Dear Family and Friends,
Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ We’ve found out several times this last year, that our summer plans changed. God must have been smiling when He heard us making plans for our team. First we were leaders on Sweden Preteen Team, then Indiana Preteen Team and finally on the Montana Teen Team. The last change was made during Boot Camp while Bob was on the Nehemiah Trusses Peanut Team, another last minute change/addition. We finally joined our team about a week into their Boot Camp training and scrambled to learn all 26 of the kid’s names and get to know them.
The official name of our team was the Montana Creation Indian Reservation Team. We had many miles of travel—as one of two bus drivers, Bob will tell you it was 2,758 miles one way! We saw many sites as we drove across country. Praise God— we had no bus problems the entire trip! You have to realize that Teen Missions buses are not luxury buses—air conditioning happens when you open the window and the seats are definitely not plush (remember school bus seats), except for the bus driver’s seat, as Bob frequently reminded me.
We left Commissioning Night, traveling all night and the next day to Evansville, IN, The next day took us past the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO (by the way, there is no bus parking there) and up to Hannibal, MO, where we saw the area where Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons) lived and the setting for several of his books. We ended the day at a camp in Lucas, IA. After a short night, we drove on to Rapid City, SD—another long day. Of course, we had to stop at Wall Drug Store after seeing the signs for hundreds of miles. The next day took us to see Mt. Rushmore and then on to Billings, MT. Our last day of travel found us arriving at the Ft. Belknap Indian Reservation, north of Billings.
Fort Belknap is the home of 5,000 Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Indians. We worked with Montana Indian Ministries. Bruce
Plummer, founder and our host, grew up on this reservation and is now dedicated to reaching his people with the love of Jesus. They are in the process of developing a camp that will be used for camps for local Indian youth and the many volunteers who come to help the ministry. We helped by building a 16’ x 32’ cabin, painting several other cabins, burying cable behind the cabins, doing road repair and building a trash bin.
A big part of Pastor Bruce’s ministry is going to powwows. God initially told him to go to the council and ask if his ministry could pick up trash at the powwows. They thought it was a strange request, but something that was needed and so agreed to let them pick up trash. They now go to many powwows, pick up trash and have a booth that serves free ice water and hot coffee. They are also available for counseling. In the last three years, 500 people have become Christians. Several of our team members picked up trash and worked in the booth. A couple of our kids had the privilege of leading people to the Lord.
We got to go to two powwows—a small one in nearby Lodge Pole and a much larger one in Half Town at the northern part of the reservation. Powwows are family oriented and a way of celebrating their Indian heritage and culture. The Grand Entry honors the elders, especially those who have served in the military, and those who will compete in the dance competition. The dancing was very interesting and the outfits were beautiful. The beadwork on some of the girls’ and women’s outfits was incredible. The singers were a circle of men who beat on the drum and sang. I have to confess that I wasn’t any better at picking the winners there than I am when I watch Dancing With the Stars. Another fun experience was being in the parade that opened the larger powwow. We decorated our bus with red, white and blue streamers and waved to all the people on the parade route.
Three of our team members were interviewed on the reservation radio station and the team got to
sing several songs during a church service at the second powwow that was broadcast live. Pastor Bruce has a one-hour time slot every Sunday morning where he shares the love of God through His Son Jesus. While church buildings would probably not fill, most of the people on the reservation do listen to the radio. Pray with us for Pastor Bruce, that his ministry will continue to be fruitful.
One of our other projects was to paint a house in Lodge Pole. There were many kinds of siding and wood on the house, most of which was not in good condition. Our kids scraped, primed and painted. Tribal officials came while we were working on the house and brought us more painting supplies, a ladder and some paint. We heard that the lady who will be moving into the house is quite thankful for the work we did.
Another highlight of our summer was panning for gold in Zortman and fossil hunting on a hill near the town dump. A few of our kids found some specks of gold and all of us found fossils.
Once again it was a challenging summer for me. Knowing that the nearest grocery store was 50-60 miles away, I did a lot of shopping before we left Florida—an extra challenge because we were deep into Boot Camp activities before we knew we were moved to the Montana Team. God
provided a place to stay each night, mostly at churches. To me that meant that I had a place to cook a meal. Only once while traveling did I need to use the propane stove that we had with us on the bus. Another blessing was stopping in Billings where my younger brother Bob lives with his family. Not only did we stay at their church, he took me shopping before we headed north to Ft. Belknap, brought groceries up to us a week later and purchased food for us for our trip back to Florida. I enjoyed the visit time we had, especially since we so rarely see each other.
We took a different route on the way back to Florida, going across the northern part of the U.S. on I-94. Our first stop was in Glendive, MT, where we toured the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum. We had a guided tour and a detailed presentation of God’s creation vs. man’s evolution. The kids had many good questions; we could have stayed much longer, but we had to make it to Jamestown, ND, our stop for the night. Because we had a shorter drive the next day, we were able to attend church there before heading on to Hudson, WI. There we stayed at Teens For Christ where one of Teen Missions life-sized replicas of the Old Testament Tabernacle was set up. I was able to show the team a few things about the Tabernacle that are hard to envision when you are looking at a tenth scale model. The next day was long—all the way down to Evansville, IN. Then we had two comparatively short days, one to Atlanta and finally to Merritt Island. It was good to stop moving after five days on a bus!
Five short days after our team left, we headed to California, stopping in Modesto and Fresno, as well as spending some time at my dad’s house in Walnut Creek. While we got to see many friends and supporters and family, we know we missed seeing several people—next trip!
Now we are gearing up for the coming year. That means cleaning up from the summer we just finished and getting ready for the 2013 Teams. With our Summer Teams Brochure being printed earlier than we used to, we already have over 100 people registered for next summer. It begins again!
God has stretched us this summer—changing teams in the middle of Boot Camp, doing a teen team instead of our usual preteen team, many long miles of driving, being far from a grocery store with 35 people to feed and many emotionally hurting team members—we had to rely on God and He came through! We thank you for your prayers and support so that we can continue to serve God here at Teen Missions.
Servants in Christ,
Bob and Paula Yost
955 Butia St.
Merritt Island, FL 32953