Encourage, Strengthen, Focus
Expressing the love of God by practicing the ministry of presence, building a meaningful relationship, loving without hurting, working/partnering to disciple the lost.
On all the mission sites, there is a long list of faithful workers. Noted here are the ones who began the work on each of the sites.
Tulalip Reservation, Washington
The pioneer of the Tulalip ministry was J. Frank Shaw. The work began on land leased by Rollo Maulsby, who had invited Shaw to come and see the needs of the people and consider starting a church. The response of the of the Native American people was slow, and they were reluctant to accept invitations from the church. After several months, a revival was held that resulted in twenty-seven conversions. Shortly afterward, a baptismal service was held in the cold water of a nearby stream fed by melted snow from Mount Pilchuck.
The Shaws left the Tulalip congregation in 1943 “to launch a new Native American congregation in Toppenish, Washington.” Leland Harriman took over the pastoral care of the Tulalip congregation. Then in 1947, Adam and Marge Williams continued the work at Tulalip. Adam was a member of the Swinomish Tribe. In 1978, Adam passed away and Marge faithfully continued his work.
Through the influence of J. Frank Shaw, another mission was started in Celilo, Oregon. Several students from Pacific Bible College (now Warner Pacific), including Boyd Kole, assisted with the mission program in Celilo. This mission closed in 1958.
Wounded Knee, South Dakota
The Wounded Knee mission began in the house of Robert Fast Horse’s home near Porcupine Butte. A group of students from Gordon Bible School, an institution sponsored by the Gordon, Nebraska, Church of God, led a prayer service at the Fast Horse Home and were invited to return. Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morey led the students, who conducted services for more than a year.
The first pastor of the Church of God ministry on the Pine Ridge Reservation was Herbert Peterson, who served from 1940 to 1948. During his ministry, Wounded Knee was selected as the location for a building, and an existing building was moved to the church property.
From the Wounded Knee Church, three other Church of God congregations have been established, serving the Sioux people who have moved off the reservation, in Gordon, Alliance, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
The following are dates of the founding of these missions:
Another Lakota (Sioux) mission began in Allen, South Dakota in 1962. Ivyl Salisbury, a layman, was the first to minister here.
Another Native American Mission began in 1939 among the Cherokee in Oklahoma by Wiley and LaVaughn Hall. This started in Park Hill near Muskogee.
In 1943, Native American Ministries opened a new work in Tulalip, Idaho, among the Nez Perce Indians. This work was started by James and Elmina Kole.
Crow Agency, Billings, Montana
In 1945, A. J. Stewart, who was pastoring close by in Billings, felt the need to evangelize on the Crow Reservation.
Klagetoh Shelter Mission, Klagetoh, Arizona
Leroy Falling, a member of the Cherokee Tribe, played an important role in Native American Ministries. He had “a distinguished career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs…In the early 1960s while serving as principal of a school on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, he contacted Bahe Woodman, a gifted Navajo leader and a man of great spiritual qualities who had become a Christian.” A mission was started at Klagetoh, and Bahe became the pastor. Now his children Ron Woodman and Maureen Woodman continue the work.
In 1979, Fred Mamaloff left the work at the Crow Agency, Montana, to return to Alaska to evangelize the Native Americans and Eskimos in Anchorage.
The American Indian Council is experiencing a regeneration of sorts with the restart of Home Missions of the Church of God and renewed interest in the great needs of the Native American people. We thank God for this new spirit of cooperation and interest towards revitalization.
We thank God also for the new arrivals of pastors Tim and Kim Wardell at Allen, South Dakota; Jonathan Ervine, youth pastor, at Alliance, Nebraska; and the new youth pastor, Robert White, at the Inter-Cultural Chapel who shares with First Church of God in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
I am also reconnecting with the Alaskan Native American ministry which collapsed a few years ago. I have a deep burden to see this work renewed. Please pray that God will help in realizing this dream.
We are in great need of internships from our colleges and universities at all our mission sites. We are in need of identifying and training youth leaders at each mission site and organizing local training programs to prepare these potential leaders for service to our congregations.
We would like to also extend an invitation to any Native American in our churches across the United States to get involved in this needy ministry as it struggles with the plight of its peoples.
We call on all believers and congregations to unite with us in supporting the existing work and finding new missionaries and pastors/leaders/trainers who can come alongside us to develop the work further. We are in great need of financial support. Your accepting of this call will do much to further the kingdom of God among the Native Americans. May God bless you as you consider this vital call to partnership.
—Maureen Woodman, first chief of the American Indian Council of the Church of God
In the last four years there has been a renewed interest in this vital ministry. In cooperation with the American Indian Council of the Church of God, overseen by First Chief Maureen Woodman, Domestic Ministries of the Church of God, led by Handel Smith, is revitalizing this aspect of Home Missions of the Church of God.
The American Indian Council, along with the missionaries currently on the field, has a deep concern and commitment to seeing the work on these reservations revitalized. It is urgent that the Church of God begin to know and partner with these great missionaries and Native American leaders to enable them to accomplish and expand their work among these great Americans by making Jesus the subject of their lives on a daily basis by being the love of Christ among them.
In order to accomplish this goal the American Indian Council (AIC) in 2015 developed this mission statement: “Expressing the love of God by practicing the ministry of presence, building meaningful relationships, loving without hurting, working and partnering to disciple the lost.”
Please pray that the leadership of the AIC will effectively work together to develop Christ-centered leaders and missionaries to do God’s will on the reservations. Also, be in prayer that new Native American leaders will hear the call of God to serve in this work. In addition to these two very important needs, pray that missionaries, council leaders, and Native American leaders will find a spirit of cooperation and respect for each other and for the cultural differences among us. Pray that we can find systems and programs that are effective and can be replicated throughout the work.
Wounded Knee Church of God, Wounded Knee South Dakota
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located in southwest South Dakota and is home to the Oglala Lakota Native Americans. About 35,000 people live on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is the size of the state of Connecticut. Pine Ridge is one of the poorest places in the United States. Around 90 percent of those on the reservation live below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is about 85 percent, some 15 to 20 people commonly live in homes built for families of six, the high school dropout rate is 70 percent, the infant mortality rate is 300 percent higher than the national average, and the life expectancy of men is between 42 and 45; for women, 52. Those are the lowest life expectancies in the western hemisphere. Furthermore, the teen suicide rate is four times the national average. Between Christmas 2014 and August 2015, more than 15 children between the ages of…
…of 12 and 19 committed suicide.
The community of Wounded Knee is in the middle of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and is in the Wounded Knee district. The Wounded Knee community has about 60 homes and 500 residents. Within the community there is the Church of God, an Episcopal Church that meets every other Sunday, the Post Office, and a Head Start building. Residents have to drive over eight miles to reach the closest convenience store and over fifteen miles to reach the closest gas station.
In 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre took place. The 7th Cavalry of the United States Army killed between 150 and 300 unarmed Lakota men, women, and children who were being held under the white flag of surrender. The mass grave where the people were buried is within walking distance of the church property. In 1973, the American Indian Movement, a militant Native American civil rights group, took hostage the town and area of Wounded Knee as a protest of the way the Lakota people were being treated by their tribal government. The church has bullet holes in the ceiling from the volleying back and forth between AIM and the FBI.
The Wounded Knee Church of God has been ministering to the Wounded Knee community and the Wounded Knee District since the late 1940s. The church was started by a group of students from the Church of God in Gordon, Nebraska. The senior pastor is Stanley Hollow Horn, a registered member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He has been serving at Wounded Knee Church of God since 2002.
Average church attendance is between 15 and 30. The children’s Sunday School meets during the sermon, and there are between 5 and 15 children who attend regularly. Wednesday night adult Bible studies are now in the second year, and attendance is growing between the men and women’s groups. The church has a small food pantry, and offers emergency food assistance when needed by community members.
During the summer, the church hosts work teams from across the country and across denominational lines. Many of the groups offer activities for the whole family. In the summer of 2016, the church had seven weeks of Bible school, with an average of 50 children attending each day. One day, about 70 children were in attendance. Most work teams also offer adult groups for men and women and evening meals for the community. Our annual community carnival had over 250 people in attendance.
The current church building is shaped like a tipi and was built in 1967. A Fellowship Hall was added to the property in 2007 and, in the summer of 2015, an addition was added to the fellowship hall to serve as a Sunday school classroom. Volunteer groups from churches from across the country built all the buildings on the property.
In the next few years, the vision is to build a youth and community center on the property of the church. The project is called the Place of Promise. This future building will contain an indoor gym. Currently the project is in the early fundraising stages.
Wounded Knee Church of God is a mission church and therefore 100-percent supported by churches and individuals from across the country.
AT A GLANCE
Alliance Indian Mission, Alliance, Nebraska
During World War II, the army had an airbase in Alliance, Nebraska. Workers were needed for many civilian jobs, so trucks were taken to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations to bring Native American families to do some of those jobs. After the war was over, about eight of those families remained in Alliance. At that time, all Indians had to live in a four-block square area south of the railroad underpass. The Indian Mission Church of God in Alliance began as a result of Rev. Earl Bailey realizing that injustices in the Alliance community needed to be addressed. A gathering place was needed, and it was decided that what was needed was a church. A permit was obtained in 1952, and the building was completed in 1954. Today they are ministering to needy people in Alliance and on the reservations. Even though the target group of the ministry is Native American, we also work with many other people who need to hear the message of salvation…
Rev. Don and Pat Mink serve at this vital work at Alliance Indian Mission. They arrived “the last day of 1979.” These 37 years has been what Brother Mink calls a “ministry of presence.” He is very well known among the Lakota (Sioux) Indians. He ministers to them by addressing primarily their day to day needs. As a result, he is deeply respected.
Rev. Linda Abold (husband Butch) serves as the associate at Alliance and has worked with Don Mink since 1992. Before that Linda and Butch served at Wounded Knee from 1981 to 1990.
The newest arrival to the Native American Ministries work is Jonathan Ervin from Greenville, Tennessee. He arrived this year to begin full-time ministry with the youth. He previously did a short-term work at Alliance and felt a call to this work.
AT A GLANCE
Pastor Victor has served the congregation on the Tulalip Reservation in Seattle, Washington, since 2013. He has held Sunday English and Korean services and Friday prayer meetings, and he attends tribal funerals. This congregation also has a food bank, which feeds approximately 14,000 people. They also are home to the local AA group.
Please be in prayer for this congregation as they minister to the needs of the Native American on this reservation. Pray also to see how you might partner with them…
AT A GLANCE
Intercultural Chapel, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
As early as 1953, Rev. Earl Bailey studied the movements of Native Americans to Scottsbluff. That year meetings began in the home of Robert Hawk. In the fall of 1954. Rev. and Mrs. Earl Bailey moved to Scottsbluff to help establish the Platte Valley Indian Chapel. By January of 1956, the Chapel began meeting in the basement of the parsonage. The youth center was dedicated in March 1963, where the church moved until the actual church building could be built. The Platte Valley Indian Mission of…
Scottsbluff dedicated the new Chapel building as the Intercultural Service Center. Now it is called the Intercultural Chapel. The current missionaries at the Intercultural Chapel are Sherman and Kay Critser.
AT A GLANCE
Pass Creek Church of God, Allen, South Dakota
The church in Allen, South Dakota, started in 1981 with Ed Parcells ministering to the people. After him came Brother Salisbury. With the help of Brother Mink, they held services in different people’s homes—Brother Mink having to drive from Alliance, Nebraska, to help with the services.
Paul and Kathy Bentley came to Allen in December 1985 to one trailer that was frozen shut to begin their ministry…
In the next twenty-one years of their ministry, a double trailer parsonage was put together and built around, and a garage that later became the church was built with a picnic area was enclosed and became the fellowship hall. A Woodshed and another garage were built, and a small trailer with two bathrooms and a large living area were built around, as one building giving showers and restrooms to work camps that came out to do VBS, outreach, and work projects. Two trailers were also moved in to house the work camps.
AT A GLANCE
Project #43.15585 (Tim & Kim)
Indian Mission Church of God, Lapwai, Idaho
The Church of God work in Lapwai, Idaho, among the Nez Perce Indians, began in 1945. This work was started by Jim and Grace Cole. Currently, Rev. Stan Marble is overseeing and ministering to the people at this mission.
Please be in prayer for Stan and the work there, as this is one of our more needy works. With a building that is over 35 years old, they have a lot of needs that require attention.
AT A GLANCE
Klagetoh Shelter Mission, Klagetoh, Arizona
Ron Woodman took over from his father Bahe, and is senior pastor at Klagetoh Shelter Mission. He is involved in Bible studies, Sunday school teaching, and the local evangelical association. He and Maureen Woodman, his sister, work together to coordinate efforts at the Shelter. Please be in prayer for the Woodmans as they struggle to meet the needs of this mission…
AT A GLANCE