Native Ministry

 

 SOME INTERESTING FACTS:

  • During the last two national censuses there has been a 22% increase in persons reporting to be Native American in part or in whole.
  • While tribal land holdings are larger in Arizona than in any other state, Native Americans make up about 5.1% (313,000) of Arizona’s population of about 6.1 million persons.
  • 40% of Arizona’s Native Americans have a yearly income of less than $15,000 a year, with 30% of those making less than $10,000 a year.
  • Arizona is home to the tribe that has higher rates of diabetes than any other tribe in the United States.

HOW IS OUR CONFERENCE REACHING OUT TO THESE PEOPLE?    

Following the model of Christ’s ministry in mingling, ministering to needs, gaining confidence, and then inviting persons to follow Christ, there have been 12 evangelistic meetings and 61 baptisms in the past four years. Half of these meetings were sponsored through ShareHim and conducted by lay Arizona evangelists. In addition, two Native American local church elders were sponsored to hold evangelistic meetings in India.

Many of these meetings were held following, or in connection with, vegetarian cooking classes. In 2006, Arizona members Judy Risling and Jackie Van Denabeele held three successful vegetarian cooking classes for the Gila River Indian Community, Navajo Nation, and they received a surprising invitation to conduct a class on the conservative Hope Reservation. All were well attended with a combined enrollment of about 110 persons.

In 2007, the Native Ministry Department invested in health ministry training by sponsoring four persons to attend the Orlando Health Summit, and two individuals to receive the Depression Recovery program training conducted by Dr. Neil Nedley in Oklahoma.             In addition, Diane Burnett, MD and Martha Corona, RN have begun working for Native Ministries in a full time capacity. They conducted their first outreach in the Maricopa Village Church, assisted by 18 students and staff from Uchee Pines Institute. We are also diligently working with the Division of Health in the Navajo Nation to stem the use of methamphetamines among teens.

Thanks to many gifts of time, talent and means, the Maricopa Village Christian School in the Gila River Indian Community will move into new classrooms in the fall of this year.  This one-teacher school is operated by the Conference Education Department and offers a fully accredited program of instruction. Jessica Frame, teacher/principal, is committed to providing her 10-12 students with opportunities to learn about Jesus every day.

The Native Ministry Arizona magazine has become the primary fund raising tool for our Native Ministry program. Donations in 2006, including benefits and appropriations from the Arizona Conference, totaled $249,000. These funds were used for ministry to Native Americans in Arizona.

 

 Bob Parrish, Coordinator