I thought of The Smith Homestead or possibly The Smith Manor? That denotes royalty and, after all, I am a child of the King! But I think that name can wait till I get to heaven by and by. 🙂
I even thought about Rachel’s Lighthouse then a friend reminded me that a lighthouse is there to keep you away from that area. Smith Harbour Ranch? That was close, very close, but this really is not a ranch.
What am I talking about? I am glad you asked! Let me explain.
My vans name is actually Jehosheba. I wanted her to have a totally cool name and since she was a gift from my church, a bible name seemed warranted, even preferred. Jehosheba saved the line of David in the Old Testament and my van has definitely saved me. Seemed totally apropos.
Now because my son and I are Star Trek devotees, (Trekkers, not trekkies, please!) she also has the fleet designation Voyager. Female captain, traveling in unknown areas. Most definitely, again, apropos. Then too, the name Voyager let’s you know just how mobile I can be.
On a side note, I am actually hoping to find one of the old Dodge Voyager emblems in a junk yard somewhere and plant it right on the front of my beautiful old Ford. Should keep people confused! 🙂
But now, I also want a name for the Area? Compound? Campsite? Back forty? Bivouac? Encampment? In other words, wherever I am parked should also be claimed and named for the time I am there.
I liked ‘Smith Harbour Haven’ because it speaks to my love of sailing that will hence forth again be a part of my world. More importantly, it lets you know that wherever I end up staying, it is because the Good Lord has provided that haven. For a little while that was going to be the name but something fascinating, even providential, has happened that caused me to change it.
Boy, we are really going to have to go back in time for me to explain this one. I might even have to mention my teenage years, but don’t be alarmed mention will be deemed enough and then we will move on.
I was a young teenager at one of our family reunions. Again, allow me to digress for just a moment. A family reunion in my family was usually 300 to 400 people. As I understand it we have over 200 relatives in every single parish (now county) in Kentucky. If I’m not mistaken there’s a hundred twenty counties in Kentucky. The only reason I’m telling you this is because you need to understand how easy it would be for me to forget which second cousin, once removed, told me this story. Kind of interesting, don’t you think, that I remember the lineage better than I do the cousins name.
As I was saying. I was a teenager at one of my family reunions when I found out for the very first time from a cousin, whose name I can’t remember, that there was some Native American blood in our family. Evidently this was something that was very hush-hush. No one talked about it because in the south that was just not done. Marrying someone who was a Native American was not done and if it was done then it wasn’t talked about.
After a lot of searching and asking questions and getting all of those avoidance type answers I did finally find out that my mother was indeed part Apache. No one would really say how much, but the rumor was that her mother was a full blooded Apache.
It was not long after that that we found out that my dads mother might be half Cherokee and that his real father, who had died in the Battle of the Bulge, may have been full blooded Cherokee.
Perhaps it was just the fact that my family was ashamed of that connection. Maybe it was because I never really felt like I belonged in my family. It could very well be because I owned a little Appaloosa horse at that time and loved the heritage that he represented. I am not really sure why, but whatever the reason, I grew up being very proud to be part Native American to whatever degree.
Now I will share with you a secret that no one knew about until very recently. It is something I never told another living soul.
No doubt you would admit that most teenagers are romantic. I know I certainly was. I had a vivid imagination and enjoyed reading tales about the people and I would have fantasies about who might possible be ancestors of mine. I know I am still proud of the fact that Jim Bowie was a great great great uncle and somewhere in there I am also related to Daniel Boone. I had a great aunt who was very much into genealogy and I am proud to know those two connections are true.
One of the fantasies that I had was that someday I would find out the truth about that connection to my Native American brothers and sisters. When that day came I would then be given an Indian name. I would belong to a tribe. I would have some place to belong. It was a dream I held onto for a long time in hopes that perhaps… But childhood dreams, as they often do, fade away.
Now we need to move forward in time to just a few weeks ago. I don’t know if I can explain this next part in such a way that it will help you to understand how profoundly this impacted me, but I will do my best.
I found out about a church that was meeting outside near Flagstaff. I was excited about the possibility of actually being able to go to church again. I could not go to my old church as I couldn’t bear to be in the building more than a few minutes and I have been trying to go to churches all around Arizona to no avail. As most of you know I am allergic to the 21st century which means going to church is just not an option for me. Dr Gray, who is helping me with all of these issues, had told me to find a church with a dirt floor. I am delighted to say that has finally happened.
Pastor Greg and his lovely wife Sheila came to meet me and started having their Saturday services at my location here in the forest near Flagstaff.
Here is where it gets interesting. Pastor Greg and Sheila are both Native Americans, they are both Navajo. They are also both committed to reaching out to the Navajo people and to all the Native American tribes by translating a Bible into Navajo with the Hebrew, Greek and English Languages in parallel.
I was excited about the possibility of becoming a part of this because I had already been working on translating the names of our Lord. I had been working on it strictly for my own sake because I wanted to know the actual names of the Lord that were used instead of our English translations where they simply put God or Lord.
One of the things that fascinates Pastor Greg is the ties that he has found between the Native American people and the Hebrew people. There are all kinds of interesting parallels there that I’m certain he would be delighted to talk with you about. His knowledge and his ability to impart that knowledge are remarkable. Here is the church website if you would like more information.
I was absolutely thrilled with the possibility of being a part of this because I have always been drawn to the Native American people. I was actually a missionary a few years ago at a Christian Native American school. I had 24 little girls from ages kindergarten to fifth grade. It was a riot, it was wonderful and I loved them all. The thing that I liked most about the school was the fact that they were Not trying to get rid of Native American ways and traditions they were actually just working to introduce Christ into their belief system.
So here I was again, looking at the possibility of being able to be a part of a church whose goals were to reach the Native American people. I think most of you probably know that prayer is an essential part of any decision I make. For something this big I would be looking for particular signs that could only come from the good Lord. For me they are never flashes of lightning and peels of thunder but simple, tiny, little things that would only have importance to me.
I was praying about it. Asking the good Lord if this was indeed something I should get involved in. Whether this church was the right place for me to be or not. There were so many things that I was learning in these services that coincided with things that I had already been questioning. But I needed to know, I needed to be certain, that this was where the Lord wanted me to be.
Sheila and I had been exchanging emails. She is a delightful person to know, her emails are always so uplifting and full of little smiley faces. As I said, I was praying about it, and I got an email from Sheila addressing me as Rachum. She told me she was going to change my name. Then she said she was just teasing me, but later in the email she called me Rachum again. There were two other intriguing things in her email thats really hit home for me but this one blew me away.
In that fantasy of mine as a young teenager, that I held onto for years, the name would have to be given to me. I could not ask for the name. I could not give myself a name. It would have to be something that would happen without me ever mentioning my dream. Here I was, probably 40 or more years later, long enough that the dream had faded away. Here I was, seeing this childhood dream come true?
I couldn’t believe it, I wasn’t sure it was real, it looked liked it might be Native so I looked it up. While I did find that name tied to Navajo on a few sites, I could not find a Navajo definition for it. Then I thought perhaps she was giving me a biblical name so I looked it up that way and it turns out that it is indeed Hebrew. Rachum.
It is pronounced (rakh-oom’)
The short definition there is compassionate. For a moment I was disappointed. I thought perhaps that dream I had not even thought of for years had come true and then it turned out to be a Hebrew name, which was beautiful, but not native.
Then as I was sitting there reading through her email again looking at the other things that had also touched my heart, it suddenly occurred to me. Pastor Greg had been talking about the ties between the Hebrew nation and the Native American nations. I realized that I had indeed been given a native name. As a Gentile I have been grafted into the Jewish tribe by my belief in Jesus Christ. As a believer in Christ I could also be a member of this church. This small body of believers who are going back to our roots. Including the Old Testament as a vital part of what we need to be doing today.
There is a funny side to this story. Funny strange. I had finished this post weeks ago with the name Smith Harbour Haven, but I had not been able to publish it because something was wrong with my WordPress. It will be very interesting to see if when I click on publish now this actually posts. But the really funny part is that Sheila was simply repeating something she had seen once on a television program. Someone, somewhere, had misspelled the name Rachel as Rachum. She really had just been teasing me. She could not believe it either when I told her what I had found out about the name. She looked it up too. She realized it was the perfect name for me because she was always saying how compassionate I was. Those are her words not mine but I do so hope that last part is true. I can assure you that it is my hearts wish. I just hope it always shows.
It may not make much sense to you, this story, and you may wonder why I would even post it, but for me this is more than just a childhood dream come true. This is about finding a place to belong. A body of believers who believe as I do. A mission to believe in and be a part of. A church that will be my home church and part of my life family.
You see, this church is not just reaching out to the Native American people but one of their other missions is to reach out to people like me. People who truly cannot enter the door of a church because of all the toxins that are used in building materials these days. People like me who can not go to church even when the building is not bad because of all the perfume and cologne that people wear. Too often you would find more cell phones in a church then you would in a cell phone store. So they ask the people who come to their church to refrain from wearing perfume and cologne and leave their cell phones off and in their cars when they come to the service.
There are now three of us who are coming to the service who are environmental ill or, as I call it, Allergic to the 21st century. It is such an incredible blessing to be able to come to church and not have to worry about having reactions to chemicals or electromagnetic fields. The three of us will have to head south when winter hits up here in the high mountains but it is a blessing to know that we will have a church to come home to next summer.
So this story started in fun because I wanted to give my campsite a name, but it wound up being so much more. My campsite, Rachum Harbour Haven. When I am in Flagstaff it means I have a church to go to. Selah. A place of rest. A safe harbour. A haven in this crazy world we live in.