This time of year I’m always eager to look ahead to new things - to anticipate the new year! I love wondering about the things that God will do, the ways he will work, and the lives He will change. However, this time of year reminds me to look back and reflect on the year - a really tough year and a really good year.
Reflections on 2020
I’m thankful to look back on 2020 and remember my family around me. My family in Pennsylvania has been nothing but supportive. I’m so thankful for them. But I have my second family - my church family, both here in Yakama and across the country, who I treasure so dearly. They’ve loved me, supported me, and walked beside me through the lows of this year. They’ve loved Evan and I unconditionally. I have felt and experienced community - sharing our griefs and joys. As I reflected on the year with one of the ladies on staff, we both felt we ended the year less lonely than when it began. That even through the most difficult things of this year - ministry being cancelled in Warm Springs for 8 months, our miscarriage in May, some health issues, and some of the kids that we love being so far from the church, Jesus never left my side and has never left any of His children. He walks with them through their joys and struggles everyday. Thank you Jesus.
Here are a couple of my favorite moments from 2020:
One of the girls from church who is now a part of our afterschool program, asked for just one thing for Christmas: “All I want this year is a Christmas tree.” She has probably never had a Christmas tree, but this year she did! She has also come to our school assistance program a few times along with her brother, and it has been really good to see her smiling and laughing. Praise Jesus for finding joy in the small things.
One of the other highlights from December was our Christmas party in Warm Springs. Typically we have about 50-65 kids around Christmastime and around 70-100 in the summer. Talk about a little chaos. This year we had just 8, including the youth. Being in such a personal setting allowed 1 on 1 time with kids. Not only this, but some of the Boys and Girls Club staff (who were the parents to all of the kids there) sat down with me at the craft table, specifically a woman named Jackie. This rarely happens because there is usually anywhere from 5 to 10 (or sometimes even 20!) kids in the summer doing crafts with me at one time! But at the party, I had just one kid - her kid - doing a craft and Jackie sat across from me. Jackie hasn’t started any conversations with me prior to this. She has always been more cautious and quiet, observing the way we interact with the kids at the club for years.
At the party, she started talking with me about what their typical traditions look like at Christmas. That her and her mother would typically cook a Thanksgiving and Christmas feast at the longhouse, but that those plans were cancelled. They were spending some time with family, but not nearly in the capacity they normally would. She shared stories of her kids, family, and the things she was missing this year. I sympathized with her. This year has been hard.
After kids club, I was in awe of what God had done. He led Jackie to open up her heart to us. Maybe not fully, but enough to show a level of trust. In Native culture, sharing stories is a means of love and trust; sharing a story is like giving a gift. Although this Christmas party was nothing like I pictured, it was beautiful. And God is working. And I couldn’t be more thankful and excited.
An addition to our family!
We also have some other good news! Evan and I are expecting a baby at the end of July, which is a huge blessing. I am 14 weeks along and feeling tired, but I’ve still been able to do everything that I need to and be part of the ministry that is going on at the church. I’m very thankful for that as well!
School Program - We’ve added a couple new households! One boy, who is in 7th grade, has not attended school since March. Although school isn’t a priority in the home, this boy is motivated and working hard, despite the tremendous amount of work ahead of him. Please be praying for our kids - that they would be diligent with their work, but perhaps even more so that they would feel like they are accomplishing something important. Please pray for motivation as they often have to wake themselves up for school. Pray that they would come and feel safe, loved, and valued.
Many of you are asking how the 2 boys are doing who were shot the week before Christmas. Both of them are home and recovering. We brought food and gifts to them this Christmas. The caretaker for both of the boys posted on Facebook how special and meaningful it was that the church was looking after them. They came to our afterschool program once since we started back up, but are still very tired. One is still in a wheelchair and has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Please continue praying for their recovery physically and mentally from this traumatic experience.
Personal health - Evan has had some recent appointments for stomach pain he’s been having the last few months. After taking some medication for a couple of months, those issues seem to be clearing up. Just a few days ago he stopped taking the medication, so please pray those issues don’t come back. Also, please pray for me and our unborn child as we head through this second trimester.
Support - In December, Evan and I were looking to raise an additional $800 per month due to health insurance and accounting changes, and the anticipated arrival of our little baby. We have raised $250 in monthly support and are looking to raise an additional $550. If you would like to give yearly or quarterly there are options for that too! You can go to https://sacredroadministries.com/7/giving to set up online giving, or you can mail checks to: Sacred Road Ministries, PO Box 400, Harrah, WA 98933.
We are extremely thankful for those of you who have started giving or increased support. Evan and I feel well loved and cared for by all of you, but we are especially grateful for how you are enabling us to reach the people of Warm Springs and Yakama with the gospel.
Heading into this new year, we are excited for this new phase of life and for the new things this year will bring, as we look with hope to the promises of God being worked out in Native communities.
Love in Christ,
Holly and Evan Shaw