Greetings on a beautiful, but cool spring morning here in Cherokee, NC.
We trust you all are doing well and prospering in the Lord. We want to thank you for your faithful support our ministry to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. God is doing an amazing work here and we are excited to be a part of it.
Grace Community Church of Cherokee: As you know, one of the purposes of our coming to Cherokee was to seek God’s blessing on planting a PCA Church on the Qualla Boundary. That vision began to take shape early in 2016 and we held our first worship service on June 5, 2016. We knew planting a church would not be a quick process, but, after much prayer, we believed God was leading us to move in that direction. Attendance was low for many months, but we remained faithful to the task. At the end of the summer of 2016 we moved our worship services from the dining hall to a small building that was originally set up as a craft room. For many months we had only a few families attending, some Sundays only two families or one family and another individual. Over the past several months, however, God has been doing an amazing work. He has been bringing folks in and we have been averaging 30-35 in attendance each week. The majority of those who are attending have no church background and are hungry to hear the Word of God proclaimed and are interested in learning. This is exciting, but it has also presented us with a new challenge. We only have 40 chairs in our current building, so we are maxed out! Pray for us as we make plans to expand our current building and increase our seating capacity to approximately 90. We will need to purchase additional chairs or perhaps new chairs if we are not able to match up what we currently have. We would like to upgrade the building with a sound system if possible. If any of you has knowledge and experience in sound equipment and would like to help us determine what we need, we would be most appreciative. Just let me know.
Children’s Church Program: We recently began a Children’s Church program for young children in the church. One of the issues we were facing was that parents were being distracted by young children during the sermon. Remember, these are adults with no church background, so the children have no church background. We made the decision to keep the children in the service through the second song and then send them out with two teachers, so they could begin to learn basic Bible truths and the parents could focus on the sermon. This has worked well, but again, we are facing new challenges. The number of children is growing, so we need to figure out how to divide them up and where we will find the room for two separate classes. Please pray for the teachers, the children, and the logistical issues we are facing as God grows His Church.
Youth Group: On February 7, 2018 we began to hold Youth Group meeting each Wednesday evening. Norman and Julie Beck have been faithful to plan and lead the meetings each week. Growth in this ministry is slow, but we believe their faithfulness will pay off. Norman is also serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the girls’ soccer team at the Cherokee Central Schools. Pray with us that God would open doors for opportunities to invite these girls to the youth group and that God would grow this ministry as well.
Wednesday Evening Prayer Meeting: We believe that one of the greatest responsibilities we have as we minister here in Cherokee is to be faithful in prayer. A few months ago, we began holding a mid-week prayer meeting. While attendance fluctuates, we have been encouraged with those who have been attending and with the openness to pray. Pray with us that God would bless our commitment to prayer and that we would continue to see His hand at work in our lives and in the life of Grace Community Church of Cherokee.
Life Recovery Group: As many of you know, Norman Beck, Tammy Jackson, and Scott Hill have been involved with a Life Recovery Group, which is a scripturally based addiction recovery program. We have seen God at work in the lives of several of the individuals who have been attending the Tuesday afternoon class and it has been encouraging to us. God is allowing us to speak scriptural truth into the lives of these individuals and to disciple them in His word each week. Hearts are opening up toward the gospel as they are beginning to realize that true freedom comes, not from a program, but only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Pray for us as we meet each Tuesday from 3:00-4:00pm.
Family Happenings: The Hill family is doing well as we are all at our various stages of life. Scott keeps busy with Grace Community Church and as the Chaplain for Tsali Care Nursing Home here in Cherokee. Pray for him as he plans his days and works to help coordinate summer teams and the ministries they will be involved in.
Ruth stays busy with her involvement with the Cherokee Cancer Support Group, teaching Children’s Church, and serving alongside Scott in many ways. Pray her as she juggles the responsibilities of home and ministry.
Bethany is currently living with us and working at Foggy Mountain Vet Services in Clyde, NC. We are thankful for this position that God has provided for her and for the ways He has been stretching and growing her. She loves animals and we would have a small farm here if she had her way! Pray for God to continue to grow her and stretch her in many ways.
Scott, Jr. and Bekah are doing well in Greenville as Scott works for Sherwin-Williams and Bekah continues to teach 3rd grade. They are adjusting well to married life as they will celebrate their 1st anniversary in July. Pray for God to continue to grow them as a couple.
Johnathan is doing well. He is finishing up his final year of high school, serving as a volunteer fire fighter in Cherokee, and trying to make plans for the future. Pray for him as he seeks God’s leading and direction for life after high school.
Katie is keeping busy with her dual enrollment classes at Southwestern Community College. She has maintained an A average through her first two semesters. Pray that she would finish strong. Katie will also be heading to Canada in May to serve on a mission team with John and Elizabeth Sexton. She and Johnathan will both participate in a week mission trip with NEXT (Formerly MTW’s Global Youth and Family ministry) as the NEXT team leads a trip for MK’s from the Americas Region to La Ceiba, Honduras.
We have one final prayer request to share. 2018 has been the first year that we have seen a decline in giving to our ministry. We have lost some significant financial support this year and we need to raise additional funds. Would you pray with us that God would provide the funds needed to carry out this ministry.
As a reminder, the address for donations to MTW has recently changed. The new address is: PO Box 744165, Atlanta, GA 30374-4165.
Thank you for your prayers for our ministry and our family.
Scott, Ruth, Johnathan, and Katie Hill