Monday, January 14, 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)


January 12, 2019

Dear Friends,






I owe to you all a great apology, as it has been a long time since last I wrote a newsletter to you.  Since the death of my mother, life has seemed more overwhelming to me.  I have found it difficult to keep up with as much work as before, and am only now returning to what I could call normal.  Regrettably, the newsletter has suffered as a result, and I am sorry. You are all partners with us in ministry, and it waswrong to keep you in the dark for so long.
Our church has prospered in the past year. Attendance has its ups and downs, but is on an upward trend.  It is very cold outside these days, and the snow occasionally needs to be dealt with using a dump truck, but the weather has not chilled our membership’s interest in church.  This morning, I presided over a service with nearly fifty people in it-the sanctuary felt very full!  Two men, lacking transportation, had walked across town in the cold to get to church. When I see people making worship into a priority, it nearly makes my heart burst!
A LOT has happened over the past months. Let me give you some of the highlights:

Baptisms, Glorious Baptisms!




A young couple, Corwyn and Mellisa, came forward at the invitation some months ago, and indicated their desire to become Christians.  Over time, they attended our discipleship classes and grew in their faith.  I had the privilege of baptizing them during the Sunday morning service, and they have been faithfully worshipping alongside of us ever since!  I cherish the opportunity I am given, as a pastor, to be present for these amazing works that the Holy Spirit does in the lives of the people.  
But the good news doesn’t end there!  Four more people have begun the discipling process with me, and I anxiously hope to baptize each of them in the future!

The Feast of Thanksgiving






First Baptist Church has long enjoyed a working friendship with Hamilton Baptist Church of Hamilton, VA.  One thing we love to do together is cooperate to put on a Thanksgiving meal for the entire community each year.  This year was certainly no exception, as Hamilton dispatched its best cooks to prepare and promote this year’s Thanksgiving Feast. Hamilton prepared the food; our youth served it, and I filled in whatever little potholes came up along the way. More than 300 people ate and were satisfied, and everyone left happy.  That was a beautiful night, and like the men and women of Hamilton, I was excited to be a part of it!

Windswept Academy Celebrates Ten Years


Another partnership that First Baptist Church has long enjoyed is with the nearby Christian school, Windswept Academy.Founded in 2008, this school grew from an enrollment of just three students to over ninety!  Here, brilliant educators with a heart for spreading the Gospel work to benefit the minds and souls of the student body.  More than thirty children have professed faith in Christ through the beautiful work that is done here.  And best of all, I get to be the chaplain!
This past year, Windswept Academy celebrated ten years of ministering to the community.  They celebrated with a special meal and presentation at the school.  But I couldn’t shake the feeling that, as good as this ride has been, Windswept Academy is only getting started. Beginning next academic year, the Academy will be offering a full K-12 curriculum, allowing students to graduate from high school here at Windswept.  The school is experimenting with a range of different electives for the older grade levels, and they even brought me in to teach Theatre Arts! God willing, the future of Windswept Academy will be a bright one, and First Baptist Church will enter that future side-by-side with them!  And speaking of anniversaries…

First Baptist Church-Celebrating Fifty Years!





Yes, you read that right.  In the 1960s, an energetic missionary by the name of Ballard White started a church plant to minister to the Lakota people of the Cheyenne River reservation.  They began holding worship meetings in a building which had formerly been a gas station. In 1969, this gathering of worshippers was fully constituted into a church.  This church became the First Baptist Church that we know today.
In recognition of this important milestone, First Baptist Church is putting together a series of commemorative celebrations. These include special guest preachers, a week-long series of revival meetings, a time capsule, and all kinds of other nostalgic hullabaloo.  I can’t wait to get started celebrating what the Lord has done for us-or to see what He has for us in the future!

Providing Much-Needed Supplies to the Community


Sometimes, churches and individuals will contact me, asking if the people of Eagle Butte have any need for clothing, or shoes or you-name-it.  Always, my answer to them is the same: “If the Holy Spirit has laid it on your heart to give a thing, send it.  If you can get it here, we can get it into the hands of the people who need it.”
Many generous men and women from across the country have donated things to us over the past several months.  This has allowed us to hold four separate giveaways for the poor of this community, each of which resulted in hundreds of items being given away!  I am grateful to everyone who partnered with us in this endeavour.  

Spiritual Resolutions for 2019


A new year has little real significance, of course.  It’s just another tic on the calendar.  But it does offer us the occasion to reflect on our lives. And when we do that, it offers us the opportunity to improve.
To this end, I began a project at the beginning of this year.  I gave everyone in the congregation the opportunity to make a spiritual resolution-a method by which they wanted to progress in their spiritual lives during the year 2019.  Some resolved to read the Bible in a year; others resolved to start a daily devotional; still others resolved to attend Sunday morning Bible Study more regularly, or to begin coming to church on Wednesday nights.  
Whatever their resolution, First Baptist Church resolved to help them achieve it.  For some, I provided counseling.  For others, the church purchased a Bible-in-a-year planner.  For still others, we bought daily devotionals.  And of course, anyone who doesn’t own a Bible can get one here, without cost.
One cannot predict where this will lead.  But I can only see it leading to a good place.  After all, even if we do not reach our goals, we at least will have made progress!


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

In the last month, a financial gift was made in honor of, Miles Pinckney Farrar, Elizabeth Henkle Farrar and Joseph Webb Farrar and Catherine Powell Farrar.

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, May 24, 2018


First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625

(605) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)/ www.fbceaglebutte.com (Website)

May 24, 2018

Dear Friends,




Here in Eagle Butte, Spring lasts about three weeks.  We can get blizzards as late as May, and the really hot temperatures start at about…late May.  But when it is here, Spring truly is a beautiful time.  
I love this city.  Twice this year, I’ve been driving to the grocery store and seen someone riding a horse down the sidewalk on main street.  Last month, I ate lunch at the Dairy Queen and discovered that I was sitting next to two real, modern day cowboys.  And earlier this year, my wife’s school had one of its entrances blocked by a giant mass of tumbleweeds!
I haven’t sent a newsletter in about five months, and for that I apologize.  Recent events caused the church to slow down for a time, and there was not much news.  But now, there is plenty, and I’m anxious to share it all with you!

One Heart Stops; Many Others Break


This March, I learned that my mother was dying of cancer.  After conferring with the elders of my church, they all agreed to let me travel to my home town in North Carolina to be with her. I am blessed to be a part of a church that is so generous.  They didn’t even tell me when I had to be back.
Once I arrived, my brother and I took it in turns to watch over her, day and night.  I came to see it as a kind of privilege.  Mom had always been a very giving person, and she had always been there for me whenever I needed her.  So I was happy to get the opportunity to be there for her in these last days.  
What struck me the most was my mother’s attitude.  It could best be described as annoyance.  Mom had never been the sort who let things bother her. And now that she was facing a painful death, the worst that she felt was annoyed!  There was no fear in her.  And no regret. None.  She was happy about her life, and looking forward to Heaven.  Sickness and death were nothing but an annoying, and temporary, inconvenience in her eyes.  Such is the hope and confidence granted by the power of our Lord Jesus.
I returned home with an awkward mixture of grief and happiness.  Grief for the loss of my mother; happiness for the life she now enjoys.  And I am grateful to my church family, for letting me be there.

Miracle Babies




About nine months ago, Adam and Rachel Cowan (two missionaries who are part of our church) heard some happy news:  Rachel had become pregnant.  Their happiness was compounded when they learned that she was carrying identical twins: their second pair!  It was extremely exciting for everyone, until the fateful doctors’ appointment.
The doctors informed the Cowans that the twins had a rare condition, causing neither of them to get adequate nourishment.  They were dying, and would soon be dead.  The only thing that could save their lives was a rarely-performed surgery.  And the closest hospital that did this type of surgery was 500 miles away, in Denver. And even if the surgery were done, the survival of both twins was not certain, or even likely.  And even if they survived, there was likely to be severe damage to one of them, or both.
Adam and Rachel immediately went to Denver, and I went to the internet. I went there to contact all of you. I asked you to join me in prayer for the Cowan twins, in the knowledge that God has full control over their life and health.  I asked for prayer, and how you all answered my call!  Immediately, I started receiving dozens of confirmations from all over America, saying that you were praying for the Cowans.  We begged God for help, lifting them up with one voice.
The following day, Rachel went in for surgery.  The doctors said it went well, but that only time would tell. The following day, they said the recovery going better than expected.  The next day, they said it was going MUCH better than expected.  Not long afterwards, these medical professionals began using a very biblical word: Miracle.  The nurses were crying, saying that this type of surgery almost never goes so well.  And a short time ago, Rachel gave birth to two beautiful, healthy twin girls.  Their names are Zoey and Lilly. And they are a living testament to the restorative power of God.

We’re a Part of the Community


My wife, Tiffany, and I moved to this area from Kentucky, and for a long time we felt like outsiders.  But over the past seven years, we have come to feel more and more a part of Eagle Butte, and its people have come to feel like our people.  The most recent example of this came last Sunday.  Tiffany teaches sixth grade at the public school, and this past weekend some of her students graduated high school for the first time!  We felt very proud of these kids as they advanced to this new stage of life, and we are already looking forward to next year, when we can see the next graduation!

Speaking of Graduations…



This Tuesday, Windswept Academy (our local Christian school) hosted its end-of-the-year program and Kindergarten graduation.  Hundreds of parents and family members gathered together in the Oglala Lakota College auditorium to see this great exhibition.  The students sang songs and performed a piano recital.  
The kindergarteners performed “The Three Little Pigs”-a new take on the old fairy tale which allowed them to act out a play while simultaneously reciting Bible verses and showing off their counting skills.  Then they all received their diplomas.  It was a very sweet end to a very good school year!
Painting!


Since I arrived in Eagle Butte, Our fellowship hall has been a light beige color, with a peach trim.  But after discussing it with the church, I decided that it needed a new look.  With the help of Bryson Dupris, a local artist and one our church members, I set about painting the fellowship hall white and blue.  The two of us worked on it for days, and it took a lot more work than I expected. But it turned out great!  It’s like a whole new building!

The Grand Giveaway




Our church enjoys a warm friendship with various churches from around the country. Sometimes, members of these churches contact me, asking if the poor of Eagle Butte have need of clothing.  I always tell them the same thing:  “If the Lord moves you to give anything, we can get it into the hands of people who need it.”  And the Lord does move people to do just that.
Two weeks ago, I used these gifts from across the country to host a giveaway at First Baptist Church.  Any of the poor from the community were free to come in and shop, without cost.  It was a great success.  Hundreds of items were given away, and dozens of people were clothed in the process.  I am grateful to our donors, who made this giveaway possible.  And I am grateful to the Lord, who allows me to be a conduit for His blessings!

Bittersweet Goodbyes


This past Sunday marked the last time that some of our church members would be among us.  William Hall, who until now has been a teacher at Windswept Academy, is moving to Texas with His wife, Richelle, and their four children.  There, he will be serving as a youth pastor at a church! Meanwhile, Rebecca Yu (a part-time missionary and full-time pharmacist) is moving from Eagle Butte to work at a pharmacy in Portland.  It is rare that a person leaves the church with the intention of working in a missionary capacity, and especially rare that two people should do it on the same day! First Baptist Church was resolved to make the most of this opportunity.
           We held a special service in honor of the occasion.  I preached on the Great Commission, using it to encourage William, Richelle, Rebecca, and everyone in the congregation to boldly witness for Jesus. I asked all three of them to come to the front of the church, where we laid hands on them and prayed.  With one voice, we asked God to bless them and their future work.  This is the Body of Christ in action.  I’m so proud to be a part of it.


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!  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 

Eleven donations were recently made in memory of Catherine Farrar.

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, December 14, 2017

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625

(605) 891-1704 (Pastor’s Cell)/ www.fbceaglebutte.com (Website)

December 15, 2017

Dear Friends,

Wow! What a year it’s been!  Since my last newsletter, Eagle Butte has hosted its’ annual Pow-wow and rodeo, all the crops have been gathered into their silos, and the cattle are being shipped off to market.  All the usual signs of the season are here.  All of them, that is, except for bitter cold and blinding snow.  We’re having the kind of weather we would normally expect in mid-fall!
We South Dakotans know better than to expect this to continue, however.  Sooner or later, the cold will be back with a vengeance, and we’ll be ready for it!  In the meantime, we enjoy the blessings we have been given.
The past few months have been full of activity for the church.  Our attendance has been steadily climbing, so that it is now not unusual to have more than fifty people present on a Sunday morning.  Youth activities and learning experiences take place on Wednesday and Friday nights.  There is a prayer meeting every Wednesday.  And our Sunday School is full.  It’s like I’m living a beautiful dream.





Our First Mission Trip

As you all know, 2017 has been beset with all types of natural disasters, ranging in size and scope from hurricanes and flooding to wildfires and drought.  There was a critical period this Fall when all of these things were going on at once, and I began to feel a burden of sorrow for the nation, and particularly for the emergency workers whose energy and resources were all being stretched thin to answer  these catastrophes.  It was in this heaviness of Spirit that I began to feel the persistent tugging of the Holy Spirit to do something about this.  At first I resisted the idea, since my church is very small and very poor.  What could I do in the face of all this tragedy? But then I remembered that the Southern Baptist Convention specializes in coordinating efforts with churches just like mine.  I called them up and asked how I could be of help.

To my surprise, the thing they needed the most in the disaster relief efforts was the very thing that we were able to supply: hands.  They needed hands to clear away rubble, clean up job sites, and make unliveable areas livable again.  If we could supply our hands to the people of Houston Texas, I was told, the Southern Baptist Convention would take care of the rest.




And so was born the first mission trip ever led by First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte.  We were unaccustomed to doing this, since mission teams usually come to visit us.  But it is always the way in the Kingdom of God that we are called to reach out and help those less fortunate than ourselves-and many people in Houston had lost everything.  Over a period of a few weeks, I put together a team.  Together, we boarded the church van and set our course for adventure!
Three days' journey brought us to Houston, where Hurricane Harvey had ravaged the coast.  Along the way, we stopped at friendly Southern Baptist churches, which opened their doors to let us stay the night.  When we arrived, we were met by representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention, who saw to all of our needs.  A large church in the area had loaned its facilities as housing for disaster relief workers, and a whole warehouse full of supplies, collected from around the country, was ready for us to use in the community.  Each day we would set out to work, and each night we would refresh ourselves at the main church hub.  We were even given instructions on where to work and what to do.  All that was needed was our hands.





For four and a half days, we worked in a coastal neighborhood of Houston.  We were overwhelmed as we drove through the streets, surrounded on every side by piles and piles of garbage.  All the houses had been flooded, and everything had become tainted with mold and raw sewage.  It was hot, and humid, and the smell took some getting used to.  But once we came to the first house, we quickly focused on the task at hand and began the work.  We hauled garbage out to the curb.  We pulled nails out of the walls, to make room for new sheetrock. We removed everything from the superstructure that might retain moisture.  We pressure-washed everything until it no longer smelled like sewage.  Finally, we covered everything with a fine coat of fungicide to prevent the growth of mold.  Then we would close up the house, and move on to the next.  We accomplished a lot each day, but we were consistently overwhelmed in the evenings by how much remained to be done.




The owner of the first house told us, “I have scarcely rested at all for the past 14 days. I feel like I can finally take a nap without thinking about what I have to do next.  I can rest now.  Thank you.” 
The owner of the second house was a woman in her 70s, who took me aside near the end of our time there.  “I like you”, she said.  “Let me give you something”.  Then she took a piece of paper and began filling it with instructions.  She told me what internet service provider I should use.  She told me exercises I should be doing.  She told me how to lose weight.  She told me a dozen other things to do.  Then I realized what she was actually doing: This woman didn’t like accepting help without giving something in  return.  But the hurricane had taken everything she had except her knowledge.  So, she gave me that.   I thanked her for her wisdom.
The owner of the third house was married to an airline worker, who had been temporarily stranded in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria.  While he struggled to get home, she struggled to put their house back together, and to maintain some sense of normalcy for her young daughter.  She took a picture of our group, and had us all sign it.  “When our house is livable again,”, she said, “I want this picture in our living room”.
The trip had been difficult, but deeply gratifying.  By the end, we were all so homesick that we made the entire return trip in one long haul.  I can’t tell you how grateful I was that God allowed our church to be a part of this great work.


Clothing the Needy




First Baptist Church is about half a mile away from the border between Dewey County and Ziebach County. These counties are the third poorest in the nation, and the poorest in the nation, respectively.  So there is no shortage of immediate need in our community.  Fortunately for us, we have friends from across America who have generous hearts and a willingness to share their bounty.  They send a great quantity of  clothes and other useful things to us, so we can distribute them to the poor.  And whenever we have a good quantity of these things stored up, we host a big giveaway at the church.  We had one of these this November, when dozens of people from all over the community came and took possession of high-quality donated clothes, without cost. They were all grateful, but the joy didn’t stop there; I took the liberty of using this giveaway to advertise another event, about two days later…


The Great Thanksgiving Feast




For many years, First Baptist Church has enjoyed a strong partnership with Hamilton Baptist Church of Virginia.  This takes many forms, but is rarely more evident than at the feast of Thanksgiving.  Each year, Hamilton Baptist Church sends a visiting team to prepare a large meal, to which the entire town is invited.  This year was more successful than any year previous to this, with more than 300 people in attendance.  Roughly 120 pounds of turkey was prepared and served, together with stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other traditional favorites.  Our church youth assisted in serving the meal.  Everyone present had the opportunity to write down prayer requests and put them in a “Prayer Jar”, to be prayed over later.  And every place setting included a good tract.  Everyone left satisfied, especially me.  I am grateful to God for using us in this way, and to Hamilton Baptist Church, for their gracious assistance to us.

Operation Christmas Child
  



As the Christmas season approaches, it’s important for us to remember those less fortunate than ourselves.  For this reason, First Baptist Church partners with Samaritan’s Purse each year to send gifts to children in third-world countries around the globe.  Small items, which can be had from any dollar store, can make a child’s Christmas magical in places where there are no luxuries to be had.
This year, the various church members pooled their resources to give gifts to 17 young boys and girls.  These gifts were packed into shoeboxes by our youth, then sent on to the shipping stations of Samaritan’s Purse.  Our efforts do not transform the world, but we did manage to make it a little better for 17 young children.  And I am grateful to have had that opportunity.
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:
PrayerIt 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!  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