“It was very dark around the campus that day.”
The word spread across the Haskell Indian Nations University campus – a student had taken their own life. The story was heart-wrenching. Another young person lost to the despair, anger, and hopelessness that is always lurking in the shadows of Native lives.
Sadly, this reality unfolded just before spring break at Haskell. As the news spread, fear that other students would follow suit gripped the campus. The tragic event touched the lives of every student, every faculty member and every person in the Haskell community.
Darkness had taken its angry hold on the entire campus. It had to be addressed aggressively.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal”.
Now was a time for healing… and we were ready!
Your generous gifts and your prayers enabled us to be ready when we were needed most.
Lutheran Indian Ministries was there, with the students on campus, through our Haskell LIGHT Campus Ministry. Our mission staff provided a safe place for students to gather for comfort, conversation, quiet time, and prayer.
Because of you, our ministry staff, all of whom are uniquely trained in Sacred Ground – a program designed to help those who suffer from the effects of trauma, abuse, addiction, and suicide – were able to minister effectively to the students and all of those affected by the tragedy.
Native American peoples have been in a struggle for survival since their first contact with the European culture. For Native people like me, existence is victory. We were supposed to have been gone long ago. But we are still here!
In a tiny corner of the Haskell campus sits a small cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place for about 100 Native children who had no choice but to attend what was, at the time, Haskell Indian Boarding School. It’s heartbreaking to see how many did not survive, but it also reminds us that we are a strong people who have overcome much adversity and continue to fight for a better future for the next generation.
So why? Why would a young student with so much opportunity and so much promise take their own life?
Hopelessness, despair, loneliness, abuse, addiction, trauma. These are the clouds that descend on our Native young people, so much so that they can no longer see that existence is victory. For these children, death is release from the hurt.
My Native brothers and sisters need to hear a message of hope and the truth of victory through Christ. We are a strong people, but we are still broken without Jesus.
Because you generously support the work we do at our various ministry sites, including the Haskell LIGHT Campus Ministry, we are able to provide programs and counseling to those in need and to proclaim the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are in pain and suffering.
Your gifts to Lutheran Indian Ministries enable our ministry team to take the lead at Haskell and provide a powerful Christ-filled presence to students who desperately need Him.
With you, we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the beacon of light that will lead Native peoples out of their darkness. We disciple Native brothers and sisters so they can lead Bible studies and share their faith with others. And we use programs, like Sacred Ground, to help them walk out of their grief, sorrow, and despair towards the love of Jesus, their Lord and Savior.
I am asking you, to not only continue your support of our missional efforts in Indian Country, but to join me in increasing your giving to Lutheran Indian Ministries. Your investment in our efforts allows and encourages our ministry staff to touch even more Native people with the love of Jesus.
Your gift, today, to Lutheran Indian Ministries may save a Native life destined not merely for existence, but one meant for abundance in Him. Now that’s victory!
Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
P.S. Now is the time for healing, the healing message of our Risen Christ shared with our Native American brothers and sisters.
Your generous gift today will make a difference for eternity. Thank you!
Your gift today affirms that Jesus was born for all, including our Native American brothers and sisters. Thank you!
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