As we come to this final communiqué for 2015, there is much to be thankful for. Chief among them is God’s wonderful work in our lives, and the lives of so many on Pine Ridge. But the best is yet to come.
Jackson and I went to the police department today to deliver gift bags for the forty officers on Pine Ridge. We were able to give them directly to the Chief, explaining to him what was inside — coffee (with “Pine Ridge Police” imprinted on the bags), a necklace in the shape of a shield (with Joshua 1:9 on the back), and a Bible.
Given the stronghold of traditional religion on the reservation, we were not sure how the Bibles would be received. But the presence of God had gone before us, and we could see the gratitude on the chief’s face as he promised to get them to his officers.
Please pray for Chief Eugeno White Hawk and his officers as they read the note that I placed in each bag. Ask that their hearts will be drawn to know who Jesus really is… and to devour His holy Word.
Here's the note we placed in the bags…
To the Police of Pine Ridge Reservation,
We want to thank you for your service to Pine Ridge communities. We know you often do a thankless work that is underappreciated, so we want to honor you and say we are praying for you. We pray for God’s protection, provision and continued guidance upon you all. We pray blessings upon your families, and for God’s awesome presence to be around you and in your homes. We pray you would have even more favor with all those around, and that people would see your hearts are for them. We pray the Aaronic blessing of Numbers 6:24-26 upon as you, as well as Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21.
Thank you again for all you do!!!
Restoration Church of Pine Ridge and Kyle
Nellie, whom you may recall from a recent video, was recently baptized, and brought her granddaughter Marissa to church. Around nine years old, Marissa was in great pain. Hospital X-rays revealed she had broken one toe and apparently shattered some bones in her foot as well. Doctors were waiting for the swelling to subside so they could put a cast on her, so Marissa came to the service in a boot.
The kids in her Sunday school prayed for her, and then Katie and I were able to do so as well. After we prayed, she said she felt tingling going up her leg from her toes, and all the pain left.
When she went back to the doctors, they decided to get another X-ray. No broken bones! Healed in Jesus Name! Of course the doctors couldn’t explain it… but we can. Jesus is Lord! Nellie testified before the church with joy.
Please pray for us this Saturday evening as we endeavor to feed the Kyle community. I was so blessed that Ray Janis (who is still very new in the faith!) took it upon himself to make flyers and publicize the dinner in Kyle. Again, it is such a victory seeing Lakota believers reach out to their own.
Teachers and students from Covenant Day arrive Saturday morning to help welcome their big project, a container transformed into living quarters with new paneling, electrical, heating, and air conditioning. This will be the emergency shelter for youth that are suicidal and those needing shelter. It will also be an opportunity to share the Gospel and disciple.
Hearing God's Voice
In another small story that illustrates the maturation of the Lakota church… I was blessed to see Anthony White Thunder, one of our faithful Lakota believers, learning to hear God's voice.
In the hustle of transporting things Sunday morning, I had left my guitar at home. This left me in a predicament for worship. But my oversight was God’s opportunity. Before Anthony set out on his walk to church (and not knowing of my predicament), he sensed God moving him to bring his guitar we had given him months ago. Not knowing why, just sensing that he should.
When he arrived at church and discovered I didn’t have a guitar for worship, He was overjoyed that God had spoken to him. He just smiled and smiled as he had not experienced something like that.
Lastly, I want to share something personal. As some people know, I’ve had a crippling back injury for over three years. It occurred my last year on the mission field in Guinea Bissau. It was so bad I felt my back shift and I couldn’t walk for close to two weeks. I literally crawled to the shower or bathroom.
It has been a chronic issue for all this time, so debilitating that I’ve awakened just about every morning in great pain. I couldn’t sit without pain, and many, many times I just had to stop until I could walk again. I’ve had much prayer, but in August it got worse, pain shooting down my leg such that I can’t describe. At times, all I could do was grit my teeth and hold my breath.
This last September was the men’s gathering. I had faith… a tiny mustard seed anyway, that I would be touched in God’s awesome presence. Many men prayed for me, and it was a wonderful expression of God's love. Deep inside I felt something had happened, but when I went to test it, the pain was still there.
About two weeks later, I noticed a real difference. However I didn’t want to say anything until I could confirm it. In times past I couldn’t even have 120 pounds on my back (like in squats) without feeling my back about to pop and just cripple me. Today, I confirmed God’s healing when I squatted 230 pounds pain free! I just cried.
I want to encourage anyone who is still holding on… if your breakthrough hasn’t happened yet, to keep calling upon His Name and believing. Don’t give up! (Luke 18:1).
I have included the following video as a memorial of God's mercy and kindness.
Credit: Wade Kate