Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call the tribal people with whom you'll work?
"Native" is the most commonly used adjective in "Indian Country," the reservations set aside by Congress for Native people. Many call themselves "Indians," or go by the name of their tribe. "Native American" is a term used most often in academic conversations and publications.

How do you prepare for your mission? What will you do on this mission?
Each mission will have its own plan, beginning with our field partner's needs. If you've agreed to tackle those needs, we'll mix in your team's gifts and talents. AIM's Setup Coordinator and Project Leader, working with you and the ministry partner in the field, will blend all the elements into a final, dynamic plan. It will call for specific preparations. But all plans share important commonalities: (1) above all, we're going to serve Jesus, (2) we'll be most sensitive to the field partner's needs, and (3) we'll expect even the best plan to change.

How do we prepare our hearts and minds?
Choose a mission that fits your team. Prepare well for any specific ministries you'll do. Don't bring expectations! Take time to learn about the local people. Refresh your social skills. Pray a lot! Ask God to give you an extra measure of love, patience, and compassion for the people you are going to meet. Ask Jesus to send His Spirit ahead of you to soften their hearts and open their spirits to the Truth you will bring.

Where will we sleep; what do we bring?
Teams usually sleep in a host church, on the floor. Unless told otherwise (ask your Project Leader), bring an air mattress, an inflator, a sleeping bag, towel, and pillow. Consult the Packing List for more suggestions and helpful hints.

Do Indians get regular payments from the U.S. government?
Native people do not get payments from the government. However, reservation residents get the same welfare coverage as anyone in the U.S. Job scarcity usually means many are on welfare. Some Natives get royalties from oil, timber, or grazing on their property. The members of a few tribes get a share of casino proceeds.

Why is the suicide rate for Indian youth so high up to 10X the national average?
A spirit of hopelessness is unbelievably strong and well entrenched on American Indian reservations. From an early age, many Native kids hear the lies of the "whisperer." He tells them that the bad things happening to them and their family are all they can expect; that it's never going to get better; that the best way to escape the horror or future is to end their lives. Too often these lies are believed by Native young people who just don't see another way. Jesus offers the hope, answers, and purpose they seek. Let's introduce Him, personally.

Are there many Native Christians?
After 500 years of missionary work among Natives in the U.S., only 3%-5% are evangelical Christians. Not a stellar record. It's time to break out of the "let's go do something good for the poor Indians" mold. Indians don't need things, yard work, or cast-off clothes. They need Jesus. They need the same things you needed before you found the Lord--hope, purpose, and a future! So, get to know a few locals. But don't make a Native your "project." Make a friend. Share the Christ in you. Invest in someone's life, even if you only have a few days.

Is the dress code different for missions on reservations?
The U.S. domestic dress code is relaxed. Dress to please Jesus. The word? Modesty!

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