Friday, August 15, 2008

The IMPACT:2008 Video Presentation

This is the same one we all saw the night of the pot-luck dinner. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The IMPACT Team Reports

Greg Beerli

One week in Cherokee, North Carolina. The only requirements are minor physical labor and daily worship with the locals. So far it sounds easy. Travel with a group of 25 people of all ages from my church and live in cabins. Now it sounds like a vacation! What difficulties could possibly occur?

When I applied for the IMPACT team I was only concerned about interactions with the Cherokee people. Would they accept us, would it be easy to talk to them, would I be a good disciple and portray Christ. I had so much concern with appearance and outcomes of the trip that I didn’t pay attention to the trip dates. With the Army I am obligated to train one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The two week annual training (AT) occurs usually during the summer months. The unit that I was attached to was scheduled for AT July 20th- August 2nd. The IMPACT trip was scheduled July 19th – July 26th. I couldn’t figure a possible way to fulfill both obligations humanly. That was when my IMPACT experience began.

During our team meetings, in our devotional groups, I mentioned the conflict that I was having. My team members put me in their prayers and every day, every time I prayed, I lifted my problem to the LORD. I didn’t tell the people sponsoring me, my chain of command, or John about my conflict. I didn’t want anyone to try to take control. I knew that if I made the trip, it was by God’s grace. On June 30th I received orders to transfer units. I was thrilled. Since November 2007 I had been pressing to transfer units. To me it seemed like perfect timing. I now was removed from my units AT obligation and free to go on the trip. However, God wanted to prove He is in control.

When I met with the new unit I received their drill schedule. My eyes went straight to July’s drill. I noticed that they had already had AT but there was a drill scheduled July 19th and 20th. My heart dropped. I almost lost hope. As I gathered more information on this new unit I was joining, I found out they were just returning from deployment. This means that the returning soldiers had 90 days of rest before drill. The only soldiers not deployed were me and two others. The Sergeant welcoming me, without my doing, asked if I wanted to fulfill the drill obligation at some other time. She offered me to come in the weeks previous so she wouldn’t have to come in on that weekend. She also scheduled me for reclassification to 44C (that’s why I’m not at the Pot Luck). I was certain now that I was meant to go on this trip. Within a week God had solved two problems, and put two balls in motion. Plans that I had struggled with for a year, only He could do. I experienced humility, grace, and courage. While I was worrying about making the trip, he was preparing me and answering my former concerns with my readiness.

On the long trip down I caught up with some former RockHouse studs. I was also able to better acquaint myself with the younger RockHouse generation who desperately want to be like us. Just on this nine hour trip I could feel the difference from my everyday pressures. There was nothing expected, God wasn’t shunned, and brotherly/sisterly love wasn’t misinterpreted. If my whole experience was from just the van rides down, to and from the senior center and work-site, and back home, I couldn’t be happier. The time spent with fellow Christians, the free-flowing conversations, never awkward moments, and unbridled singing is priceless. To be surrounded with an emotion of love, family and fellowship was a bonding power. With these twenty-five people as my fellow Christian soldiers, I am ready to stand and fight any evil.

When we finally arrived at the campground, I realized the vacation brochure was misleading. The four-star hotel had been replaced by four cabins and the pool needed water. The cabins had ten bunks along the walls, end-to-end, but could only fight six sleeping males (I had Chris and the two Moor’s in my cabin). After figuring the sleeping arrangements we checked out the wading pool and ranch. The horses didn’t seem right. I’ve never been on one that falls sideways. Andrew enrolled in the space camp while the younger RockHousians set up a fire pit. Later on they showed us how to create fire. The restaurant caught our interest shortly and we came together to meet the other missionaries who were trying to figure out what happened to the hotel. The meals were good. The whole week we had 100% accountability at meal times. Within an hour or so Aisquith had disseminated into the camp. Our fire amazed some, while the tiny football thrown at others sparked conversation. Throughout the week we established relationships through meal-time conversations, fire-side chats, card games, worship and catch with a tiny football. This was only a fifth of the experiences we would have.

On Sunday we went to a nursing home to meet and worship with the residents. We were able to attract around ten patients. As it seemed to be the constant throughout the week, AJ, Michaela, and Joe were able to meet, greet, and help a local. Whether they came with it or developed it, they had the ability to warm-up to a stranger and leave them cheerful. We were at the nursing home for only the day. The rest of the week we worshiped with two different senior centers. I was assigned to Snowbird and know that is where God wanted me to go. The members were all female, except Leroy. The oldest one was 84. After introductions we started our first craft and began our relationship building. AJ, Michaela, and Joe took to Leroy, and caught the eye of some of the ladies who asked to meet them. I was blessed to meet Jeanette and Lynda. Two native-born Cherokees, they had a sense of humor and joke speed that matched mine. After some sarcastic remarks I knew that I had met my match and these females were going to make me feel at home. While doing crafts together we talked about our lives, jobs (past and present), hobbies and family. They both were impressed by my sister and brother-in-law. I learned about their trials, relatives, and pets. On the second day they brought in pictures which they showed to every team member. As I worked with them I noticed a glow they had about their faces and in their eyes. They were used to other IMPACT teams coming in, but they connected with us and appreciated our visit. Lynda hand-made a beaded cross necklace for me and we exchanged addresses. She wants correspondence in regards to my military actions, family, and life in general. During the week Rick and Chris organized a scripture reading and opening/closing prayer. Some of our crafts were kept by our new friends as a memory of the time, us, and the love they felt. Our last day there we were greeted by popcorn, juice, home-made banana bread, cookies, and a hot meal for lunch. We all had a great time in fellowship, bonding, and making crafts with them. On the last day Kayleigh collected the addresses of all the center’s members for us to keep in contact with. It was hard to leave those wonderful people behind, but as Lynda said, there is no word for ‘goodbye’ in Cherokee, only ‘till we meet again’.

The work-site was just as exciting as the campgrounds and Snowbird senior center. However, instead of bonding with people, we were met by wasps and yellow jackets. The owner of the house we were painting, Iva Rattler, was also a member of Snowbird senior center. I found out through conversation with Jeanette that they were related. Our job was to scrub, prime, and paint the exterior walls and trim. We split into four teams (the house had four sides) and each tackled a side. After the first day we realized that we would have to team up and overlap. On my side was a carport with a little wall above the roof. I was chosen to go up and work this section. The first trip up was no problem. I scrubbed the wall and overhang up to the peak. At the peak were three wasps and a nest, but some spray got rid of them. When they were gone I knocked down their nest and finished scrubbing. On a tin roof, gravity causes wasp nests to roll well, and the nest rolled down to the gutter. At the time I wasn’t concerned since the nest was down the drain pipe which went under the ground. The second time I went up, the wasps were waiting at the gutter, my entrance point to the roof. Stretching from a ladder, not fit for the climb, I tried to get on the roof. One wasp landed on my glove covered hand as if in introduction. Moving my hand as to greet him back, he flew at me and kicked me in the nose. This was different to the other southern hospitality we had received from all other Cherokees. With poor balance on the ladder and a flying kick to the nose, I fell backwards off the roof, missing the ladder completely and right into John Ceselsky’s arms. That’s not all true. It would have been better, in truth, John was passing me up a bucket of paint. As I fell I hit it and him. Without video record, we are unsure of the actual event, but we wound up on the pavement, covered in paint, but not injured. The medics were quick with the Benadryl and toothpaste which hindered any chance of swelling or allergic reaction. I was ordered to rest which I didn’t enjoy. Luckily, the rest of the time there, no one else was stung at the work site and I didn’t have to sit out again. The next day Eric Cabell (Superman) tried to show me the proper way to fall off a ladder while being attacked my wasps. We still had to clean the pavement though.

Our fifth experience on this trip was Splash Country. Experiencing scattered showers already, we were not fazed when rain fell on the water park. After the lightning passed, and rides opened, the lines were shorter and we had a great time. We went to the park on Wednesday to take a break from painting and regroup. It must have worked since we finished painting Thursday and were able to explore the town around the camp grounds on Friday.

Before this trip I knew some people by faces while others I couldn’t get their names right. During this trip I was able to view each one out of their comfort zone, surrounded by a time schedule they couldn’t control, and people they had to rely on. I was able to get past the physical barriers they put up and get to know them better. Some of the people, who usually don’t talk, have a lot to say. Some, who I misinterpreted as hard to talk to, opened up and never skipped a beat in conversation. Even the hyper ones, who I didn’t know well, turned out to have a caring side and became friends. I know that I matured in faith, built meaningful relationships with fellow Christians, and that I’m not alone when I reenter the world. I have a photo album that we each made that can document this trip and travel with me as a reminder wherever I’m taken.
We made crafts which were gifts to the Cherokee people. Their welcoming us, worshiping with us, and friendship was a gift to us.

God bless them and all of you who prayed for our safety, purpose, and growth!

Andrew Bell

Every year I joke about God teaching me patience on a Missions Trip, and how the only way to gain patience is to go through hard times. Apparently, this year God thought I had enough patience built up already to get me through the trip, because there were very few if any hard times this year….if only it could be enough for the rest of my life…. God gave us a really easy time this year and made our work really easy (sans a few wasps). With a nice cool breeze blowing on us while we painted, plenty of room in our cabins to spread out, a lot of food at night for dinner to fill us up, and a bunch of free time to unwind hanging out and playing cards with other groups, it was a nice and relaxing trip. It gave me a lot of time to get to know people on our team better who I didn’t know that well, and to deepen relationships with those who I already knew well when we started (it was easy to do with such long car rides). So, thanks to everyone who prayed for us! Maybe next year in Mexico will be this easy, but probably not. It is ok though, I’m sure I’ll need “it” by then.

Shannon Bell

It always amazes me how quickly these trips go by! It seems like just yesterday we were writing these for last year’s trip to Mexico. Our trip to Cherokee this year was great – God really provided for us and blessed us in so many ways. We had such a dynamic group, and we all worked so well together. Physically, we accomplished a lot at the worksite in such a short amount of time. But I think the part that we’ll all take with us is the emotional attachments that we made with the people we met.

Each morning, we divided the group into two teams and went to two different senior centers – Tsali Manor and Snowbird. My group went to Snowbird, which required a 45 minute drive (which, by the way, was absolutely gorgeous!). Each morning we would do crafts with them and just talk with them for about 2 hours. Our group of seniors consisted of all women and one man. Each morning, I was able to talk with several of the women, and they would tell all kinds of stories from their pasts about them and their families, and even their faith. It was so encouraging to hear them discuss their faith openly with us, when I’m not even sure that this was a Christian Senior Center! By the middle of the week, one requested that we read scripture to them and sing. We started doing this each day when we arrived and before we left. It was a blessing to see some of them even singing along with us.

The missionary that we support there, Tammy, spoke to us one evening and said that when you go on missions trips you think that you are going to minister to others but in turn, you are ministered to by the people you meet and interact with. This is so true – Just seeing how God is working in the people that we met that week was such a blessing, and has made a huge impact on my life.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support before and during our trip. Please continue to keep the Cherokee in your prayers that more will come to know Christ!

2 Corinthians 1:11 – ‘You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.’ (ESV)

Holly Brown

I'm SO glad I had the opportunity of going to Cherokee. Besides the fact that we got attacked by wasps at the work site, and almost falling off a roof, the trip was AMAZING. It was very different from last year's trip. We ate in the same building almost every night (while last year we went out to dinner every night); I got to know a lot more people from different states, and we seemed to have more free time to do whatever.

It took us about ten hours to get down there. The rides up and back were a blast. Some people say I fell asleep for over an hour on the way down. My favorite part about it was the scenery as we got closer to North Carolina. There were mountains everywhere you looked.

We stayed at a camp on the reservation. T he cabins were tiny, and it almost felt like we were at summer camp! One of my favorite parts was getting up at 4 am almost every morning. Me and Amanda were known as the “keepers of the fire” because we'd light the campfire every morning at that time after our showers. I also liked getting to know the other groups. I made some amazing friends, some of which I made on the very last day. I still talk to a few of them.

About the work. It was my first time painting a house, also for a few other things, like getting up on the BIG ladders, and going on top of the roof. It was actually pretty fun. Even though, as I said in the beginning, I almost fell off the roof trying to paint the top of the house. And let’s not forget all the wasps!

Working at Tsali Manor was a great experience. The seniors from Cherokee are very interesting people. Some of them are the funniest people you'll ever meet! They would tell you about their children, childhood, life, etc. I've never been very good with working with other people I don't know, and working with the seniors helped me to better interact with people.

Another one of my favorites things about the trip was Dollywood, which is a HUGE water park in Tennessee. It did rain for about forty-five minutes, but we had an amazing time. After that we went to the Golden Corral buffet. I know I must have gained 10 more pounds.

On Friday we went shopping at a few different places. Luckily, this year I didn't throw up.
I MUST tell you about Cracker Barrel, the restaurant we went to for breakfast on the way home. The food was amazing and the portions were HUGE. I had to get some other people to finish my breakfast for me.

This trip has definitely drawn me closer to God, and I learned a lot from it. Also, I think it helped me to be more out-going with people. Cherokee is a definite for me the next time we go.

Carrie Burns

Another fantastic trip where God exceeds my expectations! What I noticed most during this trip were relationships. Two years ago, we painted a house just as we did this year. The house was not just a house. It was the home of Mr. Ned and Mrs. Mary Smith. During our time in Cherokee with the Smiths two years ago, we became a part of their family in a sense—their Christian family. On Sunday, the team members who worked for the Smiths returned to visit them once more. To quote Jonathan, it felt like coming home and it felt like no time had passed. The relationship we had built remained strong! It even grew as the Smiths got to meet more of our team from this year.

I had the honor of starting a new relationship this year with a wonderful elderly gentleman named George (he helped me to remember his name by thinking of George Washington). I met George when I was going around inviting the people of Tsali Manor to join us for our craft time. I pulled a chair up next to George and listened to him share stories of his life. He served at Pearl Harbor and was very much in love with his wife as was evident by their talking of one another. Needless to say, I missed the craft… and clean up! They practically dragged me away! The next day at Tsali Manor, I “passed George off” (so to speak ) to Ms. Robin who got to enjoy the craft time listening to his wonderful stories. We both feel blessed. On the last day at Tsali, George pulled me aside for my address so he could send me something. He also sought out Robin for the same reason. The somethings he is going to send us are keychains, made especially by him. He told me that he has only ever given keychains to his wife, and two other people in his life. I feel so special to be a recipient and I cannot wait to get it in the mail! He also told me he would send me some river rocks to paint and give as gifts.

George’s wife, Joann, painted me a beautiful rock upon my request. After seeing her work on the wooden spoon craft we did, I thought maybe she would paint my stone from the river. She said it sounded fun! In exchange for her gorgeous gift and now treasured souvenir, I painted her a wooden spoon. The front was the front of a sunflower, and the back was the back of a sunflower with the handle being the stem. She was so excited when she discovered it was for her and she asked if she could take her spoon home! She also told us we needed to come back and visit their home and sit and talk for awhile. It was hard to say goodbye but George told me numerous times that he does not say goodbye—he only says “see you.” It is a unique and encouraging part of the Cherokee language—never saying goodbye but always hoping for the next visit. I sure hope I get to see George during our next trip to Cherokee! Overall, the trip was packed full of hard work, fun, and relationships. The most important relationship was (and is) with God!

Thank you for all your wonderful support and prayers. I am blessed because of you!

Eric Cabell

Simply put it was excellent. It was amazing to see how God gave everyone a heart to work diligently. First it was wonderful to be able to help the elderly at the nursing home. Mary was one of the women that I was able to help follow the music we were singing. She didn't know any of the contemporary music we had but she still enjoyed it none the less. When we got to the hymn Rock Of Ages she became very ecstatic. At the end of John's sermon she wanted to leave promptly so she could go and pray for a friend who was not feeling very well. It was wonderful to see God still working in her life.

At the Snowbird senior center, we were presented with a lot of people who wanted to share their experiences and skills. Some of the people in our group left with some pretty cool gifts. It was just as John had said; you go to minister to people and you realize you’re actually the ones who get ministered to. That just goes to show how God always has something new to teach you.
Now the worksite was a hurdle for the team. It wasn't the teamwork, job, or attitudes. It was the wasps. The first day I remember saying to myself this isn't so bad, we can handle this. Then the attacks came. Greg was stung and fell off the ladder and we had to scrub the paint off the HOT cement ground. I was the second person to be attacked (not stung) but fell off the ladder on the other side and we had to do same thing the third day. Then the last day the same thing happened to Carrie. Despite all the stings, near stings, falls, and the paint on the HOT cement God reminded me that we can overcome anything when we put Him first.

Marlies Cabell

The mission trip came at a perfect time. Of course, the Lord knew exactly when I needed a break from my daily job and a chance to work for him. Ever since I was in college I felt the Lord calling me to work in the rehabilitation side of the medical field. There is proof to me that the Lord has controlled all my endeavors to reach my achievements. However, since starting my daily job I have not had as many opportunities to interact with people in witness to Jesus Christ. In my attempts to be patient and wait, I applied to attend the mission trip. The Lord allowed me to attend the mission trip with vacation hours to cover the entire week!

Cherokee, NC was my first mission trip in 1999. Now, it is my second trip too. The camp provided all the basic necessities including electricity! The mission work was completed at the Snowbird Senior Center and Ms. Iva Rattler’s house. The seniors at the center were so kind, caring, and fun! There was a lot of conversation with information shared that allowed individual prayer.

My thanks go out to many parts of the trip for the glory of God. There were chances to get to know my team more and appreciate the broad spectrum of personality within the body of Christ.

John Ceselsky

Every mission trip and every team is unique. Each presents its own set of joys and its own challenges. This was certainly true for this year’s trip to Cherokee. Two years ago we were called upon to paint the house of a lovely Christian couple. We served as a source of encouragement to believers who were going through a very difficult time. This year we were called upon to paint the house of a single, older woman, one who is not a believer. We showed the love of Christ through our work and our interaction with her, and I will never forget the image of Rick and her sitting on the back bumper of one of the vans as Rick read portions of the Scripture to her. With that in mind, Jonathan, Robin and Rick came up with a plan to give her a Bible to remember us by – and that is what we are in the process of doing.

I have to tell you all that the greatest joy that I get out of the mission trips comes in the form or watching and listening. I watch as team members support and help each other, as they serve the people we are called to minister to with great grace. I listen as they share what Christ is doing in their lives and as they lead in worship and in the devotional time. What a blessing to see and to hear Christ at work in the lives of team members, and to rejoice in the knowledge that that has nothing to do with me – it is all of Christ and for his glory.

We had fun. We had challenges to overcome. And we accomplished much in the lives of many Cherokee. For that we give thanks to our God. And with that we look forward to further opportunities to serve and to go – all for His glory.

Julie Ceselsky

I've always loved American Indian décor, and now I've fallen in love with the people! I've always wanted to go on a Cherokee Missions Trip, but have never been able to until now. I've been on most of the Mexican Missions Trips partly due to the love of Mexicans God laid on my heart while working with them at my job years ago. But, more recently in my life, God's opened up new and different Mission Fields. The latest of which I wouldn't have been able to go on if you, the Saints, hadn't financially supported me, and prayed for my medical stability. My biggest concern was the 12 hour trip down and back, of which, God blessed me with physical comfort! Even though, while in Cherokee, my medical issue flared up some, it could have beenworse. So, I can't thank you enough for petitioning the Throne of Grace on my behalf! If you could, please continue to pray for improved health so that I can continue to support my husband's and my ministries as the Lord so calls.

Joe Fleming

Cherokee was awesome. I made many friends there. I was glad to be able to serve the Lord by ministry to the people at Snowbird and painting a house for Miss Iva. It was good to be able to get to know the Cherokee people better and our own team better.

We painted Miss Iva’s house a pale green. I probably still have green paint in my hair from that. We also did crafts with the people from Snowbird Senior Center. The people there were really fun.

I would definitely go back if our Impact team went again. I enjoyed hanging out with all the cool people in our group and the people we met. I am thankful it didn’t rain too much while we were there; besides, our half day off the day was great.

Mary Fleming

This was my fifth missions trip and like always it was completely different than all previous years. The people and the projects are always different in some way, shape, or form. This year we went down with the largest variety of age groups then we have ever experiencedbefore. Our work-site was different for me because I was at Tsali Manor instead of SnowBird. The way that we did our paint job was different as well. Shannon, Carrie, Nora and I were work team leaders who claimed a side of the house to work on. My work team which consisted of AJ, Mrs. Karen, Kelly, Mr. Chris and Eric dominated the whole time. John had made a friendly bet that had my side would be finishing next to last, we surprised everyone by blowing through all the work that needed to be done and finishing before everyone else. What amazes me every year is the teamwork that is shown at each work-site. This time I saw different people from each team going to different sides to help each other out to reach the common goal of not only finishing the house but doing the best job possible.

Personal relationships were formed and reformed on our team with going to see the Smiths on Sunday and then throughout the week as we visited Tsali Manor and Snowbird. I had the privilege to talk numerous times with Mrs. Mary and she communicated to me what an enormous blessing our team had been two years ago. As we hung out and talked with the Smiths we all had the same feeling of not a day had gone by since we were last in Cherokee. I can only hope that the next time we return to Cherokee that same feeling will re-appear. I would like to thank everyone who supported our team financially and through prayer, this trip would not have been so successful without you. Thanks again and I look forward to next year!

A.J. Henningsen

Throughout the whole time in the months before Cherokee, when we were all busy raising money, packing our stuff, and just getting ready, I was really excited…and just a bit nervous, too. Almost everyone else had been on a mission trip before, and so I was pretty much the group rookie. This wouldn’t just be my first trip to Cherokee—this would be my first trip PERIOD. So it’s not so surprising that I was pretty nervous the whole time—up to when we first left the church and headed down for North Carolina. I wasn’t sure if I would do well, or mess up, or WHATEVER. So the day finally came (Saturday the 19th, to be exact) when we all met up at 6 n the morning, loaded the vans, and began the 12-hour drive to good ol’ Cherokee, North Carolina. Our first big challenge came the next day, on Sunday. We went to the Tsali Care senior center to set up a Sunday worship service. When we got there, we split up and invited as many people there as we could to the service, after which we sat there with them and listened to John give the sermon and hung around getting to know them. It was there I realized, “Hey, I ain’t so bad at this”. Then, through the whole week, as we spent time and made crafts with the folks at Snowbird/Tsali Manor or painted Mrs. Iva’s house, I realized that I was doing pretty well, for a first-timer. Not only that, but I was actually having fun, too—a lot of fun, to be exact. I was even a little bummed out when it was time to head home. Looking back at it now, I can easily say all the work, hard labor, and stress both before and during the trip was all worth it. It might not have seemed so back then, but God was really making an impact in the people’s lives, and in ours (pardon the bad pun). And you know what? It was pretty cool. Can’t wait for next year’s trip!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ben Hood

I am glad that I had the privilege to go on the mission trip. I had a lot of fun. Even though the work was pain-staking I had a great time working with the team. I had a lot of fun interacting with the other teams. I hope to go on the next mission trip. I still keep in touch with my friends from the other team. The last thing I want to say is thank you for keeping us in your prayers while we were on the trip.

Chris Hood

I was never expecting one of my favorite memories of the mission trip to be working and socializing with the young adults. At home there aren’t many opportunities for me to fellowship with the college and career age people. While in Cherokee I spent time with them on the work site and after our evening devotions. We played lots of card games and shared stories and laughs until “lights out”. One evening the director actually came in and turned the lights out while we were in the middle of a game. The situation was so funny even though we were sort of in trouble for being up too late.

I also enjoyed working at the senior center. We worked with the seniors making crafts. It wasn’t the crafts that I enjoyed, but it was making new friends. Most of the seniors were believers so it was encouraging to hear their stories. Greg and I connected with two seniors, Lynda and Jeanette. We had many laughs together.
The hardest part of the trip was the two-hour drive everyday: the senior center and the work site were one hour away from our campsite. After working in the heat all afternoon it was tough having to drive an hour back to the campsite.

Amanda Horst

My name is Amanda Horst and this was my second missions trip. And it was awesome! Cherokee has really opened my eyes to the glory of God. We went there to spread the word of God and to minister to others and WE were the ones who were being ministered to. Ms. Tammie, the missionary for MTW, was speaking to us one night in our group meeting and just being able to hear her story was a great benefit. It’s amazing what God can do in your life if you let Him.

Since we had such a large group of 25 we split it into 2 groups- one of 13 and one of 12. The group of 13 went to Tsali Senior Center while the group of 12 went to Snowbird Senior Center in the morning. I was in the Tsali group. We got to leave at 9:45 for Tsali while the other group left at 8:40. I’ll admit that we were pretty nervous about the people there and what they would be like – whether or not they would talk to us - and it turned out they were more than happy to. I sat down and talked to Mrs. Bessie most of the time while helping her with her crafts and we just talked about our lives and how good God is. And there was one woman in particular- Roberta - who was so funny. She had our group laughing all the time.

In the afternoon we went to Ms. Iva’s house to repaint it and we were split into 4 groups- pink (go us), yellow, blue, and green and worked on our individual sides. The yellow group had a lot of wasp problems though, which later inspired Mrs. Karen to write a song in tribute to them (Wasp Hive). Then, around 4:30 or 4:45 we would head back to our camp for dinner at 5:45 and around 7:10 would have a large group meeting with people from North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Maryland (us). During these meetings we would sing and then have a lesson on God’s word. Something stood out at me though when Carrie said “We’re like orange juice and God is the orange. We’re made in his image, but can never be him- no matter how hard we try.”
During the week I met a lot of new people and made so many friends that when Saturday came I didn’t want to leave. Every day felt like a week there and it was so great. I feel like I’ve lived there all my life - so much that when I came home again I didn’t even remember my doggie. There have been some major changes since I got back home – no more waking up at four A.M., lighting a fire and waking up to a cup of hot cocoa. But mainly, since I’ve gotten back home I’ve noticed how much easier it is in Cherokee to talk about God and just get to know people and have a relationship through Christ. There you could just walk up to someone and be like, “ hey. My name’s … and I’m from…” and within two minutes you’d have a meaningful conversation going, while here you’d be like to even get a friendly “hello”.

Though we ran into some problems at Cherokee, God still provided for us and kept us all in good health. So overall, a lot of things happened there and we learned so much from the different people there. One of the things I learned was to not pray for patience unless you are ready for some tribulation. Although unfortunately, Mr. Rick let me know of that AFTER I’d prayed for patience. It was amazing to see how even though I went there to try and make them closer with God, I actually became much closer than before because of them. So overall, its AMAZING!

Kayleigh Horst

“She-you”- that is how you pronounce the Cherokee word for hello, Cherokee is such a beautiful language. This week at Cherokee was truly wonderful. This was my second mission trip and my first one to Cherokee. N.C. and it is beautiful, but the people were best. I met so many wonderful people: those from Tsali Care Center, the Snowbird senior center, and Ms. Iva’s house. We held a church service at Tsali, which was nice. Afterwards we interacted with the seniors and heard many of their stories. We did crafts at the senior center, though they were experts at them most of the time doing some of the most creative things. We got to talk with them as we were working and made some new relationships. We also painted Ms. Iva’s house, that was an adventure all its own! There were wasps everywhere and we had at least two people get stung, we had a few other setbacks but the wasps were the worst, and we still managed to finish early! We were also fortunate enough to go shopping and many of us saw wonderful examples of Cherokee beadwork.

It was also a personal challenge for me in two ways. I had to go far out of my own comfort zone in meeting and interacting with new people, as I am not the most outgoing with those I don’t know, and so it was all the more rewarding (and so well worth it) forming those relationships. Also I am always nervous when I have to do public speaking and that was one of the things we had to do for our devotionals. But it went well very well, and I know it was not through my own strength. Sometimes God gives us weaknesses, because otherwise we take credit for things, and in these types of situations you can’t. Well, that’s it.

Michaela Lessner

This was my very first mission trip, and I loved it! It was not only a life changing experience for me, but I’m sure we made some impact on the Indian lives back at Cherokee.
We did a lot of things in only one week. We visited Snowbird Senior Center; we made crafts and talked with them. I made an amazing friend named Leroy, he’s been there for two years (since he retired), and we are going to write each other. We also painted a ladies house (Ms. Iva), we had a couple of problems while painting; lots of wasps! We ended up caulking the corners of the house where they made their nest, surprisingly only one person was stung. We finished painting her house early so we got to go shopping (my favorite sport!); this is what my first interview is on! We also went to the water park in Dollywood, Tennessee – it was a blast. I was scared at first but friends convinced me to ride some rides and I enjoyed it so much! After the water park Mr. John treated us to dinner at Golden Corral, everybody ate so much! Their food was REALLY good; almost everyone ate steak, because they serve it everyday there.

My favorite part of the mission trip was the relationship I formed with people over the week. I grew closer to people from our church, especially my prayer group; Mrs. Julie, Ken and Carrie. I also met some really cool people from the states that I will be keeping in touch with. The most important relationship that grew was the one with God; He helped me through a very busy and hard week by keeping me healthy, clean and worry free. He made things at home a little better than when I left too – which was a little added bonus! It just goes to show you how much He can do for you if you have faith and pray. I thank everyone who prayed for our team, it wouldn’t have been so amazing if you hadn’t!

Eric Moor

This was my second Impact trip and also my second trip to Cherokee. The landscape at Cherokee is still beautiful, and part of me wanted to stay there (at least for a little while longer). While we were there, we worked at Ms. Rattler’s house and at the same two Senior Centers as last time (Tsali Manor and Snowbird). On our day off, we went to Dollywood Splash Country.

Unlike two years ago, the trip down to Cherokee was somewhat eventful, as there was a car or possibly a train on fire that delayed us about 45 minutes.

Also unlike last time, I knew more about what exactly we would be doing there. We would be painting Ms. Rattler’s house and doing crafts with the seniors at either the Tsali Manor or Snowbird Senior Centers (I already knew I was going to Tsali Manor as everyone who went to Cherokee two years ago was going to continue our relationship with the Smith’s). I had a good time painting Ms Rattler’s house and working at Tsali Manor.

The food was just as good if not better than two years ago. Like last time, we had to sit with different people during each meal so that we could get to know some of the other people from other Churches who were working in Cherokee.

Instead of going to one of the local churches like two years ago, we actually were the Church at Tsali Care Center, we sang songs and John did a short Sermon that amazingly was not on the book of John.

This year on the work site, we split into four separate teams which worked on specific sides of the house. I had the misfortune of being on the yellow team, which was plagued by wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, preventing us from working on some of the areas on the side we were working on until Thursday. I should also mention that yellow is a color that attracts the bees there. Fortunately, only Greg got stung on the work-site, but the bees also resulted in a lot of spilled paint as people jumped of ladders to avoid the bees and dropped the paint they were holding by accident.

After each day at camp, we had a group worship service where we sang songs. A leader from one of the groups that were there led in a short sermon. After the group worship service we had a team meeting/service. During our time together, we recapped what we had done that day, we sang some songs, and had a group devotional. Afterward, John told us what we would be doing the next day and then we closed in prayer.

On our day off, we went to the Dollywood Water Park and had a great time there. This time, we actually knew we were going to Dollywood (last time, all we knew was we were going on a drive and needed our bathing suits). We went in the wave pool and went on some giant water slides.

I hope to go the next trip to Cherokee (and maybe on some other Impact missions trips) to see and serve everyone there again. Also, thank you everyone for your prayers and donations so that we were all able to go and be safe.

Jonathan Moor

Almost every morning, there would be a fire to warm up by and talk around until breakfast. After breakfast, we would get into our groups of four and do our devotionals.

On Sunday, we all drove to the Tsali Care Center to provide Church service for the seniors there. Afterwards, we were able to talk with some of the seniors there. It was great! Almost everything I heard from the people there was fascinating. It’s amazing how many stories they can tell you in such a short time.

Also on Sunday, the team members who went to Cherokee two years ago drove to Mr. Ned and Mrs. Mary Smith’s house (the people we worked for two years ago) to say hi. It was great to see them again. Even though two years have passed since we last saw each other, it felt like no time had passed at all. We were only planning to stay a short time so we would get back in time for dinner but they invited us in and after about half-an-hour of talking with them John decided it was time to get going. Of course, we were late for dinner, but I’d rather see the Smiths than have dinner any time.

On a normal workday, half our team would leave for the Snowbird Senior Center at around 8:40 AM and the other half would leave for the Tsali Manor Senior Center at around 9:45 AM. Because the Smith’s were regular participants at Tsali Manor, the team members who went two years ago went there so they could see them throughout the week.

While at the senior centers, we worked with the seniors and helped them make crafts we brought. Besides just working on the crafts, we would also talk with the people there. We learned all sorts of stuff about them like their family and hobbies. On the fist day at the senior center, I met up with a friend I made two years ago, Ann, and her two sisters who also attend the senior center. What was really cool is that she remembered me and still had the tote bag I helped her make two years ago. Apparently, she has so many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that her family does combined birthday parties. When it’s her birthday, there are about seven others in her family with a birthday on the same month.

After we were done at the senior centers, the group that went to Tsali would go back to camp and eat lunch while the other group ate lunch in Snowbird. We would then leave camp and meet the others at Mrs. Iva Rattler’s house (in Snowbird) to begin painting. We were divided into four teams, one for each side of the house: Team Blue, Team Green, Team Yellow, and Team Pink. I thought the idea of team colors was a pretty cool.

While working on Mrs. Iva’s house we would each take a turn spending 15 minutes on the prayer chair to pray, read the Bible, get a drink, and get a break from work.

After we were done working for the day, we would go back to camp for dinner and then meet up in the pavilion with the other churches for music and worship. We would then have our own team devotional for the day.

On our half day off, after we finished our work at the senior center, we took pictures by the Smokey Mountains and went to the Dolly Wood water park. Later, John took us out to eat at the Golden Corral.

On the final workday, we were able to finish painting the house early so we used the extra time to go shopping. Most of the stores had cool Cherokee stuff; however, I found a few stores disappointing. We then went back to camp and eventually met up with the Smiths, who we had previously invited for dinner. Unfortunately, Mrs. Iva had to rush her son to the hospital for a foot injury and couldn’t make it. After dinner, the Smith’s joined us for the music and worship in the pavilion and all the churches talked about how their week went. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes to the Smiths and, later on, to the friends we made at the camp. It was probably the hardest part of the trip. There is no word for “good bye” in the Cherokee language.

When we finally got home, I felt a bit out of place. After a whole week of serving, I felt closer to God than ever. I didn’t want to leave Cherokee. I felt like that week on the missions field was what it was all about and that the rest of the year just lead up to that point. I hope soon to go on another mission trip and maybe, one day, return to Cherokee as well.

As for the other 24 team members, I would like to thank all of you for coming on this trip. You were always there when I needed you and you’ve been great friends. As for my individual devotional group members, you guys really made me think about what our devotion lessons were about and helped me to better understand them, thanks. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.

I would also like to thank all those who donated money toward the trip and prayed for us during it. Without your support, this trip could never have happened.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” Romans 12: 4-8

Ken Schumann

Howdy, this year was my second time returning to Cherokee NC. I can honestly tell you it was a real struggle for me to decide whether or not to go on this summer's mission's trip. But in the end I could feel God giving the answer I needed. Thank God I went because it had a real impact on me in so many different ways than my first visit. That's what I like about putting my trust in following God's paths, you never know what you're going to encounter, but you know his blessings will be priceless.

On this trip our individual devotional groups had a huge impact on me. Each morning we would meet in our small group (Julie, Carrie, Michaela and me) to discuss the devotional lesson for that day. Our group shared in detail with each other how God is working in our lives based upon the lessons we read. We also trusted each other in the areas of our lives that weren’t going so well that needed prayerful support. By the end of the week I realized it was no coincidence about who was in our group, it was God's careful planning all along. I realized how much we need to read God's word everyday, and have Christian friends for support and help. No matter how many times we try, we cannot run this race alone.

Other memorable events were visiting with Ned and Mary Smith. It has been 2 years since we've seen them, but within minutes it only seemed like we were away 2 days. God has truly blessed them and they are very inspirational to talk to about their faith. I also enjoyed making crafts with the Cherokees at the Tsali Manor Senior center. One particular gentlemen, Ned Welch, was the only guy that would participate in the craft projects every day. At the beginning of the week I tried talking to him, but got very little response. But by the end of the week he finally talked more with me about his hobby of making jewelry and the tragic car accident he was in. He actually died twice before they stabilized him in ICU. The accident cost him his job and has forced him into early retirement. Throughout the week he showed his artistic talent by painting flowers on wooden soup spoons. Our last day at the senior center he was kind enough to paint another wooden spoon for me as a gift. It was a moment I will never forget.

We are only on this trip for 7 days and just as we start building relationships and making progress with the people, we have to pack up and leave. It can be very frustrating at times, but we can only pray that the doors God allows us to open with these people can remain open.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; The whole earth is full of his glory ... [Isaiah 6:3b] Thanks to all who supported and prayed for me.

Karen Wallace

I’ve been on the Impact committee for 7 years helping out with fundraisers (you’ll know me as the Silent Auction go-to person) and decided it was time to go on a trip and get away from my comfort zone this year. I decided to put my faith in God beforehand and depend on my prayers and the prayers of others to hopefully relieve the anxieties about my first mission’s trip at the ripe old age of fifty-something.

The Lord did not disappoint me. Getting into the structured routines and stumbling to the bathrooms outside in the middle of the night was difficult at first, but by Monday I was no longer dwelling on these issues. What were important now were our ministries to the Cherokee people. And what a kind, beautiful and interesting people they were. Tammy Jackson talked about at one of our evening worship services how she had planted the seeds of this mission field seventeen years ago and now she sees that the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. We can’t just plant a church and leave it to the Cherokee people to continue on their own. It must be a multicultural effort and all God’s children of every race must be there with them to make it succeed.

I’ve always liked crafts and working with seniors and our morning session at the Snowbird senior center was very rewarding. Not only did we have an hour drive every morning through the Smoky Mountains with some of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen, but we got to interact with a people who were eager to share their culture and lives with us. The ladies sure took a liking to Greg, Chris, Rick and Eric, the charming men folk on our Snowboard team. We also sang and shared scripture with them during our time there.

The teamwork exhibited during the construction project was another example of God’s will being accomplished. The first day we were a bit discouraged over the abundance of wasp’s nests around Miss Iva’s house and the first bee sting which occurred on Greg’s nose. But through prayer, many cans of wasp spray, and a little ingenuity with the caulk guns we were able to declare victory over the wasps. Hence, the birth of a new Impact trip theme song “Wasphive”. (You’ll hear this at the potluck dinner.)

The trip to Dolly’s Splash Country and dinner at the Golden Corral in Pigeon Forge on
Wednesday was perfect timing to rest these weary bones of a first timer. Rested and rejuvenated, I was ready on Thursday for the final push to get Miss Iva’s house finished on that day for the final prize of shopping Friday afternoon in downtown Cherokee.

Kelly Wallace

What a week! First off, I’d like to thank everyone for all the prayers and support. God definitely blessed us while we were in Cherokee. We were spared during many accidents while painting, and were also given opportunities to form new relationships with the Cherokee and fellow teammates. Not only were the Cherokee hearts opened, but our hearts were opened as well. We were able to learn from the people we talked with at the senior center as well as form bonds with them that were hard to leave at the end of the week. Painting Ms. Iva’s house was a great team effort and we all worked together to get the job finished. This was my second Missions Trip and it was a different experience for me then my first one. I feel like I got to know people on the IMPACT team better; not only on the 12 hour ride down, but also with my small group. People that I weren’t so familiar with in church, are now people that I have grown with in Christ because of this trip. I thank God for His graceful hand that was held upon us during this week and I also thank Him for the ability to serve in Cherokee.

Nora Wallace

First of all, I would like to thank God for the opportunity to serve Him down in Cherokee. I also want to thank those who prayed for our trip and helped us financially. Thank you for your support!

This was my sixth missions trip but my first time to Cherokee, so, I was familiar with how these trips run. However, as John always says “don’t expect anything.” I needed to push past the expectations and comparisons of previous trips because no missions trip is the same and God will never cease to teach you no matter how many times you’ve been on one.

Making crafts at the senior centers with the elderly was absolutely wonderful! It was definitely a nice break from the usual construction work we usually do on missions trips. The people we met all had a personality of their own! It was great to slow down and make crafts while listening to the seniors’ anecdotes and stories. Most of the seniors at these centers were Christians and it was so encouraging to hear them tell about the struggles and hard times in their lives. One day we decorated a journal with Christian foam pieces and we asked what the seniors would do with these journals and Jean, the woman sitting next to me said she wanted to write down encouraging scripture verses in one, and give the other one to her daughter, whose husband had just passed away. It’s amazing to see how strong their faith is and how God is working in their lives and this goes back to why we are called the Impact team. We go out to impact and minister to others but we also are impacted and ministered to in return and that was quite evident at the senior centers.

Also, I do not consider myself a leader but I was pushed out of my comfort zone and was in charge of one of the sides at Ms, Iva’s house. I did have doubts of whether I was qualified and whether I had enough leadership skills but I had to give all of these doubts to God and remember that as long as I had the right attitude and did my best, He would be glorified. God never ceases to amaze me and this trip was no exception.

Robin Willis

I am fairly new to Aisquith, so this trip was a learning experience for me in so many ways. I got the opportunity to get to know the others that were on the Impact team. The ride to and from Cherokee was very long but for me, the people and scenery was well worth it. By the time we had arrived in Cherokee, I could remember the names of everyone in the van I was in. For me that is a very good thing, since I am so terrible with remembering names.

On Sunday we took church service to Tsali Care Center. I was very nervous when we got there. I have never gone to do anything like this before and I wasn’t sure what to do. But I met an amazing woman named Sis. She made everything so easy. Her love for Jesus was such an inspiration to me, I felt like I could do anything.

During the week, we split up into two groups to go to different senior centers to show them the crafts we brought. The center I went to was Tsali Manor. Each day we had a different craft to share with them. It was slow at first getting them to come over to the craft area. But each day more ladies would come over. By Thursday, some were already at the tables before we got there. We even had one gentleman who later joined us. They were all so sweet and a pleasure to spend time with. I didn't get to do much with the crafts but that is ok because most of my time was spent talking with a couple of gentlemen, Dave and George. George had a lot of wonderful stories to tell. He spent 23 ½ years in the Navy and part of that time on a sub. He didn't do any crafts but his wife, Joanne was at the craft tables every day. She is a very talented painter. As her husband says she sees things and then paints them. George said that he used to make jewelry out of beads and he also makes key chains. He is planning on making key chains for Carrie and myself and will mail them to us. I can't wait to see the work he does.

After lunch we were off to meet up with the rest of the group to paint Ms. Iva’s house. We were divided into four groups of six (pink team, yellow team, green team and the blue team) for each side of the house. The first day was an adventure. The side I was on, the pink team, ran into some problems with the prep work but the next day everything went very smoothly. One of the other teams had problems with wasps but they worked around them until they got the holes plugged up. Everyone worked so well together, joining in to help each other when they finished their side. This was a new experience for me. Seeing everyone wanting to help each other. I did get to spend a little bit of time with Ms. Iva and share so personal things. She is a very wise and strong woman. I was only at the house Monday and Tuesday because Wednesday was our afternoon off and Thursday John had other plans for me. Friday morning the Snowbird group finished the house.

Wednesday was our afternoon off and we spent some time at Dollywood Splash Country. Even with the rain that rolled thru and the three bee stings on my back, I still had a good time. I slept the night away because of taking Benadryl for the bee stings. The next morning I found out that I was volunteered for helping make dinner that evening, along with Amanda and Julie. We were making Lasagna. I learned just how much is involved in preparing food for a large group of people but I enjoyed it. It was nice to spend the time we did with Ms. Bettye. I learned that we have some things in common, we both love crocheting.

On Friday afternoon, since the house was finished, we got to go shopping and that was fun. Rick, AJ and myself walked around to the different shops. Outside one of the shops was a man dressed in an Indian costume and we got to ask him questions and AJ got a picture taken with him. Some of the things we learned were very interesting.

Well, now we are home and back to normal life, but I feel better inside for going to Cherokee. I am looking forward to going back to Cherokee and a chance to see those that we met this time and a chance to meet others. If anyone asked me if they should go on a trip like this, I would tell them they would be crazy not to. Not only do you get to meet very interesting people, but also for me it was a way to come out of my shell, as some have put it. Speaking in front of others and sharing personal things about myself has always been very hard for me. I have learned that no one is going to turn away from me because I stumble on my words. For me, I also feel that I have developed a closer relationship with God and more of an understanding of the Bible.

Rick Willis

The mission trip to Cherokee, North Carolina was the most uplifting spiritual journey I’ve been on since the day Christ made me one of his own. It was an adventure full of fellowship, work, and sharing God’s Grace with others. I know in my heart it’ll be a time I cherish for the rest of my life.

The fellowship we shared was with ourselves, other Impact teams, and the people of Cherokee. Our growth was in teamwork, devotional study amongst and our assigned prayer team to help guide us in our Christian journey. With the other teams it was at camp devotionals where team leaders plus guests got to share and at meals amongst ourselves. The people of Cherokee were a part of this at the Snowbird Senior Center where Christian ladies shared willingly their faith in Jesus. All of this made solid building blocks in the body of Christ.

Our labors consisted of camp details, crafts, and painting a house. Our stay at Goose Creek Camp meant we had to pitch in to keep it livable by doing kitchen and bathroom cleanup when assigned. At the two senior centers our task was to help the folks there construct take home crafts like photo albums or journals, pottery, and bookmarks. Up the road from the Snowbird Center was the major challenge of painting a house. God’s creation was a six day wonder and he gave us a similar time of less work just to share with others our love of Him.

The sharing of God’s gifts that I’ve done nothing to merit becomes personal to me in my dealings at Cherokee. I feel I was able to do this in my prayer team, at the senior center, and at Miss Iva’s house.

My prayer team was made up of three young people whose total age didn’t add up to mine. They were Ben, Amanda, and A.J. I was able to share with them my strength and experience in God’s world and take from them their zeal for God and smile with joy at what those three were able to accomplish through the week. At the senior center we were supposed to minister to the members there and I feel they did just as much to minister to me as I did to them. The house we painted belonged to Miss Iva and I was honored and blessed that she felt secure to share with me the woes of her life and I could share with her my walk with God to try and help her. Being able to share with others the blessings of my life is exactly what God did with me through Christ and this is what we know as Grace.

Our trip was a memorable, I will always remember how The Holy Spirit moved in each person there, the brothers and sisters I have in Christ at home and in Cherokee; the many tasks we all did with joy, humor, and just plain fun; the fact that I could give back to a people who are a part of my life (since my great-great grandmother was Cherokee) the many gifts that God has given me. I feel the way God moved in me was what the true meaning of the Great Commission [Mark 16:15]. My prayer now is that all I learned I can take with me as I seek to increase my walk with Christ.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Final Impact Update 7-24-08


Dear Praying Friends,

What a week it has been so far.

Since our last blog a lot has been accomplished in two days. Relationships at both senior centers have grown. The house that we are painting is about 99% done. And add to that a great afternoon off on Wednesday.

Needless to say, I am thrilled with how the Lord has been at work in and through our team. It has been wonderful to watch and to be a part of.

With that, we would covet your prayers for the final days of our trip, and here are some items for which we would ask for your prayer.

  1. Continue to pray for the health of our team – that everyone would continue to feel well. We give thanks to the Lord for the good health and protection that he has given to us so far.
  2. Pray for deeper interaction with the seniors at both the Tsali Manor and Snowbird Senior Centers during our last time there tomorrow.
  3. Pray that the team will finish its tasks well.
  4. Pray for safety as we travel home on Saturday.

Additionally we have attached 8 pictures to this post: 3 from the Tsali Manor Senior Center, 1 from our worship and devotional time here at the camp, 1 from the worksite and 3 from our half-day off trip to Dollywood's Splash Country in Pigeon Forge.

By God's grace we should see you all soon. We are scheduled to arrive at the church at 8 p.m. (or thereabouts) on Saturday.

Please also plan to be at our pot-luck dinner to see all of what was accomplished here in Cherokee. The dinner is at 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 10 at Aisquith. If you are planning to attend, you can r.s.v.p. to me at

With Love and Thanks to All, yours in Christ's Service

John Ceselsky

Final Impact Pictures 7-24-08

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Impact Update #2 7-22-08


Dear Praying Friends,

As in the previous post, I would again, on behalf of the entire 2008 Impact Cherokee Team, like to thank all of you for your prayer and support.

Since we posted our first blog, we have been quite busy here in Cherokee. In the mornings, our team is split in half to go and minister to members of the Tsali Manor and Snowbird Senior Centers. At the centers we interact with a number of Cherokee as we do crafts. So far we have made yarn bowls – a lot of fun but really messy, and personalized foam journals and photo albums. The interaction of the team with the senior Cherokees has been wonderful to watch and to hear about – they are truly serving as ambassadors for Christ.

In the afternoons, we have begun our construction project – that of painting a house. So far, we have made great progress and if the weather holds out (we had to quit an hour early today to avoid a thunderstorm) we should get the house finished on Friday. The four teams have worked very well and overcome obstacles with grace – obstacles such as a great deal of prep work that wasn't foreseen, and wasps which seem to be everywhere – but so far, by God's grace there haven't been any obstacles thrown in our face which we couldn't overcome.

With that, we would covet your prayers for the second half of our trip, and here are some items for which we would ask for your prayer.

  1. Continue to pray for the health of our team – that everyone would continue to feel well and able to participate in all of the work planned for us.
  2. Pray for deeper interaction with the seniors at both the Tsali Manor and Snowbird Senior Centers.
  3. Pray for the weather – we have had thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday nights. Tomorrow afternoon is our time off and the team would be blessed to have good weather to relax and have some fun. Additionally, we need good weather to finish our work project.
  4. Pray for the wasp situation at the worksite. One team member has already been stung, but is fine. We do have team members that are allergic to stings, so we truly covet your prayers in that regard.

Again, we thank you for all of the support, love and encouragement.

Additionally we have attached 8 pictures to this post: 3 from our time on Sunday at the Tsali Care Center, 2 from our worship and devotional time here at the camp, 2 from working on crafts at the Tsali Manor Center and 1 from the worksite.

With the Lord's help, we will seek to post more pictures and updated information on Thursday evening.

With Love and Thanks to All, yours in Christ's Service

John Ceselsky

Impact Pictures #2 7-22-08

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Impact Update #1 7-20-2008


Dear Praying Friends,

On behalf of the entire Impact 2008 Cherokee team I would like to thank all of you for your prayer and support, without which this trip would not be possible, and there would be little chance for success.

The first 2 days of the trip have been long, yet we are eager to get busy with the work that the Lord has set before us, which in many ways has already begun. Earlier this morning we had the privilege of leading a worship service at the Tsali Care Center, a nursing home here on the reservation. I was blessed to have the assistance in the service of Andrew Bell for the music and Carrie Burns, Rick Willis, and Marlies Cabell as leaders within the service. They did a fantastic job, though the preaching was unusual for us – unusual, not in the sense that it came from me, but unusual in that I preached for only 15 minutes (that must be a record) and in that the message came from Hebrews 12:1-3 and not from the Gospel of John. It was truly wonderful for me, throughout the time that we had at Tsali Care Center, to watch as the rest of the team interacted with and ministered to the residents there at Tsali Care – they all did a wonderful job.

Seven of us were additionally blessed in that we got to spend a bit of time later this afternoon visiting with Ned & Mary Smith, the couple whose home we painted two years ago. We were warmly greeted by the Smiths and welcomed lovingly into their home. Within a few minutes of sharing with them, we all began to feel as if we were renewing acquaintances with long-time family members – and that is indeed what we are in Christ. We look forward to interacting with them more as they frequent the Tsali Manor Senior Center where half of our team will be doing ministry in the mornings.

We are anxiously awaiting now our first day of work and covet your continued prayer. Half of the team will spend the mornings at one senior center and the other half will serve at another. In the afternoons we will then be painting for a lovely lady that we met today, Ms. Ida Rattler.

Here are some items for which we would ask for your prayer.

  1. Pray for the health of our team – that everyone would continue to feel well and able to participate in all of the work planned for us.
  2. Pray for our interaction with the seniors at both the Tsali Manor and Snowbird Senior Centers.
  3. Pray that we can build a relationship with Ms. Rattler, like the one that we have with the Smiths.
  4. Pray for Tom Warner as he seeks to recover from the injury which occurred here last week.

Thanks again for all of the support, love and encouragement that you have all given to us and enjoy the pictures that we have loaded with this message.

With the Lord's help, we will seek to post more pictures and updated information on Tuesday evening.

With Love to All, yours in Christ's Service

John Ceselsky