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« The Image of Protestant Evangelical Worship, pt 10 (final) | Main | What Does a Clerical Collar Say, part 3 »

June 19, 2005

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We are so sorry we missed you! It would have been good to meet you face to face.
You can surely expect a response to this post from Pastor Art. We've been here in Navajo Land for nearly 8 years. My first teaching job was at a school that was 70% Navajo, and currently we are living on the Rez, and all "my" kids are Native. Even when I was living in Farmington, the city on the border, many of my students were bused in from the rez and didn't have electicity or running water. Being a special education teacher, I have had more than the usual contact with the families of my students. And since we are one of three anglo families at our church, most of the people we encounter, most of our friends are Native. Shiprock has a hospitol where the Navajo receive free health care, although there are still some who prefer to spend up to $500 to visit a medicine man. Our committment here is to work with the people, to minister with, not to. Our church, which has a Nativie American Pastor and Assistant Pastor, plus an anglo youth leader with a "native in training" and an anglo worship leader, (the worship team is about 90% Native) is unusual here because it is not a mission supported church. Pastor Art and I spent yesterday at Window Rock, the capital city of the Navajo Nation. It was the Navajo Day of Prayer. There will be a post about it on Gateway of the Rock site in a few days. I will close this comment with a short "story". When we first got here we used to drive in to Shiprock from Farmington to go to the Flea Market.
It was a fantastic cultural experience which we really enjoyed. There Art met a young man who sold jewlry. He was the son of a medicine man and very much a traditional Navajo, who loved to talk about "spiritual" matters. He always welcomed Art into the shade of his stand, and was very open about his beliefs and at the same time curious about Christianity, which was not a new thing to him. Often a small crowd would gather when those two got talking. One time this man took the Bible from Art's hand and said "We know this book. We know it is the Word of God. We want to understand it. But all the missionaries ever gave us was hot dogs and blankets."

Maryellen,
Your ending comment really deeply touched my soul. "But all the missionaries ever gave us was hot dogs and blankets." You know, how true that statement is. I think sometimes when we go on missionary trips all we think about is feeding them, giving them clothes, blankets and maybe a quick prayer before we leave. I think sometimes fear keeps us from sharing God's Word with them and really spending time building relationships with people instead of just giving tangible things out. Thank you for opening my eyes. There is a missions trip coming up in November and I will have a different outlook on it I am sure. Thanks and God bless.

Thank you for having a heart for native americans.....I come from that background (Sioux) and am now part of the emergent church movement and I am glad God has put it on your heart to embrace this culture.

I hope we hear more from Lindsay. Like does she have a blog site? I'd love to hear her thoughts on the EC.
Come visit my site Lindsay.
God bless us with wisdom, everyone!

I will remember your visit to some of the first nations people in prayer.

btw administrivia, but if you would end your hyperlinks with this:

" target="_blank" it would open in a new window, instead of taking over the window your page is in.

lyb

I'shalom

chris... you brought me back to the two weeks i spent on the wind river reservation in wyoming among the arapaho tribe. i've felt strongly about the injustice continued by our country on native people's since then.

i think as a church we must begin to think differently about missions. we must form long-term partnerships, where the benefits are reciprocal and we honor and affirm God's presence in a community before we arrive to solve all their problems. mustard seed versus mcworld by tom sine is a great book on this.

i've dreamed of a mission partnering organization that would connect 1st world and 2/3rds world churches in long-term partnerships. most churches and denominations don't have the time or resources (or don't want to commit what they have) to do this.

dang that's a long comment... shoulda been a post!

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