Jun 4 2011

Washed Up on the Rocky Shore

Today we have been washed up on the West Coast after three grueling days of driving. New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Oregon. 1800+ miles and now collapsed on the rocky shore in Oceanside.

Howie and Debbie sleeping on the rocks at the beach.

Washed up after a long drive

Tomorrow we begin our musicianary thrust throughout the Northwest. Three events in Tillamook, followed by several with the folks at the Union Gospel Mission of Portland , an action packed weekend awaits us in the Tri-cities of Washington, then off to a backyard party in Milton-Freewater, concert in Kalispell, MT, finally the Lakota Soiux Rosebud Reservation.

Sometimes I feel very weary, like today as we crashed on the beach. Often I think that settling down would suit me just fine and I will establish a homestead rather than of all this wayfarin’. I might even think about replacing my sprout jar with a leafy, green garden. But these are just musings that quickly pass as I dream about what the weeks ahead will offer.

I am reminded of the scripture in 2 Corinthians where Paul mentions that “when I am weak, then am I strong”. Even though today I am feeling quite “washed up” and stretched out on the rocky coast, I know that the Lord has something special planned. It is this hope that compels me get up, get off the rocky shoreline and move ahead in Christ.


Jun 30 2010

For All Tribes – Jesus

A Sioux Indian in Rapid City told us as we were passing through to the Rosebud Reservation that the Native peoples reject the white man’s God because of the boarding school experiences. Children were removed from their homes, from their parents and all that was familiar and placed in a school where they were forbidden to keep their Indian names, speak their native tongue and practice the tribal traditions. The boarding schools were an attempt by some early missionaries to “convert” the natives. This attempt not only backfired but served to drive them away from Christianity in deep anger and bitterness. We heard a similar story 25 years ago from a Seneca teacher, herself growing up in a convent boarding school and claimed to have been baptized several times with no conversion.

We brought the matter to the Lord and asked Him to divinely give us a hearing among the tribal people.

Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel celebrating the four colors of humanity

Piya Mani Otipi Rehab Center

Eighteen people filed into the room of the substance abuse recovery program, took their seats on the couches and chairs that circled around the room and look at us, the “white” folks that have a message for them. Howie introduced us and began to share and play. Some yawned, a couple giggled and many avoided direct eye contact. We were wondering if we would be able to make the connection when Chris, the gal who took us there, passed out tambourines, which turned out to be a good thing as it helped open the communication between us all. Howie shared his own story of his involvement in drugs and alcohol, how he discovered the Bible out there on a dirt road with no Christians around, surrendered his life to the Lord and found freedom. He also shared how we lived on the Cattaraugus Reservation and began praying 25 years ago that we would have the opportunity to visit the Rosebud for Jesus.

I shared that my brother and I have always had a great admiration for the Native Americans because of their respect for the created things. Then I shared how Jesus himself was not the “white man’s” God, but was from a tribal people, the Jewish Nation, who had twelve tribes, much like the Sioux, and Jesus was called “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. This is a noble name.


"It does not require many words to speak the truth" Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Howie and I worked together to explain how the Creator became flesh and choose to become a man to teach us how to live. This perfect man, God in the flesh, took our sins upon himself and was nailed to the tree. But he did not stay there as he arose and conquered death. He will return to take us home – those who call upon his name.

By now the folks had discovered that our message was not what they expected and were tracking with us. Howie brought out his Indian made wooden flute and played for them. Many closed their eyes and respectfully listened with a prayerful attitude.

Howie shared the Gospel message clearly and in a very relevant manner. Then he offered prayer for anyone who wanted it after the session concluded. To our delight, nearly the entire group responded, individually coming up and sharing their story and receiving prayer.

The Lord Jesus applied His healing balm that day. Hearts were touched, decisions made and we were blessed beyond words.

Wanbli Wiconi Tipi

We brought a similar message to the kids at Wanbli Wiconi Tipi: A Juvenile Detention Center

But the blessing was to continue. God scheduled the opportunity for us to return, via a surprise cancelation and a phone call to Ray, Chris’ husband, to come lead the Sunday afternoon meeting. This was just as we were planning to leave the area. We saw the working of the Holy Spirit as He was not finished yet. We arrived to bright smiles and joy filled room. This second visit not only reinforced the message we shared, but strengthened our connection as well. We left our new friends each with a Gospel of John and exchange smiles until our paths cross again.

There is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:3

Concert in the empty lot on the Rosebud

Concert on Rosebud Reservation, Mission SD

May 18 2010

A Wilderness Ministry

Traveling through what seemed to be “No Man’s Land” in Northern Arizona we wondered if God would open opportunities for us to witness for Him.

Picnic on the Rocks on the Hopi Reservation

Picnic on the Rocks, Hopi Reservation in AZ

The Hopi reservation was rocky and harsh. This was quite the contrast to the people that live in the land. At the cultural center we met V***** a DJ from WYI Res Radio, who shared with us that Hopi means “Peaceful People”. We also began to realize that our “Wayfarin Strangers Amped” CD would be well liked here on the Reservation.

Handpainted Hopi bowl with Juniper berries

We gathered Hopi Contacts and we gathered Juniper Berries before moving on!

As the Great Circle USA 2010 takes us through Navajo Country the desert sun is hot and the nights are cold. This is perfect for sleeping in the van.
Navajo Barreness

Barren Navajo Land

The roadway was dotted with venders selling their handwork. Howie wanted a leather and turquoise decoration to hang from his guitar neck and we hoped to find it Navajo made.
The Lord lead us to J*****a who was happily equipted for the challenge of designing a piece for Howie.
A Navajo woman makes a guitar trim for Howie

A Navajo woman makes a guitar trim for Howie

As she worked Howie suggested that he serenades the vendors. His suggestion was received with many smiles. As the Navajo woman put her finishing touch on the piece by tying her work to the guitar neck, he offered her and the nearby vendors copies his CDs: The Good News of Christmas, Colonial Meditations and Thank You.

Man listens as Howie plays

R* listens as Howie plays

R* said liked R&B, so Howie invited him to our van to listen to some of “Wayfarin Strangers Amped”. He loved it and we promised to send him a copy as soon as it is released.
The conversation segued nicely into Jesus as Howie shared his story, then R* shared his story. God has placed us in the right place at the right time to minister to a native man who has a great need. We were able to pray with R* and leave him with a Gospel of John. Soon he will have our new CD as well as a letter from us.
A divine appointment

Apr 18 2010

Unity and Diversity: Orange Mound’s 5hr. Concert

Saturday we had a wonderful opportunity to play an outreach concert on Orange Mound in Memphis, TN. I have read that Orange Mound was a neighborhood formed in the late 1800s to provide refuge for the black community. Strangely enough it was just over the tracks from the KKK stronghold. For years it was billed as the largest black community in the USA. And though that may no longer be true, I would safely say that most all of its residents are still of African American decent.

These days Orange Mound is dotted with boarded up windows, gangsters. Drugsters and hookers with all that lifestyle brings. Among all of this you find children. Many, many children. But the Lord is using Rev. Reggie Tucker and his wife, Mary to make an impact in this part of Memphis inner city. Forming the Orange Mound Outreach Center, their slogan is “Lord, do what you do” with the vision of “taking our children back”.

Rev. Reggie & Mary Tucker

Rev. Reggie & Mary Tucker

We arrived at Orange Mound at 11AM to set up in the lot next to the outreach center. With a backdrop of a chain linked fence topped with razor wire, Howie and I set up the sound system. Howie had planned ahead of time to have a keyboardist, drummer and guitar player join us, as we often assemble pick up bands for events like this, but as the day arrived each one was unable to join us. The Lord knew our plans, but He had other plans.

As the final microphone was in place and the guitar was coming out I noticed two vans pulled up really close to where we were. Actually, I wondered why they didn’t park on the street like everyone else. Then these guys get out, say “Hi” and start pulling out drums and a keyboard stand. The funny part was we didn’t know who they were, or how they knew we could use a band….

The band setting up

Setting up

Taurus, Henry, Andrew and Tye were from the “Praise is What We Do” ministry located in the next hood over. They had heard about the event the night before and decided to come down, support the Tuckers work and were eager to sit in. I love it when God knits his family together for the common cause! Quickly we set up 4 extra mics and soon we were ready to roll.

A Diverse Band

A Diverse Band of Christians

Unity and Diversity: Memphis has long been known for its racial tensions and hatred. This was probably most clearly displayed when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. In fact, when we first moved to Memphis from New York State in ”93 I was shocked by this tension, on both sides, how obvious it was and how folks seemed to view it as the norm, even within the church at times.


Happy Girls

A lot of kids were there. It was really cool that the kids got to see a mixed racial band playing together. Actually, as Howie said, we are brothers and sisters. We have the same spiritual Father! This is a powerful message to the children today. Jesus unites across all differences!
Reggie had his cooker out and was barbequing up chicken, burgers and hot dogs. It was so tasty and the smell brought in folks from all directions.
Happy kids

Happy Children

For a moment of time, in this space on Orange Mound, color did not matter. Together we celebrated the day, uplifted the name of Jesus, enjoyed food and good music.
A moment of joy

A Moment of Joy

The name of Jesus was strongly proclaimed and the forces of darkness were pushed back. We continued to pray that God will “do what he does” and that the children will be spared from a life of addiction and hatred. May the Lord turn the city right side up, one heart at a time.

Apr 3 2010

Kayla and the Salvation Band Project

Salvation Beads

Salvation Beads

When we returned from our Great Circle 09 Mission Tour, Kayla heard our presentation at her church. We told the story about Joshua’s Piggy Bank for God and how that one project impacted 300 children across the United States. This story about a 7 year old really made an impression on Kayla.  She began to think of what she can do to reach children this year.

Having taken three mission trips in the past, Kayla, now 16 years old, remembered how the “salvation bands” worked so well to teach Romanian children the salvation message.

Kids Working on beads

Kayla had the kids working in the kitchen

This ambitious young lady wasted not a minute. She got busy gathering donations of pony beads, leather, and key rings to make bands for us to take this year.  Then, the appointed day came for her parents to invite a couple families over for a Sunday luncheon.  Actually, it was more than a Sunday luncheon, it was an important ministry that took place around the table.

Kayla seized the moment and provided bowls of colorful beads and instructions for all to follow. Everyone was involved, young and old. Within an hour the bags were full.

Adults working

Kayla had the adults busy in the dining room

Thank you Kayla and helpers. 685 children will not only hear the message of redemption but will have something to take home with them to remember Gods plan of salvation.

Finished product

658 Total

The Message

Black – Sin – Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

Red – Blood – 1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Blue – Baptism – Romans 6:4 – Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

White – Purity Psalm 51:7 – Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow

Green – Eternal life – 2Peter 3:18 –  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen

Gold – Heaven  – John 14:2 – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.