Last week we were in Bismarck, North Dakota, as a part of a Million Dollar Clothing Give-Away. On Thurs- day morning, we arrived and headed for a radio station to be interviewed in regard to how this all came about. This radio station is situated on the side of a hill, a legendary hill in Mandan, a town named for the First Nations tribe, the Mandan Indians. I stayed with my friends, Ron and Julie, who actually live in a subdivision there. They pastor New Life Church in Bismarck, where Scott and I have held conferences.
Let me tell you more about this hill. It is called, “CRYING HILL”, and as the story goes: Crying Hill was a point from which mothers and wives watched to see if their sons and husbands were among returning warriors. The name Crying Hill derives from its centuries-old recognition as a sacred place, a natural cathedral where the Mandan’s and later cultures could go to “Cry Unto the Lord”, i.e., to beseech, ask for guidance, and seek solace with a spirit common across all faiths.
Let me give you the sad backdrop of our trip. Through the years, the American Indian tribes have been treated with great indifference and bias. It is an invisible, yet prevailing reality. As I write this, we have been where the “COVID 19” still holds prisoners, and in New Mexico a high rate of the Navajo Indians suc- cumbed to death caused by the virus.
On Friday, we traveled an hour and a half to pass out the last few clothes we had left over, as well as serving Buffalo Burgers in a park. It was an hour and a half southwest from Bismarck to McGlothlin, South Dakota, home of the Sioux Indians and Chief Sitting Bull. As we arrived, Ken and Cara Hall’s friend met us, and she was visibly shaken. The day before, she was upbeat and happy as she worked along side everyone helping and encouraging those who had come for clothes and food. This was not her demeanor on Friday, less than 24 hours later. She said, 30 minutes before we arrived, a teenager had gone to sit on the steps at the back of his home and poured gas over himself. His father came looking for him, and as his father came around the corner of the house the teenage boy said, “Hey Dad, look at this.” Then he struck a match and set himself on fire, resulting in his legs and body being terribly burned. When she told us this, my heart hurt and still does. Cara Hall asked the young man if she could pray for him, and he said, “Yes, please do.” Cara then asked, “What would you like me to pray for?” The young man said, “PRAY THAT I WILL HAVE HOPE”.
I pray for you and those we have worked with last week to have hope in all things. I am praying the Word over you: 1 Corinthians 13:7 (Amplified Bible), 7 “Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].”
2 Corinthians 1: 2-7: 2 “Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
5 For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our com- fort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. 6 But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we experience. 7 And our hope for you [our confident expecta- tion of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.”
There is great comfort in hope and we serve the God of all Mercies and Comfort. We love you, believe in you, need you, and want you in our lives.
Your loving pastors,
Cleddie and GayNell Keith