Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20,21).
I love the book of Ephesians as a blueprint for evangelism. It shows Christians both their past and their future. It tells us what we have to be thankful for – how God in his grace planned everything out – saving us and bringing completely different people together into a Christian family. And it tells us what to do: a Christian family has purpose in growing together and working together to share God’s salvation with the world.
Basking in the afterglow of our 125th Anniversary celebration of the WELS’ Apache Mission Field, the words written by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians have never seemed to mean more to us.
Among the White Mountain Apaches it’s “Ashoog’.” Among the San Carlos Apaches it’s “Ahi’yi’ee.” To the rest of our readers it’s “Thank-you.” We thank God for his plan to reach the Apache people with the good news about Jesus. We thank God for your resolve and the support of that of so many other brothers and sisters in Christ who have carried out that plan for 125 years. Like the Ephesian Christians, we can marvel at how amazing it is that God has brought people from such diverse backgrounds and difficult histories to be family in Christ!
And now, also like the Ephesians, it’s time to move forward together with the purpose our God has given us.
The vast majority of Native Americans in our part of the world are not Christians (estimates are as many as 95%). And now is the time for our Native Christians to lead the way in sharing Jesus with them. As the Apostle Paul encouraged the Ephesians, so he encourages us today to come together, grow together, and work together. Starting in our homes and spilling out into our communities, he encourages us to show the world who Christ is by living differently from those around us. And like the Ephesians we are reminded to be strong in the Word and strong in prayer as we put on the full armor of God and prepare to do battle with the Devil and all of his helpers.
In the next year we invite you to move forward with us. We have big plans to reach out with the saving message about Jesus Christ and you’ll see big changes in our website and materials as we reach out to a primarily Native audience. Pray for our Native missionaries as they share Jesus. We’ll keep you updated on what the Lord accomplishes!
As we move forward into the next 125 years, the task is great and the obstacles enormous, just as it was for the Ephesian Christians almost 2,000 years ago. But our God is greater than the challenges, and we go forward with the same confidence that Paul expresses in our God: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”