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Sunday, May 3, 2015

An invitation...to make a difference

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I want to invite you to join me for a Native American Children's Ministry Rally on Saturday, July 7 at 6 p.m. at Cannon United Methodist Church, located at 1001 Cannon Blvd.

Sis. Linda Thompson, the executive director and founder of NAOMI (Native American Outreach Ministries, Inc.), will be speaking at the rally. NAOMI House is located in Jackrabbit, Ariz., just off the Navajo Reservation.

She will introduce some of the children that she has ministered to over the years, and she will share about the great need for ministry among the Native American people.

NAOMI is an inter-denominational Christian ministry, supported by churches and individuals from different denominations around the country.

NAOMI provides children who have suffered neglect and abuse with a safe environment in which to live and grow and thrive.

This mission rally will present you with an opportunity to learn how you can get involved with helping some of the forgotten children in our nation.

Members of the mission team from Mt. Lebanon, Cannon and Mt. Olivet UMC, who traveled to Jackrabbit, Ariz., in June, will share testimonies of their experience while on their mission trip at NAOMI House.

The community is invited to come out and learn more about this mission that is near and dear to my heart. I have served on the board of directors of NAOMI as the vice-president for the last 18 years, and I have had the privilege of taking numerous mission teams out there to minister over the years.

After the rally there will be a time for refreshments and fellowship and those in attendance will have the opportunity to meet Sis. Thompson and some of her children.

My first encounter with the Navajo Nation came in 1981, when I was on a solo road trip across country. I was ministering in Springfield, Mo., at the time and I traveled to Dallas, Texas and then to Tucson, Ariz., to reconnect with friends. From Tucson, I headed north in Arizona across the Navajo Reservation on my way up to see friends in Colorado.

While I was driving on the reservation, I saw a rough hand painted sign along the road that read, "Holy Ghost Revival." Off in the distance I saw a big tent surrounded by a few cars and trucks. I was ready for church and a new experience, so I turned around and drove down the rutted dirt road that led to the tent.

This white man stuck out in that crowd of Navajo faces, but I sat down and joined in the worship. I listened to the singing and preaching and I felt the presence of God out there on the desert, in that dry and barren land.

Several years later, I returned to the Navajo Reservation to preach in revival services in a make-shift church building at Black Rock. I have been returning to that part of the country ever since to minister to God's people and those in need of His message of unconditional love.

I hope you can join me on Saturday to learn more about NAOMI. Sis. Linda's life and message will inspire you, and it just might change your life.

Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at dougmdezotell@yahoo.com

Doug Dezotell
Memories and Musings
Doug Dezotell is pastor of Cannon United Methodist Church and a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette.