Daniel Goombi is a full-blooded Native American, a member of the Kiowa-Apache Indian tribe, originally nomads who left Canada to settle in Oklahoma. Goombi is proud of his heritage, culture and tradition.
“I am a Kiowa-Apache and I do live in a tepee,” admits Goombi with a tongue-in-cheek grin. “It’s just that it’s a two-story brick tepee with central air conditioning, just a couple blocks from Walmart. We wear plain clothes, as you can see – no buckskin loincloths. I eat meals that weren’t just running in front of me, and I don’t hunt with a bow and arrow. I don’t whoop and holler or attack white men, wear feathers or ride a horse.”
Despite his self-deprecating humor, Goombi views his job as a missionary as serious business.
As directors of Kansas Reservation Ministries, Goombi, 24, and wife Kimberly, 23, share the gospel of Christ on four Native American reservations – among the Kickapoo, the Sac and Fox, the Iowa and the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribes – throughout Kansas. The Goombis, based in Lawrence, are Mission Service Corps missionaries for the North American Mission Board and church planters for the Kaw Valley Association.
The Goombis must raise their own support among family, friends and related churches. Although they are self-funded, they also receive additional support – training, administrative support and field ministry assistance – from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
Goombi is unique among all the NAMB missionaries honored as Week of Prayer missionaries in the past. He is the first-ever second-generation Week of Prayer missionary in NAMB’s history. His parents, Ron and Alpha Goombi, who minister on Native American reservations in Nebraska, were WOP missionaries in 2003.
“The spiritual climate on the reservations is difficult,” Goombi said, “because Native Americans have a misconception of who we believers are. They think they have to give up who they are to follow God, and they believe God is still a white man’s God because of the history Native Americans experienced with organized religion.” Goombi reassures his peers that “God has blessed us Native Americans with who we are, with our heritage, and would never take that away from us.”
“In summer 2006, the first time we held Vacation Bible School for the Prairie Band Tribe, a lot of the elders of the tribe told us that it had been 50 years since an outside organization or church had come on the reservation. That’s 50 years of children growing, living their lives and dying without a chance to hear about God,” he said.
“Working with the kids helps us get to the families and get into the homes. The parents start asking questions and start coming around, and we’re able to share the gospel with them through their kids.”
Because it’s usually only Daniel and Kimberly Goombi to cover the four Kansas reservations, he said they rely on volunteers who are willing to come to Kansas – for a weekend or for the entire summer – to donate their time to reach Native Americans through block parties, carnivals, Vacation Bible School or backyard Bible clubs.
“You don’t have to spend money to travel overseas when we have a mission field 20 minutes north of Topeka, Kansas,” Goombi said.