Thursday, November 5, 2020

Newsletter 11/6/2020

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

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

(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (502) 216-3782 (Pastor’s Cell)


November 6, 2020


Dear Friends,





It is to my shame that I have let so much time pass since I have written to you.  Like all of America, First Baptist Church has undergone considerable changes in the last several months, and I need to let you know all about them.



Our Tribe has been particularly concerned about the onset of the Coronavirus, and so the Tribal Council has seen fit to heavily restrict traffic on and off the reservation.  To their credit, the restrictions have greatly slowed the spread of the virus, and we started getting cases well after the other reservations.  But the pandemic has now reached us, all the same.  

At present, anyone who leaves and returns is requested to confine themselves to their homes for a period of time, so as to avoid spreading the virus.  I myself have been quarantined, after I baptized a man whose mother had the Coronavirus.  I developed no symptoms, but those 10 days were not exciting!


This Halloween, trick-or-treating was canceled. My wife and I had stockpiled a good many candy bars to give away to the children, but alas, we were able to give away almost none.  


In the early days of the lockdown, all businesses and institutions were heavily restricted.  Even the grocery store was limited to 10 customers at a time, and those who waited to get inside had to wait 6 feet apart. 



Our church was asked to shut down its in-person services, and we did so for about four months.  During all that time, I felt like a hermit.  My wife acted as a cameraperson and filmed me in our house every Sunday.  I delivered the sermon, which we posted on Facebook Live.  Then we uploaded the sermon to our website at www.fbceaglebutte.com, as we usually do.  Finally, we sent the sermon off to KIPI, our local radio station, to transmit the message to all parts of the reservation.  And all of this was done with little indication of whether we were even being heard.  For those of you who did listen, and let let us know, thank you!  

In time, a church member came up with a brilliant idea for having church outside.  I spoke with the civil and Tribal authorities, and they were on board with the idea.  So we set out chairs on the sidewalk for several weeks, and had services under a spreading tree.  But soon, the viral restrictions became more severe, and we were forced to move things entirely online again.  I was determined to follow the law.  I wanted our church to be one that played by the rules.  In fact, we continued to keep our services online, even after the other churches had chosen to ignore the guidelines and go back to meeting in person.


But there comes a moment when one must break the rules in order to do what is right.  For our church, that time came when the tribal government said that all non-essential meetings must stay closed, but that bars and restaurants would be allowed to stay open.  I was not willing to shut down worship services every Sunday morning, when people were allowed to go out and drink every Saturday night.  And so, in our church’s first act of civil disobedience, we began to meet in person once more.  We held to very strict safety standards, and continue to do so.  


November Tragedy


This November 3 was election day, as you know.  Unfortunately, South Dakota had more on the ballot than the usual political candidates.  Two resolutions were considered, which would legalize marijuana, for both medical and recreational purposes.  Sadly, the vote wasn’t even close.  Marijuana is now entirely legal in this state, and I am afraid that this reservation is about to suffer because of it.  



Indian reservations were invented for the purpose of pacifying native people-making them sit in one place and placidly wait for the Federal government to do with them whatever they wished.  Now, marijuana is here to chemically bring about that exact goal. I am furious about it.  Please pray for this reservation.  It is harmful to this people that marijuana is legal, but this is not the end of the fight.  From here on, every person represents a separate battle.


The Great Cleaning of 2020



When life gives you lemons, you should make lemon pudding.  I’m pretty sure the phrase goes something like that.  So that being the case, I decided to use the extra time I had this year to clean the church.  Some of you who have organized things in the past know that whenever you organize something, you have to make it messier first, so you can see your work.  Before the pandemic, I could never do this, because there was always something going on in the church building.  But lately, I’ve been able to do a lot of cleaning, and the results have been impressive. I sorted over 10,000 pieces of paper, discovered letters written by our founder, and ran across 8-cent stamps with Eisenhower’s picture on them! 


I moved on from there to clean out our church storage pod, together with our shed, so that I am now able to access all kinds of space that I wasn’t able to see before.  

As an extra project, I even stained the railing in the front of the church.  It looks much better now.



Our New Library!



By the time I was done, I had cleared out an entire room.  But now that we had an empty room, what to do with it?  I had an idea.  For years, I had dreamed of having a fully-functional church library.  So we had some bookshelves built. Then I stained them.  Then I sorted our various books-more than 500-which had been sitting in boxes up until this point.  I sorted them by relevance, by category, and by alphabetical order, then I put them on the shelves.  I even fitted each individual book with a barcode, and entered the barcode into an online database-together with the book’s author and title.  We now have a fully-functional lending library, complete with an online catalogue.  I am so happy about being able to make this dream a reality at last.














Communion During a Pandemic


?


Easter was one of the holidays that took place when we were entirely locked down. This is a holiday that we typically celebrate through Communion. But we had to do any and all celebration while linked only through the internet, or over the radio.  This was problematic, but Christians have faced greater challenges to their creativity than this.  With a little imagination, we found a way to do communion over a long distance.


Fortunately, we are Baptists.  So communion does not need to be personally blessed by me.  Instead, communion symbolically represents the body and blood of Christ.  So I instructed everyone who was watching from home to get some crackers or bread from the cupboard, along with something to drink.  Then, using these elements, we conducted the communion as normal.  The pandemic places limitations on us, but God provides a way.


Baptisms!


 


I am happy to report that we have had two baptisms since the last newsletter.  One of them, Brandon Hawk Eagle, works for the tribe, helping them enforce quarantines on COVID-postive patients.  He is actively participating in discipleship classes with me. The other, Delanie McLeod, is a little girl who goes to Kindergarten at Windswept Academy.  She loves Jesus, and her mother has observed a visible change in her since she gave her life to the Lord.  Please pray for the spiritual growth and development of both of these two.


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.

Pray, also, for our volunteers, that their strength will be renewed, and that the they will not be overwhelmed by the many tasks that are involved in ministry.

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,


Ben Farrar

Pastor

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte





Friday, December 13, 2019

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte
P.O. Box 170, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
(605) 964-3617 (Office) / (605) 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