FOREST HILL, La. — After a tragic accident damaged every disk in his neck and left him sidelined from his work as an electrician and welder, Louisiana-native Randy Carruth didn’t know what God’s plan was for his future. He certainly didn’t suspect that God was preparing to use him to help share the Gospel with indigenous peoples.
His journey began when a missionary asked him to lead a mission trip to Mexico.
Still physically disabled from his accident, Carruth didn’t see how he could possibly travel to Mexico, let alone spearhead a mission team.
“I told him, ‘I can’t. I’m not able, but I’ll continue to pray for you,’” Carruth said. “But after a while, it started bothering me a lot. One day, I told my wife that I didn’t know what God was wanting to do, but I felt led to lead a team down there.”
He went, and that trip ultimately resulted in him founding “I Am Able,” a nonprofit ministry that provides disaster relief and works with indigenous peoples across North America.
“[Our work with Native Americans] started with an email I got from Bill and Betty Roberts in Whiteright, TX, in 2003,” Carruth recalled. “They were requesting backpacks filled with school supplies for the Navajo children in New Mexico. [I Am Able] had never been involved with Native Americans before that point, and I told them that we’re just a small ministry without a lot of funding, so I’m not sure how much we can do. But I said I’d pray about it.”
Carruth said he calculated that the project would require $4,000, but that if he came up with half that amount, he would take it as a sign from God to go.
“I had to take a trip to Oregon right after that, and I’ll never forget what my wife told me when I got back,” Carruth said. “She told me $1,570 had just come in for New Mexico!”
He left for New Mexico the following Monday with $2,025.
Along the way, he and his travel companions stopped into a Wal Mart to purchase the school supplies.
“A Wal Mart employee who saw us asked why we were buying so many school supplies,” Carruth said. “When we told her what we were doing, she said she wanted to tell her manager.”
To Carruth surprise, after hearing their story, the manager asked the cashier to deduct $1,000 from his bill at checkout.
“So, out of gratitude to Wal Mart for doing that, we decided to buy the rest of the supplies at Wal Mart in Albuquerque,” Carruth said. “And they did the same thing there!”
After distributing the backpacks, Carruth had the opportunity to talk to several Navajo women.
“One of them was an older lady, and she said, ‘You know it’s great that you bring our people stuff. But my prayer is that God will bring a revival of spiritual awakening through our people.’”
Carruth said the woman’s comment had a big impact on him. Throughout the next few years, he heard many other Native Americans share similar sentiments—and they often cited a statement Henry Blackaby had made about how the next great spiritual awakening in North America would likely begin with the Native American people.
Carruth said a pivotal moment for his ministry occurred when he and his wife met with Henry Blackaby for lunch.
“My church went through Experiencing God shortly after it was released, and it was a life-changing experience for me. In fact, I’ve still got my original workbook from back in those days,” Carruth said. “So, I wanted to verify that Henry Blackaby had made that statement about revival. Well, one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had in my life was when Henry Blackaby put his arm around me and said, ‘God laid on my heart to make that statement, and God has led you and ‘I Am Able’ to lead the way.’”
In the time since that lunch meeting, God has opened doors for Carruth’s ministry to work with indigenous peoples across North America.
And one tool they are using to spread the Gospel is Experiencing God Day-by-Day, a devotional by Henry and Richard Blackaby.
“What we’re doing is we’re supplying [our Native American ministry partners] with homemade wooden gifts, Experiencing God Day-by-Day devotionals, and a Bible,” Carruth said. “If they have those three resources, they can take the Gospel to their own people,”
Carruth said they’ve already seen some incredible results from their ministry effort.
“We sent Experiencing God Day-by-Day devotionals to [a pastor of a Native American congregation] we partner with in Arizona,” Carruth said. “He sent me a picture back of them receiving [the devotionals] and having Bibles studies, and it was just overwhelming. He said they wouldn’t be where they were if it wasn’t for the Experiencing God Day-by-Day devotionals.”
For Carruth, there is no greater joy than helping people encounter Jesus.
“My vision is to unite people together and share the Gospel. It’s not about any one ministry. It’s just about Christ.”