“Well done, good and faithful servant.”
One of the great blessings of the work God has called me to as Executive Director of Lutheran Indian Ministries is the incredible people with whom I have the opportunity to work. Through our regular correspondence with you, our partners and friends, we have shared their stories and the important work they do.
The men and women on our staff are not just my employees; they are my friends. And based on the notes and we receive from many of you, you feel the same way. By the grace of God and with your encouragement and friendship, they are able to continue in the unique mission field of Native American ministry.
Like you, I am constantly amazed by their unshakable faith, remarkable dedication, and overwhelming passion in their call to minister among the broken. Many of our staff have overcome brokenness themselves and now work in the hidden outposts and obscure recesses of our country where churches do not exist, but where the truth of the Gospel needs to be told and the healing from historic pain, suffering, and trauma needs to be facilitated.
No one on our staff has done this better than Deacon Tom (Ioway) and Deaconess Cathy (Cherokee) Benzler. Their work with Native People on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State has been nothing short of remarkable.
The Benzlers, a formidable ministry team if ever there was one, have done ministry that meets the physical needs of Native people, but never neglected the heart. Cathy once told me, it was not their job to “fix” the Native people they work with, but to help and walk alongside them all the while leading them to the cross, proclaiming the Gospel, healing wounds, and making disciples. What a blessing!
On December 31, 2017, Tom retired from formal active ministry, and on June 30th, Cathy joined him. Tom and Cathy persevered in their ministry to the Native tribes of the Pacific Northwest despite numerous challenges, including serious health concerns that would have stopped most people long ago. But they were inspired by their call to serve the Lord and stirred by your prayers and encouragement of the ministry happening through Hope House.
Their retirement may have you wondering what will happen to this vital and important outreach without them?
It was Alexander Pope, in his classic poem, “Essay of Man,” who first coined the phrase: “hope springs eternal.” As Christians, our eternal hope is in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And as LIM answers His call to minister to our Native brothers and sisters on the Olympic Peninsula, we have made provision for the Hope House Ministry to continue (not eternally) for as long as friends like you continue to support it.
We are excited to share with you that the Hope House Ministry will become a part of Makah Lutheran Church, in Neah Bay, Washington, and continue its outreach of hope under the leadership of Ben Maxson and his wife, Natalie.
Tom shared with me that over the years, they have had amazing opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus on the reservations and to assist the Native people in their area to start a number of small projects that led to bigger, tribe-sustained projects.
With your help, Tom and Cathy plowed up thorny fields to create community vegetable gardens, gathered volunteers to fill potholes around elders’ homes, helped to build the Native culture by planning drumming circles and dance groups, collected backpacks and school supplies for the Native children, and impacted lives for eternity through Bible Study and Christian fellowship.
These projects happened by the grace of God, through Tom and Cathy, and were made possible because of your passion for your Native brothers and sisters. Your commitment to the mission of Lutheran Indian Ministries reaches far beyond small projects and physical needs. It reaches into the hearts and souls of Native people and impacts lives every day!
We are so grateful to you for your support of their work and the ministry of LIM.
For more than a decade, generous donors like you have supported Tom and Cathy and the work of the Hope House. Will you prayerfully consider a gift today, in thankfulness for Tom and Cathy’s service, to springboard the Hope House in its new location at Makah Lutheran Church?
We give thanks to God for passionate and faithful servants like Tom and Cathy Benzler. We pray special blessings on them for their dedication to God’s ministry and to Native people. We ask that you hold Tom and Cathy deeply in your hearts and keep them constantly in your prayers.
Well done, good and faithful servants, Tom and Cathy Benzler. May God bless and keep you, always.
Tim Young Eagle (Pawnee)
Lutheran Indian Ministries