Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pocket of Grace

Jason and I want to share some exciting news with you about an opportunity God recently dropped in our laps to share the love of Christ with the Suquamish Native American Tribe. From the beginning of our relationship, I shared my love for the Suquamish Native Americans and have been praying the doors would open up so that Jason too would experience this same joy. Due to aging elders of the Suquamish Tribe, we knew we a “normal” week of vacation Bible school and other activities just wasn’t going to happen. Our God of the eleventh hour stepped in and provided new and unexpected opportunities. Before I tell you about that, let me give you a little background on the Suquamish Native Americans.

I first heard about the Suquamish Native Americans from my friend, Gloria Smith, who is a full-blooded native and who often shared about the hardships of her people, through prayer requests each Sunday. Even before I knew what was to come, God was preparing my heart. I developed a love for these people, whom I’ve never even met. Then in 1998, Sybil Johnson (our College director at Shades Mountain Baptist Church) mentioned to Gloria the possibility of taking a group of college students not just to minister to her people, but also “the forgotten ones”, the children. When Gloria heard that, she just cried. From the time she left the Reservation, she’s been praying that God would send someone to minister to them. Once the Elders granted us permission to come onto their land, our dreams were hatched and none of us were ever the same again.

From the very beginning, God was in the little details. He softened their hearts for this “Alabama Group”, and allowed us to go where only natives had previously been before. The doors for bringing His saving grace had been flung wide open and we fell into a pocket of grace that still exists today.

When the first team arrived on “the slab” (concrete area meeting area), two things struck me: the kind of beauty that takes your breath away leaving you speechless and the spiritual warfare that was extremely evident by the drug deal that was taking place not far from the little church. We immediately ‘circled the wagons’ and had a prayer time like never before.

By the end of the first week, we had been amazingly blessed. Not only did we plant seeds of salvation in many of the children’s hearts. But also, at least four girls accepted Christ, which we later baptized in our hotel pool the next summer.

For a total of nine summers (1998-2006), God opened the doors to allow me to return each summer. I was blessed abundantly with whatever I needed to go back. It amazed me, how each year He set up these divine appointments to remind me that He’s still in the miracle business.

So why thirteen years later, does my heart still beat for the hope of returning to this land? It’s there that I find purpose. It’s where I know God has specifically placed me; to use the talents He’s given me, to bless His people. There’s an indescribable fulfillment in being a sojourner for Him. An added bonus, I again get to spend time with these precious people, whom I love like my own family.

So, what’s the pocket of grace that I speak of? It’s when God has covered all the details you could ever think or worry over, often before you even ask them. It’s when you look around, and you see His fingerprints completely covering the situation. When you realize that He’s done all this for you, for your happiness, when you didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. It’s when you realize you went to minister, but instead got ministered to. That’s when you realize you’ve fallen into His pocket of Grace.

While in Suquamish, we will work alongside a new church plant on the Reservation, Refuge Christian Fellowship. Miraculously, the Suquamish Tribe has allowed Refuge to meet in their local elementary school. We’ll also set up a booth at Chief Seattle Days and help children assemble The Power Band, which is a direct presentation of the Gospel. This is a popular tool which uses a leather strap and multi-colored beads to represent the six elements of the Gospel:

Black is our sin before we are saved
RED is the blood of CHRIST shed for us on the cross.
WHITE we are cleansed when we are saved.
BLUE is baptism.
GREEN we are growing in CHRIST.
YELLOW/GOLD is our riches in HEAVEN.

We are praying for God to grant us favor with the people so we can show His love and salvation.

Three things are absolutely necessary for this work to happen. First, God’s divine blessing leading us to do His will and the work He’s called us to do. Second, we covet the committed prayers* of family and friends, as the spiritual warfare never lets up. Satan attacks us even before we arrive on the Reservation and once there, we wage a battle within the Heavens for Lost Souls. Finally, we need the financial support which equates to approximately $1,500 for us both. If you feel led to contribute financially to this mission, please make checks payable to Undivided Ministries. Please note in the memo section of your check “Suquamish Mission – “Insert Name””. All donations are tax deductible and should be mailed to: UNDIVIDED MINISTRIES, P.O. BOX 1101, Blountsville, AL 35031

We will leave for the Reservation on August 17th and return home on August 21st. Please mark these dates on your calendar and remember us in prayer while we are gone. Thank you for your prayers and support.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19, 20

*For more information regarding how to pray for missionaries, please visit this website.

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