Window (12) ME A
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
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
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
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
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
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