The young boy’s gaze never shifted from the Native American woman speaking in the front of the church. His black, round eyes were innocent and yet astutely aware. Dressed in Native regalia and speaking in soft tones, the woman, whom he was listening to so intently, told those assembled of her abuse at the hands of a relative when she was just a little girl.
“She was even younger than me!” the boy thought.
When the woman finished and the small crowd at the gathering had thinned out, the boy sought out the speaker. He told her, in a quiet and hesitant voice, his own story of abuse. In this safe place, he was finally able to release the demons that had infected his mind since the moment the abuse began.
Native people are taught and conditioned never to speak of the abuses and traumas they have experienced in their lives. Instead, these evils are hidden and boxed up in many Native homes. By sharing his story, this young boy has taken the first step in healing and breaking the cycle of abuse in his family.
Because this young boy stepped forward and courageously shared his story, members of the Lutheran Indian Ministries staff were able to spend time with him, comfort him, and encourage him. Through them, the love of Jesus Christ began to unfold in his life.
Stories of abuse are common in Indian Country. Serious trauma is a nearly everyday occurrence.
The troubling statistics among Native American people are staggering. No minority group suffers more from physical or sexual abuse, alcohol or drug addiction, or suicide than Native American peoples. And these abuses often start at an early age. Without a safe place or counselors to ease their pain and give them guidance, many fall prey to addictions. The abused often become the abuser, and life easily spirals out of control until taking their own life seems to be the only way out.
This is the “circle of death” for Native peoples.
Who will step in to provide a pathway for healing?
With your help… Lutheran Indian Ministries can and does.
Your partnership with Lutheran Indian Ministries literally saves lives!
There are 567 indigenous Native American tribes in North America. These tribes are sovereign nations, each with their own unique language, customs, and traditions. But, the thing they have in common is the thing they wish they could eliminate… trauma.
Trauma, abuse, addiction, and suicide are by-products of the intergenerational pain, sorrow, and suffering Indigenous peoples are born into, grow up with, and pass on to their children.
But, you and I know that there is hope in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
Because of your support, Lutheran Indian Ministries is able to go to Native communities and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are able to disciple our Native brothers and sisters in the faith. But we must call on the power of the Holy Spirit to authorize us to be His instruments of healing before any Gospel-sharing or disciple-making can occur.
Before Native peoples can put on the full armor of Christ (Ephesians 6:11-17), they must first take off the cloak they have been wearing—the cloak of pain and distrust that they put on to shield themselves from hurt and has covered their lives and their secrets in darkness.
When you share your blessings with Lutheran Indian Ministries, it allows us to send our ministry staff to Indian Country where we can create safe places to listen and learn.
And, when you give to Lutheran Indian Ministries, it enables our ministry staff to receive the training that best equips them to counsel their Native brothers and sisters and begin the healing journey.
Lutheran Indian Ministries is blessed by the faithful prayers and gifts, large and small, from all of our donors. Your continued support is vital to reaching more Natives with the peace and love of Jesus Christ.
The journey to healing, renewal, and restoration for our young Native American friend has just begun. There is so much more to do and many other lives to touch. With your help, and by the grace of God, together, we can be used to do amazing things to His glory.
Thanks be to God!
Tim Young Eagle, CFRE
Lutheran Indian Ministries