It’s December, which means we are just weeks away from entering a new year. We so much to update you on from the month of November, before getting into all that has been happening so far this month (December). November began calmly but towards the end became a busy month indeed. Between trips to minister, visiting friends, Thanksgiving and volunteers constantly coming and going here at home, needless to say we had a great time this month.
This month, Teresa felt the Lord impress upon to begin a four week bible study based on the Love Dare, the book used to repair Kirk Cameron’s marriage in the 2008 film “Fireproof”. The study focus on the different facets of God’s love in marriage and love for one another, and goes deep into key areas in a marriage, such as respect, honesty and communication. There three couples, between Lancaster, Palmdale and Rosamond that attended and all involved can testify God has used the study to change the way they see their marriages and each other. The couples were encouraged in turn to mentor other couples using the Love Dare curriculum and do the study with them, as a means of discipleship.
One of the first things we did was celebrate a birthday! Teresa Skinner and Annella Whitehead, along with Dr. Lilibeth Say, Vicki Isip and others celebrated Tony Isip’s birthday. They all shared a wonderful time, as they celebrated our dear friend’s birthday. We here at home are all thankful at God’s mercy as Tony continues to mend, improving more and more each day. Tony has been in and out of the hospital, but he’s doing better now. We appreciate your prayers for Tony and Vicki as they continue on the road of recovery.
All Nations took two important local trips this month. Our first trip took us to the Morongo Indian Reservation, on November 21. Teresa Skinner invited by Jerome and Diane Salgado, and Dr. Gabriel and Laura to sing worship as part of their Native American Pastors Leadership Summit, held at Morongo Faith Chapel, on the Morongo Indian Reservation. Teresa saw the invitation as a learning and cultural experience for our volunteers, and our volunteers were all for it. Mark and Tracy Vaughan, Sindy Smith, Carrie Duren, Marva and Robert Beauvoir, Amelia “Meme” Meeks, Bruce Menefield, Cathy Jones and Ashley Flores made up the team that went. Teresa lead worship with Ashley doing background vocals, Meme was on the drums, Bruce played the saxophone and Mark was the bassist. Tracy Vaughan did an incredible spoken word piece, Carrie and Sindy complimented the worship team with beautiful, anointed dancing, and the rest of our team prayed and worshipped as the presence of the Lord came down strongly.
One aspect about this meeting was All Nations coming full circle in our relationship with the Morongo Indian Reservation. Back not too long ago, Morongo Faith Chapel was Teresa’s first mission outreach. The late Bro. Walter Holmes had asked Agnes to send someone to Morongo, and Teresa was that person. Now, almost 30 years later, the light of Christ is finding the Natives rising up and declaring Christ as King, and, as Dr. Gabriel says, the mission field are becoming the missionaries. It was beautiful to see how the past and the present came together to give a glimpse of the future, not just in Morongo, but in every Native Nation. We want to thank Jerome, Diane, Dr. Gabriel and Laura for the invitation and the honor of being a part of what God is doing in the Native people. The event was streamed live, courtesy of Pastors Yaseer and Monique Handall, and is available to watch on the Handall’s Ustream ministry page. To watch a portion of the worship, click the link: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/55695643. There you will find all the videos from that night, as well as previous sessions from the weekend Native American Pastors Leadership Summit.
Our second trip landed us at Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, California on November 25. Our dear friends Pastors Yaseer and Monique Handall lead Sherman Nation, a ministry that works with the students on a monthly basis, bring love, encouragement and enjoyment through activities, special guests and projects. For the last two years, All Nations has been privileged to be a part of Thanksgiving Dinner and activities that the Sherman Nation ministry does. Mark and Tracy Vaughan, Sindy Smith – three new members of our house – and Ashley Flores went as our representatives to be intercessors during the event. This year a team from San Diego called Inspire the Youth, a part of a non-profit organization entitled iThinkBig, came to speak to the children. T-shirts, visual media and messages showcasing slogans such as “Be Remarkable”, “Believe in Yourself”, and “Think Bigger” were repeated often throughout the assembly. Games, singing and storytelling were punctuated by testimonies from the staff, everything centering on the concept that there was something placed deep within them that was meant to rise and do big things, to be remarkable.
At the end of the assembly, a large 2×4 piece of solid wood was brought out. The students were encouraged by the Inspire the Youth team to “be brave”, to write out the things that fears, struggles, addictions and pain that they faced. Out of the 280 students that were present, 240 students arose almost at once, crowding the stage as they wrote the things of their hearts, many of them things that may have never been spoken. When they were done, the students were told that long 2×4 would be broken, and that they no longer needed to let those issues hold them down any longer. A young man, positioned at the back of the auditorium, ran full speed into the board, amidst the shouts and cheers of students, and using his shoulder, split the board in two. The students were encouraged after the assembly to come and get to know the Inspire The Youth team, and many of them did. They were lovingly ministered to, and some showed visible effects of the message they heard. The whole time the assembly was in progress, our team as well as other volunteers from various churches, spread out in the auditorium, sat amongst the students, interceding all the while. Thanksgiving dinner was served after the assembly and smiles and gratitude were visible in many of the students. Some audibly expressed their thanks. Our volunteers said that was one of the best things about the night. We appreciate the opportunity to be involved at Sherman Indian High School.
Two days later, we hosted a large Thanksgiving meal at our house. Everyone from the Junior Skinners (Gordon and Teresa’s Son and Daughter-in-love) to several of our volunteers showed up to partake in dinner and fellowship. Three turkeys, six loaves of sweet bread, several pies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, rolls and more covered the tables while 28 people partook of the provision of the Lord. After dinner, there was a time of praise and worship, spoken word and dance and much thanksgiving. We thank all of our volunteers, who are more like family, for coming over and sharing the holiday with us.
Last but not least, we hosted a women’s retreat. Crystal Organ had an idea to invite some of female volunteers over for a time of fellowship and fun! Almost 20 women attended, ranging from 6 years old to almost 60. There was a scavenger hunt with prizes, a fun game where one lady puts make up on the other lady (blindfolded!), with a devotion that correlated with the game. As souvenirs, the ladies decorated pillowcases with paint, glitter and markers. Then Carrie Duren, Sindy Smith and Crystal Organ taught all the women a worship Dance to Teresa Skinner’s “Luke 4” song. We were very blessed to have Linda Beard join us for the evening. We are happy to report that she is doing well, though she is battling another round of cancer. We are in awe and grateful to God in how He watches and takes care of her! We want to thank Crystal Organ and all the women who attended and made this night very special.
There is one more woman we are happy to have with us at home again, and that Teresa’s mother, Jennene Jeffrey! We are so happy to have our diligent transcriber and doting grandmother back in our home, healthy and CANCER FREE! He is so faithful, and we are so grateful for this precious woman.
For those who live in the Antelope Valley, you may have noticed an interesting story on the front page of Wednesday mornings paper (December 10, 2014), about a young female bear dozing in a tree in an Antelope Acres home. Well, for those who didn’t read the story, the home was ours, and the photo on the front page was from our very own Teresa Skinner!
We were very shocked as Annella Whitehead and Teresa Skinner called is to the front yard, only to find a bear sleeping in our oak tree! Lovingly dubbed by our family as “ANI the Bear”, she caused quite a stir with her sleepy little self. 5 squad cars, an SUV, animal control and the wildlife warden were all in our yard Tuesday morning to get little ANI down and tranquilized.
The game warden (whose name unfortunately is unknown to us at this time) was an incredibly poised and sharp woman, who did her job efficiently and excellently. Little ANI was maneuvered out of the oak tree and ran toward our peacock pen, surprising the birds by climbing in the through the fence, seeking shelter. At this time, the tranquilizer began to take its affect, and one more round found her sleeping in less than 10 minutes. The game warden removed ANI from the pen with utmost care, with the help of the officers standing by. ANI will be released back into the forest to enjoy life peacefully. Needless to say, Tuesday morning was eventful, but we “bearly” got any work done! 😉
Well family, we thank you all as usual for you incredible love and support, and we pray you continue to do well, next time we meet! Merry Christmas!
Your Family at All Nations