IMPACT 2010: Lummi Reservation
These are not usually available until after the IMPACT dinner. Thanks, John!
Another year has come and gone, and it hardly seems like we have had enough time to plan anything. But here we are already finished our physical labor and back to normal life. The week always seems to fly by so fast.
This year was definitely a change for me. I know I say every year that no two mission trips are the same, but this year was certainly no exception. The first major thing for me this year would be Liam. Having an infant at home had a definite impact on me deciding to go on this trip. After talking it over with Shannon, she said that if I still wanted to go on the trip she would stay home with Liam for a week by herself. So first off, I guess I should thank her for sacrificing her time and energy so that I could go. The other major change for me this year was the fact that “I was all alone”….a fact that some on the team wouldn’t let me forget. This was the first year that none of my normal friends were there on the trip with me. Not only that, but I was the only person there in my age group (closest person in age was 9 years away). At first I was a little anxious, but after thinking about it for a little while I realized that “being alone” would give me more time to get to know the other members of the trip better. And it did. I made some new friends and strengthened some friendships that I already had. So thanks to everyone who kept me sane.
It seems that no matter where I go for a mission trip, I end up getting to mix concrete. Luckily this year it was only three bags of quick-crete. While doing our initial walkthrough of the playground we were assigned to work on, we found a few major problems that needed to get fixed before we could do any painting. One was a baby swing section that had been knocked down and the other was a split main support under floor of the elevated playground. I volunteered to work with David on all the repair work. He is an electrician from Washington State and a member of Crossroads (the other Church that was working with us this year). After talking out a plan of action, and waiting on all the supplies we needed, we got to work designing something that would last as long as possible. The swings and support went up just in time to start the painting, which gave me a chance to work on other small details that needed repair. All in all it was a great time doing something I love.
All of this would not have been possible without your support. The money that was sent got me there, and the prayers that were said supported me and got me through the week. So for all of your support, thank you! It would have been impossible without you.
See you next year in Guadalajara!!
In April I had the opportunity to travel to the Lummi reservation for the Project Orientation weekend. Upon my arrival, I was immediately drawn in by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Beyond that, and the typical precipitation statistics, I knew nothing of Washington State or the Lummi people. We have had the blessed opportunities to serve natives in the past on the Cherokee reservation, but the Lummi were a very different people. They are generally quiet, generally not interested in what the “white man” had to say or about the “white man’s God.” During this first weekend I was able to listen first-hand as an elder of the tribe described the traditionalist beliefs of the Lummi. I began to wonder, “What have I gotten us into?”
This question gripped my mind as we continued to prepare to send the team to Lummi – what have I gotten us into? And then there was the phone call from Florida asking if we could “adopt” a young man from a group which was unable to attend and make him a part of our team. I agreed, and then I thought to myself, “What am I getting myself (and our team) into?”
By the end of the week my questions had been answered loudly and clearly. I had gotten myself and our team into the exact place that the Lord wanted us to be. The Lummi are a quiet and cautious people – but we managed to form relationships. There were some who thought that the work we did on the playground wouldn’t amount to anything in the community – such concerns were alleviated when we saw the smiles on the faces of the Lummi children who came out in droves at night to play – they had their playground back – and they would lay claim to it. We saw and heard it in the voice of Christina, the Lummi Housing Authority’s contact we had. Simple rebuilding and painting – and the often-not-so-simple task of pulling weeds were noticed throughout the housing development. Neighbors came out to thank us – and they asked why we had come such a long way to help them – and they heard the Gospel. Some heard it in words, but all saw it in practice.
It is truly amazing to see what happens when we get ourselves into the path that our Father has laid before. Most of us know the great truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 – that we are saved by grace through faith – and not by our own works. But we often forget why God does this – Paul concludes that section with this in verse 10: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are saved by grace, through faith, so that we can do the good works God has prepared for us to do.
What do Impact trips get us into? They get us into the place that God has prepared in advance for us to go to do the work that he has prepared for us to do.
God never ceases to amaze us on each and every mission’s trip, even when we go back to some of the sites! Even though this trip was new for all of us it wasn’t new to God who was paving the way for us to be there. Here are just three ways that God WOWed us during the week:
1) To save money on traveling with extra/heavier baggage on the plane, we decided to purchase our 13 air mattresses online at the Wal-Mart near Seattle and pick them up on our way. To keep from paying to bring them home as well, especially since we might not need them again, we thought we’d donate them to MTW at the Lummi Nation to use for future groups. When we met up with Jamie from Florida at the airport, he didn’t have an air mattress, so we bought the last one off the Wal-Mart shelf for him. But, when we got to the Lummi community center where we were staying, there were exactly 14 mattresses there left from the previous group! We were able to return and get hundreds of dollars back on our mattresses! So, sometimes just being willing to do something and following through on it pays off!
2) When we were working at the playground each day, we had to go back to the ROC building to use the bathroom. During my first trip, I was introduced to 4 middle school girls that were in the Center playing cards. When I returned in the afternoon, I stopped in to say “Hi” and found one of them writing the Bible, from the beginning, on the whiteboard while another of the girls read it to her! It was totally out of the blue, had nothing to do with why they were at the Center, and we had said or done nothing to prompt it! So, sometimes just showing up is enough!
3) Our last supper on Friday is meant to include any of the adults and their families we interacted with and invited to come join us. We serve them the meal first, eat together, share some songs, and have someone share the Gospel with them. Up until Thursday night, with working on the playground the whole time, we mostly came across kids. But, after work on Thursday night, we played sports on the community field in hopes of drawing kids out to join us. Four girls joined us at first while their mothers watched from their cars. Even though we didn’t know it was their mothers since they didn’t get out of their vehicles, Karen Wallace had an opportunity right before we left to invite them to join us for the dinner the next night. They were the only ones that showed up for the dinner and brought some of the rest of their family as well! Sometimes all it takes is an invitation at the least likely times!
God’s timing is always PERFECT and never a second too early or too late i.e. JUST when we needed it!
Again, as always, I can’t THANK YOU enough for all of the prayers, money and time you gave this year to support yet another mission’s trip! May our Lord and Savior bless you abundantly, even by you joining our return trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, July 16-23, 2011, to help our longest running missionaries, Larry and Sandy Trotter!
Expectations conjure up ideas or thoughts of what you think might, or could, happen. This was my first mission trip, and I found myself full of expectations. Some I expected, others came as a surprise. From the beginning the decision to just “go” was ultimate. As the months and weeks dwindled down, it became a little scary, with age being my biggest fear. Would I be able to keep up the pace and not become a liability? But go I did.
Our work at Lummi was to restore a very neglected playground. We repainted all of the equipment, replacing either missing or weakened sections of wood. We totally replaced a baby swing extension, requiring digging a two foot hole, filling with cement and anchoring. The entire playground received two coats of paint. We even painted designs and symbols on some of it. The hardest part of the restoration was the removal of the weeds. The playground was lined with some type of burlap covering, then stones were spread on top. Due to neglect, weeds and grass had taken over! If you weren’t painting you were digging. It seemed like it would never end. The neighborhood kids were the best. Each day they just seemed to appear! They wanted to help us in any way so they could get their playground back again. Their enthusiasm helped to spur us all on to complete the project by week’s end.
Our schedule at Lummi stayed pretty much the same for the week. Up at 6am, out on site by 8:30, and dinner at 6pm. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings we split into two groups. One group would go down to the Stommish grounds, an area where local teens converge, while the other group would go around the neighborhood near the playground, knocking on doors and letting people know who we were and what we were doing. Many positive contacts were made, and many people were aware of how we were improving the area, and expressed how thankful they were to have us there. We were able to listen to many as they spoke of some of their heartaches. Everyday was a full and busy day!
We had Wednesday afternoon free and that allowed us to board a ferry that would take us to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. It was a wonderful trip across the waters, with a backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. We roamed around the island visiting many quaint shops. I don’t think anyone missed enjoying some of the delicious flavors of ice cream offered at some of the shops. On our return trip, we stopped at an Applebee’s for dinner. This night was late! We didn’t make it back till almost 11. Our air mattresses were a welcome relief!
As with any trip you take, you can always expect the unexpected. Ours seemed to be our lodging. Initially we were to stay in the very large community center. But due to two funerals we had to pack up everything three times, moving between the gym at the Lummi School, and back again to the center. It was surprising though, that no one’s feathers got ruffled. Our team took it in their stride and the moves were actually easy.
One of the funerals held at the center was creating a problem for Ms. Maria, the chief cook of the kitchen. She needed help, and that’s when my portion of the trip took a sudden change. On Thursday morning I woke up with a very swollen knee. The knee had been injured a couple years ago, and after our trip to Friday Harbor, it was done. I limped unto the van that morning, asking God to help me because I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the day. But that morning Ms Maria needed help! I volunteered quickly, and a second person, Lois, from the Crossroads Church joined in too. The Crossroads Church, with just four people, arrived on Sunday afternoon from a local town in Washington to help with the Lummi project. When she found out about my knee, she let me know she had a knee brace in her car. Imagine that! God always provides! John later purchased one for me, enabling me to do the much needed work in the kitchen on Friday too. God’s blessings are always near.
I have to speak about the kitchen work. I don’t think I have ever cut up as much food as I did there. Lois and I peeled a 50lb bag of white potatoes, cut up a 50lb bag of red potatoes, about 15 cantaloupes and watermelons, who knows how many pounds of onions, celery, green peppers, tomatoes, bacon, and whatever. At one point Lois was assigned something else while I cut up 8, 5lb boneless hams, 4 of which were half frozen! That’s 40lbs of ham! Just when we thought we wouldn’t see another potato, we ended up peeling a 100lb bag of potatoes on Friday. And we both cleaned pots and pans till the cows came home! There were two huge trash cans filled with iced-down crabs (that would later be boiled), 20lbs of boneless turkey, goulash, beans, rice, fried bread, potato salad, not to mention the dessert table. You name it, it was there!
Most interesting was the funeral. The Lummi people held a prayer service on Thursday evening, followed by a light dinner. The deceased person lay in a plain pine box, a much smaller coffin then what we are accustomed to. There were just two small bouquets of flowers. On Friday the pine box was draped with a very colorful piece of material, and a few more flowers adorned the casket. At 11am they held a Catholic mass, which totally surprised us. Lois and I were sent outside for a 15 minute break, but when we returned, the door to the main hall entrance was locked. We were not allowed near, or even to listen.
Unique to the Lummi people is the language on the funeral program. Instead of using birth and death dates, they use sunrise and sunset. The Lummi’s are also very spiritual. At one point I dropped a partially peeled potato in the trash can. But when I tried to retrieve it, Ms. Maria spoke quickly and told me to let it be. She explained that when someone passes, and the body is in a building as this, they believe there are other deceased spirits in the room. Dropping a potato is like dropping a deceased spirit, you cannot resurrect it.
When Lois and I came back from our lunch break the people were at the cemetery, and things in the kitchen were bustling. Last minute preparations were completed and soon the people were back. There were between 500 and 600 people there! I soon learned that the Lummi people display enormous respect and honor to any and all of their people. It was an amazing experience! Somewhere about 3:30, Andy came back and picked us up so we could see the end result at the playground.
The trip itself was truly enlightening and amazing. When you spend a week with a bunch of people you think you know, you quickly find out you don’t really know them at all! Everyone accepted me, and even if I was the oldest, the age factor didn’t seem to matter. It was a privilege to be a part of such a unique branch of our church tree. Whether I ever go on another mission trip is yet to be revealed, but I do know that when you truly put your trust in God, anything can happen. On the Sunday of our return, our pastor spoke of the “Miraculous Meal in the Wilderness”, from Mark 6:30-44. How awesome! God supplies all our needs, then and now and for eternity. Nothing is beyond Him. What more can you ask? If ever you thought about taking the plunge and joining the Impact team on their mission trip, trust in God—just do it! He will guide you and protect you, and you will be amazed at just what He can do.
In His Service,
I have been on two mission trips in the past, and each one gives us its own unique circumstances and challenges. This year’s mission to the Lummi people in Washington, though, was in many ways very different for all of us. For one, we were all going there for the first time, with no knowledge or experience to draw on. Not only that, but we were trying to connect with people who are still feeling the old wounds from past abuse and injustice at the hands of missionaries and white Americans. I for one was a little nervous and unsure about this mission, and I think everyone in their own small, personal way was nervous too. But a funny thing tends to happen on these mission trips: when we let go of all our doubts, stop thinking about what we can do, and instead focus on what God will do through us, things go along pretty well. And that’s just what we did. We were able to make the playground we worked on a lot nicer, repainting it and getting rid of all the weeds, so that it will be a lot better for the kids in the community (and hopefully stay that way). We were able to connect with some of the people in the community, especially Maria and Edith (whose cooking we all already miss) and Paul, who’s always fun to hang around. We enjoyed a whole week of the beautiful scenery and fair summer weather of Washington (we could have taken a day trip further up north, but SOMEONE said no!). We even had a good time with Jamie, who joined us from Florida when his mission team couldn’t come. I’m not sure how you rate mission trips if you even can, but all in all, I’d say this was pretty good. If nothing else, I hope the people saw a small glimpse of the One we represent through our actions and encounters that week. I thank everyone who made this mission trip possible, and I can’t wait for the next opportunity we get to go back to Lummi.
Hi!! My name is Amanda and this was my fourth trip with IMPACT.
I went on the trip this year expecting hard physical work and interactions that would be similar to the ones down here, a little strained. When we got there though everything was different than what I’d expected. We wound up working on a playground, but it was more painting it and weeding it than assembling it (props to the other team =]) and overall it wound up being sort of the opposite of what I had expected. At night we would either go down to Stommish Grounds and be defeated in sports by the kids who lived around there, or we would go visiting. Everyone knows about sports, so I’ll talk a little about the visiting. It was kinda scary, but like John always points out- if you’re not out of your comfort zone then something is wrong. Pretty much we went door to door just introducing ourselves and talking to the people in the neighborhoods, explaining what we were doing and who we were. I was rather expecting some people to be mean like they would be here, but everyone was really nice and would talk to you openly and ask you some little questions or something. Definitely not like home. It was a really good change though =)
One of the things that stood out the most to me (besides the people) was the church experience. We wound up going to a small church whose size we probably wound up doubling on Sunday morning and I’m not too sure what I was expecting from it, but it was definitely not what I got. This church was absolutely awesome, and for some reason the music beats reminded me of square dancing, very easy to get into. The preacher was a little unsure of what he was saying sometimes, but you could tell that every word he said came straight from his heart. After the services, he even came over and started talking to some of the team members. Like I said, it was a pretty cool church (I suppose because it was so little there was more interaction than I’m used to.)
Anyway, down to the reason we went: the people. They were absolutely amazing. I finally started learning names of everyone, but naturally it had to be on the day before we left. I remember the names though now, go ahead- try me! I know we’re not supposed to have favorite people, but I definitely have a favorite memory of the kids. There was this little boy, his name was NiNu (Knee-New) [I don’t think that’s how you spell it], and he loved zombies! He chased me around pretending to be a zombie, so naturally we got along wonderfully, perfect chemistry, we must be related somehow. Anyhow, when it was time for us to leave the amazing dinner that Maria and Edith had made us (I am so doing a recipe swap with them) we turn to start walking and all the sudden I feel something on my leg before looking down to realize I’d been glomped (Running hug attacked) by NiNu saying his goodbyes. It was so cute, even I must admit it. I shall definitely miss my little zombie friend.
Oh yeah, I’ve been leaving out a critical part up till now, our add ons. Well, because we were such a small group we got to work with another group called Crossroads. They only had four people though so it wasn’t terrible. Plus we got “The Bloke” Jamie (from Florida) and Paul helped out a lot too at the worksite. So we weren’t quite as small as we were originally. By the end of the week, I was starting to know people pretty well, well….at least I knew the groups names and everything, but I felt like I knew them well, which made leaving pretty hard… I mean, after you live with people for a whole week that feels like months how do you go back to normal? It feels like you’re leaving your long lost family, very hard to do. But we wound up leaving to come back home and having to say our goodbyes to everyone before coming back home, where the weather is never nice. Well, it’s never not hot at least.
In the end, this trip taught me lots. Especially humility and needing to let go of pride. Which seem kinda like the same thing to me… but I’m not really too sure I just know I need to do/ have both. The experience was amazing and God really provided for us. No one was seriously injured, though knees were hurting a lot, and he showed his blessings through the small things (air mattresses already at the community center, having the school for us to stay in during rough times for the people, the amazing interactions with the people…). As always, God is good =) He even sent us with Carolyn this time. (She’s really good at soccer too, apparently, so watch out if you’re against her). I think that’s about it, my head is swimming with ideas but I don’t remember them all so until I see you again, God’s blessings be with you.
Yours in Christ,
I write this as I am sitting on the plane drying off (having spilled a whole cup of water in my lap). I guess it’s fitting to end the trip with a mishap, as I started my visit with one (upon leaving the plane, my glasses got knocked off my face and stepped upon; well, absolutely crushed). The good news is that everything that happened and everyone I met in between these two events was wonderful.
I have been in desperate need of a readjustment; having worked too many long hours and not devoting time, as I should, to the Lord and my family. In getting to work alongside, serve, and interact with the Lummi, while experiencing the beauty of God’s creation, He knew exactly the type of healing I required. The support of my fellow teammates from Aisquith and “Snow” from Florida (our adopted 14th team member, Jamie Snow) was a blessing, as well.
As with my last missions trip (this being my 2nd), I found the labors to be challenging, the days long, and the mornings seemingly arriving too quickly. Having said as much, other than the last two nights, having a air mattress that would completely deflate within an hour (and John’s snoring), God provided the needed rest to continue (and complete) our project.
The term complete is probably not the correct word. Yes, the playground was renovated; however, that is not the “true” work for why we were sent. The true reason for being sent was the Lummi people. In this context, our work will never truly be complete. Knocking door-to-door, talking with the Lummi as we worked, sharing meals, and playing with the children & teens have all the makings of a good beginning.
Though relationships take time, through their outward friendship, kindness and His grace, each member of the team was able to establish a special bond with the Lummi. I give praise & thanks to Maria, Edith and Butch, who made sure to keep us well fed and taken care of on a day-to-day basis. I also give many thanks to Paul, Maria’s grandson that worked, ate, slept, played and gave of himself for us. Thanks also goes to Lisa, from MTW, and the four members from Crossroads (local Washington church) that stayed and worked with us on the project. A special note to David: Before I go to sleep at night, I’ll say an extra prayer for you. The highlight of my trip was getting to share/talk with Moon (I’ll be praying for your family; especially your wife and father) and getting to meet & play with Jasmine, a Lummi child that we met during our nights at the Stommish grounds. Jasmine has a smile that can light up a whole room. She warmed-up to us immediately and made us feel welcomed.
As with all things, the trip and this report must come to an end. I leave you all with many thanks for your prayers and support, and a personal prayer request of my own that each of you (and yourself) go and experience, first hand, the wondrous work the Holy Spirit can perform in your heart by serving others.
In His Service,
After being on previous impact trips with Aisquith, I’ve learned to not have any expectations. This is because every trip I’ve gone on has been different than any of the previous ones. This one, for instance had some new challenges that I had to face. For starters, this was the first time I’ve traveled by plane in years. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that I woke up at 3:00 AM that morning and couldn’t fall asleep on the plane the whole ride. It was probably over 15 hours from the time we left to when we finally got to the reservation. Another difficulty was that, for me, this was my first time experiencing jet lag. It was probably the longest I’ve stayed awake since the last RockHouse Lock-in. Overall, however, I feel the trip had more ups than downs. For one, we had Snow from Florida. Jamie Snow, the 15 year old boy we adopted into our team, warmed up to us fairly quickly. We actually all got along better than I first anticipated and, by the middle of the week, it was as if he was one of the Aisquith family. Then there’s Paul, the 17 year old native boy who helped us out on the work site and stayed with us through most of the week. You could even call him the 15th member of our team. Together, we conquered many weeds with our pickaxe and rake formation. But besides being a great help, he was also a great friend. We would talk and joke on the car rides and he’d join us in any sports or games we were playing. He even showed us where the best ice cream was on our day off, and nothing says great friend more than great ice cream. So now that I’ve covered some of the people we met on this trip I think it’s about time I talked more about what it was like to live in Bellingham, WA. To sum it all up, it was beautiful. The weather was cool and the skies were blue. There were mountains everywhere including some snow capped ones which looked magnificent. The water was much clearer than anything I’ve seen and the land was just amazing. As we drove by, we could see many boats in the water, most likely there for crab-fishing. And let me tell you, their crabs were delicious. In fact, everything we were served was delicious. Crabs, ham, potatoes, fried bread, Indian tacos, burgers, bacon, eggs, salmon, rice, chili cheese dogs, nachos and cheese, melons, pudding, jello, and let’s not forget Apples Jacks with every breakfast. Moving on to the worksite, our job was to repaint the playgrounds at the McKenzie development. However, we took it a bit farther than just repainting. We de-weeded the entire playground, fixed up the picnic tables and a support beam, picked up all the trash (including on the basketball court), and built a new baby swing. It was long and hard work but, at the end of the week, we got it all done. Leaving wasn’t too easy, especially when you have a 110 degrees heat index to look forward to. The real reason going back home after an impact trip is hard is because you have to say goodbye to all the people you met there without being able to tell them when you’d see them again, if ever. I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO ASK PAUL FOR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS! Anyway, thanks to everyone who supported me both financially and through prayer. You gave me the opportunity to help impact the lives of the Lummi People which in turn had an impact on my life.
Yours in Christ,
Going on this impact trip to Lummi was an amazing and wonderful experience for me, especially since it was my first ever missions trip. Even though we weren’t able to outright talk to them about our Savior, I’m so happy I went to help serve the people and by our actions hopefully show them a little about Jesus. I was able to get to know the people on my team a little better while we were working and during our morning and nightly devotional groups. Also during my devotional groups’ turn to lead the nightly devotions, I learned how to be a little less shy talking in front of people than I usually am (well at least after I was completely terrified during my turn to talk).
During the week we worked on a playground, fixing it up and painting and weeding it. One time Amanda and I were weeding with crowbars and we started singing the work song from Snow White. After a while I think a few other people joined in. But by the end of the week after we got everything done and I think the best part about fixing the playground for the community was seeing all the kids having fun and enjoying it afterwards.
However, out of all the things that happened I’d have to say that my favorite part was getting to know and interact with the Lummi people and getting to know the way they do things. The first impression I had when we got there was how friendly the people were to us, even though it was mostly with the kids. One of the things I loved was that some of the younger kids would come up and talk to us while we were working down at Mackenzie (which is the playground we worked on) and to tell us that they liked the changes on the playground. There were two kids named Allison and Henry who would always come over and watch, and sometimes they would help paint. We had them go through a tunnel and put handprints and foot prints all throughout it. Afterwards we put there names in the tunnel, I don’t think I could ever forget how much they liked doing that.
I know I’m going to miss the people I met there, like Edith and Maria who cooked us amazing food throughout the week, and a few other people we met, but I feel so blessed that I was able to be a part of this trip and for all the things that it has taught me. Finally, I’m thankful that we were able to make it safely there and back.
My recent trip to the Lummi Nation in Bellingham, Washington had a huge impact on me. I was affected not just from the reactions of the people there, but also from the feelings I got from finishing the projects. The trip had a few ups and downs, but ultimately was very successful in completing projects and making a bunch of new friends.
My trip started with my flight to Seattle. It wasn’t the flight that was the bad part, it was after the flight. I had to wait in the airport for nearly eleven hours with only one hour of sleep until I met up with the Baltimore group. After I met up with the group and got our bags, we packed up in the vans, and headed off to go sight seeing in Seattle. We first grabbed a bit to eat, then we went to the space needle, where we got a nice pic of Andy and Andrew almost tossing AJ off. That was a fun experience, but after that, we headed back to the reservation to settle in at the community center and eat some dinner. After the amazing dinner of king crab, we headed off to bed. There wasn’t much to do the next day except for going to a nice little church in Bellingham, but besides that, not much else.
The rest of the week we had to wake up at six to get ready and get in our small groups to do our devotionals. After we discussed the lesson for the day, we ate breakfast, and we were off to the work site. We usually worked from 8 or 9 to about noon, then we went back to the community center to eat some lunch, then went back to work for another three hours. After we got done, we packed up our equipment and headed off to the community center to chill for a little bit before we ate dinner.
That was our usual routine for the week, but we got a break on Wednesday. We only had to work half a day and we got the rest of the day off. So we decided to go to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island for the rest of the day. We got to take a ferry out to the island, which took about an hour and a half, but we found ways to pass the time. It was a really cool place to hang out, there were a lot of neat restaurants and shops out there. I picked up a hand made wallet from this sweet shop that sold all hand made items, the carvings and what-not were really cool to look at, but not to buy. It was a fun time out there, but we had to get back on the ferry and head back. We stopped at an Applebee’s to eat before we got to the community center.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we split up in two groups and one group went to the Stommish grounds, just a field to play sports, and the other group did visitation around the neighborhood where we were working. We switched off on Thursday. It was really cool to get some interactions with the Lummi’s. When my group was out there, we played basketball, and we had enough people to have the mtw group vs. the natives. We got destroyed, but it was all in good fun. Then on Thursday, we walked around the neighborhood and just introduced ourselves to the people, and some of the people didn’t talk much, but some we got a lot out of them, even some stories that made us cry. So that was a good time.
On Friday, we had our big dinner, which we invited some of the Lummi people throughout the week. It wasn’t a huge turnout, but it was nice to see that some came. We had king crab again, which I don’t think anyone complained about, and a lot more. Then Maria, the fantastic cook, thanked us for coming out and helping, and also gave us some gifts to show there appreciation. It was an awesome night, but we had to get to bed, because we had to wake up at 4:30 to get to the airport.
It was an outstanding experience, because I’ve never really seen the impact of missions work as on people, and this has really opened my eyes. So I’m looking forward to maybe doing this trip again and possibly many more in the near future.
My third mission trip and I am ready for the challenges as well as the joys it will provide to me this time. We haven’t repeated any of our trips so far so this year will be a new experience for everyone. The potential for gorgeous weather with temperatures in the mid-seventies was an important factor when we left Baltimore with temperatures in the mid-nineties and high humidity.
The drive to the reservation was beautiful, especially the sighting of Mt. Rainier in Seattle and Mt. Baker in Bellingham. We spent some time at the Space Needle in Seattle and experienced some spectacular views of the city. The countryside we saw when approaching the reservation was beautiful. The air was clean and crisp and the flowers we saw seemed more vibrant in their colors than back home. We stayed at the Lummi Community Center which was built entirely of red cedar. The Center was also within walking distance of the Peugeot sound.
The church service we attended was at a PCA church in Bellingham called Christ Church. It was held at a warehouse style building that was used during the week as children’s theater workshop. The service was casual and our group definitely was noticed as we entered the church and filled up two rows of recycled movie theater seating. After the service a gentleman in front of us turned around and noticed Kelly’s Calvin College sweat jacket. Apparently, he was an alumnus from several decades ago and we had a nice chat with him about the school. Nora had run into some Calvin alumni several years ago on one of the Impact trips to Mexico. There was also an MTW team at the church that had been down in Mexico and when I was talking to them later found out that they knew the Trotters in Guadalajara. You never know who you are going to run into during an Impact Missions trip.
I found the Lummi tribe to be a very kind, gentle, and family oriented people. They were also very sensitive people and we found that sometimes our joking came across a little too strong and they were hurt by it. After all they had suffered these people needed Jesus in their lives.
This mission trip was a little different than the others in that there was to be no outward evangelizing. We were to show the love of Christ to these people by our works and by talking and getting to know the people one on one. We began our work on the playground and went beyond the initial painting that was assigned and rebuilt a damaged baby swing section and weeded the entire playground. The Lummi people continually voiced their appreciation of the work that we had done, especially the children who began to show up to play on the equipment.
In the evening we went down to the Stommish grounds which were right on the water to interact with the children. We were able to initiate a basketball and kickball game with those that had shown up. I invited some of the parents and children that had shown up for the games Thursday night for our farewell dinner at the Community Center Friday night. Some of them did come and we had an evening of fun and fellowship.
I really enjoyed our day off and the ferry to San Juan Island. The water and mountain scenery were beautiful. Unfortunately, many of the shops had closed at 5:00 p.m. and we missed out on shopping in the Lavender Shop ( there are many lavender farms on the island). But the blackberry ice cream I snacked on was worth the trip!
The food that was served to us was fresh, nutritious and delicious. I especially enjoyed the evenings we had freshly caught King Crab. Our cooks Maria and Edith were amazing especially considering the fact that not only were they preparing food for our group that week, but they were responsible for the food preparation for the two funerals that were held that week. That meant food preparation for several hundred people.
Our devotional time within our small groups is a time every year in which I can grow in my faith and learn more about God’s will for my life. The topics of humility and pride were the theme and I learned how important it was to humble myself before God in order to reach the Lummi people. In doing so we were able to establish a trusting relationship with them which would hopefully lead them to a relationship with Jesus in the future.
For each missions trip I have been on, I have learned more about myself, more about Christ, and more about the people that are in our church. Being my third trip, each one has been unique and very special to me.
As I look back on the week, I can see how much I desperately needed to go on this trip. It’s easy to have your walk with Christ feel like you are just “going through the motions.” This week I was reminded of how much I’m in need of a loving, supporting group of Christians in my life, and my need of a constant reminder to be living with Christ daily and in His work. It’s incredible what a week can do when you are with God continually, and surrounded by 13 other brothers and sisters in Christ 24-7; eating, sleeping, working, and praying together.
It was nice to have such a small group this year. Being the only person in my “age group” God was able to use that as an opportunity for me to learn more about the other people I was traveling with. Because I go away to school, I’m not able to spend a lot of time in my home church. I am gone for chunks of time, and I really feel like that has inhibited me from learning more about the strangers who sit in the pews in front of me. I was able to spend time with the people older then me, as well as younger then me and I had a whole week to freshen up those relationships.
Going to the west coast was a first for all of us. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into. How am I going to handle this flight? Am I going to like the food? What if I starve? Or get too tired? What’s the team going to think of me? Will I sleep through John’s snoring?
Thanks be to God, my heart was calmed in each and every one of these worries. I was reminded that we are all in this together. As a group, we were able to tackle the fears and circumstances we couldn’t control.
All and all, I enjoyed the work we were able to do in Lummi. It seems trivial that we were only able to fix up a run down play ground. But in the sermon today, Pastor Bell spoke about how God can take something so small (like 5 loaves of bread, and 2 fish) and turn it into something huge!
Everyone in the neighborhood knew we were working on this playground and getting it into tip-top shape for them. They could see our good deeds. We only pray that through that, they see our gracious Father in heaven who can offer them so much more then a fixed up playground.
Thanks again for all the prayers and support! I’m extremely thankful for every person on this trip! Especially my small group: Julie, Andy, and Carolyn – for sharing stories and advice that I could really take to heart and learn from.
One more thing I learned on this trip: (and I think I can speak for Amanda as well…) Never sit in or go down a slide that is fully enclosed!
I was home thinking of a theme for our trip to the Lummi Nation and in my meditation the one thing that stuck out in my heart was love. With the Lummi people, each other and God there was something special in the air that I hope I can carry on to all I come in contact with. Our team this year displayed a love that stood out more than what I’ve seen on other mission trips.
The people of the reservation showed a caring, a pain, and a pride. From what I witnessed in them, the Lummis have a bond with each other that keeps them going as a people through thick and thin. It has helped them get on with life through centuries of hurt brought over from Europe. They seem to want the world to know who they are with the joy of who they are. It made my heart want to gather them all up for a group hug and never let go.
With our own team I grew closer to my brothers and sisters, more than I ever thought I could. We became true children of God. We overcame obstacles together, supported each other and had fun. We became close as a group of thirteen but we had a lone volunteer from Florida, four more from Washington, and one Lummi young man. Together you got a glimpse of heaven. We worshipped and prayed together to the point in most cases you’d never know we were from separate churches in different states. From each person I learned different things that I never knew before, with the exception of Robin, which made me feel more a part of a family than a team. When I was hurting during the week my family prayed for me, even this was inspiring. Through the work and the constant change in our quarters we made it through together. Play time was no different whether we were out on the playfield competing, playing cards or watching the “Andy and Andrew comedy hour,” it was making the other person feel a part of something big that we all tried to do. We didn’t have to say much about the Gospel to the Natives because by our love for one another I’m sure they could see that we are Jesus’ disciples just like he said.
Our primary mission was to God, this was shown in our worship and our work. We set out to minister to the Lummi people and each other. I was grateful to have the same prayer group that I was in when we were in Cherokee with Jonathan replacing Ben and adding Jamie from Florida. It felt good to hear how they were experiencing God in their lives and to see how much they’ve grown in Him. Our large group was a chance for others to open up in ways I’ve never heard before that showed how God was moving in each of us. I was watching people volunteer to pray in our groups who used to be silent and feeling joy in their praise and petitions to God. These trips make it all worth while just to see people get a deeper relationship with the One who loves them like no other can.
All of this occurred in a nonstop week in which a band of people sought to minister to others. We sought to display God to others, to ourselves and even to God Himself. Were we successful? I think we did a good job from a human standpoint because the thing that impressed me most was like I’ve been learning in my marriage, and in this case life itself, love is an action more than just a feeling. Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone for their prayers and support; on this trip we couldn’t have done it without you.
Wow, God is so amazing. He is always reminding me that with having Faith and Trust in him, anything is possible. This year’s mission trip to Washington took us to an unfamiliar location, to a place that not only myself, but the whole team, has never been. For me there were a lot of unknowns, several things that would have kept me from going. I wasn’t sure I would be able to go because of some health issues and what I would be able to eat. Then there was the length of the flight (small closed in area) and sitting by myself (seats are set alphabetical). Also there was Seattle’s Space Needle and my problems with heights. By putting my trust in God, I was able to overcome these obstacles and enjoy my time in Washington.
Our time there went by very fast. From the time we got up at 6:00am until lights out at 10:30pm, we were always doing something: devotionals, eating, painting and weeding, eating, painting and weeding again, eating, playing with kids, devotionals. Oh, and who could forget the moving, we got good at that.
Two of the nights, we split up into two groups. One group went down to the Stommish grounds and played with the kids while the other group went to visit some of the neighbors near the playground we were working on. When it was time for the group I was with to go visiting, Rick, AJ and myself met this gentleman named Randy. He had just pulled up to visit his family, when we started walking up the driveway. As we were talking to him he mentioned that he was out selling some of the things that he had carved out of cedar. Along with sharing his carvings with us, he shared some stories of his ancestors. Some were happy stories but also some were sad. As he was sharing I could see the hurt that he was feeling because of the things that were done to him and his people. I was so glad to have Rick there, he was able to say things to him that I wasn’t able to. I wasn’t able to speak, I was trying to hold back my tears; but as I listened to Randy and saw tears coming down his face, I wasn’t able to control mine.
There were some sad things and some fun things on this trip. Meeting some of the people that live there was very nice. Getting to know Jamie (a kid from Florida who joined our group) was a lot of fun. I enjoyed getting to know our team better. Standing too close to Andy as he throws the Frisbee was painful. Also, letting John know that I had to go to the ladies room before leaving to see the worksite, doesn’t mean when I walk outside he will still be there, instead I got to watch the van pull off, leaving me behind. This trip was such a learning experience, I don’t think I can ever forget.