Umatilla Reservation Offers a Mission Close to Home

October 25, 2016 | Matthew Lombard

Did you know there are mission fields very close to the Walla Walla Valley? One of them is, ironically, in Mission, Ore., which is less than 40 miles from Walla Walla, Wash. In this Native American community outside Pendleton, Ore., you will find the Governance Center for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation.

In the late 1970s, Verna and Lee Clay, at that time members of the Blue Mountain Valley Adventist Church in Athena, Ore., helped to pioneer a work among the people of the tribes by establishing a Bible Story Hour, a school and eventually a church on the reservation.

Since the Clays passed away, the school has closed. However, their outreach is still carried on by others who desire to keep the mission to the Umatilla Reservation alive. Each Sabbath afternoon at 2:30 p.m., there is an outreach program that takes place at the Mission Indian Church at 46576 Mission Rd., in Pendleton. This program is coordinated by the Blue Mountain Valley Church and the Milton Church in Milton-Freewater, Ore.

Many volunteers spend hours of loving labor for this outreach. There are bus drivers, storytellers, musicians, those who prepare food and more. The motivation for each of these volunteers is the desire to see the hearts of those who come to participate respond to the grace and love of Jesus.

There are many needs associated with this ministry right now:

  • A full-time outreach coordinator/Bible worker;
  • Prayer warriors to intercede for this ministry;
  • Funds to help carry on the outreach;
  • Energetic volunteers for music, crafts and storytelling.