God is alive & well in Cherokee!

(written on Sunday, Mar. 27th)
What a great day we have had today!  We decided to attend Cherokee Baptist Church this morning in hopes of making some contacts for mission work we want to do here beginning this summer.  Scott had briefly talked with the area missionary for this association last week and he encouraged us to talk with the pastor at this church.  So we got up this morning and headed that way.  Scott suggested at the last minute that we also go to Sunday School in hopes of spending more quality time with the members and pastor of this church....and that we did!

We spent a few minutes with the pastor when we got there, introduced ourselves and why we were there.  Then we attended his Sunday School class and the Lord's presence was certainly felt in that room - such loving people!  He also explained to the class why we were there, and told them to be praying and thinking about some projects we could do there in the community.  When he found out that we lead praise and worship at our home church, he asked us to sing a song or two during the worship service.  I told Scott to just sing something himself and play guitar....y'all know how nervous I get about last minute singing - lol!  I think I have to practice something a hundred times before I do it!  Anyway, Scott did a great job (as usual).  The people seemed to really enjoy it.  And the people.....oh my goodness!  There is such a sweet spirit felt in that place!  This congregation truly loves the Lord and come to church to praise Him. 

One thing I've got to mention.....instead of singing the Doxology, they sang "Amazing Grace" - once in English and then in Cherokee.  Scott recorded it on his cell phone, but I couldn't get it to upload on here.  I'll try to post it on Facebook so you can hear it there.

Scott sharing a couple of songs
After church, we went to lunch with a few of the members....the Sweets and Patty Grant.  The Sweets are newer members of the congregation and used to pastor a church in Bryson City.  Patty is a program manager for a mental health facility for the Tribe (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) dealing with numerous mental health issues, including drug and alcohol addictions.  She is very excited about the work we want to do here and she and I share many common interests.  As a matter of fact, she came to us after church, after having had time to think about some ministry opportunities for us, and would love for us to do something for the Native Americans in her program.  She had no clue at the time that I am a Psychology major and wish to eventually do Christian counseling.  Again I say, "Isn't God Good?"  I am very excited about opportunities to minister with her!

Cherokee Baptist Church
The oldest church in Cherokee, NC.  It is said that Billy Graham actually preached here!

This afternoon, Scott and I did a little sightseeing and shopping.  It had rained all day yesterday, so we couldn't do much.  But it was a beautiful day here today!

This bear was in front of our hotel. I think he is the "Winter Bear".
They have different ones all over the reservation

a different kind of bear.....what is it that makes us want to pose for pics like this? LOL!

and again!  Actually, these pics were my idea! I know...I'm weird, but I bet you've done the same thing!

No picture can EVER do the mountains justice!

Y'all know I can smell a coffee store a mile away!

a cute little park downtown where shoppers can take a break

I love the river and creeks in the mountains! When I was a little girl, we went camping in the mountains every year and we always got 'creekside' spots.  Us kids would stay in the water from sun up to sun down!  It's sooo very cold!!!

We had thought about attending another church tonight, but were asked to come back to Cherokee Baptist and for Scott to sing again.  The first half of the service was so special.  They let anyone who wants to sing or share testimony. 

Several people shared words of praise.  A Cherokee named, John Squirrel came up front and sang 'Rank Stranger' accapella.  I wanted to take a picture, but wasn't sure if it would be rude.  So I didn't.  But I haven't heard anyone sing with heart like that for a long time!  We were told later that he used to hate the white man and had been in alot of fights over the years...even served Federal time in prison.  But then he found Jesus!  To all who know him, it's very evident the change in his life.  Can we just give God some praise on that?! Woo Hoo!!! 

Then this sweet Cherokee lady named, Amanda Swimmer, came up to the podium and sang, "Because He Lives".  She brought tears to my eyes!  She's 89 years old and is an elder member of the Eastern Band of Cherokees.  During the morning service, she sat behind us and held a younger member's little baby girl for her.  I couldn't help but think of all the years of experience she had raising children and all the changes she's seen in her community over the years.  We also found out something else really cool about Amanda Swimmer, but I'll share that a little later.

Amanda Swimmer, elder member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee

This is Eddie Swimmer, Amanda's grandson. He's the song leader at Cherokee Baptist Church.

Our new friends!
Starting in the back, left to right:
Mr. and Mrs. Sweet, myself, Mrs. Cunningham
Front row: Patty Grant, the pastor's sister, Scott, and Pastor Cunningham

Over the next couple of weeks, we will all be in prayer about the work that the Lord would have us do in this community.  I look forward to sharing with all of you what our plans are and I ask that you would continue to be in prayer for us.

This was a very rewarding trip.  God honored our faithfulness to follow Him to Cherokee.  He led us to the people He wanted us to talk to and share with.  And I know that He will continue to guide us in the decisions ahead.

1 comment:

Tina said...

So glad to see it was a fruitful trip! Look forward to hear how God is leading you in working there.