In Scripture, we are told that angels have many roles. Often, they act as messengers, companions, protectors, and soldiers here on earth. When done, they return to Heaven to praise and worship God.
Three times in scripture the angel known as Gabriel was given the job of acting as God’s messenger – to Daniel, to Zachariah, and, finally, to Mary telling her she would bear a son who would be called Jesus.
Earlier this year, during a trip to the LIGHT House Campus Ministry at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, I met a young man name Aston (pronounced Austin). Aston, a Native student of Cherokee descent, mentioned he would be graduating in December. So naturally, I asked Aston what his plans are after graduation. Much to my surprise, he told me he wanted to be a pastor. After spending time at the LIGHT House and talking with Bob Prue (LIM’s LIGHT House Director), he felt strongly he was being called to deliver God’s message of salvation to his Native brothers and sisters. Then, he asked if LIM could make that happen?
This has never happened before. This was a conversation I had never had with a Native brother. In the past, Lutheran Indian Ministries had done all the recruiting. Now, Aston was sitting before me with a calling in his heart and asking if we had a place for him… the question sent a shiver of excitement up my spine.
Of course, we can, I told him. Though at that moment I had no idea when, how, or where, and I told Aston as much, if God was talking to Aston, and Aston was talking to me, I figured it would be a good idea to listen to both. I knew God would take care of the details.
And, boy, did he ever!
Within weeks of my conversation with Aston, I received a call from the Mission Executive in the Nebraska District. He told me of a future opening at a church on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska. The longtime pastor had announced his plans to retire and the Mission Executive wanted to know if we might have a Native man who would be interested in taking over the ministry.
In the time since those conversations, Aston has taken a trip to Winnebago, met with the pastor, been interviewed by all the necessary parties, applied to the seminary at Concordia University in Irvine, California, and is working towards beginning his studies in January 2019, immediately following his graduation from Haskell.
If that doesn’t show God at work, then I don’t know what does!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. He sees the whole picture. He knows all the pieces of the puzzle and where they all go. He takes care of the details. And He uses people to carry out His mission.
He uses people like Deacon Bob Prue to mentor and be an example to students. He uses people like Aston with a passion for ministry. He uses people like the Ministry Executive and the current pastor of Winnebago who have a heart for Native people. And he uses people like you.
Without your faithful prayers and generous gifts, many of those people wouldn’t be where they are today. Because of you, the LIGHT House has served the Haskell community for more than a decade. Because of you, LIM has a beautiful facility to serve the students. Because of you, Bob Prue and his staff are able to carry out the mission of LIM to the almost 1,000 students on the adjacent Haskell campus.
Your gifts to Lutheran Indian Ministries are making a big impact and changing lives. Without them, we could not have said yes to Aston as he answers God’s call to ministry.
So, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with angels and Gabriel.
Well, Aston is his middle name. It’s what he goes by, but it isn’t his given name. Aston’s given name is Gabriel. And like the angel Gabriel, Aston is being called by God to be His messenger. A Holy Warrior. And very soon, our Gabriel (Aston) will be watching history unfold as the first Native pastor at the Lutheran church in Winnebago, praising and worshiping God with the Native people in that community.
Your gift to Lutheran Indian Ministries today supports and encourages Aston as he embarks on this new and exciting spiritual journey and the ministry at Haskell LIGHT, as they seek to find more Astons to do more ministry in more places.
We are grateful for your past prayers and gifts. They have been essential in getting us this far, but I believe that God is calling us to do so much more - to reach and touch many more Native lives for Him.
With your continued support, and by God’s grace, we will do that to His glory!
May the Lord bless you and keep you always.
Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
Executive Director, Lutheran Indian Ministries
P.S. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for as God is working in the lives of Native American people, like Aston. Your gift today ensures we can continue to bring the message of hope and joy in Jesus Christ, acting as God’s earthly messengers. Thank you!
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