Reaching Native Americans difficult, says Young Life

By November 1, 2005

USA (MNN) — The challenges are immense, but the desire to reach out with the Gospel is even greater. Young Life is making it a priority to reach young people on Native American Reservations with the Gospel. It’s not going to be easy.

Young Life’s Gail Ebersole describes the challenges they’re facing. “The suicide rate is huge. The poverty is huge. The alcoholism is just overwhelming. I never go to one of the reservations and don’t leave crying. The main challenge is how do you tie in Native American spirituality and yet make them understand that this is about Jesus being the Son of God.”

Native Americans worship the ‘great spirit’ in the sky. That can be helpful, but also challenging. Ebersole says, “We need to somehow make them understand the that great spirit in the sky that they’ve worshipped and that who the God of the universe is and he spoke through Jesus His Son.”

While Young Life has many spiritual challenges, Ebersole says one thing would really help them. “Funding is probably our biggest hindrance because we could easily have as much work on any of these reservations as we could afford to have somebody and there is no money locally.”

Pray that Young Life will get not only the funding they need, but also willing staff who will commit to the program. “There are so many organizations that come in and out of reservations, but they always leave,” says Ebersole.

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