Volunteer ministry always has been and remains an important part of our ministry outreach. Typically made up of Caucasian youth and adults from a variety of churches around the country, these many valued volunteers have helped build, repair and replace many different kinds of buildings. More often than not, we have utilized volunteer teams to teach vacation Bible schools in isolated Native communities where there is often little opportunity for locals to hear the message of God’s grace through Christ.
Recently, one of our teams led by Rev. Will (Dakota Sioux) Main and his wife, Patricia (Cree), journeyed to the White Mountain Apache Reservation to minister to the people there. What is unusual about this volunteer team is that it was comprised entirely of Native people who came to share their faith in Jesus and to be of service to a Native community.
This, my friends, is a milestone for our ministry. It’s the first time ever for us to send out an all-Native team of volunteers to serve other Natives. It is a sign that we have reached another goal: recruiting and equipping Native people to be of service in God’s Kingdom to people of their own heritage.
In their stories, you’ll hear how Cai, Tsanavi and Maria were richly blessed by the opportunity to serve. We’re sure you’ll be moved by the love so easily expressed in their stories for God and for their Native elders, brothers and sisters. We know we can count on you to pray for the Apache community in Arizona and for these three young women who are so eager to do God’s bidding.
Calandra (Cai) Luna (Navajo) My experience at the Apache Reservation was one I will not forget. I had a wonderful time meeting students who were interested in attending Haskell.
Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. We got to sit and talk with a church group and hear about their good and bad experiences in life and how their faith and love in Jesus help them persevere.
Talking with the students was an interesting experience. Many of them are excited about their futures and want to make changes for the best. Maria (former Miss Haskell), Tsanavi, Dez and I got to share about our struggles as college students and how our faith in God has helped us through our lives.
My most favorite part of the trip was helping an elderly couple with yard work. It was a feeling like no other to see how excited they were to have us help.
Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Arapaho/Paiute) I want to begin by thanking God, my Creator, and Jesus, for the opportunity to visit the Native people on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
I was enlightened on many levels. Bringing the students our knowledge and experience about higher education was very rewarding. I know what it is like to be raised as an American Indian—it comes with many struggles—but to overcome them, thanks to Jesus, and then to share is something no one can take.
I hope and pray the youth will be inspired to take advantage of the opportunities for education. Maybe, with my story and God’s presence made known to them, they will realize they’re not alone.
The elders we met on the Apache reservation had a great sense of humor. To witness to their happiness is irreplaceable! Realizing that not many people from my generation help and support our elders really opened my eyes.
This was was a spiritual renewal and an amazing, humbling journey.
Maria Lynn Caddo (Apache) I am the former Miss Haskell Indian Nations University 2013-2014. During spring break, I was blessed to have traveled back to my reservation, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, with Will and Patricia Main and other students and alumni.
What a blessing that God would send us to speak to the reservation and to see the beautiful land He created for the tribe.
While we were there, we spoke to the students at Alchesay High School about the importance of education and finding their identity and believing in themselves. We also helped an elderly couple with their yard work and prayed for them.
Sunday service was well spent at Whiteriver Lutheran Church visiting with some of the members. We also visited the historical sites on the reservation and the tribal chairman and his council chambers.
Praying for the Apache people and their land was our task. As a Native myself, it was a fun, blessed and exciting time.
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