Fall Update from the Hills of Cherokee
Category : Cherokee
The fall colors are appearing all around us here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. These colors bring beauty and spectacular sights for residents and visitors alike. Seeing this change never gets old, it never becomes mundane. For me, the fall colors are a reminder that God continues to work among His creation.
We wanted to take a moment and send out a brief update on the ministry here in Cherokee to let you know how things are progressing and how you can be praying for us. We are excited about the ministry here in Cherokee and the way we see God working in the lives of individuals here on the reservation. We have had an increase in the number of local folks who are joining us for worship on Sunday mornings at Grace Community Church of Cherokee. Our highest attendance thus far, without teams, has been 16. We have three local family units attending on a regular basis which is encouraging. We also have had visitors from the addiction recovery program we are involved in. One of the women from this group commented after one of the sermons Scott preached, “I realize now that one of my problems is that I have never repented for my sin.” These folks are hungry for the truth of God’s Word and Scott is seeking to faithfully proclaim the truth, trusting God to work through the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin, repentance, and faith to these men and women who are in need of salvation.
Scott, along with Norman Beck, is helping to facilitate an addiction recovery group for men while Tammy Jackson is leading a group for women. We are inviting the men and women who participate in these groups to worship with us at Grace Community Church. One of the issues these men and women face is the stigma that stays with them even after they have stopped using drugs or have been clean from their addiction.
We are using the Scripture as the basis of our teaching for these groups as we believe that true freedom from any bondage can only be found through a personal relationship with Christ. We encourage these individuals to get involved with worship, but one of the comments we have consistently heard is, “I will not go to any of the church’s here on the reservation because people judge me as soon as I walk in, and if the pastor knows me, I will become part of the sermon.” Grace Community Church is a place where they can come without the fear of being judged by those in attendance or being made part of the sermon. Would you pray with us that God would build His Church with these broken people whom He will draw to Himself and set them free from their bondage.
Along with the drug recovery program, Scott and Ruth are going to begin a support group for family members of those who are battling addiction. One of the truths that has been driven home time and again as we get deeper into the addiction recovery process is that addiction takes a toll on the entire family. We both knew this mentally, but we have witnessed it first hand over and over. Pray for us as we put this group together, again with a Biblical foundation to be an encouragement to family members of addicts. The Life Recovery Groups and the Family Support Group will all be outreach ministries of Grace Community Church of Cherokee. Pray for God’s leading in all of this and that God would draw men and women to Himself and that He would build His Church through these and other outreach opportunities.
We also hosted a tailgate gathering before one of the Cherokee High School home games. We invited young people to join us for pizza and fellowship prior to the game. We hope to do more events like this in the future.
On November 18th Grace Community Church will host a Thanksgiving dinner for the children and staff of the Cherokee Children’s Home. The Children’s Home is located just across the hill from us, so we are asking God to open doors for us to minister to the children and staff there. We have also invited the staff to bring the children and join us for worship on Sunday mornings.
Ruth and Scott continue to be involved with the Cherokee Cancer Support Group. Scott has the privilege of serving as a chaplain for the group which affords him the opportunity to visit cancer patients and their families in their homes. One of the women from the group finally accepted our invitation and joined us for worship. She has told Ruth that she used to attend church, but left the church several years ago and has not been back. She is opening up her life to us a little at a time. Pray that God would use us to be encouragement to her and that she would see Christ in us and would be drawn back to God as the Spirit works to renew her heart and heal her wounds.
Scott has the privilege of serving as the chaplain for the Tsali Care Center which is the nursing home here on the reservation. We were both asked to participate in the volunteer training that is required by the nursing home and the state. While we were meeting with the Director of Tsali Care Scott thanked him for the privilege of serving as the Chaplain for the residents, but also mentioned that he would like to be available for any of the staff that needed spiritual counsel as well.
These are just a few of the ways we see God working in and through us here in Cherokee We want to thank you all for your prayers and your support for our ministry here. Without you we could not serve here. We believe God is building His Church here in Cherokee. It is a slow process, but it is a process that continues to move forward nonetheless.
Thank you for partnering with us!
Grace and peace,
Scott, Ruth, Johnathan, and Katie Hil