At the beginning of December I had the opportunity to travel to Globe to meet, encourage and serve with Diane Lawrence from the Arizona Reservation Ministries, ie, ARM. ARM was founded, as quoted from the website, “to aid Apache Christians who are already serving on this reservation. ARM’s focus is taken from Exodus 17:8-16. This tells of the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites. The Israelites were winning as long as Moses held up his arms. After a long period, it became a difficult task to do alone. Aaron and Hur found a place for Moses to sit, and shared their friend’s burden…holding up Moses’ arms. With this partnership, the battle was won. It is the desire of ARM to represent the work of Aaron. By providing leadership training, children’s programs (including the mobile youth ministry), benevolence work, and emotional/physical support for our Native pastors, Tribal leaders and others, ARM can provide practical and much-needed aid. As you provide physical, financial and prayer assistance, you then become the representative of Hur; equally as important in assisting our Native Christians/Pastors/Tribal leaders in fighting the very real spiritual battle on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. It is clear from this word picture (and the experiences of those associated with ARM) that “Moses” (our Native Christian leaders) is weary and in need of assistance.
I met Diane and learned of ARM through my good friend Darla. Darla had recently been to San Carlos to serve with a short term mission team sent by her church. Darla recognized the need to encourage Diane on a more personal level so she called me about an encouragement visit by Encouragement Expeditions. Darla and I traveled to Globe where we spent the night at a local church affiliated with ARM then met with Diane the next morning. We had a time of sharing and prayer for Diane, her family and ARM. While Diane went to a meeting, Darla and I got busy decorating the church sanctuary with Christmas decorations. If you know me, decorating is another of my personal interests. So apparently God finds humor in using the talents He gave me to serve Him in unique ways. (Every trip there’s decorating or painting of some sort.)
In the afternoon, we went with Diane to participate in “shelter care,” at the reservation assisted living home. There we had Bible study and a time of prayer with 3 of the residents and Diane. I loved meeting the residents and spending time in God’s Word and prayer with them. How beautiful it is to meet fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! People I’ve never met, have relatively little in common with, and yet, have a bond that gives us an intimacy to encourage and pray together!
After the visit to the home, we went to meet the “church bus”! ARM owns a school bus that has been converted on the inside to provide Bible lessons, prayers, singing, snacks games, crafts and fun for an average of 200 kids in four different tribal housing areas. They also provide backpacks, school supplies and Christmas stockings through the Bus Ministry.
Please consider supporting Arizona Reservation Ministries financially either through regular donations or a one time donation. Also, consider going to serve with them! While we were there for our day visit, an entire family from out of state was spending their week of vacation serving with ARM. They had their own RV parked at the ARM headquarters in Globe but ARM also has housing available for short term teams. So gather some friends, or let your church mission pastor know about the opportunities, and go encourage while serving! Be an extension of Encouragement Expeditions and local missions! You will be blessed while blessing ARM staff and the San Carlos Apache tribe!
And finally, pray! It seems like the obvious, almost cliche, thing to say yet I’m being completely serious. If you do nothing else, in word or deed, to be encouraging to fellow believers, you can pray. I believe wholeheartedly in the power and provision of prayer. This is the ultimate act of encouragement as a believer.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16