Have you ever been lost?
In this age of increasing technology, where GPS systems come pre-installed in your car and on your smartphone, it’s hard to get lost.
Today, almost any device can pinpoint precisely where you are and map out exactly where you need to go. Getting lost is an experience many of us no longer have to worry about.
Most of us, however, have experienced being lost, and I’m sure you’ve never forgotten how it felt.
Remember the panic that rose in your chest? Remember the way your heart began to race and you couldn’t catch your breath? Remember the feeling of having no idea where you were?
If you were in your car, maybe you slid forward in your seat and clutched the steering wheel a little tighter. Perhaps you turned down the radio to unclutter your mind and focus. You may have even had a conversation with yourself out of frustration, and if the feeling of being lost persisted, that conversation may have turned into prayer.
Lost is a very scary place to be!
Recently, a young Native American man, who we dearly love and who deeply loves Jesus, lost his way. A lifetime of abuse and addiction had finally taken its toll, and he was angry inside.
Despite a wonderful and supportive family, he felt abandoned and alone. He wanted to serve God, but his inner demons were fighting a relentless battle against these desires. And, sometimes, like this time, they would win. When that happened, he would drink or turn to drugs, and then the abused became, himself, the abuser. Each time these demons would win, the fall and the repercussions of this man’s actions would get a little worse.
It was a very volatile, and potentially dangerous, situation for him and for those who love him.
His relationship with Lutheran Indian Ministries had exposed him to the power of the Holy Spirit and the work it could do in his heart and in his life. He hungered to serve God with all his heart, soul, and mind… but the demons of abuse and addiction would steer him away from the light, dragging him back toward the darkness.
Thankfully, Lutheran Indian Ministries has Rick McCafferty (Inupiat/Cherokee) in Anchorage, Alaska, on staff.
Rick is an amazing man of God, who is currently a student of the LCMS-EIIT program, training to become an LCMS ordained pastor. He also has a unique set of skills and specialized training to help Native people to understand their abusive past, face their addictions, and put them on a path to healing and restoration.
Because this situation required both pastoral training and experience as a counselor, it was abundantly clear that Rick was what our dear brother and his family needed. Without blinking an eye, Rick dropped everything and traveled a great distance to pray, console, and counsel his Native brother. He was there to make certain our friend had what he needed to begin the road out of the darkness and toward the light, to shepherd him from the land of the lost to a place where he could be found.
This happy ending is because of you and your dedication to the training of Native leaders.
It is because of you that Rick was available and properly trained to manage this crisis. It is because of your commitment to Lutheran Indian Ministries that this man could find the help he needed and his family could be restored.
The battle is not over. Recovery from abuse is a long road. But by the grace of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, with the encouragement of brothers like Rick McCafferty – and with your faithful support – our brother’s demons have been engaged in battle, and we have faith that victory will be achieved!
This story is one that is occurring over and over again in Indian Country.
Many Native Americans are lost.
They are lost in addiction to alcohol and drugs. They are lost to physical and sexual abuse. They are being lost to suicide. And, they are spiritually lost.
With your help, Lutheran Indian Ministries is making a difference in the lives of these Native American brothers and sisters dealing with intergenerational pain and suffering. They are lost, but your gift to LIM enables our ministry staff to ensure they will not stay lost. Your gift allows us to have properly trained people in the right place at the right time to deal with spiritual and physical crises and to help guide those in need to the cross and to healing.
As sinners, God hated the fact that we had lost our way. In Luke 19:10, Jesus told His disciples that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” When it was abundantly clear that we all, like sheep, had gone astray and were lost in sin, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to show us the way home.
He didn’t wait for us to finally see the Light of Salvation. He came for us!
God has called Lutheran Indian Ministries to share the Good News of Christ’s coming and salvation in Him with our Native brothers and sisters. He hasn’t asked us to wait; he has commanded us to go to those in need and share the Gospel.
He has called us to provide care, comfort, and counseling to those who are suffering, those who feel lost and are separated from Him.
To fulfill this calling to reach Native American and Alaska Natives, we need you.
Thank you for your continuous support of this important ministry. Native American peoples need us more than ever, and more than ever before, they need Jesus!
May God bless you and your loved ones throughout this Christmas season as, together, we celebrate God’s gift to us, Jesus Christ, His Son!
In His ministry,
Tim Young Eagle, CFRE (Pawnee) Executive Director, Lutheran Indian Ministries