Native Ministry in Remote Places – Is it Worth It?

Is it worth it to minister among Native people in some of the poorest and most remote places in America? Lakota pastor Rev. Larry Salway shares his answer…

Larry & Dale Salway Wesleyan Native Ministries

Rev. Larry & Dale Salway (courtesy of WesleyanLifeOnline.com)

Seventy believers gathered on March 24, 2013, a cold, windy day in a small, remote Lakota village on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Huddled in their chairs with slumped shoulders, their lined, forlorn faces and ragged clothing tell the story of extreme poverty and difficult lives. Theirs is a daily struggle to survive–lives filled with trauma, pain, grief, and suffering.

These people are literally the poorest in the nation, living 60 miles from the nearest grocery store, gas station, or ambulance service. The two roads in are rough gravel full of large pot holes. They seek work but it is usually far and seasonal and transportation is difficult. Their vehicles don’t last long on these rough roads and there is not enough money to fix or buy another.

The world has passed them by–they are forgotten. Not even their own tribe cares much for them and rarely offers assistance. The Catholic, Episcopal, Mormon, and United Church of Christ churches were closed years ago. There aren’t enough people or funds to keep a church open, they say. The Mennonite church is kept open by five brave, single, young women. Their pastor has also left. There are more fish in a bigger sea somewhere else. Denominations say it is easier to win people to Jesus in other countries around the world. The people in this village have been abandoned.

Three years ago this region suffered three major blizzards a week apart.  This village suffered greatly and barely survived. While the rest of our region and nation focused on aid to Haiti, our nearby neighbors in this village were struggling to survive. Their plight was told on the local and national news but few paid attention. “We need to go to Haiti,” they said. This village was snowed in with 27′ drifts in several places. No plow could get through. The power poles were knocked down. There was no heat, water, electricity, or food for weeks in sub-zero temperatures. It took two full weeks for their tribe to ask if they had survived. They were too small, too insignificant. They were passed by.

A relative of the people called to ask if we could lend a hand. Yes, we will try! With a caravan of five old vehicles loaded with donated food God had sent in, we headed out for the 200-mile journey in sub-zero temps to offer our aid. Little did we know there would be no gas station or food once we left Rapid City. It was a remote place where we were going! Groceries for 200 families were delivered and God’s love was shared to four desperate villages. The people were shocked! Who are you, and why do you care?  Why don’t you pass us by?

>>Please click to read the rest of the story at WesleyanLifeOnline.com

Springtime Growth

Larry Salway Wesleyan Native Ministries "Lakota Rising" Article

“Lakota Rising” article features Rev. Larry & Dale Salway in Wesleyan Life magazine.

Are you ready for spring?  I sure am! And I’ve realized that we wouldn’t enjoy the coming of spring nearly as much if we didn’t have to first endure some winter.

Looking back on the history of Wesleyan Native Ministries, we definitely had to make our way through some “winter” seasons when there appeared to be little growth or fruit.

But by God’s grace over the last few years, we’ve enjoyed wonderful “springtime” growth in terms of new Native leaders being equipped and churches being launched.

As a result, we’ve been able to reap, together, a rich harvest of lives coming into the Kingdom – more than ever before in the history of our ministry!

Thank you for your support of Wesleyan Native Ministries, which helps fuel the revival we’re seeing among the Lakota people, under the leadership of Rev. Larry Salway.

Wesleyan Life, the magazine of the Wesleyan Church, recently wrote about Pastor Larry and the transformation that is taking place among the Lakota. You can read it online at http://www.wesleyanlifeonline.com (be sure to click “read current issue”), or contact us and we’ll be glad to send you a copy.  Thank you!

Merry Christmas from Wesleyan Native Ministries

Native American Nativity Christmas ArtThe promise of his birth had been foretold for centuries. And his story passed down from generation to generation.

He was born into a tribal family. In a land his people had been given by God himself. But it was now being occupied by a foreign people.

He grew up in a town on the Rez where “nobody” ever came from and did anything special.

Living in occupied territory, his identity came into question many times. Yet he always remembered who He was, and what he came for.

His heart always burned for His people. And his mission was to help them connect to Creator in a way none had before.

In him, Creator came near and desired to live with them, in them, and through them.

He came to restore that which had been stolen.  Bring justice to those who were oppressed.  Give hope to people living at the end of their rope. And usher in a whole new way of living.

Life filled with peace, contentment, and joy. And not just for his people, but for the whole world.

This Christmas, thanks to your generous love, prayers, and support, Native American and First Nations people across North America will celebrate the birth of Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), and worship him as their savior and Lord.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

Celebrating the Tsosie Family’s New Home

Tsosie's new home

The Tsosie’s new home (on left), located next to their church, Red Rock Community Wesleyan Church.

A few weeks ago, we dedicated the new home for Navajo Pastor Darwin Tsosie’s family.

It was a special occasion and a wonderful time to celebrate God’s goodness and his provision.

They are living in the home but are without electricity and water until the Tribal Utility Authority can run the power lines 1500 feet from the road to their home.

Please continue to pray that this will be completed soon – before the hard weather winter sets in.

Wesleyan Native Ministries Navajo Outreach

Dale and Stefanie Sommons, coordinators of the Tsosie home project, receive a gift of thanks from Dr. Stephen Babby, the District Superintendent for the Pacific Southwest District and Pastor Darwin Tsosie.

While I was in northern Arizona, I also had the privilege of meeting with two of our Native ministerial students, Gilbert Tachene and Angie Redboy, who are attending the Indian Bible College in Flagstaff.

Gilbert has served as an assistant for Pastor Ben Yazzie at the Dineh Wesleyan Church in Low Mountain, AZ. Angie is from Rapid City, SD, where she served with Pastor Larry Salway.

Thank you for your prayer and financial support of Wesleyan Native Ministries, which helps us equip and empower Native leaders like these to reach their people for Christ, in Native communities across North America.

Several Native Ministry Students Receive Scholarships from Yellowhawk Leadership Development Fund

During the month of September, we’re celebrating the fact that three Native leaders from South Dakota are attending colleges this fall. One, Jesse Adams, is attending Houghton College in New York. Two others, Angela Redboy and Gilbert Tachene, are attending a Bible College in Arizona. In addition, other Native leaders from several states will attend Wesleyan FLAME ministerial training classes throughout the fall and winter.

This year, we need to raise an additional $75,000 for our Yellowhawk Leadership Development Fund, over and above the regular giving we receive, to provide scholarships for these students.  Would you please join us in praying for these needed funds, and give (over and above your regular giving) as the Lord leads you? We’ve named the fund after Dr. Jerry Yellowhawk, in honor of his decades-long legacy of servant leadership.

This month we’re also celebrating the completion of the new home for Pastor Darwin Tsosie’s family with a dedication service on the 29th. We’ve been so blessed by how God has met this need in such a wonderful way!  Please join us in praying that electricity will be hooked up soon by the tribal utility. Thanks again for your support!

A Word of Thanks from the Tsosie Family

Again, we want to express our thanks to God and to everyone who has prayed and sent a gift to build hope for Pastor Darwin Tsosie and family.

Much work was done in the month of July to prepare the home site, move the home (in two pieces) onto the site, set up the home on the foundation, make handicapped modifications and improvements, etc.

In mid-July I visited the Tsosies to check on the home’s progress, and we shot this video to give them the opportunity to say thanks to you for your support, and to invite you to a special home dedication service that is being planned.

The dedication service will be held on Saturday, September 29, at 1:00 pm Arizona Standard Time at the Tsosie’s new home, located near Jeddito, AZ.

If you can join us, please RSVP by calling us at 616-456-0097 or by email at rich@WesleyanNativeMinistries.org. We will provide more details as the plans progress.

For your general travel information, the closest hotels would be in Holbrook, Winslow, or Chinle, AZ.  Here is a map which pinpoints their location and shows the GPS coordinates:


View Red Rock Community Wesleyan Church in a larger map

Praising God for Answered Prayer

Please join us in praising God for many prayers that are being answered this month…

  • Work is underway for the new home for Pastor Darwin Tsosie’s family. The manufactured home was moved on-site the week of July 9. It will take a few weeks for modifications and handicapped improvements to be made before the family can move in. Please pray for favor with the tribal utility authority so that electricity will be hooked up quickly – right now they’re saying it could take up to three months.
  • In South Dakota, we continue to celebrate what God is doing to open up new communities for ministry, and we’re grateful for several churches that have sent teams to partner with Native pastors and churches in Native outreach ministries throughout the summer.
  • In northwestern Wisconsin, plans are being made to launch a church on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation near Hayward.

Please join us in praying for $75,000 needed to equip more Native leaders for pastoral ministry this year (including college scholarships for three – one of whom is attending Houghton College).

Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support, which resources what God is doing to reach more Native people for Him!

Wesleyan Native Ministry Highlight at General Conference

Thank you for your support for Wesleyan Native Ministries, which helps us equip and empower Native men and women to take the lead in reaching their people for Christ in Native communities across North America!

Please join me in praising God for some amazing things that happened recently.  First, we’ve met our goal to build a new home for Navajo pastor Darwin Tsosie’s family!  We are working to have the home ready for the family to move in by early August.  We will continue to receive donations for this project and will use any additional funds we receive to furnish the home with new furniture, housewares, linens, appliances, etc.  Any additional funds that remain will be used to defray their utility and maintenance costs.

Second, Wesleyan Native Ministries was highlighted at The Wesleyan Church’s General Conference on Tuesday, June 5. Rev. Larry Salway, Lakota pastor of He Sapa New Life Wesleyan Church in Rapid City, SD, presented the devotions that morning, and everyone was blessed and encouraged by his message of what God is doing to bring revival to Native communities across North America.  Later that morning, Dr. Jerry Yellowhawk received the Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition for decades of faithful ministry in The Wesleyan Church and Wesleyan Native Ministries.  In the afternoon, Rev. Larry Salway was elected to the General Board of The Wesleyan Church.

I celebrate the blessing and favor that God has placed upon Wesleyan Native Ministries, and the important role you play in helping to resource what God is doing to reach more Native people for Him. Thank you!

Spring Ministry Update

Stonington Wesleyan Church picture

Bethany, a 3rd grader (holding the poster), challenged her church to give big!

Dear WNM Friend,

I wish you could have been at our recent board meeting to hear first-hand reports from some of our Native ministry leaders about how your gifts are making a life-transforming difference!  You would have heard about…

  • A Native couple who, two years ago were homeless and living together in a tent behind a K-Mart, began attending He Sapa New Life Wesleyan Church (our Native church in Rapid City, SD), gave their lives to Christ, got married, and are now actively serving at He Sapa New Life and sensing a call to full-time ministry.
  • 300 Native house churches that have sprung up all across the U.S., reaching about 6,000 people, thanks to DVD’s of He Sapa New Life’s worship services that are mailed out each week.
  • A third-grader named Bethany from Sunbury, PA who inspired her church of 50 to give $2,500 to help build a new handicapped-accessible home for Navajo Pastor Darwin Tsosie’s family (We’ve met 58% of our $125,000 goal so far).
  • Three new Native ministry leaders who will attend college this fall as part of their preparation for ministry, including one who will attend Houghton College in New York!
  • A Native jewelry-making business that was started to provide good-paying jobs for Native people.
  • And much more.

Your gifts play a vital role in helping to resource all that God is doing through Wesleyan Native Ministries, like never before, to equip and empower Native men and women to take the lead in reaching their people for Christ.

Thank you for your support!  We’re grateful to be in kingdom partnership with you.

Printable Tsosie Project 4-Page Report is Available

We’ve just released a four-page report which gives an overview of the Tsosie “Build Hope” new home project.

To get your copy, click here, or on the report cover, to download the report as a PDF file.

Or if you’d like to receive one by mail, please call us at 616-456-0097 or email us at info@wesleyannativeministries.org.