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God Knows How to Catch Weasels
On skid row at the age of five, he lived on alcohol and drugs, but then God apprehended Him, and wouldn't let go. Today he leads a 2,100 member church.

At the age of five I became a drunk. It wasn't my choice. In fact, I really didn't understand what was happening nor did I understand a lot of things back then about my life.

God Knows How to Catch Weasels
Dobie Weasel and family

Born on the tiny reservation called Fort Belknap, Montana, I was the fifth of eight children born to an alcoholic mother.

After my birth my mother gave me to my aunt to raise. Auntie took me from the reservation to Billlings, Montana, where I spent part of my childhood. The rest of the time I spent in Great Falls and back at Fort Belknap.

Some of my earliest memories are of smoke-filled barrooms. We lived in hotel rooms above the skid row bars.

As a young child I watched my aunt, who I thought was my mom, get beat up by whichever boyfriend she had at the time. Then I'd watch her retaliate, splitting his head open with a frying pan. The police would come and haul the fellow away.

I had two older sisters and an older brother who were my aunt's children. I thought they were my brothers and sisters.

As a little five-year-old I was told I wasn't really who I thought I was. "You're not our brother," my cousins would say. "Mom found you in a garbage can." Other times they'd tell me that I was pulled out of a toilet bowl. This does something to a little boy's psyche.

I was five the first time I got drunk. Stuart, the older son, got me drunk. He thought it was funny to watch a drunk little kid.

Growing up in this atmosphere, I began to drink regularly when I was about eight or nine years old. My aunt would have weekend parties and I was the bartender. I'd go to the refrigerator to grab them a beer. My reward was to get the first drink.

That was the way I grew up. I quit school in the seventh grade and started doing drugs by the time I was 12. By 14 I was becoming a hopeless alcoholic. I spent most of my time breaking into homes and stealing whatever I could just to buy drugs. My goal in life was to become the biggest drug dealer in Montana and I was well on my way.

When I turned17 I got a quantity of marijuana and went back to the reservation ("rez") to sell it. I wound up smoking it. There I was on the rez, dope-busted and disgusted. One day an older cousin, around 20, came around with a carload of his buddies and said, "We're going to Beach, North Dakota. They're hiring on the railroad there. There's a tie gang and they're looking for workers. They're paying a hundred bucks a day."

"You gotta be 18, don't ya?" I asked.

"Well, they don't know that. Just lie and say you're 18."

I jumped in and we traveled to North Dakota and I got hired on with the Burlington Northern Railroad. It was there that I met a guy who was a backslidden Christian. His name was Lee Powderface. Lee started telling me about Jesus. During this time, God was kind of hunting me down. God knows how to hunt weasels!

When I got back to the rez, there was a young lady that I became interested in. She was my cousin's best friend. Her dad was the superintendent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on my reservation. He was the highest-ranking government official in the area. And he was as mean as a snake. You'd go to his office and if you didn't get cussed out and run out, you were lucky.

Not long after that, his wife contracted cancer. In desperation, she went to a Gospel crusade where she gave her heart to Jesus. The Lord touched that couple's life. The husband too gave his heart to Christ.

In the meantime, I was dating their daughter. She also gave her life to the Lord and went away to a place called Teen Challenge where she was taught how to walk on God's trail of life. She would write me and witness to me in her letters.

One day when I was hanging out with the guys and smoking dope out by the lake, I ended up almost drowning when I tried to rescue my friend. I got to him and grabbed hold but he dragged me under. As I fought him off he kept taking me down again and again. I wrestled with him, thinking to myself, "Well, if this guy's gonna die, he's gonna die by himself."

I started swimming to shore. Turing around I saw him face down in the water. With one last desperate gasp I grabbed him by the hair and started swimming to shore. I almost gave up when suddenly I felt sand under my feet. I dragged him up on shore. When he revived and was able to speak, he said, "Dobie, you're an angel. When I was drowning, I could see the devil and the devil was laughing at me."

Of course, I didn't believe any of this stuff. "Yeah, whatever."

Here's this guy saying he just saw the devil and my girlfriend telling me about Jesus.

Lee Powderface continued to talk about Jesus. Every place I turned people were telling me about God.

One day, I remember sitting in my mom's kitchen looking out the window watching a construction crew put a roof on a new tribal office. I'd done some roofing when I was 14.

Sitting there I prayed, "God if you're real, get me a job over there."

I walked across the field, climbed on the roof and spoke to 90-pound-soaking—wet little white guy. "Excuse me, do you guys need any help? I'm looking for some work."

Little did I know that the "Dutch boy" was a Christian …

"Can you be here by six tomorrow morning?" the guy with the Dutch boy haircut replied.

"I can be here."

"You got a job."

I got there at six the next morning to find them praying. Little did I know that the "Dutch boy" was a Christian and he'd hired and entire Christian crew—a group of guys on fire for God. If they'd been some "namby-pamby tiptoeing-through-the-tulips" kind of Christians, I probably could have handled it, but they were like the apostles—Peter, Paul and John. All day long they told me about Jesus, quoting Bible verses. I mean they were just nailing me!

Everywhere I turned, whether it was the girl I was interest in, this job or my friends, there was God. I was out one night smoking dope and drinking booze with my buddies and a question kept popping up in my brain. "if I die today, where am I gonna go?"

My brother rolled a joint, handing it to me. "Here you go." Those words at another time would have had no effect on me. But I was under the Holy Spirit's conviction, feeling like I was going to die. When he said those words, it was like someone putting a .38 to my head and saying, Here you go, you're gonna die!

My heart started pounding, hands sweating. I got out of the car, knelt behind the trunk and cried out, "Jesus, if you're real and you can change my life, then change it. I don't want to die and go to hell. I don't want my family and friends to die and go to hell either. Jesus change me."

I could hear my buddies talking about me. One of the guys got out. I could hear his footsteps on the gravel and feel his eyes burning into my back. Part of me felt like jumping up and saying, "Hey, it's cool. I had stomach cramps and I doubled over in the dirt." But the other part of me felt like if I got up, it was like telling God I didn't mean a word I just said. So I stayed on my knees. He turned around and got back in the car.

I have no way to explain it except that if you've experienced [salvation], you will know what I'm talking about. That day behind the car, Jesus reached down and touched my life and changed me. He killed me in the same moment. He raised me from the dead—a new creation.

I got up and knew I was different. Born again! I got back in the car. They turned the music down. My brother asked, "What were you doing back there?" I told them I was praying. I said I felt like we were going to get in the car today and we were going to die. "Do any of you ever feel that way?" You could have heard a pin drop.

That day Jesus set me free.

I started going to church. Two months later I ended up going to Trinity Bible Institute in Ellendale, North Dakota. One morning just before school started, I got up and was going to smoke a cigarette but I sensed the Spirit of God who said, "You've got to quit that." I'd been smoking since I was 12

"Lord, I'll quit 'em if you take 'em." Crumpling the smokes up, I flushed them down the toilet. I never smoked again.

That day Jesus set me free. Yes, God sure knows how to catch Weasels. He caught me and I've been free ever since.

Dobie Weasel, Assiniboine, is a Promise Keepers speaker, and has pastored Glad Tidings Church, a 2,100-member, multi-racial church in Omaha, Nebraska since 1999. Prior to that he traveled as an evangelist throughout North America. Dobie and his wife Jamie, Sioux, have been married 23 years and have three children—John, Jacob and Jordan.

Originally published in Indian Life Newspaper, January/February 2005.




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