Friday, July 2, 2010

Reason for Hope

We are so thankful for God's traveling mercies and protection over our trip to the Fort Apache Indian Reservation! Yesterday we arrived back in Shreveport around 1:30. Parents were so happy to see their kids, and wives were so glad to have their husbands back. Our feelings were bittersweet as we were glad to be home for some much needed rest, but missing those precious people we were able to minister to on the reservation.

We had hoped to blog throughout our trip, but at times internet access was difficult and would have interfered with our undivided involvment on the reservation. We felt that God had us in that place for a few days and we wanted our time there to be as effective as possible, so we decided to fill you in on all the exciting details about what God did and what He will continue to do when we arrived back home. Over the next week, we'll post different stories about our trip, so keep checking our blog! If you haven't signed up to be a follower, please do so you can leave comments and we can see who is reading our blog!

The theme for this year's mission trip to the reservation was "Reason for Hope." God burned that theme in our hearts because every year we visit the reservation we see so much hopelessness. On the faces of the people we so often see so much pain, sorrow, and often a question of wondering if anyone truly cares. So, with our Shreveport and Colorado group combined, we took a team of about 70 to canvas the area and tell people that there is hope for their situation, and life abundantly for those whose trust is in God.

One of my favorite parts of a mission trip is simply walking door to door offering to pray with people. We had only a few people reject the prayer, and we will tell you about some of those in another post, but so many people were so receptive and hungry for someone to care enough to pray with them. On one of these "prayer walk" occcasions, a 12 or 13 year old apache girl named Krista joined us on our walk. We had about 4 or 5 different groups spread out to canvas the neighborhoods surrounding the church, and Krista stayed with our group. Our last visit was actually to her house where she lives with her great grandmother. As we talked with this sweet woman, tears rolled down her face as she shared with us that she hasn't been able to muster up the strength and courage to go to church since her husband passed away a year ago. We prayed with her and encouraged her. God's presence was so sweet in that moment. There was no doubt He spoke to her heart and worked things in her life that we will never even know. Later that day, some of her family members, 3 sisters, came to have lunch with us. We were able to talk with them, bring encouragement, and invited them to come back for burgers that night. One of the sisters had a precious 5 month old with a head full of hair! Kylee and Aubrey were pretty fascinated by her. My heart rejoiced when the three sisters came back that night for burgers and brought Krista's great grandmother with them! I knew God had done a great healing work in her, because ordinarily she would not leave her house to go have burgers.

Well, the story gets even better. Saturday evening, most of our guys were camping in the mountains for a Royal Ranger camp. We had a handful of guys stay behind to be there for the girls. That evening, we made one last journey to Prayer Mountain, a hill with 3 crosses overlooking the reservation where we go as a group to pray over the Apache people. After being on the mountain at the camp all day, we were all pretty tired upon returning to the church. It would have seemed easier in that moment to stay at the church, get showers, and get to bed early. However, we knew God was drawing us to go pray one more time on Prayer Mountain. That night, after the devotion was given, Krista came to the center for prayer. After praying with her for a few minutes, I asked specificallly how to pray. With tears streaming down her face, she said, "I want to accept Jesus." We prayed with her through the sinner's prayer. God's presence was so powerful, Krista could not even stand. She fell to the ground, overwhelmed by His goodness and love.

Later, she told of how she misses her great grandfather. Each night he would read the Bible to her before she went to sleep. After he was gone, she kept his Bible hidden so that no one would try to destroy it, because most of her family members do not believe in it. Even though she had not accepted Jesus, when things were unstable or even scary at home, she would close the door and hold that Bible close to her heart. Her great grandfather planted a seed that we had the joy of harvesting that night on Prayer Mountain. Keep Krista and her family in your prayers. God has begun a great work in them. We are believing for Him to sustain them even in times of persecution on the reservation.

Krista and Delaney
Delaney is a precious student from Colorado.
God impressed it on her heart to give Krista her very own Bible because
she felt the notes she had written in it for her personal study would help
Krista learn to study God's Word.

1 comment:

  1. Praise God! Pastor Josh and Mrs. Jill did a tremendous job with the trip! I can't wait to find out in eternity what fruit will have come from what we did there!