The Haskell Indian Nations University campus is quiet now.
Though some students stay in the Lawrence, Kansas, area for summer classes and work, many of the students have returned to their homes across the nation. Some have graduated and moved on to their next phase of life, transitioning into adulthood. Others are looking ahead to the fall semester. For those who return in September, they will be greeted by new faces at the Haskell LIGHT House.
As Will and Patricia Main, co-directors of the LIGHT House for the past ten years, move on to a new phase in their lives, Deacon Bob Prue (Rosebud Sioux), with the help of his wife, Deon, will continue to uphold Lutheran Indian Ministries' mission to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Native American peoples, disciple Native leaders to share the Gospel with their brothers and sisters, and provide resources to assist in the healing of social sufferings while valuing Native cultures.
Bob and Deon returned home to Lawrence in the summer of 2016. For the past year, they have been working closely with Pastor Leiste and Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lawrence, leading Bible studies for college students and building strong relationships within the community. These activities will be a cornerstone for the future work of the Haskell LIGHT Campus Ministry.
"The most powerful tool we have," Bob explained, "is the Word of God and that's what we will focus on. It's Gods Word that changes lives. Jesus says, 'Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.' (John 17:17) We will stand on the truth God has given us in the Bible."
Bob and Deon are busy planning and organizing for the fall semester. On the calendar: coffee gatherings and fun events to draw students in, as well as important activities, like Bible studies and group events to help the students learn and grow in their faith.
Bob recently attended a Beauty for Ashes program in Anchorage, Alaska, (read more about the Beauty for Ashes training here) and is eager to put his new training into action.
Bob recounted, "It was a powerful and important week in Alaska, and it's a piece that is crucial to our campus ministry. It's a message LIM keeps coming back to: We are all saved through faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but before we can fully understand the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father, we need to begin to heal from the trauma in our lives. And when it comes to my Native brothers and sisters, we have a lot of trauma to deal with!"
Beyond Beauty for Ashes, Bob has been actively involved in a local Celebrate Recovery group, which focuses on overcoming addictions, living a healthy lifestyle, and developing positive relationships. "I have seen the great things this program has done in my own life and hope to lead a new group at the LIGHT House which will be a great resource for our Native people. Trauma and addictions go hand in hand. Again, it's the healing component of LIM that we can offer here on campus, and we can do it from a Christian perspective."
Meanwhile, Deon is excited to connect with and empower the young women on campus. "I am looking forward to bringing together a core group of women and really digging into some deep stuff. It will be a group that the students can all rely on for physical and emotional support, as we become the women, daughters, sisters, and mothers God created us to be."
But their ministry will not be confined by the campus borders.
The Native community is prominent in the Lawrence area, and Bob and Deon see a promising partnership with other Native men and women in the community.
"We want to reach out to the Native elders in Lawrence," Bob said. "As Natives, we are taught to respect our elders and listen to their wise advice. So, we want to offer a place for generations of Native people to come together. The elders can share their stories and their wisdom, and the students will learn to serve others through service projects for those elders."
Deon added, "It's important to teach the service aspect of Christianity. Jesus came to serve, not to be served, but many of these students come from environments where they were never shown how or given the opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way. In time, we will expand this concept into mission trips to reservations. That way, when they go back home, they are equipped to improve their own communities and teach others. It's one way we will make disciples."
Through all these activities, Bob and Deon are working on creating an inviting environment at the LIGHT House. "We want people to know they are welcome here, and we want them to get involved!" Bob announced. "This is new for us, and we are going where the Lord leads us. We're open to all the help we can get!"
While the people may have changed, the main focus of the Haskell LIGHT Campus Ministry hasn't. Proclaim. Disciple. Heal.
"It's amazing to look back on our two years with LIM," Deon reflected. "When you're in the midst of things, you wonder where God is leading you. Then you get to a certain place and think, 'Now I get it!' We've seen how all the people we met both in Lawrence and Oneida, Wisconsin, were placed in our lives for a purpose. We can see how they are our support system and will partner with us in this new adventure!"
*If you're interested in having Bob and Deon speak at your church, let us know with the form below!*