Many people make plans and programs, but ours remains the same in 2018 as it has been from the time we arrived in Navajo: make disciples by baptizing and teaching.
Last fall, we had six youth participate in a confirmation retreat in Moab, UT. It was great to be in the Word and in a beautiful corner of God’s creation.
Then, in December, a young woman who was a part of the confirmation retreat was baptized!
Finally, we celebrated four baptisms on one Sunday in January.
In all of this, we give the praise and honor and glory to God who created faith by His Word (Rom. 10:17). The Word of God is being proclaimed and the result is disciples!
In early December, we received another visit from L.I.M. staff member Rick McCafferty and Clair Kee. They continue to help people on their healing journey through our new program, Sacred Grounds.
The goal of Sacred Grounds is to create a safe place where abuse victims can share their stories and break the silence that so often envelopes victims and families. It draws on a number of Bible stories, including Nehemiah, where participants learn to face the damage done and the steps to rebuilding safety and trust, and Tamar, a lesson in listening and healthy responses to the stories shared. Then, the presenters share their own stories of abuse and encourage those attending to explore their own stories, reflecting on past wounds and hurts to which they still cling.
In the end, the participants are asked the same question Jesus asked the man at the Pool of Bethesda, "Do you want to get well?" And it is explained that God is pursuing each and every one of them, just as He pursued Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Twelve adults attended the sessions that took place Monday through Friday in Navajo and Crystal, New Mexico, with an average of 6-8 each night (not including the children). There were a number of returning participants from the Rick and Clair's previous visits, as well as two newcomers who hold significant roles in their Native communities. We pray this will help to expand the reach of God's healing as they go back to their daily lives and interact with others.
Because confidentiality is important, I can't share all the details, but I can give you a glimpse.
Clair wrote that the highlight of the event, for her, occurred on Friday night. She writes:
Friday night was the highlight as an alumnus of our first program arrived with his spouse.
His wife shared her own story of marital strife and the negative impacts of alcoholism within their family. While she spoke, her husband sat back, peacefully allowing his wife's story to unfold.
It was a wonderful demonstration of a wife getting her voice back and the positive changes that occurred within a year's time since he first told his story. He owned the damage he caused to his wife and family by turning to alcohol and, today, trusts God more. He is able to take the risk of having healthy, and sometimes hard, communication with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
What a wonderful testimony to everyone present that night! It was a powerful end to a week of teaching and sharing.
Trust is often a major stumbling block with groups who come through this program, especially if they have been repeatedly hurt by those close to them. However, the response from the group was very positive, and we are happy for the healing the LORD is working the lives of those who have been traumatized by abusive behavior.
We had a wonderful Christmas celebration. The children participated in a Christmas program, and the confirmands gave out Christmas boxes of food staples to needy members of our community.
Our Christmas Eve service doubled in attendance from the year before and, if that weren't enough, included a wonderful meal provided by a new member for the whole group! It was a great way to celebrate the gift of life and salvation that God has given us in His Son.
On the administrative side of ministry, we were also blessed this month with the news that two college students are planning to come and serve in the summer as interns. We look forward to having some help in our summer activities of Vacation Bible School, camping trips, and student outreach.
God's blessings to you in this coming year!
Please Thank God with us for:
- The New Life through the Water and the Word for 5 people in the last month.
- The Confirmation Retreat and the confirmation Service project.
- The visit of Rick McCafferty and Clair Kee (“Sacred Ground”) and the growth God gave through it.
- The two interns (Anthony Draper and Owen Duncan) from Concordia University Irvine who will be with us this coming summer.
Please intercede with us for:
- Our community and the general hopelessness that many experience.
- Families that are being torn apart by sin and the devil.