When Linda and Rick Martin began their partnership with Lutheran Indian Ministries in August 2001, their goal was to connect with Aboriginal leaders, encouraging them to be strong and alive in their faith. “Our focus has been on teaching and mentoring others so they, in turn, can share the Gospel in a way that connects with their own culture and is understood in a way that is meaningful and profound,” the couple said in an interview.
Through their work as counselors, the Martins work with the tribes in their area on a variety of issues.
“As counselors, we have found that people come to faith in Christ but have a very hard time being the vibrant leaders they long to be—because of past wounds,” the Martins said. “Dealing with deep hurt—and finding forgiveness—has brought freedom to many. Abuse issues of all kinds have kept people from being who they really are and all they were meant to be.”
The couple facilitates workshops to help individuals, families and communities deal with issues such as grief, depression, abuse and suicide. They also work with people one-on-one, either meeting with them in person or over the phone, for those who are unable to travel.
“We have seen it over and over again, that when people get past their hurt, pain and issues, they finally see the heart of God—how beautiful it is and how they really long to be in a relationship with Him,” the Martins said. “Our teaching is based on a worldview that believes that God is completely in love with us, that we are made in His image, and that God wants to walk with us as we seek to heal from our brokenness and pain.”
Recently, the Martins said God has blessed the efforts of their Inenimowin Healing Circles—a five-day workshop that helps people get in touch with their hearts.
“It is a very Christian workshop and we do not hold back when we talk about who has created us and how God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit need to be involved for any of us to find deep healing, hope and lasting peace,” the Martins said. “What has surprised us, is how many people who come who are not followers of Jesus and yet are enticed and intrigued by what we offer.”
Inenimowin is a Cree word from Linda’s tribe, and it means, “Let’s talk about how we are feeling in our hearts together.”
“What surprised me recently is how a very traditional Native person came to our workshop and at first was very upset when he realized that it was in fact a very Christian workshop,” the Martins said. “But something drew this person to stay, and by the last day, he opened his heart to Jesus. It was beautiful and powerful.”
For those wondering how they can help the Martins in their mission, prayer is always appreciated.
“We need prayer for the ministry events that we do and the people that we minister to,” the couple said. “Rick and I need prayer—we need prayer for emotional, physical, mental and spiritual strength and protection.”
The Martins said they are often surprised at how quickly and powerfully God answers their prayers.
They recalled a hockey game at which a man approached them, asking them to stop by the hospital afterward and pray for his wife who was pregnant and facing damage to her kidneys. The Martins arrived at the hospital late in the evening and prayed for the woman, who was tearful as she told them that her left kidney was also starting to become infected.
“The next evening I ran into the young husband in the arena,” Linda Martin said. “I asked him how his wife was doing. He said to me, ‘You can ask her yourself. She is here watching the game.’ Sure enough, there she was, watching the hockey game with everyone.
“God had answered our prayer quickly and powerfully—so quickly and powerfully that it took me off guard. Yet, that is who our God is. God is a God who heals and cares for us. He does not always answer our prayers in this (quick) manner. But this time, He really surprised us.”