Native American Ministry Growing Northwest Couple Shares Health Message in British Columbia

December 01, 2007 | Garrett Caldwell

Leif and Zanna Ove are two Upper Columbia Conference members with a mission. Their passion: to be the hands and feet of Christ among the Native American Indians in the Inland Northwest and beyond. To do this, they want to reach members of local tribes with information about issues of health. They also want to offer information about Bible studies.

Recently the Oves have sensed a calling to travel beyond the border to the north and begin a new tribal ministry. In a newsletter entitled "Indian Arrows of Education," Zanna describes their progress.

"On Oct. 7, Leif and I left Craigmont, Idaho, on an adventure of our lifetime! We are answering a call to Kitwanga, British Columbia, to occupy a 200-acre campus located in the middle of the Gitxsan Indian Nation (6,000 strong) to establish a mission work for them. We spent that night with friends in Omak, Wash. The next morning we would cross the border.

"We had two cases of Radiant Indian Health, which is our health magazine, our desktop computer and an office chair. We were praying for a trouble-free border crossing. We were questioned as usual about general topics. The border patrol guard walked around our pickup without looking into the canopy, and told us to go on through and have a good trip.

"It took us three days to reach Kitwanga. We arrived at the Fair Haven campus about noon Wednesday, glad to have made our destination.

"Before leaving Idaho, I had called for an appointment for Oct. 11 to meet with a tribal leader. So the next day, Leif and I went into old Hazelton for the interview. The Lord prepared the way before us. They were delighted with our offer of service to their nation and were awed that we would come so far. We were invited to attend their Gitxsan National summit meeting, which would take place Oct. 24–26, and have a booth for Radiant Indian Health.

"The buildings on campus have not been used in about 10 years, so we immediately went to work cleaning the homes we want to occupy. We came with only suitcases and camp-cooking utensils, so we salvaged furniture from other buildings that are not in use.

"Last week we spent a full three days at the Tribal Summit meetings. It was like a condensed college course in Tribal culture, language, and economics. Three quarters worth compressed into three days. Radiant Indian Health was well received by everyone. We met a lot of the key tribal leaders, and were able to share our hopes and plans with some. One even signed up for the Native New Day Bible studies! What a privilege to attend! The Lord certainly prepared the way before us!"