AN INSTRUMENT OF GOD TO THE CHIPPEWA

Bill Haas – Baptist State Convention of Michigan

Bill Haas dressed to stand before a group of Michigan Native Americans. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

Bill Haas dressed to stand before a group of Michigan Native Americans. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

SAULT SAINTE MARIE, MI – Michigan and the surrounding Great Lakes region is the homeland of the Anishinaabe people. Anishinaabe includes the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi people. In the 1830s, they were forcibly expelled from Michigan and northern Indiana to reservations in Kansas and Oklahoma. Through God’s call and miraculous grace, Bill Hass has been brought back to the land of his forefathers with the message of God’s love for his people. Haas is serving as a North American Mission Board (NAMB) Church Planter in Sault Sainte Marie, home of the largest tribe in the state of Michigan: the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He says, “I am so thrilled to be an instrument in God’s hands here in Michigan.”

 

Bill Haas is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. God blessed him with something that very few of his people enjoy: a father and a mother who knew and walked with Jesus. His parents raised him to walk with Christ. Haas says, “My heart breaks for my ‘earthly’ people because so many are lost and without a knowledge of Jesus. My heart breaks for my people because of the power and control that Satan has over them, especially through the extremely high suicide rate.” Even though his parents were followers of Jesus, there was alcoholism in his extended family. He says, “There are so many tools that the enemy uses to blind man’s heart and mind to the Gospel message of salvation.”

Haas used to ask his uncle why he drank so much, “His response was always the same. He would say that he drank ‘to hide the pain’. Native or Non-Native, there is so much pain here.” Hass’ uncle was a veteran, and saw and experienced troubling things in combat.  Like many of the men in his family, they followed the warrior tradition and fought in the armed forces. Haas says, “Now only Jesus can heal the pain and sorrow of his heart. He alone is the Great Physician and the Gospel is the medicine for our souls. My uncle represents so many just like him, seemingly stuck in desperation.”

 

In Sault Sainte Marie, there is a lady in Haas’ ministry named Deborah. Her background is Chippewa and her family comes from the Ontario, Canada side of the border. She came to the Lord Jesus as a young child. She was given a free book about Jesus and she has read it many times. The Christian life became even more real on her son’s first birthday. On that day her husband, James, also gave his heart to Jesus. Her children, now ages 19 and 28 still recall their mother reading that book to them over and over again, and telling them about the love of Jesus. Her dedication to the Gospel message has found its way into the lives of her children.

Taking Native American youth to Warrior Leadership Summit which promotes evangelism, discipleship, and spiritual awakening among our young Native people. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

One of the highlights each year is taking Native American youth to Warrior Leadership Summit which promotes evangelism, discipleship, and spiritual awakening among our young Native American people. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

Deborah also recalls her native family that lives on the Thessalon Reserve in Ontario, Canada. She grew up visiting there with her grandmother, playing on the rocks along the lakeshore, and getting to be with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her heart aches for the terrible experiences her family has suffered on the First Nations reserve in Thessalon. She prays and desires that they would be introduced to Jesus’ love and salvation. Deborah pleads, “how important it is to introduce Jesus and salvation in love to these reserves, giving hope for a better life through Jesus. It’s a wonderful gift to be saved and even more to also have salvation groomed and molded in love. It is certainly a lifelong journey for all.” Haas says like Deborah, this is his heart’s calling as well. He adds, “Your prayers and support keep our feet moving one in front of the other as we work to share Christ in the darkness.”

Hanging out with some of young men before church. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

Hanging out with some of young men before church. (Photo courtesy Bill Haas)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Haas lives in Sault Sainte Marie, MI and is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. He is also a NAMB Church Planter working in Michigan and Wisconsin among Native American tribes. He is married to Cindy and they have two daughters and two grandsons. They are church planting in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin and Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Bill and Cindy have been in ministry for 32 years serving in North America and in Cambodia.

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