Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brother Mark Charles

Around Thanksgiving 2012 when I was moved to live out reconciliation with Native Americans in my own life, the first person I looked up was Richard Twiss. Though I wasn't able to get in touch with him, I found a link on his Facebook timeline that seemed interesting.

A Navajo pastor named Mark Charles was trying to publicize a buried, half-hearted and non-binding “apology to Native people” that the government slipped into a “defense appropriations bill” at the end of 2010.

I can't say I heard God tell me to support what Mark was doing. I didn't feel led either way, actually. Instead it was more like I saw a step before me that I could take or not take. It was like a challenge to me whether I would step out on the path of reconciliation to stand with Natives or not. Did I really mean what I had said?

I took the step.

(And it would turn out to be one of many!)

My heart had committed to reconciliation, and there was indeed something inside me that *wanted* to go this way.

So I made the decision to support Mark in prayer, with my heart and my online voice as he traveled to Washington that December. In front of the Capitol building, Mark and his friends read that "apology" and I watched it online.

It was a pivotal moment for me in many ways. (For one, it was while watching that I first heard Terry Wildman speak words that stirred me and led me to connect with him.)

Sometime afterward I was able to get to know Mark a bit via chat and Skype. I've been blessed to have him as a brother, and have been wonderfully surprised at many of the perspectives he has, as well as the deep insights the Spirit gives this brother from the Scriptures (from passages I would normally zip right through).

Some of Mark's story can be read here:
"When I Grow Up I Want to be a Shepherd"

Here are a few of his links:

• Mark's NPO "5 Small Loaves"
• His website: "Wirelesshogan"
His blog


About the painting:

Some time after beginning to paint pictures inspired by Terry Wildman's First Nations Version Project, I thought of Mark and was moved to paint a Navajo-themed picture for him. Mark loves to take and post pictures of the sunrise (eventually I learned a little of how meaningful the sunrise is in Navajo culture). He always posts inspirational words of thankfulness to Creator with each sunrise. Creator showed me this picture of Him holding a Navajo child while watching the sunrise together.

The title of the painting is "Healing in His Wings"— which is taken from Malachi 4:2, "The sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings."

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