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Native American missionary shares her story with Acteens

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Less than 4 percent of Native Americans in North America are being effectively reached with the Gospel, Alpha Goombi, a Southern Baptist North American Mission Board missionary from Nebraska, said during the National Acteens Convention July 29-Aug. 1 in Nashville, Tenn.

Goombi, a Native American, recalled a time in southwest Oklahoma as she was growing up that “I was not allowed to be a member of any of the churches — including the Baptist churches — in my hometown because of the color of my skin.”

“The only people that came out to evangelize were Mormons, and my mom would close the door and we would hide in the closet when we saw the Mormons coming because she was scared of them,” Goombi recounted to the audience of 6,500 teenage girls and their missions leaders. “But you know, when they brought bread and they brought flour and they brought sugar to us, we would open the door.”

But no one came out to tell them the true Gospel, Goombi said.

As she went through school, some of Goombi’s teachers told her she would never amount to anything because she was an Indian and did not have the capacity to learn, she said.

“And when two of my uncles came back from the Vietnam War they began to sexually abuse all the little girls that were in our family, including me,” Goombi said. “So when I grew up, I had such hate and bitterness in my heart. And I can’t tell you what hurt more — the prejudice or the sexual abuse.”

At the age of 18, Goombi turned to alcohol, she said, and fell deeper into despair. But then she married a man from a good family and moved to Norman, Okla., and attended the University of Oklahoma.

“And there was a missionary that someone sent, that the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering [funded], that [Woman’s Missionary Union] prayed for, and he was a full-blooded Indian,” she told the Acteens. “And he came to our house week after week with a smile on his face.”

Goombi said she wondered why the missionary was smiling. There was no reason to smile, she thought, having attempted to commit suicide and being accustomed to partying on the weekends and doing drugs.

“[One day] I was screaming at my husband,” she said. “And, you know, when you’re really into yourself, when you think you’re the center of the universe, that’s a destructive life. So I screamed at my husband as an excuse to go and get drunk, and I screamed, ‘I don’t want to be your wife,’ and I screamed at my son, ‘I don’t want to be your mother.'”

Goombi said her son then looked up at her and asked with tears running down his face, “Momma, what did I do to you?”

“And at that moment, the prayers of one person, the going of one person and the giving of one person brought me to the end of myself,” she told the Acteens with tears in her eyes. “I realized I needed a Savior, I needed to be saved, and I knew it was Jesus Christ.”

The missionary came to visit again, and Goombi and her family went with him to church at the little Indian mission in Norman, she said.

“I gave my heart to Jesus, and I never looked back,” Goombi said as the Acteens cheered.

When she heard the Great Commission to go to all people, she couldn’t sit there any longer. She had a new life and new salvation, and God led her to the mission field in Nebraska. Now she and her husband serve at the Omaha Baptist Center, where they minister to people from all over the world including Sudanese, Koreans and Japanese. And because of her heritage, God led her to serve among Native Americans as well.

Goombi told the Acteens that North Americans are “the most over-evangelized people in the world, yet we are very unsuccessful at reaching Native Americans.”

Goombi asked the girls to pray that God will send more missionaries to Native Americans and that churches would open their doors to those in their own backyard — not only the Native Americans but the poor whites, the poor blacks and the poor of every nation.

“You can make a difference in your church,” Goombi told the girls. “If your church is closed to sharing the Gospel, maybe you can be that difference that someone can make in the life of a little Indian girl like me.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: AMBASSADOR TO HER PEOPLE.

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  • Erin Curry