Friday, December 13, 2019

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (502) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)


December 12, 2019

Dear Friends,






Since last I wrote to you, Eagle Butte has experienced three blizzards.  Three of them!  Two days ago, I had to walk to the store and I actually got an ice cream headache ON MY FACE.  It’s so cold that even the snowmen have frostbite.  But we are safe, and we are thankful.  Thankful that the good Lord invented “indoors”, and gave us propane!
I have recently begun another piece of work, in addition to my ministerial responsibilities.  I have started teaching Lakota language studies at the local Christian school.  I am not fluent in the Lakota language, but with the help of my teacher, Matthew Uses the Knife, I know enough to teach some of the basics to beginners.  I hope that God uses this for a good purpose.
Since the time of the last newsletter, there has been a great deal happening at the church.  It is such a blessing that I get to share this good news with all of you.  Let’s jump right into it!

We Celebrate Our 50th Anniversary!!!



In 1969, a missionary named Ballard White led a group of local believers in officially founding First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte.  Since that time, the church has weathered many hardships and thrilled to many joys.  But this September, we had the great pleasure of celebrating our 50th anniversary, and we kicked off the festivities with a great big honking party!



We ate a delicious meal together, complete with a cake made in the shape of the church building.  Then we all contributed different items to a time capsule, which we will be digging up 25 years from now.  My contribution was a letter, written to whoever is pastor in 25 years (I hope it’s me).  Others put in church bulletins, pictures, keepsakes, and even a share of Spam and Twinkies (we’ll see how fresh those are in 25 years).  Afterward, we lay the time capsule in the ground and capped off the day by releasing 50 balloons into the air-one for each year!  It was a fun and exciting day, but it was just the beginning of the festivities we had planned!


There is no better way for a church to celebrate than through worship, and through a renewal of our commitment to the Lord God.  A revival was in order, so we met for five consecutive nights in September, to celebrate what God has done and to align ourselves with His perfect will.
The revival featured a different speaker each night.  Each speaker was somehow significant to the history of this church.  They included Delmar and Curtis White (sons of our church’s founder), Fred Igert (who built part of the church), Chug Garreau (a close ally of ours from a nearby town), and Phil Lawrence (who was pastor before me).  Each night, a different church member gave their personal testimony in front of the entire congregation, and their testimonies greatly built up their fellow believers.  
By week’s end, we were exhausted, but happy, and renewed in our resolve to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience and faith.  It would not be long before this revival bore fruit…

Baptisms! Baptisms! Baptisms!






            What can I say?  We baptized five people in a single day this October.  There were two little girls, and three adults.  We rolled our portable baptistery into the sanctuary, filled it with water, and had a special service signaling the beginning of these believers’ walks with the Lord.  One by one, they stood in front of the congregation, confessed their faith in Christ, and were baptized for everyone to see.  It was truly beautiful, but it was only a beginning.  What I most look forward to is seeing what God will do with these new believers next!

                                                               The Feast of Thanksgiving 





For many years, we have enjoyed a relationship with Hamilton Baptist Church of Virginia. They come here every year and collaborate with us to put together a Thanksgiving meal for the entire community.  This year was no exception, as November found a group of eager hands arriving, ready to cook and make Thanksgiving special!  




Students from the local Christian school were recruited to help serve food.  Fliers were posted all over town, and a sign was posted in front of the church.  On the day of the big event, approximately 300 people were fed-nearly one tenth of our entire population!  Much good was done for our community.  We are grateful to our Lord for providing us with this bountiful food, and we are grateful to our friends at Hamilton Baptist Church, without whom none of this would have been possible.
Clothing for the Needy



 Once again, I find myself in the admirable position of being able to host a large giveaway at our church.  Churches and individuals from all over America have sent boxes of clothing to the church, in the hopes that we could get them to people who need them.  And whenever we have collected a good quantity, I invite anyone who needs clothes to come to the church and take what they need.  It is because of the kind and thoughtful donations of believers like you that this wonderful service is possible.  Thank you for being God’s instruments to do good in the world!



So perhaps you are wondering how you can become a partner with us in our ministry here in Eagle Butte?  If so, then we are happy to tell you, since we welcome assistance from the body of Christ. Here is what we need the most:
Prayer.  It may be true that our church is getting along very well at the moment, and that God is doing great things here.  But it is precisely when a church is being used by God that Satan does all in his power to destroy it.  So please pray, my brothers and sisters.  Pray that our leadership will keep their hearts pure and humble, and that we will live at peace with each other.  Pray that we will be protected from the power of the enemy, and that God’s Holy Spirit will shine through in our lives.  Pray that the Lakotas in the community will come to know the Lord, and that the commitment they make will not be a superficial group of words, but a real change in their Spirits that will alter the course of their lives for eternity.  
E-mail addresses.  For those of you who have e-mail addresses, please send them to me.  That way, these monthly newsletters can be forwarded to everyone in your church who wants one-and you can get it in color!  Just send your name and e-mail address to me at benfarrar777@hotmail.com, and I’ll make sure you receive this newsletter as often as it comes out.
Financial Assistance.  Our church is fortunate to have members who are generous in their giving. But some of our most generous members are, nevertheless, very poor.  We have long been blessed with assistance from outside churches and individuals, and we try to use those gifts wisely and well.  If any one of you wishes to bless the church with a financial gift, you may send it to:



First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
  
May God bless you all, and draw you closer to Himself each and every day.
Yours in Christ,

Rev. Ben Farrar
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

Saturday, September 7, 2019

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (502) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)
September 7th, 2019

Dear Friends,





Here in Eagle Butte, summertime has never been so sweet! Heavy rains have made the crops grow tall, and the countryside is bursting with life! During the winters, things get downright arctic here sometimes.  But when I’m passing a herd of buffalo on the highway, or looking across an endless field of sunflowers, or watching one of the best sunsets on the planet…well, the winters just don’t seem so bad.  Above, you can see a photo of me and my wife, Tiffany, enjoying an explosion during the fourth of July.  It’s a good time to be alive.
This summer has been slower than usual for us, but there was still plenty to do, and plenty to enjoy. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

                                                  Sevier Heights Brightens the World 





For over a decade, First Baptist Church has enjoyed the friendship and cooperation of Sevier Heights Baptist Church of Tennessee.  Each year, they visit for a week and bring Vacation Bible School to some of the outlying settlements on the reservation.  This year, using our church building as a base, they struck out each morning for the small towns of Swift Bird, White Horse and Red Scaffold. They did crafts with the children, played games with them, and shared the love of the Lord.  Some of the students from this group have been coming for as long as eight years, and have formed long-term relationships with many of the children as a result. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside of these good friends from far away, and the people of our communities were happy to have them!

Donated Clothes Help Lots of People



Often, people from all over America send me things that they do not need, but that others might be able to use.  When that happens, it gives me great pleasure to host a giveaway at the church.  Anyone from the community who has a need is free to come in and take whatever they can use. A few weeks ago, I was able to host one such giveaway, benefiting dozens of people.  And I have you all to thank, because you were the ones who sent me the clothes, the shoes and the stuffed animals that were so useful.  God bless you!

Windswept Academy Gets Some New Construction





















Windswept Academy, our local Christian school and close ally of First Baptist Church, received a considerable blessing this summer in the form of some new construction.  You see, as the school has grown to accommodate more grade levels, they have needed more teachers.  And those teachers need a place to live.  But there is very little housing to be found up here, and the missionary teachers hired by the school cannot afford rent.  So the school keeps a few houses in town where their teachers can stay.  
One of these houses was added on to this summer.  An enormous hole was dug, a foundation was poured, and all the framework was built.  None of it would have been possible without the volunteer service of Pathfinders ministries, Hilltop Baptist Church (of Indiana, Pennsylvania), and Camp Creek Baptist Church (of Mississippi). We are grateful to you all for pouring yourselves into this great work. In the future, when the construction is completed, at least one teacher will find a happy home in this new addition!
  
Summer Camp!


For several years, we have been sponsoring children from the community to attend Victory Center Bible Camp for one week.  While at the camp, they play sports, go swimming and have all the experiences that a great summer camp offers.  But they also attend daily chapel services and compete to see who can learn the most Bible verses. This summer, we sent eighteen kids to camp. Big thanks to all of you who sponsored a child for camp.  And big thanks to all of you who donated to our church, allowing us to sponsor the others. God made the Body of Christ work together this summer to make children’s lives better!


A Day of Vacation Bible School






 We’re on the radio!

This July, we were visited by a group of dedicated Christians from southern Illinois-believers from Prospect Baptist in Broughton, and First Baptist in El Dorado, to be specific.  Their main purpose in being there was to build playground equipment for Windswept Academy, but they also worked with our church to host a one-day Vacation Bible School. There was a Bible study, some games and some crafts.  We are very grateful that servant-hearted believers like these were willing to give of themselves so wholeheartedly.  Without your help, none of this could have been possible! 


After years of prayer, God has opened a door to us that we had long hoped for. First Baptist Church has been granted a chance to broadcast its services on KIPI radio, 93.5 FM-a station that covers the entire Cheyenne River Reservation.  Each week, I record the service, edit it to one hour in length, and send it to the radio station.  There, Robyn Chasing Hawk, the good producer who gave us this chance, improves the audio quality and (I am told) makes my voice sound deeper.  Then he broadcasts our service the following Sunday morning!
This is very exciting for us.  One of the greatest challenges to reaching the people of the reservation is geography. The reservation is spread over more than 4,000 square miles, and many people do not have a church near them. But through the help of this wonderful radio station, we are able to spread the Gospel to all corners of the reservation at once.  We are very grateful for this chance!


So perhaps you are wondering how you can become a partner with us in our ministry here in Eagle Butte?  If so, then we are happy to tell you, since we welcome assistance from the body of Christ. Here is what we need the most:
Prayer.  It may be true that our church is getting along very well at the moment, and that God is doing great things here.  But it is precisely when a church is being used by God that Satan does all in his power to destroy it.  So please pray, my brothers and sisters.  Pray that our leadership will keep their hearts pure and humble, and that we will live at peace with each other.  Pray that we will be protected from the power of the enemy, and that God’s Holy Spirit will shine through in our lives.  Pray that the Lakotas in the community will come to know the Lord, and that the commitment they make will not be a superficial group of words, but a real change in their Spirits that will alter the course of their lives for eternity.  
E-mail addresses.  For those of you who have e-mail addresses, please send them to me. That way, these monthly newsletters can be forwarded to everyone in your church who wants one-and you can get it in color!  Just send your name and e-mail address to me at benfarrar777@hotmail.com, and I’ll make sure you receive this newsletter as often as it comes out.
Financial Assistance.  Our church is fortunate to have members who are generous in their giving. But some of our most generous members are, nevertheless, very poor.  We have long been blessed with assistance from outside churches and individuals, and we try to use those gifts wisely and well.  If any one of you wishes to bless the church with a financial gift, you may send it to:

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

May God bless you all, and draw you closer to Himself each and every day.
Yours in Christ,

Rev. Ben Farrar
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

Thursday, June 6, 2019

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (502) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)
June 5, 2019

Dear Friends,




Nearly six months have passed, and a lot has gone on here!  The weather in this state is famous for its wild fluctuations, ranging very hot to very cold, very wet to very dry, and very snowy to very...not. This winter has been no exception.  Snow piled up in drifts eight feet high.  Icicles, six feet long, hung from the roof-or in some cases, hung all the way to the ground.  On three separate occasions, a dump truck and front-end loder was need to remove the snow from main street.  And more than once, the police formed a blockade to prevent anyone from leaving town-because of the danger posed by the snow and bitter cold. Wintry weather in its various forms continued (I’m not making this up) into mid-May!
But now, all of that is behind us.  The entire countryside has burst into greenery and bloom.  The buffalo are grazing contentedly in the fields, and I can finally leave the house without a jacket.  It was a long time coming, but when summer finally arrives, these plains sing.

The Great Food Distribution of 2019
This February, our reservation faced a unique and daunting problem.  The federal government shutdown caused a complication with the Department of Social Services, which made food stamps temporarily unavailable.  As a result, most people estimated that food stamp recipients on the Cheyenne River Reservation would be without food for two straight weeks. That meant that 3,000 people-more than a third of our population-would be without food.  This was a crisis.
Knowing that First Baptist Church lacked the resources to meet this colossal need, I prayed about what to do.  And God sent an idea:  There was no organization on the rez, religious or secular, who could provide such a massive amount of food for so many people.  But what if we all worked together?  What if every church and charitable organization in the entire area pooled its knowledge, its funding, its volunteers and its resources into one huge effort?   Could we stop this hunger that threatened to devour our communities?
I began to make phone calls and meet with various people, and God immediately began to open doors.  Churches from all over the reservation agreed to help-each of them in different ways.  Our local homeless shelter, the Mustard Seed, became involved in shopping and deciding on the contents of individual food boxes.  Some churches gave money.  Some promised volunteers.  Some said they would help transport food to the sixteen outlying settlements.  First Baptist Church opened its doors as a storage and distribution facility.  One man, Reggie Kills a Hundred, volunteered to live at the church to prevent anyone from breaking in and stealing the food.  Each and every day, an impossible problem would arise, and I would wonder if the project could ever be finished.  And each day, a solution would emerge that swept the problem away.  The Holy Spirit was moving.



Together, we collected $11,000 and gave the entire sum to the food bank, who sold us food at the price of $0.18 per pound.  On February 12, a transfer truck arrived at First Baptist Church, unloading more than 30,000 pounds of food on 27 pallets.  Our local grocery store, the Lakota Thrifty Mart, lent us heavy equipment to carry it into our sanctuary, where it totally filled the room.  Now, the real work began.



  

Every apple, potato, canned peach and box of crackers had to be sorted, packed into bags and carefully stored.  This was a difficult task, and it took an entire week. Dozens of people came from all over the reservation, and they formed assembly lines to pack all the bags, one by one.  Windswept Academy sent everyone from their older grades to volunteer on two mornings. Some churches came down in one big group to lend a hand.  Some missionaries dedicated their time.  Some people walked in off the street, packed bags for two hours, and left without giving their name.  One man worked a full day at his job, went home to his ranch, did all his chores, then came back and help package food for two hours.  The people were vigorous and diligent, and by Friday the work was done.




On Monday, February 18th, the giveaway began.  People flooded throught front door of the church, showed their food stamp card, and left with bundles of food for their families.  Larger families received more food, while smaller families received less. All were grateful.  
After only half a day, I twisted my ankle on a wet floor and could barely walk for weeks.  But from the moment I injured myself, other volunteers arrived and began to pick up my slack.  The Lord was watching out for me.
Representatives from churches and communities all over the reservation arrived, bearing lists of people in their communities who needed help. They left with large quantities of food, and distributed it to families in all 16 of the outlying settlements.  
As the giveaway entered its third day, we became aware of a great surprise.  The Lord was multiplying our food supply, such that it could be used to feed more people than we had first estimated.  We spread the word that we would no longer be distributing only to food stamp recipients.  Anyone who lacked food was welcome to come and take a portion.  The people came, and were glad.

In the end, we gave all the food away-all 30,000 pounds of it.  We fed (conservatively) 4,000 people-nearly half the population of the entire reservation! Every single community in the 5,000 square miles of our reservation received food.  And all of this was done despite none of our volunteers being involved in anything quite like it before.  God’s hand was in this.  He directed it from beginning to end.  What happened this February was a testament to what God can do, and what the Body of Christ can do when they unite behind a common purpose.  May God, who makes all things possible, be forever praised for this wonderful event.
The Fabulous Floor Fitters from Far Away

  



When I was growing up, my home church was Burkemont Baptist Church in Morganton, North Carolina.  I made many friends there, and we did a lot of work together. Now that I live out here, Burkemont has formed a strong relationship with First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte. This spring, that relationship took the form of a mission team of skilled craftsmen who came to Eagle Butte to lay down some flooring.  Our Sunday School and nursery had contained carpet that was at least ten years old, and ran the risk of exposing the children to lice.  The men worked so fast and so skillfully that I might have easily mistaken their work for magic!  Now we have beautiful laminate flooring in both our Sunday School room and our nursery, and I am once again overwhelmed with gratitude to the people of Burkemont Baptist Church, who are so greatly supportive in our ministry.
An Unfortunate Crime Spree


Some news is good, and some of it is less so. About two months ago, a young man thought it would be hilarious to grab a pellet gun and go around town, shooting out windows.  He did damage to at least seven different properties before he finally stopped. Our church van was one of the targets, and we were forced to replace two of its windows with duct tape until glass replacements could be found.  This is part of life-some people just enjoy making the world uglier, for some reason. But we pick ourselves up, repair the damages, and keep plugging away.  That’s how winning is done. 

A Local Women’s Conference and My Famous Wife

  


Calvary Chapel Church is a church in the nearby city of Dupree that is our ally in spreading the gospel.  They recently hosted a women’s conference for Christian women from all over the area.  The result was tremendous.  The women shared a meal, listened to speakers, and encouraged one another in the faith.  A few of the husbands, myself included, helped prepare the meal.  But I am particularly proud of this event because…my wife was one of the speakers!  Tiffany did a great job (though she was nervous), and the women were greatly edified. I am looking forward to sharing collaborative efforts with other Christ-centered churches in the future.
Remodeling!



For years, our church’s sanctuary has had dark wood paneling, which gave the entire room a dark sort of feeling.  So about a month ago, we decided to change it.  The women of our church discussed the best color choices, and several of us pitched in and worked together to make it a reality. Now, our sanctuary is a much lighter color, and its light fixtures have been replaced by far brighter ones that use less electricity.  Everyone seems pleased with the change, and we’re enjoying this more pleasant worship environment.

First Baptist Church Turns 50!


  

In the year 1969, under the leadership of a fiery missionary named Ballard White, First Baptist Church formed a constitution and became an official church.  That means that this year is our 50th anniversary! To commemorate this happy occasion, I’ve made several plans for this year.  But the first of these is a display in our lobby, showing other things that happened in the year 1969.  These included the moon landing, the election of Richard Nixon, Woodstock, the invention of microprocessors, the first transplant of a human eye, and the founding of PBS.  Also, bell-bottom pants were cool.
Later this year, the big celebration will take place. We will be hosting a series of revival meetings, each of which will feature a speaker who was significant in the history of our church.  On the last day, we will hold a dinner on the grounds, and bury a time capsule-to be opened on our 75thanniversary!  It’s going to be a great celebration of what the Lord has done for us. I’m just happy to be pastoring the church on such a special occasion!
Children Learning the Gospel Every Week




Speaking of special occasions, every Sunday is a special occasion at First Baptist Church.  That’s because every Sunday is an opportunity to teach the youth of the community about Jesus.  We send out a van to pick up children in the community, and teach two Sunday School classes, divided by age.  Meanwhile, a Bible study is provided for the adults, as well.  Sunday affords us a unique opportunity to know our savior more intimately, and I hope we are faithful in using it well!

Clothing Giveaways, Courtesy of You!



Many times over the years, people ask me if I can find a use for some extra clothes, or blankets, or toys, or you-name-it. And I always give the same reply: “If you can get it here, we can get it into the hands of someone who needs it.” Thanks to your donations, we have been able to host two large clothing giveaways in the last six months!  Many people who were in need of clothes have them now, because of your generosity! Thank you so much, and may God bless you all!



So perhaps you are wondering how you can become a partner with us in our ministry here in Eagle Butte?  If so, then we are happy to tell you, since we welcome assistance from the body of Christ. Here is what we need the most:
Prayer. It may be true that our church is getting along very well at the moment, and that God is doing great things here.  But it is precisely when a church is being used by God that Satan does all in his power to destroy it.  So please pray, my brothers and sisters.  Pray that our leadership will keep their hearts pure and humble, and that we will live at peace with each other.  Pray that we will be protected from the power of the enemy, and that God’s Holy Spirit will shine through in our lives.  Pray that the Lakotas in the community will come to know the Lord, and that the commitment they make will not be a superficial group of words, but a real change in their Spirits that will alter the course of their lives for eternity.  
E-mail addresses. For those of you who have e-mail addresses, please send them to me.  That way, these monthly newsletters can be forwarded to everyone in your church who wants one-and you can get it in color!  Just send your name and e-mail address to me at benfarrar777@hotmail.com, and I’ll make sure you receive this newsletter as often as it comes out.
Financial Assistance. Our church is fortunate to have members who are generous in their giving. But some of our most generous members are, nevertheless, very poor.  We have long been blessed with assistance from outside churches and individuals, and we try to use those gifts wisely and well.  If any one of you wishes to bless the church with a financial gift, you may send it to:

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170
Eagle Butte, SD 57625


May God bless you all, and draw you closer to Himself each and every day.
Yours in Christ,

Rev. Ben Farrar
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte