Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
Have you ever felt helpless? Powerless? Hopeless?
Many Native American people feel that way every day!
During a recent trip to our ministry site in New Mexico, I had the opportunity to engage in one of my favorite past times – enjoying the amazing craft of Navajo artists. I have an affinity for turquoise jewelry and coerced one of our staff members, Vicar Rick McCafferty, to join me in my hunt.
In a jewelry store in Old Town Albuquerque, Rick did what he does best and struck up a conversation with the Native store clerk. Before long, they were engaged in a deep conversation which led to sharing the mission of Lutheran Indian Ministries. She listened intently. As I finished my shopping and we left the store, Rick handed the clerk his card, encouraging her to be in contact if she had further questions.
As only the Holy Spirit can do, within an hour, this young woman reached out to Rick and asked if we had time to meet with her before we left. The next day, we met at an ice cream shop across the public square from the shop where she worked.
She shared with us that the pain that she sees every day among her people was heavy on her heart. She was especially concerned for the Native men, both young and old, who have forgotten the traditional Native way of strong fathers, husbands, and brothers. She lamented about the abuses she had seen and, with tears in her eyes asked us,
“Who will teach our men how to be men? I have three daughters, and I fear for them. A warrior protects women and children but our boys and men do not do this anymore. Our culture has become broken!"
She felt helpless, powerless and hopeless. She was looking for answers, but more than that, she was looking for action!
God’s timing is perfect! Rick and I ended up in her store for much more than a new turquoise ring!
By the grace of God, and because of your generous support, Lutheran Indian Ministries is able to provide her with answers and show her how to take action alongside our ministry staff.
Rick stays in touch with this Native woman (because that is what Rick does best). She is currently being trained in our Sacred Ground program, which brings people out of the darkness of their past and nurtures them towards the light of salvation. In time, we hope to also provide her with training in NAFFA’s Fatherhood is Sacred program to further help her Native brothers recapture what it means to be fathers and husbands. God will use her to help heal the pain and suffering that is so prevalent in the lives of Native people and to change the society into which her young daughters will grow up.
Your gifts to Lutheran Indian Ministries enable our ministry team to plant seeds of hope in the hopeless through both the delivering of healing programs AND the training of Native leaders to bring these programs to their own communities and make a difference for the next generation.
It is through programs like Sacred Ground and Fatherhood is Sacred/Motherhood is Sacred that our ministry staff finds open doors to proclaim the Gospel and engage in disciple-making.
These programs are so important to our ministry that our entire field staff has been to Sacred Ground Training, a program created by our friends at the South Central Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. And this year alone, five ministry staff members will complete advanced Sacred Ground training to become facilitators and train others.
Your generous donations to Lutheran Indian Ministries have made this possible, and because of that, we are seeing the exponential growth of disciple-making, Natives carrying the word to other Natives.
Many Native people have been taught the one true God has abandoned them because they are Native. But when Native people in Alaska, Hawaii, and the lower 48 states emerge from the darkness and into the light, they finally begin to see God has, in fact, been abiding with them all along. With this knowledge, the Holy Spirit can enter in and begin a marvelous work in our Native American brothers and sisters.
Your gifts to Lutheran Indian Ministries are a catalyst in this process. They encourage us to do more and uphold us when we feel defeated. Your prayers uplift us and sustain us as we travel to some of the most remote places in America to work with America’s most forgotten people. But most importantly, your gifts bear fruit in the broken lives of the Native people we meet.
I am asking you to continue your faithfulness to Native ministry and make a generous gift to Lutheran Indian Ministries, today.
“When other helps fail and comforts flee” we know that God abides with us and with our Native brothers and sisters, as we go forth to fulfill with calling for us.
Wherever we go, you abide with us with your thoughts and prayers.
May God bless and keep you always.
Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
Lutheran Indian Ministries
P.S. Please pray for our friend in Albuquerque as she strives to make a difference in God’s Kingdom. It is not an easy road, but we know the end is worth the trouble.
May God use us all to build up the body of Christ. Thank you for giving generously so others may come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord and join us in our eternal life.
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