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Lungs, Hands, and Feet – An Interview with an EMT of the Gospel
by Anna Sherod, Kingdom Workers' Field Manager
In another article, we introduced Jonathan Dazen, a musician who praises his Redeemer with his guitar. Today’s talk was with Manda Jo Dazen, his cheerful, witty, wife, who has been prayerfully supporting his faith and service. She is one of many strong women leaders in the sister churches here on the Apache reservations; involved in organizing outreach, feeding the hungry, and praying for the hurt, sick and addicted. She is also a dedicated local KW volunteer, involved with multiple projects since she first found out about KW in the fall of 2014.
Interacting with Kingdom Workers “means a lot to me,” says Manda. “I didn’t even know that this program was going on and that it’s all over the world. It makes me realize that we’re part of one big family…” She paused. “Sometimes it feels so isolated here. It’s good to know that there are people on your side.” Manda’s interaction with Kingdom Workers began when she befriended program manager Anna Sherod. An EMT, used to driving ambulances, Manda volunteered to trade-off with Anna driving a 15-passenger van with local volunteers in November. On that trip, they were able to talk for hours about ministry. Manda hopes for “a stronger partnership between Kingdom Workers and the local churches, with more interactions – both bringing Apaches out in to the world and bringing the world in to the Apaches, bringing more Apaches and people around the world to Heaven’s family.” She sums up the gospel with, “We’ve all fallen, we’re all forgiven.”
One of Manda’s first roles as a gospel worker came through the lay-person led alcohol recovery program at the Whiteriver Church. After a year of attending the program, she felt that “I still needed Celebrate Recovery myself, but I was more sure-footed, and I could look outside myself and help others.” She is currently fundraising to go and learn more about Prison Ministry from a conference in California this summer, and is passionate about reaching out to those behind bars with the gospel.
In a rural community saddled with a long history of paternalism and depression, what has motivated Manda to be so proactive in service to the church and in demonstrating her faith? She credits local lay-leadership that inspires her to think of herself as part of the body of Christ. “It’s important that people here are encouraged to be thinking for themselves. Everyone’s so used to waiting for other people to do something that they just wait. When [KW program manager] Anna or [Celebrate Recovery leader] Jimmy says something like, ‘That’s a good idea, do it!’ or ‘Let’s do something about this…!’ it’s empowering. I like the way Kingdom Workers does things, saying ‘What should we do together?’ I can tell that you’re not here to take over anything, you’re here to get people thinking.” Manda used the analogy of a body to represent Christ’s church –“We can’t all be lungs – then all we’re doing is exchanging oxygen for CO2. How are we gonna spread the Word? We need some hand and feet, some mouths. We all help sustain each other.
Manda compared Kingdom Workers employees to creative freelancers; the work of the everyday Christian to the life-saving work of an EMT. “The way I see Kingdom Workers, it’s not something learned in a classroom – it’s freelance mission work. It’s being out in the field, talking with people, working on things that need to be done. It’s like me, working on an ambulance. I’m not just stuck in a hospital or an office. Some people need to be out, building houses and helping people, and they can talk to whoever they meet about God. It’s completely a different way of spreading God’s word. It’s a way of going out into the trenches, finding the people who don’t make it to church. Those of us who have been in the trenches ourselves can relate to the people that are still out there.”
What message does Amanda have for anyone who might be able to financially support KW’s partnership on the reservation? She said, “Donors have a vital part in spreading God’s Word.” Continuing the analogy, she continued, “That’s the oxygen in the body of Christ – we need to be able to transport the Word of God; to be able to keep going and moving. Without it we’re going to slow down, and extremities will start to die. Sometimes we need money for gas, to visit people or food, to feed the hungry. By supporting our churches, they’re helping our whole tribe; helping to keep alive a unique group of people, spiritually. When we get help, more Apaches will be in heaven.”
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