And a pop, buzzzz, swish, and kerplunk!
When many college students were headed out to some beach or party spot, a group from Missouri State University via Christian Campus House Ministry came here to Oklahoma to work alongside us with the various Tribes.
Sixty five Students and adult team leaders led by Dave Embree came to bless us, some local Native churches, and elders by doing practical helps at eight different jobs. They did everything from painting, installing siding, minor carpentry, roofing, cabinetry, fencing, lots of brush clearing, and even some building. Every recipient of their hard work was so grateful and impressed by how they dug in and committed to doing a quality job. They were blessed by their willingness to learn and take instruction. The team made a fine impression everywhere they went.
Painting the Pastor's parsonage
The Students having fun learning a new dance!
In the evenings different churches and Tribal representatives came for fellowship and to share a little about their Tribal culture. The students were excited to learn all they could about the different cultures and to participate in the dances they were being taught. So many friendships were being forged not only at the jobs but also during the fellowship times. Charlyne and I were filled with excitement as we saw the relationships forming and witnessed the body of Christ on the threshold of that unity the Word tells us about.
Shaking a leg!
God is so awesome in how he touches so many lives through just one act of kindness sometimes. We always share how we feel 70% of what God is going to do during the outreach will be IN the people who come, and about 30% will be what He does THROUGH the people who come. Then each person goes back home and takes what He gave them to their church, family, and friends. Here is an excerpt from one of the emails we received after the team left.
This past week, I learned more about how great God is. Learning about what the Native's songs mean was beyond amazing. God had us picked out to come serve down there, way before we knew. It's so cool to think that each one of us were really meant to be a part of this experience. Also, loving others was our topic for our devotionals at night. For me, loving others had always been for me to love my friends and family and help them any chance I could. But, I need to work on loving the people who are not easy to love. This is definitely a big struggle of mine. We cannot pick and choose who we are supposed to love, it's all or nothing.
I just want to thank you so much for putting all of this together with Dave. I know there were many things that you did, that went unnoticed. We all hope that we will be welcomed back into this community to further grow those relationships that were started. Again, thank you so much for everything!
It’s these kinds of experiences that keep short term missions alive and exciting in our hearts. Thanks for sharing.
Last newsletter we told you we had some exciting news we’d share in a future newsletter, well here it is…
Way back in 2004 Mary Seller from the Indiana, PA Assembly of God church inspired us to believe that God could and wanted to provide a building for us to use as an audio/video production studio. Later that year The A.O.G. church from Dayton, PA donated $500 and some left over shingles from their mission trip here for the project. Since that time we have been praying and waiting for God to make it a reality.
When talking with Dave Embree, leader of Christian Campus House, the Lord nudged me to bring it up to him. We have been shy about talking about this project with groups because we feel they would probably rather work among the Native themselves than at our offices, besides it’s much easier to ask for others than it is to ask for yourself. When I mentioned it to Dave he jumped at the opportunity making me feel like it was God’s plan for them to help us.
L to R: Kate, Sarah, Howard, Phillip, Brian, Jessica, John
We start with just an empty concrete slab that we had prepared in advance.
So with that $500 donation from 2004, a personal loan that we took out, and a donation from Christian campus house of finances and labor, our studio building was one of the projects the college team worked on when they were here. We were able to frame it all up, install the roof, and shingle it with the team. We have all the supplies purchased and sitting here to install the windows and doors, soffit and fascia, and siding. Charlyne and I will work on it as time permits to finish the exterior of the building.
Standing the second wall, we're on our way...
The students did such an awesome job, and we loved getting to know them. Even though we worked hard there was still time to laugh and joke a little bit. They were so eager to learn and willing to take instruction. Their adult leader, John, was a joy to work with as well.
L to R: Brian, Juan, Brian, Nathaniel, John, Matthew, Phillip, Howard
On the last day it stands and has the roof shingles installed!
We still lack electrical wiring, insulation, and interior finish. If you would like to give a gift of your time or finances to help us complete the studio it will be greatly appreciated. Once finished we have so many plans for it. We will use the facility to continue teaching multi-media skills to teens and young adults. We plan to film “Life Skills” classes there to stream on the Internet as a part of our suicide prevention agenda. We want to continue interviewing the Native elders and recording their stories. We want to invite Native Christian leaders for short messages that can be streamed on the Internet as well as many other ideas too numerous to mention. If you’d like to help in some way contact us via the phone: 580-248-4980, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also make a secure gift transaction with a credit card at: www.agapelane.org/online_donate.html
On February 9th, 2013 a good friend and colleague of ours, Richard Twiss, crossed over to the promised land. We have known Richard since the late 80’s or early 90’s. We often joked with him that it was his fault we were in Native ministry because he inspired our home church to start mission trips to the Rosebud Reservation. We met Richard on the Rosebud Reservation and quickly became friends. Many talk about his charisma and how easy he was to like, I believe the true Jesus that lived in him was most attractive. It didn’t take long to recognize the call God had on his life and the devotion that sprang from a true love of Jesus that he possessed.
We worked alongside of Richard off and on for many years when our paths would cross. We watched as the message God had given him continued to grow. We prayed for his ministry and supported them in whatever way we could. Then in 2005 Richard and His wife Katherine asked us to come on staff part time with their ministry as multi-media and missions coordinators. We agreed and became busy working with them to see the vision of Wiconi International grow while continuing the work we’d been doing locally with Agape Lane Ministry.
We already miss him dearly, but know that the work he has done has changed so many lives for the better. And we believe that the work he’s begun will continue, and his vision has not stopped moving forward and will continue changing lives in the future. We will remain a part of the Wiconi International staff and continue to work with Katherine and many others of the Wiconi board and staff to see the ministry march on.
When I close my eyes I can see him dancing, beating his drum, singing, and telling jokes with Jesus and the other disciples. I will leave you with some excerpts from correspondence with the Wiconi office/family.
Richard Leo Twiss, 1954-2013
Richard Leo Twiss, Tayoate Ob Najin “He Stands with his People,” passed from this life and into the next, February 9, 2013 in Washington, DC encircled by his wife, Katherine, and sons Andrew, Phillip, Ian, and Daniel. Richard was 58.
Richard was born on the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota among his mother Winona (Larvie) LaPointe’s people, the Sicangu Band of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux. Richard's father, Franklin (Buster) Twiss (deceased) was Oglala from the Pine Ridge Lakota/Sioux Reservation also in South Dakota.
Richard met and fell in love with Katherine Kroshus, of Vancouver, WA, wedding her in 1976. Richard’s proudest legacy is his four boys: Andrew (Diana), Phillip, Ian (Toni), Daniel, and grandsons, Ezra and Leo.
Richard’s mother Winona LaPointe, sisters Elaine & Laurie LaPointe, nieces Stacy (Mark), Melissa (Tony), Jana, and their children remain to continue his memory. His brother Tom passed before Richard in 2010.
In the Lakota tradition, there is no word for goodbye. Instead, we say,
“Toksa ake (We’ll see you again), son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend!”
In this season of great loss it would be a tragedy to miss our Lord’s admonition; “ Listen carefully”…. Dr. Richard Twiss, his Passion, Plans and Vision that he and Katherine championed for years REMAINS
In the midst of our experience of loss it would be all too easy to assume that the days of Wiconi’s life have come to an end. That would be tragic, and very much in error. For while a huge void has been left by the transition to the other side of life’s journey, of our friend, brother, leader, and “common man,” Dr. Richard Twiss, the vision he and Katherine championed for many years remains.
Though to many of you Richard and Katherine were Wiconi, Richard made very clear to those of us close to his thoughts, that this was not the case. Though Richard did not see the future with the clarity he might have wanted, his ideas urged us to believe by faith that our Creator has always had his hand on Wiconi International and always will.
The Wiconi board has before it now, the task of ensuring Richard and Katherine’s vision continues to go forward producing good fruits. We see a multitude of youth, in particular those who were impacted by the life and work of Richard, continuing the war against the thief, beating down the enemy of our souls and communities around the world.
We must also ensure that the vision of Wiconi continues – and with your help, and our Creator’s grace, the board intends to make that a reality. In the weeks and months ahead, the regular events of Wiconi’s ministry will continue under the guidance of the Board and staff.
Thank you to all of you who pray for us and support the work in Native America, you are waging war and your prayers are heard in the throne room of God. Thank you to our A-team members who have met each month to encourage us and cover us in prayer, for allowing God to use you to effect the lives of people you may never meet this side of Heaven. We need you all and we love and appreciate each and every one of you!
Thank you for continuing to walk with us in 2013.
We have a new way for you to help support our ministry every day just by searching and shopping online or dining out at your favorite restaurants. We’ve registered Agape Lane Ministry with GoodSearch.com, a company that helps non-profits like ours raise funds through the everyday actions of our supporters. Every time you use a Good Search service, they donate to the non-profit you’ve designated.
You can start using it now. Just go to www.goodsearch.com and click on the link in small letters under the search text bar that says “Choose your cause” That will open a small search window where you will type in “Agape Lane Ministry” You will be transported to another window where you can register as a supporter of our ministry/cause. Then anytime you use Good Search they will donate to our ministry.
We’d like to begin building our presence on GoodSearch.com. Please join our community on GoodSearch.com and help us raise money for our mission. Get started by clicking the
“Become a Supporter” button on our profile page here: http://www.goodsearch.com/nonprofit/agape-lane-ministry.aspx
Our goal is to have at least 50 supporters using GoodSearch to benefit our ministry. Praise God! At this time we have 37. Please join us and invite a friend.