Sacred Road Ministries – Chris & Mary Granberry
What does a typical week/month of ministry look like for you?
Every week we have Sunday services and lunch at our church right after worship, Tuesday night Youth Group with a meal, Thursday night Discipleship Groups (with a meal), Men's Prayer Breakfast early Thursday mornings, and Women's Bible Study on Friday mornings. During the school year we have an after-school program for elementary and middle school students that meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. We also have monthly special events for children, families and teenagers. The staff and staff families meet every Sunday night for Bible Study and prayer also. We have staff meeting every Friday afternoon to sync up our calendars, make plans for upcoming events and the next week.
The ministry here on the reservation is very seasonal (as is the lifestyle of the Yakama people). Spring and summer mean lots of one week teams are coming (about 320 people a year) along with summer interns (15-20 each summer), a lot of mercy ministry for elders, low income families, and single moms (roofing, painting, hauling trash, major yard work/fire prevention, splitting and delivering firewood, kid's clubs in the tribal housing projects, etc.)
The focus in the fall is largely on our after school programs for children and teenagers throughout the week and re-establishing the normal routines of our church life. We also have started YoungLife clubs in the middle school and high school in White Swan and are working on a variety of Economic Development activities and plans.
In the winter things slow down a little (especially when we get a good bit of snow and ice). But Christmas is a really big season in the life of our church. December is a very active month. We visit 30-40 elders in their homes and bring food and gifts to them. The youth group sings Christmas carols in a neighborhood and a nursing home. We have special Christmas parties for the youth group, after school programs, children, etc. We have a Christmas celebration and feast at our church. We also deliver gifts and food to the homes of about 50-60 children and teenagers in the community.
What are your most pressing ministry goals/needs at this time?
We are outgrowing our building quickly. We also need more young Native believers to step up as leaders.
What are some of the challenges of ministry?
Being bombarded (and seeing others that we deeply love being bombarded) with tragedy, hopelessness, and despair.
Equipping the saints for ministry.
How were you led to ministry there?
In the summer of 2000, I (Chris) took a team of youth from OMPC to White Swan (the smallest, poorest town on the Yakama reservation) for a week. I was overwhelmed by the depth of the poverty, darkness, and hopelessness we encountered. The children in particular were suffering deeply and stole my heart. We met many kids who had never even heard of Jesus. We also learn that there was virtually no "Christian presence" in the town! There was no healthy church, etc!
I came back with a heavy burden for the town but I didn't know what to do with it. The question, "What does it look like to love our 'first neighbors' well?" was stuck in my head. I felt like there was an "appropriate response" to our first neighbors but I wasn't sure exactly what to do. After wrestling with all of this for a year and a half I finally realized God was calling us to move to the reservation with the desire to start a healthy church that would address the community's felt needs and deepest needs.
The Lord worked out all the details and provide all the money needed, etc and in 2003 we were able to move to the reservation full time.
Stories of Impact
Story 1: (written by Chris Granberry)
A while ago, I (Chris) arrived at youth group late and poked my head in the kitchen to see if Heather and the food crew needed any help serving the 50+ teenagers who were seated in the dining area. There was young girl who I didn't recognize helping in the kitchen. I think it was her second or third time to come to the youth meeting, but I had not met her. She spun around, made eye contact with me, burst into a huge smile, exclaimed, "Dad!" and ran over to give me a big hug! I instinctively hugged her back, choked back my tears, and said, "Hey Sweetheart!" while looking over her shoulder at Heather and mouthing the words, "What is her name?!" It turns out that Meegan, that's her name, saw other girls in the group, who I've know their entire lives almost, respond to me as if I were their dad and she thought every kid in the youth group felt that way.
One of our deepest desires here at Sacred Road is to "love our first neighbors like family." Jesus clearly calls us to love our neighbors well. Isaiah 58 implores us "not to turn our backs on our own flesh and blood." It is a little taste of Heaven when our "first neighbors", like Meegan, see the love that is offered clearly and respond to that love as if we truly were family... because, in God's mind, we are.
Story 2: (written by Jesse Dempsen, After-School Program Director)
Nathan is a young boy who’s been a part of the Kingdom Kids after-school club since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. At the beginning of the year his attendance at school and at Kingdom Kids was spotty at best. He was shuffled back a forth between two different homes, and when he stayed at one of the homes, he often didn’t make it to school the next day, since there wasn’t anyone there who would make sure he made it on the bus. When he did make it to Kingdom Kids, he was often withdrawn, hard to engage, and usually in his own little world, making believe he was in a video game.
But something changed over the course of the year, right around Christmas. We started noticing little things. Instead of sitting at the far end of the table during snack, Nathan made a point of sitting right next to me. He began to work furiously on his homework during homework time, often solving math problems far quicker than us! He stopped making the gun noises and pretending to be in another world.
The other day, on the van ride back from the clubhouse, Nathan asked me, “Jesse, where’s your favorite place to go?”
I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that. I would occasionally take the kids to the Cougar Den for a milkshake before taking them home, so I thought he might be talking about that, but something told me that might not be what he meant. So I took a stab at answering it how he might be asking. “I’m not sure, Nate. Maybe the woods? I’ve always liked walking in the woods.”
“What’s yours?” I asked.
“Mine’s Kingdom Kids,” he said.
My heart melted. That’s what we’re aiming for with this program. So many of the kids we are involved with don’t have a “home.” They don’t have a place where they feel loved, affirmed, nurtured, and cared for. Nathan has found that at Kingdom Kids. He’s experiencing the love of Jesus through the care, attention, affirmation, discipline, and support he has received, and he has responded to it. We aim to have this kind of result with all the kids we serve, building them up to see themselves as the valued image-bearers that they are.
Story 3: (Written by Chuck Clevenger, Youth Ministries Director)
It was my first kid’s club after our family had moved to the Reservation. It was early March, so there was still enough cold to wear a coat. I was driving with Stephen toward Totus park to meet the rest of the team. Stephen is a young Yakama man who was living with the Granberrys at the time. Stephen’s family had essentially given up on him and made him sleep in a tool shed behind the house with no heat or electricity. He was a big help that Spring with a lot of the projects that Sacred Road was working on. We arrived at the play area in Totus Park ahead of the team and everyone else. I wasn’t sure what to do, but Stephen and I got out of the car and started walking over to a group of nine or ten small children riding bicycles and bouncing balls on what had once been a concrete basketball court. All the playing and noise stopped at the sight of this 40 year old white guy and 18 year old Yakama walking toward them in heavy coats. Maybe we should have waited for the rest of the team to arrive. I remembered Chris Granbrry’s stories of his first visit to Totus nine years earlier - stories about kids who had learned not to trust anyone older or bigger than them. I remembered how the kids didn’t want to get close to any adult for fear that they would hurt them - Kids that would try to hurt you before you could get close to them as a defense. Was it possible that Stephen and I were scaring these kids when we meant to bring joy? One little girls looked up from her bike, “Are you the church?” She asked? “Yeah.” I said. “I guess we are .” The little girl dropped her bike. “YAAAAAAAAY.” she yelled. And the other kids echoed. Three or four ran away and came back with smaller brother and sisters. Those that remained ran around and danced and jumped with joy. Where else does the church get a welcome like that?
How can OMPC members be praying for your ministry?
Pray for our church to be an oasis for people on the Yakama Reservation.
Pray for our staff: that the Lord will “satisfy [our] needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen [our] frame” and we will “be like a well-watered garden” [Isaiah 58:11].
Pray for leaders to rise up in our church.
How can we be praying for you?
Please pray for Chris and the Granberry family as they are heart broken over the loss of Chris' younger brother Jonathan to cancer. Additionally, Chris’s newphew (Jonathan’s son) is also battling cancer. Riley is 12 years old. Please pray for miraculous healing and for the family as they are face immense grief. Pray for the God of all comfort, to be their resting place.
Are there any specific requests for either (ministry or personal) that we can emphasize?
We have a family (Zack and Tollie Nail) from Mississippi raising support right now to join the ministry. Zack will be our Middle School Director and they would both help with our summer teams, and Hope Fellowship Church.
What other ways can OMPC engage with Sacred Road?
Right now we are collecting Walmart gift cards and back-to-school supplies. If you would like to help us get our Yakama kids off to a great start back to school, please send Walmart gift cards and/or school supplies to: Sacred Road Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrah, WA 98933
Posted: 8.4.2016 in Missions Share: