We have a few personal updates typed up for this month, prayer requests please:
1. Carol’s health. I have been diagnosed with something called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, which basically means my pancreas is not producing the enzymes needed to digest my food. I have begun medication, and after a month and a half, it is finally helping, thank You Jesus!! Along the way, I’ve lost weight, and been very weak, due to not being able to eat properly. Things seem to be getting more normal, and we would ask for your prayers for this, because there is more testing to come. I’ve also been told I have Esophagitis, which means a lower swollen esophagus. I’ll be meeting with a gastroenterologist in August to address this. I’ve been asked to travel back to South Dakota, end of August, to lead worship on Sisseton Wahpeton reservation. Please pray for us to decide what to do at this time.
2. Carols’ mom’s health: an odd vision loss precipitated a visit to the Dr, which led to my mom being diagnosed with what basically amounts to a swollen optical nerve, limiting left eye vision, potentially caused by a blood inflammation problem. This has to be addressed with high doses of steroids in hospital. She has now been thru this part, but continues high dose steroid at home. The next part involves a biopsy of the nerve. I would like to head back for a brief time to help, but we have a point of contact with a covid case, as well as my own health needing to be addressed. So we’re waiting for the all clear. Thank you for praying for my mom!
3. You may or may not know that I/Carol, have been boarding and ministering at a horse ranch in San Diego called “Palm Row Ranch”. I love this place, and the elderly woman who runs it. I have folks I’ve been ministering to for many years there, who I now call friends. Sadly, our ranch owner can no longer continue running the ranch, so we are facing the difficult decision of leaving, after 10 years. Perhaps the Lord has new opportunities for ministering in the horse world, and I honor that. But it will be difficult to find, locate and shift everything in this regard, particularly at this time. Would appreciate your prayers on this. I want to be where the Lord wants me to be, as this is an important part of my life and ministry, literally, for decades. I am certain I’ve been in the right place at Palm Row and have loved getting to know and ‘hang out’ with this very accomplished horse woman who is nearly 90 years old. We have had lots of GOD conversations over the years. What a blessing this place has been.
4. Mexico update; We are still sorting out customs issues. Basically, Wayne lost connection in particular favor with Mexican customs while we were back east for so long. His US partner has continued favor so truck loads of food are still getting across the border. We also lost donation connections we had maintained for years. At this time we are only able to take purchased groceries to our adopted families on occasion. However, with your help we continue to support our Tijuana partner with monthly funds to help secure food and get it to those in need. Also with your help, we continue to support several young people with school scholarships. This includes a young man we have known since he was 15. He dropped out of school to help his single mother and family. Now he is 25, married, with 2 of his own sons, and returning to get his high school diploma, and hopefully some college or trade school in his future. One of our goals is to help young people reach their education goals, to improve their futures and stop the cycle of family poverty. This is a crucial need in Mexico, and one which absolutely makes a difference.
I woke up on Monday morning, completely exhausted, having slept over 12 hours. It was quite clear to me that morning, that the Lord had given me the grace and the strength to get through the prior week, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Having endured about a month of a pancreatic deficiency, and with all the planning and details involved in a 3 week mission trip, my simple prayer for South Dakota, was, “when I am weak Lord, You are strong”…and “My grace is sufficient for you”….I’d add my name to that one for sure….My grace is sufficient for you, Carol….
We had driven for 3 days straight, to get to Lower Brule reservation, where the 1st leg of the trip would occur. 24 hrs of worship, in a tent outside of Lower Brule high school, with a view of the Missouri river was pretty cool. I wasn’t sure how I would have the energy to do even a 2 hour set. And yet, the Lord WAS there and He WAS faithful! I was amazed at how He came and moved throughout the entire event, and how He gave our small team the unity and strength to move under His guidance. Two young Lakota men gave their lives to the Lord, a couple others were baptized in the Missouri River and other supernatural things occurred. It was beautiful!!
The next step of the trip, was Sioux Falls, at a gathering of seasoned intercessors, called Zion Ignite. The night before the gathering, I happened to stumble upon a photo on the internet of poppies in a field in Moravia, a part of what is now the Czech Republic. It was an out of the blue moment, when I happened upon this photo on a search for news that I was doing. The next day, my friend Betsy told me she thought I should share about my Moravian heritage in the meeting. I knew for sure this was a GOD-ordained moment. I still had no idea how I would have the strength to go thru the evening. But wow, did the Holy Spirit show up!!! He guided our little team as we led worship, gave me direction on what to speak and how to correlate it to the group gathered, and gave each one of our team, very specific insight and encouragement to continue to press on. Wayne, David and I were able to pray for each person who was there, and we believe the Lord refreshed, restored and renewed each person in some way. We fell into bed that night, wiped out, but joyous. Next stop: a week of quiet time with the Lord, and then on to Pine Ridge for another week of outreach and worship.
Oral, South Dakota: Much needed week of rest, physically at least. Both of us spent a good bit of time working online. The insanely glorious smell of fresh cut hay, and prairie grass filled our senses, each day on our evening walks. It’s easy to see how the buffalo thrived out here on the prairie! Onto Pine Ridge and our next abode in Nebraska!
Pine Ridge, South Dakota: Pine Ridge runs along the bottom of SD, so we stayed in the small town of Hay Springs Nebraska (population 615 salut!😃), about 30 min outside the rez, since the rez hotel was booked up. People had come from all over to support this week long worship and outreach. Every day, kids were gathered for both skate boarding and basketball competitions. We met a 2x gold olympic medalist, Ruthie Bolton, for USA women’s basketball, who helped coach the kids along with WNBA chaplain, Fleceia Comeaux. We also met a young man, Kyle, who wants to see kids on the reservations really take up skateboarding as a big outlet. Many of the elders are really encouraging him to lead this youth movement on the Rez. They actually have their own skatepark, which is amazing. VOB hopes to support this group, with potential future donations of BMX bikes and/or boards and hopefully protective gear for riding/skating. As always, as part of cultural protocol, several elders were acknowledged and gifted. Our friend Norma (tribe elder), George Dreamer (Norma’s grandson also a member of the tribal council), Kyle and Ruthie (see photos below)
Each day consisted of several hours of worship, primarily in the afternoons, while groups of intercessors and others went to different parts of Pine Ridge to pray and share the Gospel. They covered ALOT of territory in 3 days! We led worship and prayer on the Pow Wow grounds, under a large tent. We had truly, Holy Spirit-led times and had very targeted Scriptures released, and read over the land. When the intercessors returned, they came back with good reports! What an honor to be a part of all of this in the way the Lord has directed us! In the evenings, speakers and more worship, but our favorite thing was the BAPTISMS!! By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, 56 people received baptism!!! What a joy to see men, women and children, go under the water, dying with Jesus, and emerging from the water, a new creation. How exciting! Even better, there are several established local Native believers, who will be following up with those who were baptized. Baptisms in a water trough, in South Dakota, on beautiful Pine Ridge reservation, under a beautiful blue sky, with a huge crowd cheering…I gotta say, that’s a pretty cool thing to witness.
On Thursday evening, a friend texted me, inviting us to come to a church on the Rosebud reservation, to lead worship at a Friday night service. Our little group felt we should stay on Pine Ridge, but when we heard the next morning, that the evening service on PR had been cancelled, we knew this was a GOD ordained set up! We traveled the 2 hours over to the Chief Cornerstone Church in Parmalee, where we led worship for a faithful little group of believers. They have been praying for salvations for the people of Rosebud, for over 3 decades! We were so glad to be able to encourage these dear ones, and we received so many thanks, for coming to encourage and refresh them. Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham, will be coming to speak on the rez, in about 2 weeks. Please pray for this church, if you think about it….its tough going, on the reservation, being a faithful Christian. Each place really needs our prayer.
As we wound up our time in Nebraska/South Dakota, we got to go pray on the land that PineRidge Hope is dedicating to the building of a house of prayer and worship. It is a perfect piece of land right on one of the entrance roads to the reservation. There is a prison near by down a dirt road behind the house of prayer site. We were told that often inmates who had just been released are seen walking down that road toward town. The locals refer to it as the “walk of shame”. How exciting that there will soon be a beacon of light to turn that walk into a chance at mercy and new beginnings. The goal: 24 hour worship and prayer, housing for teams coming to serve Pine Ridge, serving the needy with food, diapers and other needs, a vegetable garden, and general place of ministry. Voice of the Bride is super excited to get behind this project, and it amazes us how the Lord is moving this right along.
We are thankful. Even though, as I stated earlier, my health has been rough these 3 weeks, and it’s been challenging, we are just so grateful to the Lord, for making a way for us to be a part. We also are thankful to all those who gave and prayed into this journey. As you already know, our hearts are deeply committed to serving the First Nations people of our country, and we are so blessed that GOD opens these doors. We see infinite possibilities. GOD be praised!!