(written by Claudia Stonecipher, Manette Community Church, Bremerton, WA)
With much excitement and anticipation 39 members of MCC arrived at Crow Agency, Montana the 1st day of August to serve the people of that community. Our World Servants team leader, Steve Suhi, had already paved the way for us to be welcomed into the community and, along with Pastor Kenneth Pretty on Top, had planned a list of specific ways that we could be of help to the Crow people. The goal was to make a positive impact for Christ with our efforts in order to draw people to the church where they would then come to have a personal relationship with Christ. The hope was that those we came in contact with would see the love of Christ through us and know that we cared about each of them.
We feel we accomplished that in many ways. We held a kids club in the park four mornings. The first day we had 22 kids attend. As the word spread the attendance increased until the last day we counted 55 kids! They had a blast playing games, singing songs, participating in Bible story skits, and making crafts.
Three of the afternoons some of us went to visit the nursing home. Residents there (mostly women) enjoyed having their nails done, singing, playing games, and sharing their personal stories. They loved the personal attention and those who went from our group were really blessed also.
Tuesday night we held a carnival in the park. That proved to be a lot of fun for everyone involved. We had face painting, bubbles, fishing for prizes, pony races, various target games, and Jack juggled and some of the boys took turns entertaining us with their guitars. We played until sunset.
In addition, in the four days we had to get work done, we painted the outside of three homes and a couple rooms inside of one. A cement floor was poured in a tornado shelter at the pastor’s home and a storage shed was cleaned out and rebuilt on one of the homes we painted. We painted the trim, doors, and porches of the cabins we stayed in and weeded around them. Some of the outdoor plumbing around the cabins was posing a tripping hazard so it was re-routed and benches were built over some making a nice place to sit and visit. An ice machine in the youth center that hadn’t been working for two years was fixed which proved to be a blessing to us! There was also laundry to be done and everyone took turns at fixing meals for the group.
In the evening we were invited into the church for worship and devotions. The pastor’s son, Kenny, loved having the youth perform with him during worship and they were always invited to stay late and jam. Kenny’s wife, Jerusa, operated the sound equipment. They loved it! We also had the pleasure of hearing from a different member of the community each night. They shared their stories with us and their visions for the future of the Crow people. We also had an ice cream social one night and some of the Crow people brought jewelry they had made so we got to shop for authentic gifts. On our day off we visited the Battlefield at Little Big Horn.
Traveling to our mission we spent one night in the home of Pastor Doug and his family in historic Butte, MT. They fed us dinner, took us on a tour of their beautiful old church, and fed us breakfast. Traveling back, Jen and Johan Bester with YWAM invited us to stay at their home. Some of us went swimming and they fed us a lovely dinner and helped us to debrief from our mission experience. We had a yummy breakfast before heading out on the last leg of our journey.
We will have a potluck and share pictures and stories from our experience after church on Sept. 19th. We were so fortunate to have the support of our church family. All of the supplies you provided went to good use and we appreciated and felt the prayer support. We know without the support of all of you our trip would not have been possible. Thank you so much for this opportunity.