Excerpts From Great Eagle Calling

The Creator of the Universe Calling

(Excerpts from: The Great Eagle Calling-From Millie’s 1st Book: )

Our Father, the Creator of the universe is calling me and my family to this ancient land, and now, we were driving to this place in in Northern Arizona high desert, to a house which I had never seen before in my life.  This is our moving day and we had just turned east off of Leupp Road at a small highway sign, towards Kykotsmovi village..  We must drive almost one hundred miles northeast From Flagstaff to get to the Hopi Indian reservation.  There is only one gas station in a small Navajo town called Leupp about 45 miles from the town of Flagstaff.

We had to pass through this land of the “Din’e”, or Navajo people, in order to get into the Hopi reservation.   The Din’e people are the newest comers to this land, arriving around four to five hundred years ago.  They were a nomadic people who pitched their tents and moved their camps often with their flocks for grazing, who finally surrounded the Hopi nation.  Later, the majority of the land was given to the Din’e by our U.S. government where their encampments were established.  Hopis and Navajos, the first and the last book-ends of all the nations are right next door to each other.

I looked in my rear view mirror to take a glance at our three children who had all fallen asleep in the back seat.   And then, suddenly, I couldn’t stop crying for the next 47 miles of high desert land which seemed so barren to my soul; I heard that there was a Japanese Internment Camp near this area during World War II.

I was crying not because I was unsure as to why we have come for I knew without a doubt that we had a calling to come to this land.  Even still, I had no idea how our children would fare in this land.  Would they be loved?  Would they be accepted by the Hopi kids?  Would they be happy here in this high desert land away from so many things they took for granted like the ocean?  We drove on and then turned into the road which has been since then, marked with a mile marker “47”.  Then, I saw the house which was to be our home; I had never seen this house before.  Only Will had seen it and reported to me that it was such a perfect house for us and I trusted him.

It had always been my heart’s desire to own a place of our own.  We had a very small but a lovely place in Santa Barbara.  If it had not been for the persistent suggestions of our friend, David Mitchell, who kept insisting that we look into a “County Moderate Income Housing Project,” we would have never purchased our condo.  It was truly a miracle!  I loved our cozy home, filled with antiques and pictures.

I thank the Lord that He allowed me to have my heart’s desire for awhile for it is always easier for me to give it up, once I had it, for I no longer felt deprived.  If anyone had asked me whether I wanted to live on the Hopi Reservation, I would have said they were crazy.  And yet, as I prayed for the Hopi nation, I found myself longing to be on the reservation with such deep love for the people that I knew this had to be from the Lord.  I thank Marcy O’Hara and Gail Callaway who faithfully prayed with me weekly for the Hopis back in Santa Barbara.

Will and I had just come back from a week-long trip out to Hopiland for a Spring break.  The small Mennonite Church in the village of Bacavi, had been possibly offered to us by the lady pastor who was leaving there soon; she had told us that she could not stay in Hopiland, another Winter season.  The church and the parsonage were all that I had hoped for and so much more.  I had prayed that God will let us have that country home, but instead, we were moving into the house in the village of Kykostmovi which was called the “Schirmer House”.  Everyone knew Daniel Schirmer who was the first ordained Hopi pastor and his wife Amy who had died, leaving the house vacant for almost fifteen years before we finally moved in.

The Ancient people

I had once heard that the ancient people of the Southwest had disappeared all together like the dinosaurs.  The “Anasazi” people (in Navajo meaning, “the Ancient enemy”) have not disappeared as some may have believed.  These cliff dwellers, who left so many beautiful, thousand year old, rock houses and spectacular cliff castles in the four corners area of Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, are still very much alive and well.  They are the remaining shards amongst the  Anasazi ruins which trace these ones back to the people group called the Hopi in Northern Arizona.

This is the land where the eagles are sacrificed yearly to this very day.  Our US government recognizes the Hopi as the ancient people group who ceremonially sacrificed eagles before Columbus ever landed in this country.  Therefore, the Hopis are the only people in the United States allowed to kill eagles every year.  twenty small Pueblo tribes including the Hopi. The archeologists have found artifacts and pottery

Unlike some other tribes who had been moved to Oklahoma through ‘Trail of Tears”, the Hopis have never been relocated by the US government.

They chose this high desert plateau with inhospitable winds and sand everywhere. All you can see is the color brown.  It is the land of many ceremonial dances: Buffalo, Deer, Snake, Kachina and Flute, and many others.

We had to first get up to the town of Flagstaff which is 7,000 feet above sea level.  This is where the Hopis also once lived as what is left of their cliff rock houses are displayed at Walnut Canyon National Park off of Interstate 40.  One would never think that such a mountainous town with its snow capped San Francisco peaks, which are sacred to the Native peoples of this region, exists in Arizona. Most everyone, as I also have always thought, thinks that Arizona is all desert, like the city of Phoenix.

In fact, Flagstaff has the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world and also a huge area of Aspen groves which turns into magnificent fall colors in its due season.  It also has the famous Lowell Observatory which found the planet Pluto.  Flagstaff is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, a stones throw away from the red rocks of Sedona, and the Painted Desert is a bit to the north.  It still has the charm of a small town with an old railroad station still in use.  The historic, winding Route 66 goes right through the whole town.

Right of Passage

           In the spring of 1994, my husband, Will, had called me at my work. I was surprised to hear from him because he had gone up to the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountains to do the yearly wilderness staff training, within our Sea & Summit Expeditions ministry and he should have been far in the High Sierras mountains where there should have had no phone service.  I know this as this is how Will and I met doing these Expeditions and Rock climbing with the probation kids and other youth at-risk kids up in the High Sierras.

That day, he called me in a hoarse voice saying that he needed to come home and tell the kids and me something NEW that God was doing. I was curious as to what he had gotten himself into for he is a man who will step out and do whatever he feels the Lord is telling him to do.

When I came home and saw what he looked like, I became suspicious and put my seat out on the fringe of our living room in order to examine him as he shared.  Will shared with me and our three children of 9, 11, 13 years, something we had never heard before.  He shared how God had awakened him in the middle of the night, first with two dreams, while up on a snowy peak. Then later in the Sierra foothills above the town of Bishop the Lord challenged him to not “fear men” but to “only fear God.”   God took him through what he could only describe as a “right of passage” or an initiation into things of God which were unique to Native Americans.  I was glad when I heard that he made himself accountable by waking up the other staff to keep an eye on him and to pray for him.

Don’t fear men, fear God

This was up in the high desert like terrain of the Sierra foothills of the Sierras and there were many sharp desert plants all around. Will said that the Lord, who identified Himself as YAHWEH (Exodus 3:14), had him run a number of times “in the Spirit”. I knew that Will can run fast because his teammates from the Navy Seal team, told me that Will always came in first during their training runs. I asked the Lord in my heart whether He was a sadistic God who would hurt his children, because Will’s legs were all cut up and even had a big gouge in one shin. I was surprised to get such a quick response from the Lord with the reply saying, “Look at Jacob, I made a mark on him; he limped for the rest of his life.”

When we were in ministry back in Santa Barbara many years ago, we all went to see an Australian movie called, “the Gallipoli.”  The Victoria Theatre was packed out that night and it was standing room only even on the balcony.  It was such a tragic ending that all the audience sat frozen in silence even when the movie had ended.  Then, all of a sudden, I saw Will get up out of his seat and run up to the front and get up on the stage.  He began to shout to the audience and said that we were all like these young runners who were getting killed.  But, there was an answer and that his name is Jesus.  As soon as the name of Jesus was mentioned, the guard or the Manager of the theater came down the aisle telling Will to please get off the stage.  The audience began getting up and leaving in droves.  Will shouted out to the audience that he will be outside if anyone wanted to speak to him.  I wanted to sink and hide in my seat.  Only a couple of people came, a gentle lady who was disappointed that there was no room for public speaking and another middle eastern man who wanted to argue that Jesus was not the way.

We later discussed what happened.  I felt that action was done out of an un-restrained zeal and it did not produce anything that was profitable for the kingdom of God (who can say but God?) that we can see.  Besides, I did not particularly like being embarrassed unnecessarily.  And yet, I could not help but to respect this man who had dared to do what he felt the Holy Spirit was telling him to do; I would bet that not one out of a thousand men would have had the courage to do what Will did that evening.

Yahweh “Hayah”

So, I was not all together surprised when this desert experience happened.  He was told to proclaim YAH in the four directions, and led by the Spirit, he was dancing and chanting HAYAH, HAYAH, HAYAH.  The number “Four” is very important to the Native Americans, but Will did not know that, then.  Will said at that point, he had to stop everything and test the spirit thinking, “I’ve had my drug days.  I don’t want to go there again.” But, he soon knew this was the same Spirit he had loved and served ever since he came to know Jesus in his heart. And he said that the Lord spoke in his heart.

When Moses ran into the burning bush in Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I am YAWEH”, meaning I Am who I Am or possibly I Am Becoming.  And the root word for YAHWEH (which the Spirit pronounced to Will as “Ya Way”) is HAYAH (“Hay Ya”).  We did not know it then, but the Lord had Will cry out in the Four Directions what all the Native Americans chant in their songs saying, “Hayah, Hayah, Hayah.”  One would hear these words, and variations on them, repeated again and again at all the Powows, and also in all the Pueblo/American Indian songs.

We believe that when the Lord dispersed the nations at Babel and blessed them with their various languages that the Native Americans, inherently have been given the name of the Creator to call out in their songs and they have been singing these words back to Him for thousands of years.  The Word of God says that “He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end”.  I think it is uncanny that if one should read, “HAYAH” backwards, it still will be exactly the same!  When I am singing HAYAH with my Native friends, I am saying, “Hallelujah” to our Lord.

Lord, did I marry a crazy man?

When Will had told us that YAH that night was appearing like his Indian Chief Father, I thought he had gone nuts. So I did not hesitate to again ask God in my heart, “I just wanted a godly man, did I marry a crazy man?” And again, I was given a very swift reply which was “No, he is not crazy. Trust him.” Will talked about a number of experiences such as where he danced, circling in the spirit to the right, and then circling to the left, saying words like “a warrior is brave and strong” and “a squaw is gentle and kind”.

He proceeded to tell us that night that all he wanted to do was to simply obey the Lord with absolutely everything he had in him. So he ran, danced and proclaimed His Name, YAH, until he nearly lost his voice. I asked again, “Father, are you sure I did not marry a crazy man?” This third time, God ran out of patience with me, and I felt a quiet but very strong rebuke as though someone had hit my stomach, and I heard Him in my heart.

“Don’t be like Michal, let him dance!”

          The words were, “Millie, don’t be like Michal! Let him dance!” Michal was Saul’s daughter and King David’s wife. She was ashamed of David when he danced with all his might, almost naked, through the streets when the Ark of the Covenant was coming back into Israel. (2 Samuel 6:14) God did not want me to be embarrassed about what was happening.  I did not want to be like Michal who despised her husband, David, for dancing with all his might.  No, I didn’t want to be like Michal who never had children to the day of her death.  After all, our God is a wild God!  Look at John the Baptist and Elijah; they are not church pew sitting gentle and quiet guys.  God was doing a paradigm shift in our world as He pleased, and either we were going to follow Him or quench His Spirit and walk away.

Dreams and visions for the next two years

After that day, Will and some others around us began to have a series of dreams about the First Nations’ people for over two years. These were dreams that a white man could not make up on his own volition. In one dream, an Indian man in the Amazon walking towards a hut with a cross on it, fixed his eyes ahead and said, “I need my black spine cleaned.” Each time after a dream, we would ask, “Lord, do you want us to go to the Amazon, the Philippines etc.?”  But, we sensed that we were still in a waiting period to simply watch what He was unfolding, still yet to come with more.

We even found out about the Ainu people, the indigenous people of Japan because of the last dreams Will had which were taking us roughly around the Pacific Rim.  I am of Korean descent and, having been born not far from Japan, had no idea that there were “Indians” who have Bear clans just like the Hopis and many other Native American nations, in Hokkaido, Japan.  These are the things which the Lord Himself can reveal for His purposes to be done which we know not of.   All I know is that is this was about “love”; His love which He wanted so desperately to reveal on this earth.

“It’s the Hopis and watch out for religious spirits”

                It was at the end of the first year of dreams and visions that Will heard the Lord speak to him one night. “You are going to the Hopis; there are other tribes and watch out for religious spirits.” (As it turned out, we found out that the religious spirits were not just in the Hopi ways, but more pre-dominantly in some of the denominational churches.)  I personally did not know who the Hopis were, so it was amazing to find that they were Native Americans located in this windy desert land of Northern Arizona. They had been led to this land thousands of years ago, and have the oldest continually dwelt settlements in all of North America.

So, it is simply a lack of knowledge when outsiders come and ask for forgiveness on behalf of their white government, who made the Hopi move to this inhospitable land.  There is no history of “the trail of tears” with the Hopi as with the Navajo and some of the other tribes.  The Hopis chose this land for themselves over two thousand years ago on top of these mesas in the middle of the high Arizona desert.

The Hopi also still continue much of their calendar year cycle of dances, ceremonies and initiations as they did thousands of years ago. All the children are given opportunity to be initiated in the kivas (underground ceremonial chambers with a ladder coming up). The men and women belong to different societies. And I did not know that many of the cliff dwelling ruins in the Southwest were built by the “Anasazi,” who are the ancestors of the Hopi, or “Hisatsinom” in Hopi.  Many houses are on top of the three main mesas, similar to the Tibetan houses, and they are made of stones quarried from the desert sandstone.

Our Children hear God for themselves

                We did not want to drag our children out to the Hopi reservation as the last thing we would want is to have rebellious children out there when we’re trying to do the Lord’s work.  Ever since they were very little, every morning, we used to spend ten or twenty minutes of devotion time with our kids before they went off to school in Santa Barbara.  I would see the kids clapping their hands and singing, with their legs sticking out on our couch, as their little feet were not able to touch the floor yet as they were still small.  After a couple or a few songs, they would read the Word together out loud and Will would pray and bless them and off to school they went!  I imagine that these few moments every morning, added up to many hours in their life time of drawing close to our God.

They were by now, in 1996, eleven, thirteen and fifteen years old.  It was during this time that Will and I asked the children, at our morning devotion, to ask in prayer, “God, I Know that you called my parents to go to Hopiland, but am I supposed to go?”  We were certain that our kids would hear God’s voice for themselves.  After two weeks when we all got together in the morning and asked them, “So, what did the Lord tell you?” both John and Clover said to us, “Yes, God is telling me that I am supposed to go.”  When it came to Naphtali, she sighed a deep sigh and said, “I don’t want to go, but He is telling me that I am supposed to go.”

The Jewels holding me back

There was one more thing which was holding me back from coming to Hopi.  I had a goal of finishing my degree and I felt that I should eventually also get my Masters and PhD, in Counseling or Education.  One evening at our “Teddy Bears” (Bearing One another’s Burdens) Ladies Fellowship in Santa Barbara, Susan Kuroda who had been hosting us for almost two years in her home, invited our two Pastors, Dan Hodgeson and Marty Reitzin to pray over the twelve ladies who had been meeting.

Dan and Marty are two amazing pastors who have loved so many people in our community for over thirty five years and served so faithfully without much recognition.  I do not know whether I have felt so loved and accepted unconditionally by any pastors as I have with Dan and Marty.  When we had invited Dan over to our condominium soon after Will’s “right of passage” experience, so that he could hear the story and let us know what he thought, all Dan said was “Yes, this is of the Lord. This is not out of line with what the Old Testament prophets experienced. ” The Lord spoke through Marty (“Bro Jew”) that evening to me.  Marty saw a picture of me grasping and reaching for some jewels.  Marty said that Jesus was saying, “Millie, turn around.  Open your mouth and serve me,” while Jesus was standing behind me.  My heart was grieved beyond measure that I was going after other jewels while my back was turned towards Jesus.

Later that evening, the Lord spoke in my heart and said, “Those jewels are not for you – diamonds, rubies and sapphires.”  He showed me that those jewels represented my “Education” which I thought would bring me financial security, honor and status. This message came on the eleventh hour for I had an appointment the very next day at 9:00 AM to meet with a Curriculum Counselor at a College in that City.   God was merciful to me and to our marriage.  If He had not shown this to me, I would have resisted in following Will to Hopiland.  I may have tried to convince Will that I need to first finish my Education because after all, it would benefit God’s work that I would be able to serve the Lord better.  It is only God who knows the hearts of His children.  He knew the weakness in my heart which had desired wealth, honor from the human beings and status in the community.  He was merciful!  Now, I am free to live for God.

Our new home in Hopiland

                We moved into Hopiland in September of 1996. “Hopi” is an all inclusive word which includes the land, the people and all the cultural ceremonies and dances and all other aspects of their clans and family lives.  Therefore, one does not need to say “Hopiland or Hopi Indian reservation or Hopi people or Hopi religion.  The word, “Hopi” would it include all these essential matters.  However, when in Rome, I should do as the Romans.  For the sake of those in the outside of the world, I will go ahead and use the other words to clarify whether I am talking about the land or the people.

Four other men from our church had come with Will to fix the plumbing, a few weeks prior to us moving into the Schirmer house.  Afterwards, our transmission went out on our car so Will was stuck back in Flagstaff while the other four men came back to Santa Barbara.  Before Will got home, I heard from all four men who told me separately that we could not possibly move into that Schirmer house because it was too moldy with water damage and piles of mice dung and dust and that it would make our children sick.  When I heard this for the fourth time, I went home and sat and cried quietly on our stairway in our Santa Barbara townhouse, after the children had gone to bed that evening.

Will called that same night and said, “Honey, we have the most perfect house in Hopiland and you would love it. I think you’re going to do beautiful things with it. God has given us truly one of the best house out here!” Indeed there were molds and mice dung when we arrived.  But I felt that Will was like Caleb in the Bible who said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of the land, for we shall surely overcome it”. (Numbers 13:17-33)  All the other spies said, “There are giants in the land and the people who live there are too strong.” Our four friends were certainly not like these ten spies without faith.  They also knew that we were to enter the Promise Land, but were simply concerned for us and our children

The day we were moving in, the wind was blowing so hard that day, a small sand dune had piled inside the doorway in our living room.  It was no surprise to hear that the sand was right up to the door knob when the men came to fix the plumbing before we moved in and they had to dig the door out.  We have had to take out and take apart the door-knobs only to find a handful of sand rushing out when our keys would not work.

Will drove the biggest U-Haul truck we could find so that I could bring all my things, as I thought we may be there for a life time.  I asked the Lord whether I should sell everything.  However, in praying, I believed that He told me three times to go ahead and take all my furniture and tea cups and make ourselves a home in Hopiland. I felt that He said to me, “I told you to go.  Just obey and go and be yourself.”  I had no idea how these familiar things would be of such comfort to all of us later.  We had a safe and cozy home while the wind was blowing outside like mad and all we could see was sand everywhere sometimes for many days and weeks.  It did not help that we had a hole somewhere in a window which made such an awful howling noise.  It is almost impossible for anyone to come and have a house to live in Hopiland unless one is in a medical or educational field with the Hopi tribe and the housing is included by the Tribe.  But, with God, all things are possible!