February is well known to be the month for expressing love. More specifically, February 14th is the day you share the feelings of your heart with those you love.
After the busy Christmas season, Valentine’s Day gives us something to look forward to during the cold, dreary, stagnant winter months. Encouraged by the flower, candy, and greeting card industries Valentine’s Day became a special day to bridge the gap between Christmas and Easter.
As a young man attending Emmaus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Valentine’s Day meant decorating a shoe box in red, white, and pink wrapping paper and covering it with handmade construction paper hearts. A slit in the top made this special box a place where our friends, and those who loved us, could insert cards expressing their devotion and most private feelings toward us. I would rush home at the end of the day to see if my secret crush had reciprocated my heartfelt card with a special Valentine just for me.
Who do you love?
The Bible talks often about affairs of the heart. Matthew 6:21 tells us our treasure and our heart are inseparable. Proverbs 3:5 says we should trust in the Lord with all of our heart. And Proverbs 4:23 warns us to guard our heart. Many verses tell us that those who are pure at heart will be blessed.
For Native people, the message of love has become muddled and confused. Love, as we know it as Christians, was used as a tool of abuse by the early church. We were told: “God does not love Indians.”
In a month where the color red is everywhere you look, Native people were told that their red skin made them unacceptable by the Creator. Because of the color of their skin, they were heathen and their culture was offensive to Him.
The lasting effects of the damage caused by early missionaries are still felt today in broken families and traumatized individuals across the country. We were left to feel unloved, unwanted and separated from the God of love.
But God does love Native people… and so do we. That’s why Lutheran Indian Ministries exists and that’s why you faithfully and generously support our work.
There are many ways we express our love to those we minister to:
· In Phoenix, Arizona, Kevin Maulson provides for a homeless Native woman who has nowhere to go and no one else who cares.
· In Fairbanks, Alaska, Pastor Dave Sternbeck counsels an Alaska Native teenager who feels so alone that suicide seems like the best option.
· In Lawrence, Kansas, Deacon Bob Prue provides meals and a Message for students during the winter break who can’t get home; some of whom have no home to go back to.
Your gift to Lutheran Indian Ministries provides a message of human love from our ministry staff and, more importantly, supernatural love from the Creator God who made them Native, whose endless and unfaltering love is salvation for people of all colors and cultures.
Psalm 34:18 proclaims, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Brokenhearted and crushed too often describe the Native people Pastor Tim Norton and Deacon Ben Maxson meet with every day. These dedicated missionaries in Navajo, New Mexico, and Neah Bay, Washington, respectively, provide for the earthly needs of these individuals while proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in remote reservation lands.
Your financial support and prayers encourage our ministry team as they do the important work of mending the brokenhearted and crushed in spirit, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is a big job and one that we can’t do alone.
We need you!
Your gift to Lutheran Indian Ministries is a gift of love and hope for Native people who have known little of either. Your support of our ministry enables us to proclaim the message of God’s love to Native people.
“For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should have everlasting life.”
That’s a message Native people need to hear every day, and it’s the work to which you and I have been called, whether or the front lines or in our communities.
We are so grateful for the love and support you faithfully and generously provide to Native ministry through LIM. And we are blessed by your prayers on our behalf. Will you please consider making another gift of love to Lutheran Indian Ministries today?
May the God of supernatural love shine his face upon you and give you peace.
Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
Executive Director, Lutheran Indian Ministries
P.S. As we approach Lent, may we be reminded of the greatest love of all – God’s sacrificial love for ALL people seen on the cross. Thank you for your sacrificial gift to support Lutheran Indian Ministries.
Your gift today affirms that Jesus was born for all, including our Native American brothers and sisters. Thank you!
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