Hello dear friends,
It’s hard to believe that it has already been almost four months since we moved to Madras to begin full-time ministry in Warm Springs. In some ways, the time has flown by; in other ways, it feels like longer than that since we left White Swan.
We did have a chance to spend a couple of weeks back on the Yakama Reservation in March, helping with the Spring teams in White Swan. It was an encouraging time to be back around our church family there for a bit. We were blessed to be able to help roof an elder’s house and work on a vocational training space that Sacred Road is setting up for youth and young adults in the White Swan community. While it was great being up there for that, it is difficult going back and forth too much with a little one and we realized that it also makes it difficult to maintain the consistency we’d like to in Warm Springs, so we’re thankful that we’ve been able to put all of our focus on Warm Springs after the Spring teams wrapped up. (We also plan to have Spring teams here next year!)
Youth at Young Life getting ready to hydro-dip (paint patterns) on water bottles, mugs, vases, baseball bats, etc.
Over the last couple of months we’ve seen more kids show up to Young Life as they keep bringing their friends. One of our fellow leaders there, James, is a tribal member and teaches at the school. He says that the kids act completely differently when they are with us at Young Life; depending on the kid, many are either emotionally closed off or frequently fighting and getting into trouble at school. At Young Life, we’ve seen these same kids laughing together, trying things that are out of their comfort zone, and looking out for each other. It is clear that God is moving in their lives and they are starting to realize they are loved, safe, and worth something.
Holly has also begun helping out with more food needs in the community over the last month or so. A few of the youth and kids we know have begun letting us know when they are in need of food (if food stamps haven’t gone out yet, if they are currently functionally homeless, etc.) Holly has put together backpacks of food, food boxes, and cooked meals depending on the situation.
We’ve also helped with some good community events over the last few weeks. Two weekends ago was the “Say Their Name” relay in Warm Springs, bringing awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives; many people we know have been deeply affected by a family member who has been murdered or is missing. Tomo ran in the relay (a 26 mile long stretch that was broken into roughly 3 mile legs), while I (Evan) volunteered with the folks who organized it.
Last weekend, we volunteered at an event to honor elders that was held at the longhouse. Tomo and I showed up early to get a fire going for the traditional salmon bake, before helping with various odd jobs throughout the day. Holly also prepared 30 cakes and 25 lbs. of macaroni salad for the meal and had the chance to help out the ladies in the longhouse kitchen for several hours. There was a kids mini pow-wow during the event and Ezra, Holly and I were honored to be asked to join in on that. At each of these community events we’ve had plenty of people asking who we are, where we come from, and what we are about. Already, we have gotten more opportunities to serve people in the community in the future through some of those connections. God is clearly opening doors as we get to know folks.
In addition to all this, we’ve been plugging away at the day-to-day tasks: meeting needs in the community by working on people’s houses (so far, a lot of our projects have been through connections either at the the Warm Springs Baptist church or through youth we know), working on preparing worksites and kids club supplies for the summer (which is quickly approaching), developing connections and awareness of Sacred Road within churches in Oregon, and staying on top of the paperwork. We also had a commissioning service at Hope Fellowship in White Swan on April 16th that was a great encouragement to us, as our church family sent us off with prayer and a charge.
We are still looking for $2,500/month in pledges to the Warm Springs General Fund to cover recurring ministry costs. These monthly pledges are what allow us to continue helping people in the community with their homes, meals, and other needs, and also keeps our ministry vehicles on the road. Please pray and consider if you would be able to commit to giving toward that each month - any amount helps!
We are also starting to collect school supplies to give to kids in the Fall. A new friend at a church here in Oregon got us connected to someone who is donating a bunch of backpacks, so we're looking for folks to help fill up those backpacks. This is something that Sacred Road has done each year in White Swan and we're excited to do the same in Warm Springs! If you're interested in helping out, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full list of school supplies we need.
Praises and Prayer Requests:
Please pray for preparations as our first summer team arrives in less than a month! With this being our first summer living in Warm Springs and not bringing work and kids club materials from Yakama, we have a lot of additional work to do to get ready (painting new car mats for kids club, purchasing lots of tools and supplies, making our garage functional for storage and a workspace, getting meals ready for the teams, etc.).
Pray that God would use the summer teams mightily to reach people with the love of Christ, both in word and in deed.
Praise God for opening so many doors and allowing us to connect with so many people in just the first few months. Please pray that God would continue to open doors and we'd be able to continue building on these new relationships. Also, ask God for patience in all of our relationships in Warm Springs and that we would trust He is working in His good timing.
Please pray for our youth at Young Life. Specifically be praying for Daniel and Sally (nicknames for their protection). Daniel is in 8th grade; he has been kicked out of school and his house, and he is currently couch surfing. Pray for some elements of stability in his life and that we would have the wisdom to know how to help him. Sally has many younger siblings that she is often taking care of and lives in an unstable home. As the oldest sibling, she has a lot of pressure on her. Please be praying that the Lord would be close to each of them and they would know His love for them. Pray for guidance as we seek to love and care for each kid.
Please pray that we would reach our funding goal by the end of the year. Ask if God is calling you to support Sacred Road in Warm Springs in this way, either through monthly or yearly giving.
Thank you for your prayers and support as we follow where God is leading us in ministry here.
With much love,