Glenmora all contributed gifts in shoeboxes.

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The Lac du Flambeau Bible Baptist Church advertised an after Christmas luncheon and Christmas party for the people of the reservation. The pastor of the Lac du Flambeau Bible Baptist Church, Bill Earl (a Louisiana man!) and his wife, Bridget went above and beyond by preparing Chicken Sauce Pequante, Boudin and Chicken and Dumplings for the entire community.

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We all helped with the dumplings!

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Then, Sunday after church we headed to the community center and prayed that people would come. We were not dissapointed…the room was full!

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The church got to visit with people they don’t normally get to visit with and the kids enjoyed playing while waiting for the presents.

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The kids had a ball opening their gifts!

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There were plenty of gifts left over so the boys and I loaded up my car and headed out to make deliveries.

I drove while the boys made their way through the snow to knock on doors and deliver gifts to any children in the home.

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The few remaining gifts went to the local shelter.

The boys were cold, their feet were wet and everyone was tired but it was all worth it. So much happened here that may go unnoticed unless I mention it…you see, we so often think of a mission trip and we wonder “how many people got saved?” But, as Pastor Bill Earl said, before you find any evidence of salvation you have to plow the ground and till the soil and plant and water and fertilize…especially amongst the Native American communities.

What happened here is that the church went outside it’s walls. They didn’t ask the people to come to them, they went to the people. They didn’t approach the people with messages and sermons and man made revivals…they offered food and friendship and gifts. They didn’t hit anyone over the head with a Bible…they included a Bible in the shoeboxes as a gift.

God is at work on this reservation. He was before this ministry and He still is. This particular mission was just one of many doors God is opening for fellowship amongst His Native American people and the Body of Christ. It just so happens that this door opened all because two boys expressed a desire to serve.

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