Friday, March 06, 2009

Smoke Signals - Mar 5, 2009

Smoke Signals - Cool Reports, Grant for Equipment and Upcoming Stuff
Richard Twiss
Mar 5, 2009

Hau kola,

It’s been a very busy few weeks of travel and speaking. I was so encouraged a few weeks ago to listen to my new friend Duane tell me how he experienced the Spirit of God in a traditional Hopi Kiva ceremony as a follower of Jesus. While teaching at a Youth With a Mission school with Will and Millie Toms, in Kykotsmovi, AZ, I heard many encouraging stories of Hopi men and women who, as followers of Jesus, were working out their local theologies (without calling it that). For a few it got them unwelcomed from area churches by missionary pastors. One woman was told if she did not stop participating in the traditional ceremonies she could lose her salvation and go to hell.

About ten years ago I wrote a booklet called Dancing Our Prayers that addresses issues of Native believers doing the hard work of thinking through how the bible relates, critiques, informs and mutually affirms their faith in Jesus. Here is a quote;

We want to see the indigenous church arise among First Nations people; One that is self-governing/supporting/propagating, and most importantly, self-theologizing.

“But little was said about the fourth self: self theologizing. For the most part, national [Indigenous] leaders were not encouraged to study the Scriptures for themselves and to develop their own theologies. Deviation from the missionary’s theology was often branded as heresy. To young, nationalistically [Indigenously] minded leaders this was theological colonialism. …Whether we like it or not, young [Indigenous] theologians around the world are reading scripture and interpreting it for their own cultures.”
Paul G. Hiebert, Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regal Books, 1994) p. 46-47

These prophetic words by Dr. Hiebert describe exactly what is being played out among the Hopi people today! It is, however, not only among Hopi people, but all across North America and globally. My work, in partnership with many others, over the past twenty years has helped “remove barriers and build bridges” for this prophetic word to become our growing reality. For this, all my heretical friends and I are deeply grateful to our Creator and to you our friends and supporters!


Listening to President Barak Obama and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair share two inspiring, yet simple stories of faith in Jesus was a remarkable experience. While sharing a meal or a sitting in a crowd, listening to followers of Jesus from around the world tell of their faith journey in the midst of difficult to horrific political, economic, militaristic and religious situations was very inspiring. The Spirit of the Lord is at work among the nations in ways we will never know. Certainly far beyond what we see and hear on television or read in the newspaper. We are making plans to take a Dancing Our Prayers Team to Jordan and Lebanon next year in partnership with some Muslim followers of Jesus we have come to befriend.

We are finalizing our plans for our second annual National Congress of American Indian Prayer Breakfast for Tuesday October 13 in Palm Springs. We are inviting Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar to be our keynote speaker. Please join us in prayer for his acceptance and all the details to get worked out. (Visit to grasp the importance of this).


Our office equipment is an outdated mismatched assortment of computers that can’t talk to each other, old printer, funky copier, donated stuff and a mysterious collection of telephones patched together. We have been in dire need of new systems for several years now. I am grateful to say that our deliverance draweth nigh. We received a matching grant from the Murdock Charitable Trust in the amount of $16,000 to finally renovate our equipment. That amount, however, is only half the amount needed to get re-outfitted. In order to use any of that money we must first raise the other $16K. This opportunity goes away if can’t raise the other half by June 15th, 09. Will you pray with us about locating the other $16K? Thanks so much!


Kath and I spoke at New Covenant Church in Manassas and Immanuel’s Church in Silverspring, two of our partner churches. I addressed the polarizing tensions that surfaced within the church before the presidential election, inviting listeners to wrestle with love and dignity through difficult socio-political issues as followers of Jesus. It was great seeing old friends we have come to love and appreciate in recent years. You can watch and listen to one of the messages on line at


Kath and I will be joining Robert and Iris for their annual powwow and anniversary celebration of their Native church, March 13-16. We’re looking forward to hanging with them and other cool friends in the area. Jacob and Jodi are joining us from our office team as well.


Several highly respected national First Nations leaders, along with other scholars, tribal leaders and theologians will be speaking at this important conference on April 17, at George Fox Seminary in Newberg, Oregon. For more info and to register visit or visit our website under the Home page and click on “schedule”.

Pilamaya for journeying with us,

Richard Twiss
Wiconi International
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