Native American planters sow more than corn in Nebraska

by Nancy Bethea |

(Photo by Morris Abernathy/BP)Alpha Goombi, a North American Mission Board worker in Nebraska, prays the Lord's Prayer in Native American sign language during the National Acteens Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Goombi, a Native American, shared her testimony with the teens and challenged them to be the one to make a difference in someone's life.

OMAHA, NEBRASKA (Christian Examiner) – The state of Nebraska, located on the Great Plains below South Dakota and above Kansas, is known as a leading grain producer. Wheat, corn and sorghum grow plentifully in the state's rich soil.

Ron and Alpha Goombi, Native American missionaries, work in different dirt, the soil of Nebraskans' spiritual lives, as they plant churches around the state.

Until late 2013, the Goombis served as missionaries with the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board. The couple now runs All Nations Ministries in Omaha, and they plant churches in various Native American communities throughout the region. The Omaha Nation Baptist Church on the Omaha Indian Reservation in Macy, Nebraska, is one such church.

The suicide rate for 15-24 year old American Indians is twice the rate as that of the national average.
- Ron Goombi, All Nations Ministries, Omaha

In August, the Goombis attended the twelfth annual Global Impact Celebration (GIC) hosted by First Baptist Church of Callahan, Florida.

The conference, spanning five days, allowed church members to meet missionaries they support through prayer, financial contributions and service.

The Goombis have attended the North Florida church's conference before and as in years past, missionary guests were invited into homes of church members for "in-home briefings." During the briefings, missionaries gave status reports of their ministries along with their ongoing needs.

(NAMB photo by Gibbs Frazeur)Alpha Goombi registers children for a prize-drawing during a Bible club at the Winnebago Indian Reservation near Sioux City, Iowa. She and her husband, Ron, direct All Nations Ministries in Omaha, Nebraska.

Though members from the Callahan, Florida, church have served in a summer camp called Native Students 4 Jesus, NS4J, on a Nebraska Indian Reservation for 10 years, other church members were unaware of the dire life circumstances surrounding many American Indians. For example, the suicide rate for 15 to 24 year old American Indians is twice as high as the national average, Ron Goombi said.

In addition, 31 percent of American Indians live below the poverty level (13 percent is the national average). This means children on reservations often go to sleep without supper or wake up to no breakfast, he added.

Ron and Alpha Goombi also shared their ministry's prayer requests at the briefing they attended. Their requests included the following:

  • Salvation for Native American people and tribal nations
  • New home church start in Northwest Omaha reaching Native American families
  • Missionaries who live among and minister the Gospel of Jesus to Native American people
  • Nebraska Reservations: the Omaha, the Winnebago, the Santee Sioux, and the Northern Ponca
  • Kansas Reservations: the Sac & Fox, the Kickapoo, the Potawatomie and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas/Nebraska
  • Financial support and partnerships for the Goombis as they start churches in urban Native American communities and on Indian Reservations in Nebraska.

During this year's in-home briefing, the Goombis played a game quizzing church members on their knowledge of American Indians and on the All Nations ministry. Husbands and wives were pitted against each other as each team attempted to answer questions Ron asked.

The game ended in a tie between the women and the men.

"I usually try to have it end in a tie," Ron Goombi said with a chuckle. "It can get really competitive if I don't."

For more information on the Goombi's ministry to American Indians in Nebraska, please e-mail allnations@cox.net.