An Apache convert finds comfort in praying for others.
It’s Wednesday evening, and Silas just made my day.
Silas is Apache, but 20 years ago he married a Navajo girl and has lived with her in the Navajo heartland ever since. He quit drinking and drugging a few years back and started attending a Sunday church within walking distance of his rural home—his only choice among churches, since he has no vehicle and no job.
Silas’s wife preferred traditional Navajo ways, so Silas attended church alone. He couldn’t understand much of the service, because the speaker preached in Navajo, but he went anyway. Jesus, he had discovered, is the best remedy for addiction. He needed Jesus, so he went to church.
Last summer our Navajo Bible worker, Malcolm, invited Silas to attend Dakota Day’s Amazing Facts Prophecy Seminar. Malcolm drove several miles out of his way each evening to give Silas a ride to the seminar. Silas drank in the Bible truths, and at the end of the seminar he asked to be baptized. Getting to church regularly did pose a challenge, but Silas continued growing in Jesus, reading his Bible, attending our “Jesus and Me” Twelve Step meetings when he could get a ride, and even helping to teach the Sabbath School lesson at times. For Silas, along with others, our teleconference worship services during the COVID-19 lockdown proved to be a blessing. Church attendance increased by 25% when we started meeting on the phone!
One Wednesday afternoon, Silas stopped by to pick up some Bible lessons. His family had made a rare trip into Chinle in a borrowed vehicle, and he wanted to talk with me. Silas shared that things were tough at home. The neighbors’ alcohol and drug use had gotten worse, and since the neighbors are relatives (as is always the case in rural Navajoland), Silas’s household could not just ignore them. He said, “What happens next door spills over to our place. I just feel heavy in my heart all the time.” I could feel his sorrow as we prayed together and he went his way.
Later that evening, Silas dialed in with a dozen others for prayer meeting. As usual, after a time of thanksgiving we shared prayer needs. Most of the requests centered around family concerns, as everyone has a relative with a substance abuse problem. We also prayed for the Navajo Nation’s ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and for a church member who heard an owl near her home—a bad omen to her traditional relatives. Since most participants aren’t comfortable praying aloud, three or four of us offered prayer for all the requests. The hour passed quickly, and I had only three or four minutes at the end to share some thoughts from Steps to Christ.
Silas hadn’t spoken up, so I wasn’t even aware he had joined until the meeting ended and I got my printout of the participating phone numbers. A few minutes after we hung up, Silas called me. “Pastor,” he said, “I just wanted to tell you that while we were all praying together from our hearts for other people’s prayer requests, the heaviness completely drained out of me. I feel light and free now. Is that the way Jesus works, when we pray for people?”
“Yes,” I assured him, “that is how Jesus works.”
And that is how Silas made my day. He had learned a priceless lesson, and had reminded me of its truth: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” Luke 6:38. Thank You, Jesus, for how You work!
Pastor Dale Wolcott shepherds the Chinle Seventh-day Adventist Church and coordinates Arizona Native Ministries.
How You Can Help
Pray for Silas and his family, along with the other native converts whose families have yet to receive Jesus.
Pray for the Chinle SDA Church to bring many more Navajos hope through Christ.
Give to help Navajo natives find Jesus. Donations may be sent to:
Chinle SDA Church
PO Box 2299
Chinle, AZ 86503