Sunday, November 18, 2012

On September 20, we were privileged to welcome Dr. Terry Leblanc (Mi'kmaq /Acadian) to Knoxville, where he participated in the Veritas Forum at the University of Tennessee. Terry is helping to lead the North American Institute For Indigenous Theological Studies, which I participate in now. October 7, I flew out for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to meet with Dr. Doug Beacham, General Superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church and Re. Darrell Rice, Administrative Bishop of the Church of God in Oklahoma and Kansas. Accompanying me on those meetings was J.C. Elliot (Cherokee/Osage), an Indian holy man, which has been a mentor to me in the Indian tradition. Those meetings concerned the situation of Native American missions in the Oklahoma area, by some standards, the largest population density of Native Americans in the U.S. (approximately 266,000). My time with J.C. strengthened my knowledge of Native affairs in Oklahoma. I intend to go back soon. J.C. and I flew out of Oklahoma City and spent October 9-16 in the area of Sturgis, South Dakota, where we participated in prayer ceremonies on Bear Butte along with representatives from Sioux Falls Seminary, Northern Cheyenne and Sicangu Lakota leaders. It was a wonderful time that marked 7 years to the day since my personal call to Indian ministry, and the 36th year of J.C.’s journeys to Bear Butte with Iron Eyes Cody and many others. I met a number of Indian leaders at the base camp from several areas. I have compiled a rather lengthy (55 minutes) slide show on DVD for any that would request it for the cost of shipping.
A highlight of this trip was getting to visit Pine Ridge Reservation, where we toured Red Cloud Indian School, Rosebud Reservation and the site of Wounded Knee. All were very moving and emotionally charged for me. October 15 , we accompanied J.C. to the Black Hills Astronomical Society, in Rapid City, where he lectured on his years as NASA Retrofire Officer, having received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for charting the Apollo 13 astronauts back to earth. He was the first Native person to ever work for NASA.
On October 27, I performed a wedding for a fellow staff member at Life Bridges. Linda Rotelli’s wedding was held at Red Clay Council Grounds (Cherokee-Cleveland TN) during the Inter-tribal Powwow. I was pleased to find out that Linda, having been raised in the Navajo Nation had served Seminoles in Florida, who had developmental disabilities. I continue to meet more and more health care workers who have served Natives and am encouraged to see where it will all lead. On November 10, I completed the article for Religious Studies Review on Randy Woodley’s, Shalom & the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (Eerdmans 2012). It is a short review that I was honored to write. As you all can see, I continue to follow the three areas of concern for this ministry (empowering leaders, education and health care) and appreciate your continued prayers. All donations should be made out to Bethel World Outreach Church and mailed to me at 154 Holt Drive, Loudon TN 37774.

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