The last day of the Navajo Tent Revival, and Stanley’s voice has still not recovered.  So he called a local preacher to help.  That man was not available, but his dad was.  What a message!

Wilson Calvin told us his testimony.  I had met him over supper; there were 2 seats open, one with our group and the other with a table of Navajos.  (I didn’t come this far to talk with folks from my own church, so I got to know the preacher.)  I learned he is a church planter.  He hears from God to go to an area and begin preaching his brand of straight-talk Gospel, and when the congregation is started, he finds a man in the congregation capable and called to preach, and trains him so he can leave him as pastor to his neighbors.  Then Mr Calvin moves on.

It was not fancy preaching.  Pastor Calvin didn’t finish high school, never went to college or seminary, but he knows his Bible.  Says he reads through it a hundred times a year. And he only uses King James.  Just don’t ask him to stand still when he preaches.  Back and forth, down the aisle.  Shouting and pointing and making the Gospel plain for any to hear.

His message started with a comment about a dad.  When people brag on how well his son is doing, he gets a little closer to hear more.  He likes it when you compliment his son.  And God likes it when you compliment His son!

Pastor Calvin came to faith when a preacher, moving across the country to start a church somewhere else, broke down in his town, the very same weekend his son begged him to go to church.  That preacher broke down in front of a vacant building and was able to rent it to hold services, and Wilson Calvin was converted that day.

Calvin said we should be involved in a church.  He said you should find a good church, where the Bible is preached.  When you know a good thing is happening, you should (1) go there, (2) tell others about it and (3) enjoy it.

And when the invitation came, so did one of the church members, eager to get clean before God.  There were prayers and rejoicing.

I couldn’t live on a diet of camp meeting, but I rejoice that I was there.

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It was a camp meeting, a tent revival, Navajo style.  Stanley and Mary put up a tent on their land, put a sign out by the road, and put meat on the grill.

Stanley is an older Navajo, a solid Christian.  His wife Mary helps with music at the First Indian Baptist in Gallup.  But their faith is so strong they were willing to give of themselves for the Gospel to be heard.  So he put up a tent and borrowed chairs from 3 churches – seats for 60 in the dirt-floor “tabernacle”.  And next to it, a tent with eating tables.  You know there was plenty: posole soup and chicken soup and fry bread.

Our purpose was to mix and mingle and build relationships.  I met a man who was 98 years old, a Navajo who had in his younger years traveled the country as a translator for an evangelist to the Navajos.  What a great time talking to him!  But soon, food was over and the service began.

It was a preaching service, but Stanley opened the floor for testimony.  Pastor Gary, our mission host, made sure I got up to sing, and I dragged Meredith and Bethany to sing with me.  And there were testimonies of faith.

Finally, Pastor Bobby Boyd got up to preach.  He is a Navajo preacher and brought some from his church (including the 98-year old man).    He preached because Stanley had come down with a cold, and was unable to preach that night.

Pastor Boyd uses an interesting advertising program to get his message out.  He puts baskets of sermon tapes and CDs at the local Christian bookstore and at truck stops, to be given away for free to whomever wants to hear.  And those who take them will be encouraged, and will call him to preach for their services.  His model of advertising is to give himself away and let God arrange his speaking calendar.

It was a great sermon, reminding us that we are by nature sinful, born into a disfunctional family, unable to meet the standards of our heavenly Father.  But that loving Father made a way for us to be saved.  Pastor Boyd then got to meddling – telling us we were justified and sanctified not for ourselves, but for service.  But the rewards he described, the wages of a faithful servant, is righteousness, right standing before God.

And he closed with a passage paraphrased from Ezekiel:  “If you leave here without Jesus, it’s not my fault, because I told you Truth tonite.”