Small Projects Reach the Hearts and Souls of Native People

“Truly, I say to you,as you did it to oneof the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.”(Matt 25-40) ESV.png

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one
of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.” (Matt 25:40) ESV

“Why don’t the Indians just use the local food bank?”

That was a question that Tom and Cathy Benzler were often asked when they began the Hope House ministry on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula over eight years ago. 

Their reply was: “Sure, they can go to the local food bank, but they won’t receive the message of God’s forgiveness there. They won’t hear that Jesus loves them and that He died for their salvation.”

We think it is this message of hope in Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, that the Hope House has experienced such growth over the years.

Tom and Cathy know it is not their job to “fix” the Native people they work with, but instead, it is their calling to walk alongside the Native people of the Olympic Peninsula and lead them to the cross, proclaiming the Gospel, healing the hurting, and creating disciples.

“It was never our intention to go to the reservations with the resources to fix everything,” Cathy recently shared. “It is not physically or financially possible. We discovered, however, that when individuals learn they can do and succeed at small things, they feel empowered! They, in turn, want to take on bigger projects.”

Over the years, Tom and Cathy have had amazing opportunities to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus on local reservations and to assist the Native people to start many small projects within their community. Those small projects, led to great projects.

Your prayers and your gifts made that possible!

When Tom and Cathy plowed up a thorny back yard so that a tribal elder could grow vegetables; tribal leaders built a community garden so that others could enjoy the benefits of fresh vegetables for their families.

When they gathered a group of volunteers to fill in potholes around elders’ homes; the tribal council began to better maintain their roads.

After they helped to plan drumming circles and dance groups; tribal groups started to teach the youth about their lost culture.

These projects, and others like them, have opened doors for Tom and Cathy. And through those doors, they have been able to gather together the believers in the community to teach and mentor and share their faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“We have a great core of people on the Lower Elwha Reservation, our first outreach,” Tom says. “We meet with these people weekly because they crave a deeper relationship with their Lord.” With Tom and Cathy’s example of servant leadership, these individuals are taking up more of the work of the Hope House. As Tom and Cathy modeled, they want to share the love of the Savior with their neighbors.

This group from Lower Elwha has realized that they are powerless to fix themselves and their community and are looking to the cross to bring about change.

Look what the Lord can do when we let Him work through us!


Because you helped meet the needs of the Native people on the Olympic Peninsula, lives have been changed and hearts have been open to the healing message of the Gospel.

We rejoice in the great things that God is doing on Lower Elwha, but we can't forget that this is just one community that Tom and Cathy reach out to on a regular basis. 

In order to see these same results on the Quileute, the Quinault, the Hoh, and the Makah reservations, we need you. And we know that we can count on you!

When Tom and Cathy needed backpacks and pencils, you sent boxes full of school supplies for the children! It was your gifts to Lutheran Indian Ministries that bought the shovels and seeds for that first garden that bloomed into many. The gravel to fill those potholes and buy Bibles came from your extra offerings during Native American Sunday. And, you helped lead people to Jesus Christ!

Your commitment to Lutheran Indian Ministries reaches far beyond small projects and initiatives. It reaches to the hearts and souls of Native people.

Please send a gift today to help continue this important mission outreach to the Native peoples of the Olympic Peninsula.  Thank you!

May God bless and keep you always.

In Him,

Tim Young Eagle
Executive Director
Lutheran Indian Ministries


P.S. It’s been said that you can’t keep a good man down.

Tom Benzler has been living proof that this is true.

His work with Native peoples continues despite a battle with cancer and hip replacement surgery in the last year.

It’s also been said that behind every good man is a great woman.

Two minutes with Cathy, and you'll know that this is certainly true, as well!

While giving support and care to Tom, she has continued her selfless devotion to this ministry that God has called her to. Your gift today supports their work and empowers them to continue to proclaim Jesus on the Olympic Peninsula.