As it turns out Jesus does demographic studies. He does them differently than most today, however. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and discover that the Jesus plan is to search out the following people:
Having identified these key targets, the plan is to care for them and authentically love them. I certainly believe in healing and deliverance; but in this case the love of Jesus visits the sick and befriends the imprisoned.
Where are these people that Jesus loves so much? In every state, county, reservation, and neighborhood in America.
The DeGarmo family has reached a milestone in our ministry; we have completed our tenth academic year as missionaries to Native Americans, assigned to American Indian College (Phoenix, AZ). Your faithful prayer and financial support has made that possible. Words cannot express our gratitude.
A few weeks ago, for the tenth time, we watched a new graduating class commissioned to the place of their calling. They will be teachers, church leaders, community leaders. More importantly, they will be godly women and men, mothers and fathers, followers of Jesus that the Spirit uses to transform their communities.
The Lord continues to bless our family. All three of our children have reached their twenties. Kristin has graduated from Evangel University and Stacey will soon receive her degree from Arizona State University. Gregory is doing well. Ruth, as always, continues to be a blessing to all, and the best wife in the world. Earlier this year we celebrated our 30th anniversary.
We know that we can count on your continued prayers and support. May your life and family be favored by the Lord.
--David and Ruth
There is a "buzz" on the campus of American Indian College! The National Native Youth Convention starts tonight. Hundreds of Native American youth will be in attendance. Please pray that the Lord will set young people free. Check back here for a post-convention update.
On January 28, Ruth and I attended the eightieth birthday celebration for Rev. Rodger Cree. Brother Cree (Mohawk) has provided outstanding leadership for decades. An entire generation of Native American leaders bear the imprint of his influence. What a legacy!
On February 4, we will say farewell to Rev. Alma Thomas, who passed away at the age of ninety. Sister Thomas, along with her husband Lonnie, served at American Indian College at its inception. Lonnie went to his reward several years ago. Alma was a small, frail looking woman, but was mighty in the Lord. Today, at AIC, we stand on her broad shoulders. Again, what a legacy!
But I am pleased to say that American Indian College continues to commission empowered leaders to follow in the example of Rodger Cree and Alma Thomas. Your prayer support and prayers make a difference. Thank you!
While we find ourselves in Christmas Break, thoughts of the new semester already flood our minds. In five days, the faculty and staff return to work, just three days later, new students arrive to begin New Student Orientation.
When you pray, please pray that the faculty, staff, and administration will return well-rested and ready to lead a fantastic learning experience. Also, pray that the Lord will bring many students to AIC, as they prepare for a lifetime of service to the Kingdom of God.
This ministry is a team effort. Without your prayers and financial support, we could never do what we do. THANK YOU!
Today, many of my Christian friends begin a new journey as the Christian year begins fresh with the first Sunday of Advent. While my "tradition" does not officially follow the liturgical calendar, I have learned some of its benefits--including the celebration of Christ's coming. The message of Advent is hope: Christ has come and Christ will return!
This morning, I sit in our home filled with the decorations of the season. Around the breakfast table, our family will read the Scriptures and light the first candle in the Advent Wreath. The anticipation will build for four Sundays as we eagerly wait for the fulfillment of the season, Christmas!
I have chosen to organize my personal spiritual formation according to the Christian calendar. Today, I open a new prayer journal--reflecting both on the past and the future. Behind us lie the successes and failures of last year; before us await the surprises of the new year, some wonderful, others terrible.
No remedy exists to correct last year's mistakes; and I cannot control the future. However, I can resolve to meet this year with the faith that only God's grace provides. The hope of Advent fills me with determination...
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13-14, ESV)
Happy New Year!
Every Christian leader knows that there is no shortage of good ideas. But good ideas that actually work--now that is another matter altogether!
Most of the friends of American Indian College know the idea behind the school. We train a new generation of Native American Leaders to serve the Lord and to build the Kingdom of God. If the idea behind AIC is valid, then effective Christian leaders will be the fruit of our labors. I am pleased to tell you that the idea, in fact, does work!
The AIC family rejoices with Rev. Marvin Begay (Navajo) and Canyon Day Assembly of God, as they have dedicated a brand new, beautiful facility to the glory of God. Pastor Marvin and Delia, both American Indian College alumni, lead a vital fellowship that is reaching the White Mountain Apache Nation. We are proud of them!
Over one thousand miles away, in the inner city of Omaha, Nebraska, another AIC alumnus is building the Kingdom of God in an entirely different setting. Rev. James Bollinger (Omaha, Class of 2006), planted Native Assembly of Omaha. This fall, they moved into their own facility and consistently see over one hundred in Sunday attendance. Pastor James works with a team of AIC alumni; as they target the unchurched, addicted, and homeless of their city, this great church is doing frontline ministry with passion.
Thank you! Your faithful and generous financial support and prayers enable the college to continue to make the idea a reality!
The Fall 2011 semester at American Indian College has begun!
The first full week of classes is devoted to welcoming the new students. Current student body leadership facilitate chapel services during this time. Yesterday, I was brought to tears. Eleven members of the community (students and faculty) prayed in their own native languages for the Lord's favor upon the college--ten languages in all, besides English!
I couldn't help but think of the Scriptures...
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9, NIV)
That is why we are missionaries--and so are you--we keep telling the story of Jesus until everyone has heard!
The long, dry summer has begun. Students have left the campus for home or field ministry. But it is anything but slow on the campus of AIC! In fact, next Monday (June 6, 2011) is a very important day for the College; a team on behalf of the Higher Learning Commission (our regional accrediting body) arrives for a focused visit. They will be looking specifically at our enrollment, finances, and fund-raising. For six months we have prayed and prepared for this visit. In subsequent blog entries, I will more fully describe the efforts we are extending to create "new wineskins" (Mark 2:21-22) that will enable us to take the mission of AIC to the next level. We are convinced that God is launching us into a new period of effectiveness as we train a new generation of leaders at American Indian College.
Thank you for your prayers and support!