Last summer, our church sent a team to help with kids’ clubs among the Yakama nation in Washington state. That was the first I had ever heard of Sacred Road Ministries. When my friends came home, their testimonies were compelling to say the least. I thought I knew depression and poverty among my low income area of South Seattle, but the description of life among the Yakama people was eye opening and disturbing. The average life expectancy is 39 years old–half the life expectancy for the larger United States! 70% of teenagers are homeless, and the dropout rate among middle and high schoolers is 65%. 100% of the Yakama people are affected by alcohol and substance abuse. Unemployment is approximately 75%. Most of the children are neglected and at risk of abuse. Families are decimated by high rates of crime, violence, and suicide.
Chris Granberry of Sacred Road presented the ministry to our church last weekend. He described the situation as beyond the normal understanding of abject poverty. He had previously ministered among the poor in Guatemala and Indonesia. But the poverty he encountered in the town of White Swan in the Yakama Valley of Washington state was worse than that in third world nations. He calls it a poverty of being. The poverty extends past the financial and physical. It includes relational poverty, emotional poverty, and identity poverty. There are virtually no intact marriages or families among the children to which Sacred Road ministers.
Chris’ wife, Mary, gave testimony of trying to figure out what “faith expressing itself through love” from Galatians 5:6 should look like when they first arrived on the reservation 10 years ago with four young kids in tow. What did it look like for them to imitate God that way? That phrase is stuck in my head today–faith expressing itself through love. It is practical theology at its best. For that reason, I’ve decided to adopt Sacred Road Ministries as the #proalloflife focus for this blog.
To find out more about Sacred Road Ministries, you can watch this video.
Then visit their website and/or like them on Facebook. You can also sponsor a child through them. Their primary ministry is to the children and youth (the older age groups being much harder to engage). The youth have great needs and have responded well to the love and support offered them. After ten years, kids that Chris and Mary first met as toddlers are now growing up into their youth ministry. Sacred Road has upheld the values of the Yakama nation of caring for their elders, and the youth are involved with the church in providing for the elders of the area.
There is a particular need due the next few weeks — an unexpected expense to get the fire sprinkler system running before they can get in their new church/ministry building. To give online, follow this link. Type SPRINKLER in the OTHER box. That will take you to paypal where you can donate. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, email Mary Granberry at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can listen to Chris Granberry’s compelling testimony and sermon from Isaiah 58 here.
Again, if you have been looking for a ministry (as I have) that brings the gospel to those who do not know Jesus coupled with a respect for their basic dignity as image bearers of God, this is a great ministry to support among possibly the most desperate population in the entire United States. Please consider joining with me in prayer for the Granberry’s and the precious children and adults to whom they minister. If you would like to support them, I will keep a link to give online to Sacred Road on the top left of the blog for the future.