1/17/98 7:38 AM
Dear friends and brethren,
This report is from my trip to alaska this week. It a report to my fellow
North American committee members for the World Christian Gathering of
Indigenous People. I think is will be a blessing to you as well.
My friend pastor Jim Brenn, Skyline Foursquare, held his second Alaska
missions conference in Anchorage Alaska. There were 60-80 in the days and 150+
in the evenings. A number of regional Foursquare leaders spoke and a number of
Natives. Mike Curtis, Mary Glazier, Doug Yates, Fred Brodin, and myself were
the Natives. Part of the vision for the conference was to gain understanding
of the role of Native people relative to God's purposes for Alaska and beyond.
Each of us experienced a unique anointing by God to speak with wisdom, passion
and clarity. There was much time spent in prayer, repentance and commitment
to Christ each day.
Something very wonderful happened. On Tuesday afternoon I taught on the value
of the cultural expressions of Native people in God's redemptive purposes for
the nations. Afterward we watched the video on last years Christian Indigenous
Gathering (WCGIP) from New Zealand. As the video was coming to a close I began
to hear a few people in the room begin gently weeping and crying. If you
remember the last part of the video is the song that says, "Listen to the
sound of the people coming back, their deliverer has come with compassion,
look and see the women in their dignity, strength and purity, for they choose
to walk in the light, where God is walk in the light; Listen to the sound of
the people coming back, praise in their hearts instead of heaviness, look and
see the warriors are full of hope, courage and humility for they choose to
walk in the light." Behind the music you see the people dancing, praying, and
worshipping in their traditional regalia and movements, including a few Native
It seemed as though I could feel the wound and deep heart cry of the Native
people in the room. During that ending the crying became more widespread and
louder. When the video ended and the credits were rolling nearly everyone in
the room was crying. The crying steadily grew more intense. I began to cry and
was soon deeply sobbing from a deep place of loss and identifying with the
pain of Native people. Many began to wail and lament like at a funeral, men
and women alike, and now the room was filled with the presence of the Holy
Spirit and a deep intercession with groanings. Native and white were crying.
This went on for 15 - 20 minutes.
It was a bittersweet experience because it seemed as though they was the sense
of deep loss while at the same time the overwhelming joy of the return of
something of great value that had been lost. Others then began to speak words
of prophesy. As this time ended I asked a few to come and describe what had
just happened. People said when they saw the Native people in the video
dancing they wanted to be free to do the same thing, but felt the loss of not
being able to. One said they felt the Lord was giving back to them their
Native culture because of the years that the (sp) canker worm had stolen or
destroyed. Several said they felt they saw in the video what they had
themselves had longed for in their own lives, but were afraid to try for fear
of persecution from the church or had forgotten how to do. There was a
distinct sense of joyful hope being restored.
It was a very awesome time and the next two days many discussions occurred to
better understand what the Spirit of God had done for us. We can expect many
Alaska Natives to come to Rapid City for the Gathering! I recorded several
very wonderful testimonies from Native folks who had been set free to in their
words, "be free to be Native again."
I left Thursday morning. The following is a report from a friend on the
closing meeting Thursday night.
"""On Thursday night something wonderful happened. As a culmination of the
conference many people were set powerfully free by God during the evening
worship service. An Eskimo brother who was a great traditional native dancer
in his youth was set free to dance again after many years of repression. He
had been writing new Eskimo dances and worship songs to Jesus Christ for over
a year. The drums were used to worship Jesus, and almost the whole church one
by one came up to play, each being set free as they began to play. First
natives, and then the whites were invited up, because the brothers felt this
new blessing to worship should be shared with all. The teens were on one side
jumping up and down , and the older ones did a dancing Jericho march around the
building. This went on for an hour or two, but mainly what was happening was
people were being set powerfully free to express their culture to their God in
praise! As with Paul and the early church of the greeks (a different culture
from the Jews) he set down Apostolic direction for them which gave them
freedom from the law that the Jewish Christians wanted to burden them with.
The words spoken by you and others were as Apostolic direction to the
brethren, and did a great work of release. It seems that Spiritual history
was made this week.
I really, really enjoyed your ministry up here, and I started reading your
book. I am amazed at the clarity at which you minister. Your message is
unique to the body, and it is a very needed and powerful one."""
Brethren, we are involved in an awesome work of spiritual renewal among Native
people across the earth! There is a distinct openness among Alaska Native and
non-Natives believers concerning the message of a new contextualized ministry.
More organizational details will be coming from Terry and I in the days ahead.
It has been a very busy 5 weeks for both of us and we honestly have not done a
whole lot in the way of communication. Our apologies.
Love in Christ, your brother
Richard -