by Elizabeth Sharon Morris
Dear, dear friends: Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and spiritual and emotional support over the years. When I think back to the state Roland and I were in when we first came to Jesus Christ, I am so extremely grateful for all the kind, patient people who came alongside and walked us through very troubled, difficult times.
I don’t know what we would have done – had we not come into the loving, compassionate community that the Lord led us to.
What is happening today is difficult, but not like it was back then. Having gotten through those years, I know we can get through anything.
Thank you so much for standing strong despite the recent harsh attacks. When under this kind of attack – being told that we are not only NOT Christian, but we are stumbling blocks for tribal members to come to Christ – it can leave a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. It is vital that all of our supporters search their souls and pray. I know the amount Roland and I prayed about all this and the number of people who have prayed with us through the years. We’ve already been back and forth and sideways about it all. I stand comfortably in what we have been doing – knowing that I am, indeed, doing what God has asked of me.
I pray that all our supporters feel secure in their conviction as well. If not – be certain to talk and pray about it with your pastors and others close to you. It is important for everyone to feel comfortable in where they stand.
What gives assurance is the many people who have written or called over the years to say, “Thank You. Your ministry was a blessing for our family.” They don’t even know how much it means to hear this from them, especially during difficult times. May God continue to bless each and every one of them.
Although no brick and mortar church or Christian organization has come along side to help this ministry, we are not alone in this walk in the least.
To have Reed Elley, former Minister of Parliament from Canada and a Baptist minister who had raised children of Native heritage, call Roland and I out of the blue in 2001 – and tell us he had read my manuscript (which I had sent to one of his colleagues, never having heard of Reed Elley before) and tell us that he was 100% behind what we are doing and saying – and to continue to be a friend and prayer support from that point forward, has been amazing.
To have Dr. William B. Allen, former Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, not only make the effort to meet with us in Washington DC on three separate occasions, but to be the keynote speaker at our ICWA forum on October 29, 2011, in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing room, and to write a forward to my book, has been amazing.
And it hasn’t been just Christian friends, alone, walking with us.
Rob Natelson, the same Rob Natelson cited by Justice Clarence Thomas in his June, 2013, concurrence in the case “Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl,” who had been a supportive friend since around 1995 or so, called in 2002 to tell me he had finally read a copy of my manuscript and was amazed. He wanted me to continue writing like that. At the time, he knew I was considering law school as he had written a recommendation for me. So I asked him, “Rob, should I write or go to law school?” He couldn’t answer right away. He had to think about it. In the end, he told me to write.
I am so, so grateful for the long term strength and support of people like this – as well as so many other amazing friends and supporters. Their encouragement helps ward off fiery darts of the enemy.
Thank you, Jesus, for all the wonderful people who have come alongside us through the years. I would continue doing what I am doing even if totally alone… but the fact that I am not alone makes me tear up with thankfulness. Thank you, Jesus, for the blessed gift of friends.
- Gal. 2:10 “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
- Prov. 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
- Acts 5:29 “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men.”
The phone call with Roland’s sister the other night helped keep perspective as well. My sister-in-law, “Annie,”committing slow suicide as we have seen so many in our extended family do, wants me to come be with her and give her courage to have triple bypass surgery. But… we went over this same potential surgery last September when she was here with me for ten days or so and ended up in the hospital. She and I both know… she refused it then – and isn’t going to do it, now, either. She does not want to quit drinking long enough to stay in the hospital and get healthy. That is the reality. Because I am four hours away, my not being there is a convenient reason not to do the surgery.
We talked about the possibility of her not waking up in the morning. I told her to go to her doctor and tell them she changed her mind. As soon as she is in the hospital, I will go sit with her every minute and not leave. We talked about her drinking herself to death as her sister had done. I asked her if she is ready to go to heaven.
This is what it is all about. This is what it is all about.
“When I call on Jesus, all things are possible….” Dear Jesus, I am calling on you.
Is ICWA a distraction from helping people to know Jesus?
Our org is both a family Advocacy AND a Christian ministry. Family advocacy IS a Christian Ministry, but they are also two different things. Both necessary.
As much as our detractors want to make this all about Veronica being taken from her birth father…we have been at this for years before Veronica was taken from her home by an unconstitutional federal law. Despite the complicated matter this case has become, we can’t give up on a 7-year old boy who is threatened with removal from his non-tribal grandmother in order to be given to a tribal grandmother who has neglected him in the past. He is currently under threat simply because a tribal social worker says this is what is happening and there isn’t anything that the other family can do about it.
Is ICWA a distraction from helping people to know Jesus? The emotional and physical needs of this little boy is a current hands-on reality and has been placed before us. The supposition, on the other hand, that we could cause someone to reject Jesus Christ is merely a supposition. It may or may not have validity. However, the purpose the supposition was said had nothing to do with sincere concern for Salvation. It was said to hurt and quiet us.
We can’t give up on that little boy, nor can we give up on a 3-year-old girl in a north-eastern state with strong and very real emotional and attachment issues, nor can we give up on any of the other families we are working with. We can’t drop these children and families out of fear that someone in another state will reject Jesus and blame it on us.
Isn’t that like… Annie saying she won’t go to surgery if I am not there?
It’s a threat – and a manipulative, but potentially effective one, at that. Effective in that it is potentially strong enough to change the actions of the accused. (I am not blaming Annie. I understand why she is doing it)
I love Annie. I love Annie. I do not want her to die. But I can’t change her any more than I could change Roland.
Who was it just the other day that said that Roland was able to change because he had me? Oh yes – LOL – it was Annie herself on the phone! I told her, “No. Roland lived with me for ten years prior to coming to Jesus Christ – and I had absolutely no ability to stop his drinking. It was Jesus Christ who changed Roland.” She said, “Oh, yeah, I guess that’s right…”
Lord Jesus, what do I do with Annie? What do I do???
Our evangelical ministry MUST become more of a reality. The RJM home MUST become more than just a dream. How many times during my talk with Annie did I wish it was already a reality? How I wish for a place that can help my family and others with huge, insurmountable addictions.
But our ministry to children and families fighting federal Indian policy is just as much a true ministry and need. Both aspects of the ministry have potential to bring people to the Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
It is about reaching out to help where the need is. Do you sit back and do nothing while watching someone put a noose around their neck? Do you say it is none of your business? Do you chase a drunk off of a 10-year-old girl, or do you cower in fear and vow to notify the authorities as soon as you get around to it?
KNOWING that abuse and neglect are occurring at the high levels we know it is occurring, it would be despicable to look the other way and obediently do what tribal and federal government tells us to do – just so as not to make anyone mad. Forget it.
– BTW – to those who are good enough to be concerned about how our money is spent: It is always good to be on one’s toes and monitor non-profits about that kind of thing. Corruption can occur at many levels and is especially hateful if children are being exploited. But to save you time and energy, you can note that I have already written openly about our expenses – and documents have been filed to the appropriate agencies. Read here – How I Make Money off of Kids and Unsuspecting Donors: Transparency is a virtue.
False accusations for the sole purpose of hurting and shutting people up is not a virtue. Sign petitions with garbage written on them, demand an investigation. Whatever. Your efforts are in vain. I won’t stop speaking and writing. You are just giving me more to write about.
TRAMP FOR THE LORD.
An email sent to friends a couple weeks ago….
I am going to roll up my sleeves and do what needs to be done… This is a new season of life. I am packing up and hitting the road this fall. I am going to DC to stay there for a little while, “educating” legislators, as well as traveling wherever needed to encourage, speak, and teach.
No more playing games. I have been sickened by what I have seen in Oklahoma and Spirit Lake – not to mention Leech Lake. Did I tell you that it was Roland’s 16-year old grandson who was shot at *********** in July? I hadn’t seen him since Roland passed, and before that, since he was a baby. He did survive this drug related shooting (possibly drugs or drug money stolen from his own father).
But… I know my husband’s angst. I know the fear he had for that boy. If it isn’t as bad as Roland and I have said it is – how come he was able to look at this child and foretell what could become of him? This is exactly the thing Roland was afraid would happen. Dear Lord Jesus, this has to stop.
….I am looking to the Lord to direct my time, work, and even where I rest my head at any point in time – whether it be in DC, Florida, Kansas, or any of the 50 states.
I am truly looking forward to God guiding and directing everything.
I realize that our detractors won’t be satisfied unless we are in agreement with them. Those who claim we are “pushing Indians away from the Lord” appear to be people who despise Jesus anyway, and are just tossing that out in an attempt to somehow hurt. Clearly, they don’t fully understand who Jesus is and what He actually stood for.
After all, he wasn’t nailed to the cross because everyone loved what he had to say. And Stephen wasn’t stoned to death out of love, either. I could continue on with the apostles, Polycarp, John Hus, etc., but I will stop there. Taking an actual stand for Christ isn’t always a warm, fuzzy thing.
What is being done to children in the name of tribal sovereignty is horrific – and I won’t shut up about it.
For others who say they are Christians but question our heart and commitment to the Lord… They have forgotten the key responsibility of those truly concerned about the actions of Christan brethren:
Matt 18:15 – “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (NIV)
In other words – “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” (NLT)
IN other words – “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (KJV)
Thank you to all our friends who have stood by us through thick and thin.
Thank you, Jesus, for continually guiding, directing, and even carrying us at times. Thank, thank you, dear Lord. Please put a hedge of protection around all of us and our families as we continue this work.
Elizabeth Sharon Morris is Chairwoman of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare and author of ‘Dying in Indian Country.’ http://dyinginindiancountry.com/