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Lost Son and the Jesus Clan

By Carter Davis, Feb 24, 2014
“I’m going home,” Sherry Harvey thought to herself within 48 hours of arriving in Omaha, Neb. As part of a short-term team ministering to the residents of a Native American reservation where she knew no one, she thought, “God doesn’t need or want me here.”

Sherry reached out to a friend from home who encouraged her to stay. “You never know how God is going to use you!”

Sherry stayed. A few days later, she was unexpectedly asked to lead VBS. “I decided to teach on the Prodigal Son. I created a story of a Native American named Lost Son who was squandering his life,” she recalled. “I thought maybe the kids who were on the reservation could relate to it.”

She was right.

The Jesus Clan
“Does anyone know which clan you come from?” Sherry began. Many of the children raised their hands, each proudly declaring their clan name. “Some were affiliated with the Buffalo Clan, others the Deer Clan, and one piped up with ‘Lightning!’”

The children were surprised to learn that Sherry and the others on the project were also a part of a clan. “I told them we were all members of the Jesus Clan and that it wasn’t exclusive to a particular race of people,” she recalled.

The Story of Lost Son Sherry then began her story of God’s plan for redemption. She shared that a father named Dode WAKOn/DA (the Omaha Tribe’s name for God the Father) had two sons and a large inheritance. One of the sons, Lost Son, was impatient and greedy and demanded his share of the money.

As Sherry creatively detailed the rest of the story—the shame of Lost Son and the emotional reunion with Dode WAKOn/DA—and then tied it into the story of Jesus, she could tell the children were fully engaged. “You could hear a pin drop,” she said.

To Stephanie Hughes, who served with Sherry in Omaha, it was apparent that the Holy Spirit was at work. “Let me just say it was the most powerful VBS moment I’d ever seen or heard in my life,” Stephanie said. “It was truly amazing!”

When Sherry was done speaking, a young boy named Riley looked innocently up and asked, “How can I be a part of the Jesus Clan?”

Sherry’s eyes welled up with tears. They talked and Riley accepted Jesus. “Afterward I sat there in the grass and wept,” Sherry said. “I knew why I was supposed to stay.”

It took a conversation with a little boy to put Sherry’s faith into perspective. “God has a purpose and a plan,” Sherry said. “We might not see it right away, but He has a plan.”
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Pray for short-term teams to Native American and First Nations tribes to be used of God and to build relationships with tribe members as they serve.

Pray that we would not give into cynicism regarding ministry among Native Americans, and that God would give us a vision for the expansion of the Native American Church.

Pray for the First Nations people in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and for the ministry of Amazing Grace Community Church actively reaching the city for Christ. 

Pray for the future Native American Christian leaders being raised up at Mokahum Ministry Center in Bemidji, Minn., and that they would impact their tribes with the gospel.

Pray for the Cherokee people and our ministry alongside them.

Pray that God will give churches a vision to invest in their youth by taking short-term mission trips. Pray that youth would grasp a heart for missions as a result.

Pray for missionary Carrie Rice, who serves with MTW in Lethbridge, Canada, and for the work the team is doing there.

Pray that God would use Native Americans and First Nations people to reach their own tribes with the gospel of Christ. 

Pray for the ministry of Amazing Grace Church in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, as the Lord uses His people to help transform a community for Christ. 

Pray for God to draw the hearts of Native American and First Nations people to Himself and for Native churches to flourish.

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