Hallelujah Moment from Bok Chitto: A Family
by Rev. Jon Walters and Jodi L. Cataldo
April 17, 2009
"Would you be able to help us with some gas?" asked a young Choctaw woman. "My mother has terminal cancer and we need gasoline so we can make several medical appointments over the next week." She and her family had arrived for her mother's appointment at Choctaw Health Services (next door to our complex) and decided to seek help. The mother had been referred to the university medical complex in Jackson, 75 miles away.
Thank God for the Choctaw Mission here in Mississippi. It is a constant reminder of the ministry of The United Methodist Church with Native American people who continue to be marginalized in their own land. The UMC invites attention to this reality and provides the opportunity to respond to the particular needs of the Native American community.
When I asked the young woman if they needed anything else, she began to cry. Finally through her tears she softly responded, "No one else has offered to help us at all, and we were afraid to ask for anything else. We are very hungry."
My wife and I went to Wendy's for some sandwiches for the woman and her children as they waited for her mother to complete a medical examination. When we returned with a big bag of "dollar menu" items, it seemed obvious they didn't think we would return with food. The young woman was overwhelmed and speechless. We all began to weep in appreciation for the food provided, and in anticipation of the deep sadness of the days to come for this family. Joined together in this surprising moment, we knew that we were all little children of God, a family--truly a hallelujah moment--for Native Americans who are often overlooked.
During the 1800s, most of the Choctaw people were forced to leave their land and relocate to Oklahoma. Some remained, however. Methodists have been in ministry with this band of Choctaws since 1827. The Mississippi United Methodist Choctaw Mission in Bok Chitto serves three Native American congregations and operates a community center. Rev. Jon Walters serves as the executive director of the mission.
Ways to Support this Ministry
You can support the ministry of the Mississippi Choctaw United Methodist Mission by sharing your gifts through The Advance or by designated giving through your local church:
# 761544 — Mississippi Choctaw United Methodist Mission
To learn more about the Mississippi Choctaw mission, please take a look at the 2009 United Methodist Children's Fund packet (a joint project of the General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Discipleship) at: www.gbod.org/children.
Date posted: Apr 14, 2009