This year I was involved in several work projects, and spent one day visiting. Here's an overview of my week.
Monday I got to go split wood with my dad and others at the home of an elder in the community. This was my third year getting to help out with wood-splitting, and I always find it pretty fun, even though it's not exactly a girl's activity. Mostly I just helped stack wood, but I did get hold of an ax a few times. It was nice to do a project with my dad. The woman who owns the shed is respected in the community, and something of a spiritual leader. Despite the strength of her belief in her native religion, she seems to understand quite well that we come and do what we do because of our relationship with our own God. Hearing her say this was exciting.
On Tuesday I helped paint the interior of home. It was a bit challenging, since we had to paint a popcorn ceiling. This was the home of a veteran, I think, and he seemed very pleased with the work we did. We all had fun playing with his cats and one very cute Chow puppy. Most residents on the rez have multiple pets, and they love them dearly.
Wednesday and Thursday I got to help paint a deck for a WWII veteran named Mr. Steele. He and his wife had a nice home, but wanted to get their deck a face lift. After painting all the railing and the bench a cheerful barn red, it looked a lot better. The Steeles were very kind to us, and several team members were able to visit with them. We enjoyed spending time with their extremely friendly cat, who was not at all shy about claiming someone's lap, even while we were trying to paint. Friday I joined a group that drove over to the town of Nespelem to visit the residents on the tribal convalescent center. We sang hymns for some of the residents and visited with them. I must say this is an area I am not very comfortable with, so it was stretching experience. The loneliness and suffering that surrounds you when you walk into a place like that is sobering. I'm also not really good at visiting with people. Seeing the smile on someone's face because we cared enough to spend time with them was rewarding, though.
Friday evening was our annual barbecue at the Omak Stampede Grounds. It's always a good time to say goodbyes and spend a little more time with our friends from the reservation. This year we were treated to a drumming performance and giveaway. It's also an opportunity for the young people to run off a little energy. I had more fun taking pictures of everybody else, though, since I'm not really talented with frisbee games.
There's a quick overview. So much happens in that one week, it would take a very long time to tell it all. (Of course, you, my blog readers, probably wouldn't want that much detail anyway.) God was abundantly gracious to us in every detail of the trip. If you think of them, please pray for the people we interacted with up there--for the Irey family, that we would be able to continue our relationship with them; for all the children who came to VBS; for the people whom we were able to help by our work projects; for the prison inmates we met; the convalescent center residents; and others.
This year it was brought to my mind that our work on these trips is only a very small part of God's plan. It's also part of a very long-term plan. Each year is a little piece of what God's doing. It may take years for the fruit to show.