Please pray for Richard Twiss, Co-Founder and President of Wiconi International. Wiconi (“we-cho-nee”) means “Life” in the Lakota/Sioux language. Richard had a heart attack on Wednesday. Pray for his heartbeat, which beats for Wiconi—life. An update on Wiconi International’s Facebook page last night read: “Richard is on full life support for his heart and lungs. Right now the doctors are neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the situation, but they agree it is a serious situation. They are going to keep him sedated for a couple of days, at which time [they] will be able to determine the extent of any damage.”
Richard is loved by countless people for his love for life, the ways of Jesus, and justice for Native peoples. His heart breaks for the damage done to Native peoples in our country and longs for a hope-filled future for them. Here is the heartbeat or aim of Wiconi International, the work Richard co-founded:
“Our aim is to provide education, encouragement and offer practical support to Native American families and communities in creating a preferred future. Historically, Native people have been underrepresented and underserved in mainstream America. Economic, cultural and social barriers continually limit access to viable resources, thus hindering many healthy community change efforts. Wiconi’s primary mission is to empower and serve Native people to experience a desired quality of life and a hope-filled future through authentic relationships and culturally supportive programs. We seek to live and walk among all people in a good way, as we follow the ways of Jesus—affirming, respecting and embracing the God-given cultural realities of Native American and Indigenous people, not rejecting or demonizing these sacred cultural ways.”
Richard has touched my heart and life over the years. As a result of his own love of God’s distinctive handiwork in native cultures, I have come to love Jesus’ ways more. Richard has helped to teach me that Jesus is by no means homogeneous or generic. He speaks life into every culture through the Spirit—reversing the curse at Babel by bearing witness through diverse tongues at Pentecost. May God grant Richard life and may our own lives beat for life for Native peoples. Perhaps you will find what I have found—that one’s heart comes alive, as God destroys our idolatrous towers of cultural imperialism reaching to the heavens and builds his kingdom on the cornerstone, Jesus, with the bricks and mortar and living stones of many tribes and tongues.