Wow, has time flown quickly by!! I just erased my August Calendar and filled in September! (Excuse the internet issues…. all pics will be at the bottom!)
Much has been happening around campus in the last few months – including most of us being quarantined throughout June! We’ve had some minor changes (mostly Sharon’s schedule and involvement) and are continuing to find our place in this community. We were still very new here when everything shut down The other night, we found ourselves talking about how that impacted our ministry and how we have continued to find paths through the strange unknown we all find ourselves in.
First, the NEW
Hilltop Christian School, our mission school, had several retirements and some teachers who have had life changes, a few new teachers have jumped on board, but we are still short people to accomplish what we need to here (know any good teachers willing to spend a season or two here??? 😉 ). Early in the summer, or perhaps right before the school year ended, the school leadership approached Sharon about working in the library. They were flexible enough for Sharon to choose times and days and we officially have her in the library on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons!
Steve had Thursday half days to take a break before Celebrate Recovery in the evenings and he was able to cut back a few hours on Wednesday, too, so he will be home with the kids those afternoons.
Sharon is responsible for the usual checking out of books, but she also has each grade K-6 in time slots through the day for storytime, library activities, and classes on looking up books, book genres and classification and research. We are a few weeks into the school year and so far know about half the kids’ names and have accomplished quite a bit of Curious George-ness! We love Hilltop and Sharon has volunteered as a helper, for errands and other odds and ends since we arrived on campus, so this is a wonderful avenue to expand into the school more and be more involved with our school kids. Please pray for a handful of our students struggling to find a routine. After shutdowns last year, several of them hadn’t ever been in a school setting and a few more have been out of school for a year and a half!
We are still homeschooling (a personal choice predating even having kids of our own for anyone curious) and the later schedule in the library has allowed for no changes in what we are doing at home. We also get to use the library! ( which the school leadership and missionaries made available to us anyway, but now it’s a little bit easier to utilize).
There isn’t much new or changing with Celebrate Recovery, which is awesome news! Sobriety and Recovery depends on a steady, gradual process. Steve shared his testimony a few weeks ago with members of our church and CR attendees in an informal setting, somewhat separate from and yet still highly part of CR. As a vital and essential service, it hasn’t been impacted in the slightest by the restrictions in the state or on the Reservation, so we continue to praise God for that.
Church and Community Outreach
We have several things going on and having gone on over the last few months.
Sharon finished the house for Liliya and Anzhelika! It was a long June, but it’s finished (Steve will be installing a new stove pipe for their wood stove later in September. The previous one was in unsafe condition and appears to have burned inside the pipe).
Steve is working towards getting back into the jail in Gallup (down town) where it’s been a year and half with no ministry or church services to the inmates. One of those things is likely to be Covid vaccination, so he is getting his first dose this week. Pray for easy appointment, minimal side effects and impact as he gets moving forward on that process and finalizing details to get back into the jail.
Steve is also working through chaplaincy courses, most of which are available online and convenient. He facilitated a supplementary course in our church building in July and attended the same course when it was offered in Gallup. One benefit of the pandemic has been the resources to come through. SO many trainings are being offered, largely free of charge, as organizations see the psychological impact of what is happening: in health, in current events, with fires and hurricanes. There has been no shortage of opportunity for Steve to learn how to address and help people and situations as they come up.
We are starting up a new Bible Study in the coming weeks on Ezra and Nehemiah. We expect there to be several members of the church attending and possibly others.
Sharon is holding an infant and toddler clothing exchange on Saturday – for those of you who attend Mesa Baptist Church, this is our exchange that mirrors Michelle Martin’s event at MBC. This is also heavily stocked by the donations given to us of the overflow after the event last summer ( we’ve been waiting on the Reservation to open non-essential services in order to hold it).
We have had a great summer-after a nearly a month in quarantine. We were exposed and locked down at the end of May. And then again after Adam came back from camp. No one else got sick after camp, though, so our best guess is he was absolutely exhausted 11pm nights and 7:30 mornings are rough at 8!! We stayed home just in case.
We have had a few visitors through the last few months and it’s been nice to see family up here (come see us! We will show you some sights and have a good time).
The zoo opened back up! So of course we have been! It’s half a mile or so from us and entry is by donation so it’s a great little spot to spend some time with the kids. They put in a gorgeous playground right in the center of the zoo a few years ago and during the shut downs built massive awnings over it. Great for the kids to run and yet not be in the sun!
We had a quick trip down to the Phoenix east valley after losing a friend in an accident. We were very close to him and are still processing it. We would appreciate your prayers as we work through this. While he was saved and we know he is with Jesus now, it was sudden and very unexpected and it’s been difficult to process. We have many many mutual friends who are also struggling to deal with this, please pray for them as well.
Adam is officially in third grade and 8 years old! He was behind when we started last year and caught up quite suddenly over the winter – things clicked! Sharon didn’t have a whole lot of confidence left in teaching ability before it all started making sense to him 😉 He also went to camp for a week down in Vanderwagen, NM. He loved it and has been working through a correspondence based Bible Study with one of the missionaries there.
Millie Anne turns six next week and is working through preschool. She’s been easily frustrated “doin’ school” so prayers would be appreciated for her patience and understanding. Letter sounds can be a rough learning process! She is super involved in Legos, dinosaurs and coloring and that’s pretty much her whole world.
Our van that was on it’s way out officially blew up (head gaskets and so forth). We scrapped it a few weeks ago and are very happy that we were able to get a vehicle BEFORE that happened. We had planned on giving it to a friend to run the rest of the way into the ground, but unfortunately it didn’t really get that far.
More prayer requests:
Our friend Jasper needs prayer after a severe injury. The details are unspoken, but healing will take some time.
Pray over the Bible study coming up, that the right number of people to have a good solid study and discussion would be able to attend.
Students F, Z, T, K and B who are all having a harder time settling in and can get just a little more than fidgety, Pray that they can focus, pay attention, and get the most out of time not just at the Library with Sharon, but throughout all of their school activities.
Pray for our school staff needs,
For the clothing exchange and a good turnout, and specifically that those who need it most will know where to come.
We love you all and appreciate the support, prayers and care!
STEVE and SHARON