It started with a random afternoon free in Sacramento. Ryan said, “Let’s go see the capitol building.”
And now we’ve toured a few capitols on the west coast and visited a few more on this trip. We have another couple capitol buildings on the list during this road trip because if we’re in the area, we will at least stop for a capitol selfie. Can you name these capitols?
This week we are on our way back to Sacramento but were taking advantage of the good weather. It’s been fun to visit with friends, get outside, do some hiking and see parts of the country that are somewhat new for me and entirely new to Ryan.This is taken near the top of Badger Mountain in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, which we hiked with a friend of mine who worked with me in Papua New Guinea. We got to spend some time with her fun family, husband and new baby but we also really enjoyed getting out and hiking. It’s amazing to think that the area this rock overlooks used to be filled with water before the water carved it’s way through the mountain range and made it’s own little canyon. Ryan and I drove along the Columbia River through that little gorge on our way out of Washington into Oregon. It was a beautiful hike and a beautiful drive.Then today we enjoyed Klamath Falls in southern Oregon. It wasn’t sunny but it was warm enough for a hike and a picnic on Moore Mountain. We had fun visiting with friends of mine from Santa Barbara and as I type everyone else is still visiting and playing Super Mario. We had a great day outside and also visited the Klamath Falls museum which boasts an exhibit about the Japanese Balloon Bombs. It’s worth reading about this interesting and sad part of our history.
Tomorrow we’re headed to our last stop in Grass Valley and then it’s back to Sacramento for us. We’re super encouraged about the strides we’ve made on this trip, especially the relationships that we’ve built, strengthened and renewed. Good food and a little hiking seem to go a long way.
When I was support raising before, I visited a church on the Yakama reservation. I was not sure what to expect from the visit but after having a meal with the team, getting a tour of the church building they were renovating and helping out with Kid’s Club (one of their local summer outreaches in the neighborhoods), I got a sense of the similarities between their ministry with Native Americans and what I had hoped would be my ministry with Aboriginals in Australia.Fast forward to this week and one of the things we wanted to take advantage of while we were in Washington State was visiting this church again, catching up with the team and looking forward to what could be potential ministry connections for the future.
While we were chatting, this beautiful double rainbow crossed the sky outside the now complete church building. We also got to attend youth group and see the building in action, about 70 young people from the surrounding community getting fed, playing games and hearing about forgiveness in Christ.
Our desire now is to remain in touch and potentially foster relationships between Native American and Aboriginal youth. We believe that this could be potentially impactful for both our ministries. Please pray for Sacred Road Ministries and their work reaching the Yakama people for Christ.
After 14 days on the road, Ryan and I will be leaving Seattle tomorrow to start the last leg of our trip. We have had some amazing times with friends and family along the way. Thank you everyone who has hosted us and will be hosting us this next week. This trip hasn’t been easy but we see God at work.Last support update we reported that we were at 36% of our 50% goal but now we are at 45%! By mid-March Ryan and I need 50% of our monthly support pledged in order to buy tickets for our required July 2016 training which would keep us on schedule to leave by fall 2016. If we don’t reach this goal, we will need to wait for the training in January 2017.
So what is still needed? As of last night we need $550 a month in pledges to reach our mid-March deadline. Ryan and I are both convinced that we will make this goal because of the way God has been working in the past couple of weeks. Although the numbers break down to about 6 people giving $100 a month, we recognize that $100 is a lot of money for most people looking at their monthly budget. Maybe for you a more realistic number is $20 a month and about 28 people at $20 a month can enable Ryan and I to attend the July training. It’s easy to give by contacting MTW (Mission to the World) or using their online giving site: donations.mtw.org.Please continue to spread the word. Thank you to everyone who has been advocating for us. We know it makes a difference. Advocating is as easy as talking about Australia and encouraging others to find out about our ministry (Why Australia?) and give.
Please keep praying. Please pray for God to enable churches and individuals to make room in their budgets for us. Please pray for us to be bold and have wisdom when asking for support. Please pray that we would above all else honor God and relationships during this process. And finally please be praying how you can support us. Thank you for helping us get to Australia!
Ryan and Josh first met at Trinity Bible College. Josh came up to Ryan in class and said “Hey Shorty” to which Ryan replied “Hey Slim”. They’ve been fast friends ever since. If you couldn’t tell these pictures are from their college days.I met Josh 2 1/2 years ago on my first Pacific Northwest road trip while Ryan and I were dating. It was important for Ryan that I meet Josh and get his stamp of approval. Needless to say I passed his rigorous testing process. Josh and I met again when he stood next to Ryan as his best man at our wedding. Although now many years removed from Trinity, Ryan and Josh remain close friends. Tomorrow (Sunday the 28th) we will be there to witness Josh’s wedding to his fiancé Cathie. Just as it was important for Ryan to have Josh with him at our wedding, it is important for Josh to have Ryan at his wedding. We are thankful for the timing and that we are able to be a part of this special day. Please cover Josh and Cathie in your prayers as they begin this new chapter in their lives as husband and wife.
“Prayer becomes an exercise of highest love when you forget about your own needs and sins, take up the cares and sorrows of other people, and lay them on the heart of God.” -Benjamin Palmer
We had the privilege of speaking at and attending a prayer meeting in Tacoma last night. What an amazing encouragement to see multiple generations of a church gathered together, sharing their hearts and praying. Not just a quick prayer at the beginning and the end but a good long amount of devoted time where requests were listed up to God in unity of spirit. Ryan and I were well received and enjoyed hearing some of the ministry connections that we unknowingly shared with this congregation. One of the connections is with David and Barbara Cross who worked with the same Brookton church in the 1970s. It’s sweet to see how God is connecting us through the generations.
We believe that prayer is foundational for our ministry and it is also our covering going out. Because of this, we were thankful to have an evening with fellow believers to be lifted up in prayer and also to join in praying for many others in the Seattle area, around our nation and around the world.
Both the US and Australia have common histories when it comes to the native population. Before these countries were primarily populated by people of European descent, they were inhabited by aboriginal populations. The Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals lived connected to the land and in close communal societies that had unique languages and cultural practices. Then these groups were pushed off their land, their community and family structure slowly dismantled and in many cases, the language and culture were watered down beyond recognition if not completely lost. And, as much as I wish it wasn’t true, this was often done by the church in the name of Christ. So what does this history mean for the church today?
Whiteman’s Gospel by Craig Stephen Smith is an insightful book written from the Native American perspective. Although it is not about Australian Aboriginals, the parallels are profound and worth learning from. Smith even talks about one of his trips to Australia where after he spoke “the Aboriginals rushed to the front and embraced [him], saying to [him], ‘Brother Smith, you were telling our story!’ In many ways the history of the Aboriginal Australians mirrors that of the Native American experience. That one message gave [him] a level of acceptance with them that was incredible.”
I wish I had read this book years ago because it would have helped give me the words to better describe my philosophy of ministry in Papua New Guinea. I especially appreciate how Smith presented the plight verses potential dichotomy. Smith writes “As I see it, we basically define motivation for Native ministry in two distinct categories. Workers among our people are out there doing ministry because of either a motivation that is based on the perception of our Plight or Problems, or they are there because of a motivation that is based on the perception of our Potential.” This is a much needed reminder and I hope that more people will see the blessings in Potential motivated ministry.
There are many more things to learn and ponder while reading this book. I would highly recommend it for any Christian, even if you don’t live near or feel personally influenced by the Native American community. The implications can be broadly applied in many ways that have the potential to positively impact the church.