by Rev. Eric N. Hamp
The Bible tells us in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” the word gospel here means ‘good news.’ What is the good news? It is that Jesus will be everything you need! My wife and I led a team to the Crow Native American reservation outside of Billings, Montana in late June and early July. We had a group of gifted and diverse individuals from a 9 year old to adults, families and singles, men and women alike, what a blessing. The good news to the Crow people is a message of hope and worth. My pastor always says it this way, “You are who God says you are!” and through hands-on training in Children’s Ministry, city outreaches, and Sunday morning services, we showed them who they are…Children of the Most High!
I felt God speaking to me last year that we need to continue to do ministry and training overseas, but also right here at home. I began to develop what I call “Stateside” mission trips. Last year we were in the Chicago area and this year I felt a Macedonian Call to the Crow Nation. I connected with Pastor Russell Stands-Over Bull. His father, Pastor Patrick, founded Arrow Creek Christian Center in Pryor, Montana. We developed a strong relationship and he was ecstatic about the possibility of us bringing a team. We made plans to conduct Children’s Rallies and to train the people to minister to children. Pastor Stands-Over Bull told me of how many notable ministers had come to the reservation to preach to the adults over the years, but no one had come to concentrate on the children.
The people of the Crow Nation are living in very depressed conditions, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We came bringing a life changing message and joy to the hearts of the children.
We stayed at a hotel in Billings, Montana and drove each day to the reservation which is 2.3 million acres. We drove anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to reach the villages. The Crow Reservation is comprised of six different regions and we ministered in three: Pryor, Crow Agency and Lodgegrass.
In the town of Pryor, which is the smallest of the six, we had a rally with almost 40 children. This did not seem significant, until I found out there are only about 100 school age children in that region. We made a big splash in Pryor.
Crow Agency was a special time of hands-on training at the Crow Revival Center. The Sunday school teachers were amazed at the content of the service we conducted and asked many questions on how to revolutionize their ministries. One highlight was the Indian Tacos we were served for lunch! Culture at its best.
When we drove to Lodgegrass, which is almost in Wyoming, we arrived at the First Crow Baptist Church. This church was established in 1901. Their elaborate building was built in 1921. We were amazed at the beautiful stained glass throughout the building and the hardwood floors of the gym, but my favorite aspect of the building was the huge Bell Tower on top of the church. The Bell Tower featured a built-in loud speaker that could project across the town. I used that loud speaker to let everyone in town know our message and invite them to our programs. The total attendance that Sunday morning was eight adults. Then on Wednesday, the room was filled with children and their families for our rally. As people were dragging in, a spirit of boldness (or craziness) came over me. I drove through town with my Megaphone. I hung out the window of our van and invited everyone we could find to church. It worked! The room was packed to overflowing!
During our shopping time at the General Custer Trading Post, we met a Crow woman. As we spoke with her she asked for prayer and revealed that she had been turning to Indian Medicine Men and any other means possible to be set free from her problems. She finally met the One who can make us free indeed! She invited Christ into her life and was radically changed right there on the front porch of the Trading Post. Praise the Lord!
We took a day of rest and drove to Yellowstone National Park for some sightseeing. This was truly a glimpse of God’s wonderful creations. We were able to see “Old Faithful” eventually go off. Now I know why it’s not named “Old Reliable.” We saw bears, elk, buffalo as well as the hot springs and pools. This was a wonderful experience that enhanced our fantastic time of ministry.
The best thing about this trip was not only seeing what we did for those we were ministering to, although that was a blessing, but to see what this trip did for the families and people that participated. Each team member testified that they were blessed and changed even more than those to whom we ministered.
If you are looking for an experience that will strengthen your family, educate your children and give you a glimpse into the heart of God, I encourage you to join us on a Global Focus Mission Trip in the near future. Keep your eyes open for our next Stateside trip or join us on an International Adventure this year or next.
Together in the Harvest!
Rev. Eric N. Hamp
Global Focus Director
International Network of Children’s Ministry
If you are interested in a Global Focus Mission Trip, please visit our website for more details.