Window (12) ME A MISSIONARY, LORD?

In the spring of 1972, we had gone to a neighboring church to hear Evangelist Bob Hickey. That night he gave his life story and told us how he came to Christ. We were very blessed by the service. He announced that the following evening, Saturday night, he was going to show slides of their work with the Indians in Arizona which they did in the summer time when they didn't have revivals slated. It sounded very interesting, so we went. We were greatly impressed with the work he, his wife and daughter were doing. On the way home I said to my husband, "Honey, wouldn't it be wonderful if God would ever call us to do something like that?" He said that it sure would be. We just couldn't forget about it and as summer came on so did the awareness that God was through with us at Olivia We met Dr. Bloom and told him about our desire to work with the American Indians. He gave us Rev. G. H. Pearson's address, who at that time was the District Superintendent. We were praying that if it wasn't God's will, not to let us go. We only wanted to be where He wanted us to be doing what He wanted us to do. This was about the time of the General Assembly and of course Rev. Pearson was very busy. We did hear from him though, and he sent us some application blanks to be filled out. We kept on praying that God's will would be done. Then we received a letter from him saying that he was still waiting for some of our references and that he would call us the next week and let us know. He had a place in mind for us.

The following week we were to help in the Boys and Girls camp at Camp Jim, near Brainerd, Minnesota. So Howard wrote right back and told him where we were going to be and the phone number there. It was just at the dinner hour with over 150 children fined up in front of the dining hall when the call came. Howard couldn't even hear where we were supposed to go, but that we were being appointed. When he came by me on the way to be with his boys, he told me we had been appointed. As I was jumping up and down with excitement, the girls from my cabin wondered what was wrong with me. I told them if they could keep a secret, I would tell them after dinner. That evening Dr. Bloom was able to talk to Rev. G. H. Pearson and found out we was going to Sells, Arizona to work with the Thono Odahm Indians (Papago Indians when we were there). We were so happy and the following Sunday we announced our resignation. When I had called my parents to let them know about our next move their response was that they had given me to the Lord before I was born and they were glad for me to serve Him, wherever He might lead. How much I appreciated my Godly parents and their commitment to Him.

We were quite busy the next few weeks getting things packed and selling a few items that we couldn't take with us. We would be leaving Friday during the week of district assembly. At the assembly they called me to give my yearly report as an ordained elder. When I finished I went to sit down, but they called me back. Then Howard gave his report and we both went to sit down and they called us back again. Each church on the Minnesota District had taken an offering for us, and presented it to us at that time. It was very deeply appreciated. We thought we would put it into a bank when we got to our new home, but God knew we would need it before we were settled there and provided for us in this wonderful way.

On Friday, the son of one of our neighboring pastors came and helped us pack a tandem trailer. We had supper with some friends and about 6:00 P. M. we headed out for my parent's home. It was only about 130 some miles and we should have made it in a few hours. After some car trouble we arrived at my parent's home about 6:00 A. M.

We spent that day, Saturday, resting and getting the car fixed. We didn't like to travel on Sunday, but we had to in order to make it on time in Arizona. We left Mason City on Sunday morning stopping in Ames, Iowa for church. We were traveling one day down a mountain pass on a two lane road and coming up this road was a big truck, when a car pulled out to pass. With all the weight of that trailer behind us, if we would have hit, there would have been no way for us to have lived. My husband decided to go to the edge of the road, but the driver of the car cut across and missed us only by inches. We knew God had His hand on us. When we were traveling between Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona our radiator boiled over. We didn't have any water with us, but it started to rain. Howard found a place close by where they had made an opening in the pavement to let the water run off. He soon found a tin can and begin to fill the radiator. As soon as he had it full, it stopped raining. God sent that rain just for us when we needed it.

When we arrived at Phoenix, we went to Rev. and Mrs. Pearson's home for the night. Rev. Pearson was already at Sells and the next day we took Mrs. Pearson with us. They were having camp meeting when we arrived. They have it from Wednesday through Sunday before Labor Day. The camp meeting evangelist was staying in the parsonage, so we moved our things into two of the bedrooms, and resumed the trailer to a place in Tucson.

Seeing it would take a few days after the camp meeting to get our things unpacked and arranged, Rev. Pearson left his small trailer for us to stay in until we could get settled. Our mission station consisted of an alabaster church, the parsonage and the cook house. During camp meeting they furnish all the meals for the people. After supper the first night a little girl was bitten by a scorpion, and we took her and her mother to the local hospital. The Doctor told us they had killed a rattle snake in the hospital yard the day before and gave us a long list of all the poisonous creatures that live around there. This little girl had no complications from the bite.

That night after we were in bed we heard something howling. We had never heard coyotes before, and thought sure it was some dog that had been bitten by a rattle snake, or something similar. We soon learned our mistake and got used to hearing them howl. We were always very cautious to make sure there were no snakes or the like on the ground as we went to church.

We enjoyed the Camp Meeting very much and were glad to meet the former pastor there, Rev. Clarence Liston. He was going to our Indian Bible School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He took Howard calling with him and that was a great help. We also meet Rev. and Mrs. Alfred Wickland, missionaries in Tucson. They were such good friends and came out on Labor Day to help us with some painting in the house.

For the first 14 months we lived there we had to carry all of the water we used in a large plastic container. Between where we lived and where we got the water was a wash, which would turn into a little creek when it rained. We could only fill the container about half full, for if it was filled up you lost quite a bit of it going through the wash. We did have a septic tank, so we were thankful for that convenience. A blue granite canner was used to heat water for dishes. We had another container in a closet near the bathroom, which we used so we could flush the bathroom stool. The government came into our area and built one hundred new homes for our Indian people, and brought the water line through. We were able to connect to this. What a blessing. The day we got the water turned on, I did quite a bit of mopping. The parsonage was quite new and had all the pipes in it. How were they to know if they were tight or not without any water to go through them? It wouldn't have bothered me if the water was up to my knees for I was so glad to have running wafer in our home.

So many times we take things for granted until we no longer have them. Since I am legally blind in my right eye and have lost some of the sight in my left eye, I appreciate the gift of sight more than ever. Why must we lose things in order to appreciate them? Let's stop and thank God for all the blessings He gives us and count them day by day.

To a certain extent, I think we went through a cultural shock. When we saw homes with dirt walls and floors, cooking being done in a cactus arbor, water and wood being carried for miles, it was quite a shock. I didn't realize that people in the United States lived in such a style. When the ladies wanted their floors to look neat, they would rake it. Not all homes were like this. Some had cement floors and things somewhat better. The food prices at the trading post were unreasonable. One day, in 1973, I went to buy a quart of skim milk, and it was 90 some cents.

It was necessary for us to go to Tucson once a week to buy our groceries, do our laundry, and banking for us and the church. Most of the time we would stop and see our friends, the Wicklands, and spend some relaxing time with them.

On Monday nights we went south 20 miles to a little village to hold Sunday school and church. We were allowed the use of the tribal building, unless they were using it that night. This was a real outreach for the church. One of our ladies went with us and taught the adult class. My husband and I taught the children. Howard would take us to the building where we had our services, and then go and pick up the people. One little girl was a challenge and needed to learn discipline. In the last service there I gave each child a sheet of typing paper and asked them to draw a picture on it. When we got hers, she had printed on the bottom of the page, I LOVE YOU. We had tried to convey to all of the children our great love for them, and most of all God's love. She felt our love for her through our gentle discipline.

It took a while for the people to get adjusted to us. The church was only about seven years old and they had always had Rev. Clarence Liston as their pastor. Most or nearly all of their services had been in the Papago language. Then come two greenhorn missionaries who didn't know a word in Papago and the services had to be done in English. There were only a few of the people who didn't understand English. These were the older people. The young people and children weren't learning the Papago language and they will soon lose it if they don't start learning it.

Since the adult class was in Papago, I felt the need for an English class, and I started one. We had some white people living in that area who could take advantage of this class. It was also necessary to have a children's church. It started after Sunday School through to the end of the church service. I found that I just had a hard time getting enough material to last that long. So we went to church and left when my husband got up to preach. This worked out well, and we praise God for the way He helped us in so many wonderful ways.

One day when I had an appointment at the University of Arizona Clinic, I met Dr. Dorthea Hellman. She told me there was one test she wanted to take, to see if I had Turner's syndrome. This was very upsetting to me and I told her all I had been through in connection with it. Neither Howard nor I could make ourselves accept the idea that I had Turner's syndrome. He had worked with patients in a mental hospital in Nampa, Idaho, when he was a student there, and knew some of the things that go along with Tumer's syndrome. She was a very sweet lady and said if they found that I had it, she didn't want to hear me mention it in her office. This time, for the first time, they took a blood test to test the chromosomes. When the test came back the chromosomes were perfect and it had been the tumor on my pituitary gland that had kept the other glands from working. No one, but God, and my husband knows the release I found that day. No longer could the devil call me a freak and get away with it So many times when I had preached and someone found victory at the altar of prayer, the devil would come around and point his long finger at me and remind me that I was not normal. Now God had set me free, and I will be praising Him throughout the endless ages of eternity.

As you know, one of the biggest problems with our dear Indians is the liquor bottle. It was against the law to sell it on the reservation, but some got away with it. It was so sad to see them lying along the road. One night we nearly ran over a man laying in a driveway. One day, while doing dishes, I heard a light knock on our back door. There stood a woman, whose common law husband had knocked her down, and kicked her in the head with his cowboy boots. We took her to the doctor and thought for sure she would never drink. But not many weeks later, she was drunk and had given her house key to her little four year old daughter, and she didn't know where it was. Another lady, whom we also took to the hospital came to our front door with a similar problem. One young man came to the house on a Sunday morning desiring to go to our Bible School, so Howard made the arrangements. He didn't come back and a few months later he had died of cirrhosis of the liver.

But thank God, we could tell them of One who could take that appetite away from them and set them free. Many times the men would come and testify about knowing someone in the church when they used to drink. We have such good news for all mankind.

While we were there I did have some physical problems. It was necessary for us to go for close to a 2 1/2 mile walk in the desert one day. On Sunday we had had a blow out. The spare tire wasn't much good, and someone loaned us an old fashioned tire pump. On Monday, Howard got it fixed and that night when we let the children out at the tribal building, where we had our outpost, they were laughing, for they could hear the air coming out of one of the tires. One of our ladies had come in her car and she drove us back to town to see if we could find a tire to fit it We tried, but they didn't fit, so we took that tire off and went home for the night The next day Howard got it fixed and another lady took us out Howard put the tire back on. When we got back to Sells, we decided to go and see a lady who lived 10 miles out in the desert. We lacked one tenth of a mile from being 2 1/2 miles from her home, as we were going home when another tire blew. It was too hot to just sit there. So we decided to walk back to our lady's home to see what she could do to help us.

On Wednesday I had promised Mrs. Wickland that I would put a permanent in her hair. While we were there Howard got very sick and had to go to the doctor. Since Howard was too sick to go home we spent the night with them. In the night I got sick and ended up in the hospital.

There were blood clots coming up through my legs going through my heart and lungs causing problems. After being in the hospital twenty one days, they sent me home on a blood thinner called Cubadin. After breaking out with a rash, the Lord told me I was going back to the hospital. This worried me, for I was concerned about the bill. He soon reminded me of what He had done for us at the University of Minnesota Hospital. The following; Monday I went back to the doctor and the blood thinner wasn't doing its job. I was the 5th person in the United States to ever be allergic to it. Again they admitted me to the hospital for several days. Finally, I got over this problem.

In the summer of 1973 I got a pain in my right hip, and I finally went to the doctor to have it checked. After x-rays they told me my hip socket was dying and there was nothing they could do for me. They suggested that I get some crutches and use them. After writing my parents about it, they began to pray. That year we had our Vacation Bible School the same time as our camp meeting. During this week I didn't have any pain at all. The next week I went to see the doctor and he asked me if it was hurting, and I told him that it wasn't. He said I was lucky, and I told him it wasn't luck but faith in God that had made the difference. God completely healed me of that.

The bill? One of my doctors had told me if I had trouble with it to let him know. The day we were packing the van and trailer to leave, the hospital called to tell me they were canceling the rest of my bill. God does not fail, for He does what He says He will do.

In April of 1974, we had Rev. and Mrs. Ed Timer, who had been missionaries to the Indians for a number of years, hold a revival for us. On Easter Sunday afternoon we went out to their little trailer which they had parked behind our parsonage, to have a visit with them. They told us they thought we ought to leave our work there. This was a real shock to us, but we begin to pray about it. We were there under God's orders and we wanted to be sure we were still in His will. As we prayed we became aware that our work was done there. We contacted Dr. Norman Bloom about getting another pastorate. We were still members of the Minnesota District. You can't belong to the North American Indian District unless you are Indian.

We resigned our church not knowing where God was going to lead us. One Monday, not too long before we left, Howard was very upset and discouraged. We were going to be leaving and as yet had no direction as to where we were to go and what we were to do. He spent quite a bit of time out on the desert praying about it As we woke the following morning God had revealed to him what He wanted us to do. Howard was to go back to college and get his degree so he could get a job to support us while we started new churches on the Minnesota District. He had a number of college hours of work, but not enough in any major to graduate. He had finished the course of studies through correspondence in order to be ordained.

We were content and knew our God would not fail us, but see us through. Some of the scriptures I read that morning were promises for the future. It was so very hard to leave those wonderful people, but it always pays for everyone's benefit to mind God. Hearing those beautiful Christian people as their choir sang for us on our last Sunday there, will forever be in our memories. The day will come when we will meet them in heaven. There together we will see the brightness of His Glory.




ME A MISSIONARY, LORD?



Me a missionary, Lord?

How could that be?

Me a missionary, Lord?

You don't mean me.



I've no real talents,

I've nothing to give,

All I have, Lord,

Is my life to live.



That's all You want,

Is my life and my heart?

If that's all You want,

Then I'll do my part.



But I thought to qualify,

I would have to be,

A very talented person,

But You really want me?



I've heard Your voice,

And You're saying to all,

Keep your heart tuned,

To hear My call.



You don't call all

To cross the seas,

Indians in this country,

Need some missionaries.



Oh Lord, I'm not worthy

For such a call.

But I love You Lord,

And I give You my all.



Please use me,

This is my prayer.

Use me, Lord,

The gospel to share.



I know there are souls

In deepest despair,

Without You Lord,

They're dying out there.



Me, a missionary, Lord?

I've heard Your call;

I've seen the vision,

I give You my all.



by Arlene R. Wright


Contents Window 11 Window 13 The Winds of the Spirit The Voice of the Nazarene