Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Wildman" Jack's Story

I first met Jack at a Huckleberry Feast at Uncle Sam’s (Sam Smartlowit). Jack was cooking an elk he had killed in the mountains. We hit it off and talked about hunting. Jack’s “Indian name” is He’cus-win (“Wildman”)! He is a wild man. Jack is a big time hunter and fisherman but he gives 95% of the meat and fish away to needy neighbors and family members. He drives an old truck which normally has a bunch of hooves and antlers sticking out of the back and blood running down the side! When he comes by to visit he gets out and reaches in the back of the truck and pulls out and entire elk or deer leg (femur + tibia + fibula+ hoof) and tosses it to my dogs. (Yes, we have elk femurs laying around our yard… one of the joys of living in the country is not having to try to keep your yard looking as good or better than the neighbors, so elk bones are “ok”). Needless to say, my dogs love Jack. Jack is normally dressed in coveralls or jeans and a flannel shirt. He is usually covered in blood from cleaning large game or salmon.
When Jack first started coming to Hope Fellowship (Tuesday Night Bible Study in the longhouse) he was nervous. At first he would only stay for dinner then leave. Then he started staying for the singing time. Eventually he came in with the adults for the Bible Study. The first night someone offered him a Bible but he kept his arms crossed, his chin high, and shook his head. He didn’t seem to want to even touch it (he is very traditional). That week he got so excited about the lesson that he was sitting wide eyed on the edge of his chair, hanging on every word.
The next week he took a Bible then realized he did not have his reading glasses. One of the ladies that attends regularly jokingly offered him hers (which were purple with pink polka dots). I thought to myself, “There is absolutely no way Jack/Wildman is going to wear women’s glasses to read a ‘white man’s book’!” Guess what! I was wrong! Jack put on those purple and pink glasses and read the passage for us that night! Once again he was enthralled with the lesson (we were studying the conversion of Paul in Acts). He asked great questions and made good observations as we discussed the passage. When we finished he came to me and asked if he could take the extra hand outs with him to the sweat lodge to re-teach the lesson to his elders, friends, and cousins! He has done that several times since then and is trying to get them to join us on Tuesday nights. He has been bringing his son and grandson a good bit.
Since then we have roofed Jack’s mother’s home. I’ve had the chance to go elk hunting with him and several of his relatives. And Jack and I have had many good discussions and times of prayer together.
Jack has been working down by the Columbia River all summer in a cannery and we have really missed him. He normally calls me on Wednesday to ask what we discussed at “church” and to say he was sorry he couldn’t be there. Recently, he said he started to go down and sit by the river and pray during the time we are meeting in the longhouse. I told him about how Jesus said he was the “living water” and how, like the “ultimate river”, He brings life to us and is powerful and beautiful. I was hoping Jack would meditate on Jesus as he sat by the river in the future. Jack responded by saying, “Chris, you know I believe it. I believe all you say is true!” I encouraged Jack to think and pray about being baptized since he believes. He said he would and that he wanted to talk more about it with me soon.
Please pray for Jack and his son, Cody, and grandson, Dante. Pray for their salvation. I have a hunch that Jack might be our first elder in the church here one day!