During the week of July 4th, our very own 3rd grade teacher, Kayra Winn, and her family traveled to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Northeastern Montana.
Kayra, her husband, Ben, and their two kids Silas (rising WCCS 5th grader) and Lydia (rising WCCS 1st grader), served for a week in a remote area amongst the people of this tiny community. While there, the Winn family ran several sports and backyard Bible camps and a community festival, ministered in a senior care center, held community dinners and fellowshipped with the kind people of this region. The Winn’s are a great example of living out the WCCS mission of “educating students to bless our world as disciples of Jesus Christ” not only at school, but in their daily lives as well.
“We think it is important that our children see, at an early age, that they can use their talents and interests to serve God and minister to others,” shares Kayra Winn. “On this mission, Silas was able to use his passion for soccer to love on those American Indian children. And Lydia was able to do the same with her love of crafts and sports.” Silas admits that “it was hard sometimes to have the courage to tell someone about Jesus.” When asked what kind of impact the trip had on him, Silas shares that “it really made an impact on me how nice the kids were […] It was an experience to let you grow in your faith.” 1st grader, Lydia, grew in her faith as well, wisely understanding that you can share God’s love in small ways as well. “I know [that saying] good morning, hello to people and telling them to have a good day is serving people. I like to do that.”
"We think it is important that our children see, at an early age, that they can use their talents and interests to serve God."
The trip was not without its challenges. It was unusually hot and dry, and early in the week a forest fire started, just around the mountain from where the Winn family was serving. “This area is so remote with limited resources and a forest fire seemed so ominous. We were cautioned that we could need to evacuate our camps,” states Kayra. In addition, Lydia was hurt pretty badly early in the week, taking a hard knock to the face and head during one of the camps. However, God was faithful in protecting the community as well as the Winn family and their team as they served Him throughout the week.
A particularly impactful day of service for Kayra was in ministering to a Native American grandmother who brought her grandchild to one of the Bible camps. “I overheard her telling another lady about their tribal culture [….] The lady began to tell us that she was a dancer in their tribal ceremonies that were self-mutilating and meant to be sacrificial for the benefit of healing someone else. She told us that she didn’t feel the “spirits” with her that her ancestors had spoken of. She asked about Heaven and if she could still do these things and see Jesus one day. I prayed for God to give me His words, and He allowed me to witness to this grandmother and share God’s plan of salvation. She and I prayed and she wept, asking God to give her strength to stay away from things she knows does not please Him. She asked God to save her, and [she] is now my sister in Christ!” Before going on this trip, Kayra states that she had not quite had an opportunity like this. “I am often ready and willing to share how God has worked in my life and to tell others about him in a group setting, but I had never had a one-on-one experience to lead someone to Christ. Honestly, the idea made me nervous, and I felt ‘unqualified.’ Through the Holy Spirit, I was able to overcome that insecurity and fear as I talked [with her]. Now, I feel stronger about individual opportunities to share God’s plan of salvation!”
What an encouragement and valuable lesson for all of us as we seek to serve the Lord this summer and throughout our daily lives. “In a culture where our children have everything at their fingertips, and are blessed beyond measure, they need to see that they are able to steward their blessings to love on others. It's how we bless our world as disciples of Christ.” Wise words from teacher, Kayra Winn.