Monthly Archives: September 2018

Serving In the Storm

(From my journal) July 31, 2018      FSM-DFW-BIL-Zortman Montana    Up early with Beth who takes me to the airport at 0600L.

We both feel it’s right for me to go but are hesitant to separate with so much swirling about us?

Cabin framing started yesterday (amid showers — signs of Father’s blessing) We found a house in Springdale EB loves and I am content and comfortable with. Our Adelaide oasis has shown 8 times today, after only three days on multi-list. With a quick call to USAA we were pre-approved for a VA loan. Kim is helping sell our Fort Smith home. Barbie is helping us buy one in Fayetteville / Springdale. All this coming about in the last three weeks!

I’m going today to Zortman, MT and an Indian reservation where Justin died about one year ago on mission — for six days of spiritual focus, prayer, asking and listening, and service to the people there — some who know the King, and most who do not. Lord show us Your grace and favor. Amen. A prayer.

I just read on my flight out, from front to cover, “God Came Near” on my iPad and received much, much, much peace, faith, grace, and confirmation from it that “all is well.” Ps 23, Isa 30:15, Zech 4:6 TYL! Amen.

I texted EB to read it within the next 24 hours — starting with chapter 10, “Selling the Farm.” There are many, many similarities! And many, many marks of the Lord’s leading and favor!! :):) TYL! for leading me to write it and then read it — perhaps “For such a time as this.”

I’m going to Montana also, and primarily, to honor Justin and pray for what was important to him. And to thank God for the privilege of having such a friend. 🙂 Amen.

Arriving in Billings Intl Airport, I realize I haven’t even asked some praying people I know to cover our time and efforts with prayer — something I’ve leaned by experience is critical. I do so with texts, emails, and phone calls; then have a salad lunch, pick up a rental car and start the three hour drive north to the reservation.

I cross the Missouri River, and drive a little distance past the quirky, beautiful little town of of Zortman to Beaver Creek Camp on the Belknap reservation. I have dinner, meet Rick & James from TN, also Michelle, Bruce’s daughter. And several other interesting folks, Philip from Lavaca, his wife and daughter, and Carol, with here friend Stephanie from TN. I walk up the beautiful valley past the camp, enjoying the pristine weather, and pray. The main part of our Arkansas  group is scheduled to arrive about 10 pm tonight.

Thank you Lord, for a good, good day of remembering Your faithfulness. And for allowing — leading me on this adventure! 🙂

Those new friends I met a bit ago from TN & GA, who are returning home in the morning, were so pumped up about the Milk River Pow Wow they had just experienced! They say Rocky Boy is much (4x) bigger. They also said it was so rough a few years ago that Bruce wouldn’t go, nor take anyone. Then two years ago two ladies from the mission were invited by the chief — Bruce said they could go under his protection — and since then Bruce has started going back there…

Sounds like adventure to me! ?:)

These folks in the camp tonight are from all over — and some have been coming since 2002 — 13 or 14 years — some stay for weeks, and some all summer. They have a calling and have developed a heart for the Native Americans here. TYL! for caring and for pouring out Your heart to and in these people. Amen.

Click here for photos of the week and adventure.

Click here for a video of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

Montana Pow Wow

Bruce Plummer is a native Montana Indian. These days you could be aghast at my political incorrectness or insensitivity, but he told us on day one of our recent Indian cultural encounter that, “In Montana we like to be called Indians, not Native Americans. You were born in America right? So you’re a native American.” You have to like this guy and his straight shooting ways! 🙂 He is an indigenous Christian pastor on the Fort Belknap reservation of northern Montana, nestled in what Lewis and Clark dubbed on their 1803 trip west, “The Little Rockies.”

I’ll probably talk more about Bruce, and you can read about him and his ministry here if you like.

I came to meet Bruce and became acquainted with his ministry through one of my best friends ever, Justin Blasingame, who traveled here the last two years to serve. In fact, just about one year ago at the young age of fifty-nine, he had a sudden and totally unexpected heart attack and entered eternity from this reservation. Justin is the main reason for my going this year, and I’ll tell more of his story in a subsequent blog.

After I decided to serve on the reservation this year in Justin’s honor, our church youth group decided to do the same. Our youth group community, appropriately named “The Tribe,” more than a year before any of this came about, decided they wanted to go somewhere to serve this summer, and not just go to a conference seeking spiritual growth. Finally Justin’s wife decided to courageously face going there, a place her husband loved, and serve the King there as well. So that was our part of the troop heading west, northwest some two days journey from Northwest Arkansas joining up with youth and adults from First Baptist Church, Lavaca, AR.

First a little bit about the lay of the land, physically and culturally, which will serve as an introductory blog to this beautiful, relational , spiritual adventure. From there I’ll start to rely heavily on my journaling to keep the content fresh and real.

The first night we stayed at Beaver Creek on the Fort Belknap reservation, then gathered all our gear, had breakfast, and drove some four hours to the other side of the Little Rockies to the Rocky Boy reservation. Then we set up tee pees and camped in them for then next four days attending and serving at their annual pow wow.

The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is shared by two Native American tribes, the A’aninin and the Nakoda. The reservation covers 650,000 acres, and is located in north central Montana.

Rocky Boy’s Reservation is near the Canadian border, in north-central Montana. It is graced by the Bears Paw Mountains, which provide a dramatic contrast to the flat bottomlands of this area.

Rocky Boy’s provides a home for about 2,500 members or 55% of the Chippewa-Cree tribe, and encompasses approximately 122,000 acres. The name “Rocky Boy” was derived from the name of a leader of a band of Chippewa Indians. It actually meant “Stone Child,” but it was not translated correctly from Chippewa into English, and “Rocky Boy” evolved.

For those of you who have never experienced a pow wow, I would describe it as a combination of a county fair, a huge family reunion, and a cultural celebration. There is much Indian dance, costumes, food, games, and life — lived and shared — at a pow wow.

I’ll let this set the stage while my photos and journal tell you the rest of the story. 🙂

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Manit Attakul with guitar in Camp

Click here for an excellent video by our very talented youth and worship leader Manit Attakul highlighting our team’s activities and telling our  story in a very creative fashion. You’ll enjoy it! 🙂 And be inspired.

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From my journal July 31… “Blog about the adventure in serving and following ‘the Christ’ even Jesus of Nazareth, Who lives, and walks the earth still! Including the high places and the dark places.” Amen.

Time & Tide

Twenty-four years ago yesterday Mom Hogue was claimed by her King and it seems like a fortnight ago… a vapor, a wisp of time. Yet the separation seems long? Odd — time is odd.

And time is moving on — steadily and swiftly. But it seems to do so only when you think about it.

“Time and tide wait for no man,” says the ancient proverb attributed to Chaucer, but known to predate the English language. The proverb seems to say, “Make your decision today; don’t delay.” Time nor tide waits for a man. Carpe Diem! Seize the day. “Time and tide…,” has been on my mind for a few days now.

What is it with this quirky medium “time?” “Like sands through the hour glass; so are the days of our lives,” goes the soap opera jingle from days past. This seems truthful, but rings fatalistic as well? Contemplating time is like contemplating the meaning of life, and is intriguing, is it not?

Sand through an hour glass is a reasonably good analogy of time and our lives. You can’t stop them nor affect their speed.They flow constantly and at a predetermined speed until they are all fallen — their dance with physics and their race complete.

You can easily ignore this time passage, constant and rhythmic as it is, and constantly squander time. Or you can be aware of life’s brevity and end — and seize the day. Be more purposeful in how you spend your days and your life.

It seems the second option is more challenging and maybe more rewarding. To seize the day is to face the reality that life is short and death is certain. And to value the gift of life with it’s allotted duration and opportunities.

The Bible says more than a few insightful things about time and the gift of life — including the best way to steward it, view it, and approach it. It would behoove us all to search those things out.

My personal philosophy of time lately can be summed up in the short phrase, “Only two days are important; today and that day.” This seems especially clear  when you’re likely in the last three or four, five-year chapters of your life.

Twenty-four years ago yesterday in a special moment of time, it seemed the Lord gave me some clarity of vision and inspiration about the issues involved, and I wrote the following poem, while my wife’s mother entered the next dimension of time. I pray it’s insightful and enriching in some way for you.

August 31

August thirty-one, under a warm delta sun,
Small clouds moving with a gentle breeze,
That’s what my natural eye sees.

People in this small delta town are scurrying ‘round.
Some are fast… some are slow.
It seems so purposeless though.

Mom lies still in ICU while medical folk do all they can do.
She’s peaceful now, the end seems near.
She’s constantly attended by those she holds dear.

It’s a helpless feeling to the natural mind,
To see her breathing in labored strife;
To ponder the meaning of this earth life.

Scary, confusing, this can be,
The Preacher has called it “vanity”.
There’s a feeling too, I cannot chide,
It’s a deep, deep peace I feel inside.

Like Elisha’s servant, I gaze the skies,
This time I open my spiritual eyes.
I sense the King – His presence so near.
There is no panic, no pain, no fear.

She’s resting? Responding? Kind of asleep?
Things are subtly changing,
There’s an appointment to keep.
A big cloud appears – refreshing rain falls down.
It’s cooler, clearer now – pleasant all around.

Inside her room, on the second floor,
Things are changing – maybe more?
Feelings fragile, emotions strained,
This time’s a humbling and fearful thing.

But in these hours – peace has moved in.
There’s been humor, love, even some grins?

The King’s spirit of comfort invades all our parts.
Friends come and go, sharing love, heart to heart.

These events, while connected, are quite side by side,
The most significant thing –
The King comes for His bride!

If you do not know, His bride is the church.
Folks like us; He’s saved in a lurch.
Friends and believers, The King holds us quite dear,
Truth hard to believe, yet brings us much cheer.

Truth hard to swallow, it cuts like a knife.
He said it and proved it, as He laid down His life.

Back on the floor, distant thunder is heard.
Time seems to slow …
Has He uttered some word?

I sense His approach.
Is He distant or near?
Can’t really say?
But I know He is here.

Time moves quickly.
Time stands still.
Just what is happening?
No one can tell.

She calls to her daughters.
“Tell me you’re here.”
They do and she whispers,
“Home” in their ears.

She simply rests quietly,
As dusk turns to dark.
Outside the skies blaze,
As lightning does arc.
All o’r the horizon
With hardly a sound,
Lightning brightens heavens,
Never striking the ground.

Also no thunder?
What a power display!
Can’t help but think,
The King’s on His way.

It’s during this hour,
Our Momma has gone.
Embraced by her King,
Welcomed to His home.

With deep love, honor and respect for both Janie Hogue and Jesus “INRI”,              Dwayne Bell