Hope to The Nations - April 2016 April 2016 - scroll down to read

"Do you think that if you were to follow Jesus that you would be denying your people?"

This update will be a little longer than usual, but I don't think you'll be disappointed if you read all the way through.

Last Monday night (April 4th), I arrived on campus at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA for three days of meeting with students and sharing about what InterAct does. Shortly after I arrived I had the opportunity to share in one of the evening classes for about 30 minutes. At the end of my time the professor asked if someone would pray for our family and for InterAct. A young name Lloyd volunteered. The next day Lloyd came up to me and asked if we could get together, so we scheduled to meet the following day at around 4PM.

When we met up we both were hungry so we decided to go get an early supper. He knew a little Mexican hole-in-the-wall place that sounded good so we went there. There was hardly anyone in the little restaurant with it being so early. We ordered and sat down and waited for our number to be called.

One of the things Lloyd was interested in was our ministry to First Nations peoples in Canada. When talking about this I usually begin by telling a little bit of the history and context of our Native ministry. A big part of that is the story of the Indian Residential school system.

There’s far too much to say on this subject, so I would encourage you to Google it and read up on it if you’re interested. But in short, it was the systematic forced removal of First Nations children from their families and culture and placement of them into schools in order to assimilate them to the Anglo-Canadian culture. The results were largely disastrous. There are countless stories of abuse and neglect that sometimes even resulted in death. What’s worse is that 90% of these schools were run by professing Christians (60% Roman Catholic and 30% Protestant). This sad history has left scars on the lives of most First Nations communities. And because so much injustice was done by so-called “Christians,” the name of Christ is not always received favorably.

As I shared some of this with Lloyd, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of the guys in the booth behind us had turned around and was listening to what I was saying, nodding in agreement. I looked up and saw immediately that he was a Native man. He chimed in to the conversation, introducing himself as Joe. He seemed surprised that I knew so much about the injustices done to Native peoples.

As we talked I learned that Joe was from Arizona and from the Comanche tribe. He had been up to Canada many times for various Native gatherings. I asked him if he was a “religious” person and he told me that he was a follower of the "Red Road,” a Pan-Indian religion rooted in traditional Native beliefs.

We talked for about 20 minutes. What was so amazing was that our conversation basically played out in real life what I had been hoping to share with Lloyd in the abstract – feelings of injustice, a negative attitude toward Christianity and Joe's desire to reconnect with his own culture and history through the Red Road. At the end of the conversation I asked Joe "Do you think that if you were to follow Jesus that you would be denying your people?" He said yes.

Many North American Native peoples believe that turning from traditional beliefs to Christianity would be a denial of their heritage and culture.

The whole time I had been praying for what to say next. Over the years, listening to our missionaries who are involved in First Nations ministry paid off. The Lord brought things to mind that I had stored in the back of my brain somewhere. At the end of the conversation though I was praying, "Lord, what do I do next? This guy’s about to leave and I don't live around here. What’s the next step.” Just then Lloyd spoke up. "I'd love to get to know you better man. I'm interested to learn more about your people.” They exchanged numbers and made plans to start getting together!

Right after Joe left, Lloyd and I were both kind of in shock (in a good way). I suggested to Lloyd that we have some people in InterAct that would be willing to talk to him and give him some guidance in ministering to Native peoples as he gets to know Joe and relate to him. He got excited at this idea. So I’ve been working to put Lloyd in contact with one of our missionaries in Canada who will help him!

The value of listening often gets overlooked. Over my years in InterAct I’ve spent many hours hearing about ministry among First Nations people, and at the right time God brought to mind the things that I had learned in order to communicate the gospel to someone.

Please pray for Lloyd that he would be able to build a friendship and trust with Joe in order to be able to share the gospel with him. And pray for Joe, that he would see his need leave the Red Road for the Narrow Road.

"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

- Matthew 7:14" (NASB)


  • Breaking News! - We're sad to report that Isaiah broke his leg =(. Unfortunately this happens from time to time since he doesn't have feeling below the waist. He was playing with his leg and pulled it up too high and there was a "pop." In the past he's just needed a cast, but this time around he needed surgery. Thankfully the doctor was able to put in a plate and screws and he didn't need an above-the-waist cast.
  • Good Times With Grandpa and JJ - Cristy's mom and dad were in town when Isaiah had his little accident. But broken bones don't break up a good time!


  • InterACTION - The April edition of our newsletter highlights one of our missionary families serving in rural Alaska.

Alaska Missionary John Tramm shares about how God used a tragedy in the rural village of Ruby as an opportunity to share the gospel.


Ever wondered what it was like to fly above the Alaskan wilderness or sit in a church service in Siberia while people sing in their Native language? Most people will never experience those things, but technology might bring you a bit closer.

This is an amazing piece of technology called the Ricoh Theta S virtual reality (VR) camera. It takes photos or video via the two fisheye lenses on both sides, pieces them together digitally, and the result is a spherical image or video that you can either scroll around in on a desktop, or use a VR headset with your phone for a virtual experience. My hope is to use this technology to help people experience what life is like in some of the difficult places where InterAct ministers. We've been able to test it out in some different venues, and have heard comments like "Amazing! Remarkable. This is a game-changer," and just plain, "Wow!"

Below is a short clip I took when I visited The Master's College. It was during their chapel service. Click to play the video, then you can drag the image around in every direction! Give it a try.

  • Canada (May) - I will be in Canada the first week in May traveling around Calgary and southern Alberta. I hope to visit at least four of our mission families working among First Nations tribes.
  • Russia (July) - The last two weeks in July I hope to be in Siberia. I will be helping our field director there with our summer internship (EnGage!) team. I'm looking forward to this opportunity to serve. We're excited about a good-sized team this year!

I hope to travel to Siberia at the end of July to help with our team of summer interns. Plane tickets are very expensive right now, so if you feel led you can help offset some of the extra cost.


  • The Master's College - My visit to the campus the first week in April was a wonderful success. I talked with many students about mission work, hopefully getting some people into the pipeline to eventually come serve with us full time.

While at The Master's College I had a chance to speak in several classes. Here's a 360˚ photo of one of the missions classes. Click the link below to view it in virtual reality mode.


  • Praising God that Isaiah was well cared for when he broke his leg and didn't have to have a big cast. Pray for his leg to heal.
  • Praising God for a very successful campus visit at The Master's College. Pray for students to grow in their passion for mission work around the world and for more InterAct missionaries.
  • Pray for me as I get ready to visit our Canada field next month, for safe travels, good interactions with people and that I'd be able to be a help and encouragement.
  • Please pray for our renter in Mississippi to be approved for a loan soon and for our town home to sell.

Please keep us in your prayers. And we'd love to hear from you!

Partner With Us

We are so thankful for the generous support and prayers from our ministry partners like you. If you are not part of our support team and would like to join, please click the link below.

An InterAct Ministry


Created By
Thomas Slawson
Created with images by Tobyotter - "Profile" • john22s - "Narrow Path" • skeeze - "airplane aircraft commercial"

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