Thursday, May 26, 2022

First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte

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

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


May 26, 2022


Dear Friends,



Winter has passed, and Spring has come. The dark shadow of the pandemic has lifted, and nearly every restriction is gone. Here in Eagle Butte, the strain on our people has been bad-as I’m sure it was where you were living! But in the midst of it all, God was with us, and He has blessed us with the ability to weather the storm. Our church attendance is rebuilding, our old activities are resuming, and everything is getting back to normal. Our Lord is to be praised, and we will praise Him together as we enter this new dawn!


Wednesday Night Bible Study is Back on!



During the pandemic, wednesday night Bible studies fell by the wayside as we concentrated on Sunday morning worship. But as the restrictions began to lift, people began to crave the fellowship of Wednesday night Bible study once again.

I did not want to resume this activity by simply doing what we were doing before. If I may be completely honest, I have never been very good at leading Bible studies; preaching has been my strong suit. I was never happy with the way Bible studies went before the lockdowns, since they sort of seemed to turn into sermons.  So this time, I decided to fundamentally change the way we did Bible studies, from the bottom up.

After church one Sunday, I asked everyone who was interested in having Bible studies to stay after church and talk with me about it. I asked each of them what they most wanted to find in a Bible study. One said fellowship; another said prayer; another said they wanted to learn something; still another said they wanted to be reminded of what was taught in the Sunday morning service, and talk about how to apply it. Together, we chose a format that achieved all of these goals, and then…

To my surprise, ever since then we have been having better Bible studies than ever before! People are sharing about their lives, and bonding with each other, and laughing, and crying, and supporting each other, and just plain BEING THE BODY OF CHRIST. We are also introducing “Zoom” as a more permanent part of Wednesday night Bible study. People can meet me at the church for Bible study, but if it is more convenient for them, they can join the group via Zoom. The result is solid, consistent attendance, and in higher numbers than I’m used to. I’ve never been happier. 


Church Potlucks Have Returned!



A monthly tradition of our church has been potluck lunches, every month. They provided an opportunity for fellowship and mutual support. But when the pandemic came, potlucks ended as a matter of public safety. They were sorely missed by everyone involved. 

But this Easter, all of that changed. Following our worship service celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, we sat down and feasted together-just like in the old days. It was deeply satisfying, and everyone present enjoyed being together. We look forward to continuing this tradition in the future, resuming our monthly feast once again.


Windswept Academy Finishes Another Graduating Class!



Windswept Academy, the Christian School that serves this community, has been associated with First Baptist Church ever since its founding. This year, we were proud to celebrate the graduating class of 2022, and the strongest condition in which the school has ever been. We even had a historical first this year-a young man graduated from high school at Windswept, after having gone to the school every grade since kindergarten!


Lakota Language Learning is Going Great!


For the third year in a row, I have been granted the honor of being Windswept Academy’s Lakota teacher. The students are having a lot of fun learning the Lakota language, and are showing substantial progress. Pictured above are two of my classes, and every student in each of these classes can count from one to twenty in Lakota without a single mistake. In the older grades, they are even able to translate lengthy sentences in Lakota, and do so faster than I can write them on the board! I’m so proud of them all.









An Upcoming Wedding!



Next month, I will be presiding over a wedding between two of our church members: Johnny Maholic and Amy Brown. They both are teachers at Windswept Academy, and serve in our church wherever they are able. I have had the privilege of conducting premarital counseling with them over the past several months. No two people are ever really ready for marriage, but these two are more ready than most. I see a bright future ahead for them, whatever God has in store.


Beautiful New Paintings!



Our church has a series of ten paintings in the hallway, telling the story of salvation history. They were painted by Bryson Dupris, a local artist who is known for his unusually keen grasp of proportion, perspective and shading. Recently, a new attendee of our church became impressed by these paintings and donated money to pay Bryson to paint three more. As a result, we now have pictures of Noah’s Ark, the baptism of Christ and the Triumphal Entry in our hallway. These pictures help us to share the Gospel in ways that words cannot.







From Windswept Academy Children to Ukrainian Refugees!



Burkemont Baptist Church, with whom our church has shared a longtime friendship, has sent a mission team to the eastern European nation of Moldova, and it is ministering to the needs of Ukrainian refugees as I write this. Eddie Bunton, the leader of the team, asked if the children at Windswept Academy would like to draw some pictures for the team to distribute to some of the Ukrainian children. The students of Windswept were eager to do it, and made a large number of pictures to share. Our prayers go with our friends to Moldova, and we hope these pictures will bring some little children joy.


An Unexpected and Wonderful Surprise!



Following the recent news that Roe v. Wade is expected to be overturned, I noticed that a number of churches nationwide had been vandalized out of frustration. I wondered if we would deal with any graffiti of our own. That Sunday, when I arrived at church, I had my answer, but it was so much better than anything I could have imagined. 

One of our church members, out of an abundance of kindness, had cleaned up our entire backyard. Not only that, but he had spraypainted the message “Jesus loves you” on the back fence. Now, there’s some graffiti I never plan to remove!


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So perhaps you are wondering how you can become a partner with us in our ministry here in Eagle Butte?  If so, we certainly welcome your assistance. 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 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


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Newsletter December 2021

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 15, 2021


Dear Friends,

What a wild trip it’s been, these past six months! While the Covid pandemic has not yet come to an end, the restrictions have begun to loosen around here. At long last, we are resuming doing some of the old routine that we once did. And let me tell you, it feels good!



Sunday School began for the children a little over a month ago, and it has been a success. The children love it.  I have started an adult Bible Study that takes place at the same time. At my wife’s suggestion, we are doing a study called “Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table”, by Louis Giglio. We are in high hopes for the future of our Sunday morning Bible study, and I have already had requests to start a Wednesday evening Bible study as well.

Meanwhile, Christmas is near, and we have taken great delight in making the church pretty in celebration of our Lord’s birth. It will be a Merry Christmas indeed!


Giveaways!



Throughout the year, generous souls like you donate hats, scarves, gloves, coats, shoes, shirts, pants, toys, books, and miscellaneous items of every kind to help the less fortunate here in this community. And I collect them here at the church until I have enough to host a giveaway here at the church.  Anyone from the community who is in need can come and take freely from whatever we have to offer.  And since the last newsletter, thanks to your generous donations, we have been able to host two such giveaways here at the church.  Hundreds of items have been given away, and the people were grateful.  For some, these giveaways will help them have a merrier Christmas.  For others, they will be better able to keep warm during the cold winter nights.  But however it is felt, a lot of people are better off because of your generosity.  You have my thanks, and theirs!


Taking Vacation Bible School to the Reservation at Large


After two years, we have once again had the privilege of welcoming Sevier Heights Baptist Church of Tennessee to the Cheyenne River Reservation.  Bringing with them a team of energetic and servant-hearted young people, they went to the outlying settlement of Red Scaffold, on the reservations’ western border. There, they reconnected with old friends in the community, hosted a Vacation Bible School, and went with the kids on daily hikes in the hills surrounding the town.  It was a good week; one that we had anticipated for a long time.  And the friendships they have built with the children of Red Scaffold are sure to last for a long time to come.


VBS in Eagle Butte



This Summer, we had the honor of hosting Shiloh Baptist Church of Kiln, Mississippi.  Devoted as they were organized, they set up a wonderful VBS for the children of Eagle Butte. It had stations for Bible learning, crafts, music, and games.  I especially enjoyed the music, as every one the catchy tunes they had chosen was meant to be sung with lyrics lifted straight from the Old Testament. The children were memorizing Bible verses, and they didn’t even know it!

I remember a special time during the games when a young boy hurt his ankle, and I had to carry him off the field.  Not wanting to leave him by himself, I talked with him and tried to keep his mind on pleasant things.  But it was not long before he started asking me about spiritual things, and I was able to have a far deeper and more meaningful conversation with him than I would have expected!

Overall, every moment with this group was a joy, and I couldn’t be more thankful for what they did here!


Sports Camp!



We hosted a sports camp at our church, with the tremendous help of Calvary Bible Church of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania! The group included the family of our own Johnny Maholic, and I was very glad to meet them for the first time.

Each day, for four days, they centered their activities around a particular sport.  One day, it was soccer. The next, it was basketball. The next, it was volleyball. The next, it was field hockey.  Every day was new, and different, and exciting in its own way.  The children had a lot of fun.  

But it was more than just sports.  Each day included a dramatic skit, as well as a Christian song period (led by our own Amy Brown). The kids were happy and excited to participate, even though the sun was very hot and we needed to frequently rehydrate.



Not satisfied with this grand project, some of the more ambitious group members took on a repair that we have been needing for some time.  Our steeple was in need of repainting.  Early in the morning, some of them climbed onto the roof and gave it the best paint job it’s had in years.  Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It was a great joy to see all these new friends.  Their work was wholehearted and well-received, and I am very grateful for the benefit they brought to the community.


A Wedding!



I am happy to announce the holy union of two good members of our community: Reggie Kills a Hundred and his now-wife Gwendolyn.  The two of them were married by me, in the first wedding our church has witnessed in over ten years. I was so proud to be a part of this event, and so glad to see how deep and meaningful this was in the eyes of the happy couple. May God bless this union many times over, and may they be a great example for other couples to follow!


Thanksgiving Feast!



For many years, First Baptist Church has hosted a large Thanksgiving meal for the greater community. Hamilton Baptist Church of Virginia has been our partner in this, and their generous donations and expertise have fed hundreds of people, every year. Unfortunately, with the coming of Covid-19, we were forced to skip last year-our first skip since we began.

But here in 2021, the tradition has begun anew! Hamilton Baptist Church has returned, and they brought back the feast, better than it was before! More than three hundred people were served (more than 10% of our population)! And there was plenty left over to donate to the homeless shelter afterwards.

I cannot thank Hamilton Baptist Church enough, both for their generosity and for all their hard work.

Mission Trip!


This August, Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana, leaving a vast trail of destruction in its wake. Many people’s lives were upended, and there was many millions of dollars’ worth of property damage. In sympathy with their plight, our church resolved to do a mission trip (the second in our history) to help with the rebuilding effort. I took with me two friends of mine-Reggie Kills a Hundred and Shane Brugier. We used our church van to drive down there, sleeping in two generous-hearted churches along the way. The Southern Baptist convention directed our efforts, and told us where to go.



Houma, Louisiana is a coastal city, about an hour outside of New Orleans. Hurricane Ida caused the city to take heavy damage, and many suffered as a result. In that city was Christ Baptist Church, whose Sunday School building had been completely soaked by the hurricane. For three months, the building had remained soaked, and as a result had become eaten up with mold. They needed to have all the sheetrock and molding ripped out and thrown away, so the framing could be treated with fungicide and the rebuilding could begin. The pastor of the church, who was 82 years old, had been trying to do this work all by himself.  He had worked himself to exhaustion, and desperately needed help.  So the work of demolition fell to us.



For 4 ½ days, we swung our hammers, pried off molding, pulled out nails, and hauled wheelbarrows full of garbage. We had to do all of it while wearing masks to keep the mold out of our lungs.  But I was grateful for receiving the task that we did. I’m not a skilled construction person, but even I can swing a hammer!


 


By the end, we had finished both floors, and the pastor told us we had greatly exceeded his expectations. He then gave us a tour of the bayou, and treated us to some delicious jambalaya!

We were all grateful for the opportunity to help in this way, and thank the Lord for our safe return.

C:\Users\BenandTiffany\Pictures\2013-05-16\950.jpg

 

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


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