Havre Daily News
ROCKY BOY'S INDIAN RESERVATION - As a freshman at Havre High School, Eric Reed felt a hunger for something, but he didn't know what. He tried to fill the void by taking up boxing. He started experimenting with drugs.
Just a few months after his graduation, he was on the verge of suicide, Reed said in an interview Monday. None of the things he tried had given him the satisfaction he was looking for. That's when he had a conversation with God. Reed said he prayed that if God was really out there, he was one who needed saving.
More than eight years after that conversation, Reed became the pastor of Rocky Boy's Assembly of God Church.
He said he was led to Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation while praying over the phone with a former pastor of the church. Reed said the more he and the pastor prayed, the more he felt that God intended for his family to call Rocky Boy their home. After graduating from Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, N.D., Reed, his wife Amanda, and their three children moved to Rocky Boy and began work at the church.
For three years, the Reeds cleaned the church, visited with the congregation and held the children's church service while the adults worshipped.
Reed assumed full pastoral duties in January. Amanda Reed said the transition was an easy one for her husband because he had already been involved with the church. Reed gained the approval of the leader of the Grace Gospel Churches after the man in charge of all American Indian churches in Montana recommended him.
Reed said he's glad things have turned out the way they have. The congregation numbers at about 45 people, he said.
“I want people to come and know they're loved,” he said.
He hopes to establish a youth ministry, which would require expanding the existing structure. He wants to regularly visit elders in the community so they know someone is there who cares about them.
His mother, Chris Reed, is proud of her son.
“He's got a great congregation,” she said today. “I don't have to worry about him, Amanda and the kids out there.”
Chris Reed said her son was very outgoing and empathetic as a child. When the family moved to Havre, Reed and his brother began boxing. He would often go to his opponent's house before the fight and make friends with him, she said.
When he was in the midst of his own struggles, Reed found solace by reaching out to Pastor Vern Brown of the Hi-Line Christian Church. Reed said Brown helped him recognize the need for strong faith. Reed was able to quit doing drugs, and by 1999 he was married and ready to attend bible college and become a minister. Brown said Reed was the first person to attend his then-newly formed church.
“We love him,” Brown said today. “He is a great brother in Christ.”
Reed and his wife will celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary on June 19 by inviting about 200 students from across the country to come to Rocky Boy as part of a Youth for Christ ministry. This summer will be the third year the youths have come. While at Rocky Boy, the youths will visit with the members of the church and other community members and help them do yardwork, painting, and other chores around their homes.
Reed would like to thank an anonymous Havre business owner who donates money for the Rocky Boy youths who want to attend the Indian Youth Camp in June. Last year the donor gave the youths almost $5,000 to attend the camp, Reed said. He said the youths really appreciate the opportunity to attend the camp.