Sowing seeds in the hearts of Native Americans
By Jami Becher
The Native American tribes of Kansas have a rich culture of celebrating a
creator. They’re Plains Indians who once roamed the northern plains of the
United States hunting buffalo and living off the land. They honor this heritage
through powwows, gathering around the drum, and singing traditional songs.
Despite their deep connection with the earth’s creator they have an equally
deep distrust of a god they associate with Christian settlers who took their
land and forced them into lives of isolation on the reservation.
Even today, life on the reservation can be bleak—alcoholism, suicide and broken
families are common. North American missionary Daniel Goombi, a full-blooded
Native American, and his wife, Kimberly, have been called to help Native
Americans in Kansas understand that the creator they celebrate is the God who
loves them and wants to give them a hope and a future.
"I have a heart for reservation ministries because this is who I am,"
says Daniel, a member of the Kiowa-Apache Indian tribe. "I look at these people
and I see my family. A lot of the issues found on these reservations, sad to
say, are issues in my family. The kids remind me of my daughters, and if I was
unable to share the gospel with them, I would hope somebody would take the time
to come and lead them to the Lord."
As directors of Kansas Reservation Ministries, Daniel, 24, and wife Kimberly,
23, share the gospel on four Native American reservations—among the Kickapoo,
the Sac and Fox, the Iowa and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribes—throughout
Kansas. Ministering on Native American reservations is both heartbreaking and
difficult, according to Goombi. Every tribe in Kansas is different—each has its
own language, heritage, culture and beliefs.
"The spiritual climate on the reservations is difficult," Daniel says, "because
Native Americans have a misconception of who we believers are. They think they
have to give up who they are to follow God, and they believe God is still a
white man’s God because of the history Native Americans experienced with
organized religion." Daniel reassures his peers that "God has blessed us Native
Americans with who we are, with our heritage, and would never take that away
Daniel and Kimberly began turning the hearts of Native Americans to the Savior
by reaching out to their children. "The first summer of Vacation Bible School
in 2005 we spoke with an elder of the tribe who told us it had been 50 years
since a church had come on the reservation and had VBS," Daniel says. "That’s
50 years of children growing and living their lives and dying without a chance
to hear about God. As normal churchgoers a lot of people take VBS for granted
but here on the reservation it literally means life or death."
For the last four years Daniel and Kimberly have dedicated themselves to
sharing Christ with Native American children through Vacation Bible School,
Backyard Bible Clubs, and after school programs. "The kids on the reservation
are really receptive," Daniel says. "It’s amazing to see them grow and mature
in Christ. The parents see the change and begin asking questions and start
coming to our events. We’re able to share the gospel with the parents with the
help of their kids.
"So many tribes are going unreached," says Daniel. "We need to live with
urgency and together sow seeds on these reservations to further God’s
Says Kimberly: "We just want to get the word out to Southern Baptists that you
don’t have to spend money to travel overseas, when we have a mission field 20
minutes north of Topeka, Kansas." OMJami Becher is editorial assistant of On Mission.
Daniel Goombi– North American Missions Emphasis Worship
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC