Jay Mule’s life is testimony that God uses those who commit their lives to Him, even when their very existence seems out of control.
Mule, a native of Ardmore, Oklahoma, was not raised in a Christian home, but he had relatives who took him and his younger brother to church. Mule made a profession of faith in Christ at the age of 7.
“As a child I was fascinated with God and my new relationship with Him,” Mule said. “However, as I entered adolescence, my spiritual life deteriorated, and I experimented with all kind of vices, especially alcohol.”
Consequently his lifestyle plummeted him into criminal activity, and he was arrested numerous times.
“I would be court ordered to various institutions for juvenile delinquency,” he said. “Besides that, I was ordered to Carter Seminary, a federal Indian boarding school. Overall that was a positive experience, but it did not resolve my problems.”
After high school, Mule found himself in multiple rehabilitation centers for alcohol and was in and out of city and county jails. Eventually, he said, the lifestyle he was living led him to the end of his rope.
“I became so overwhelmed with despair and hopelessness that I constantly thought about ending my life,” Mule admitted. “I knew through the entire time that I was disobedient to God. I knew that I was saved but simply chose to ignore God’s call for me to repent.”
As his life hit rock bottom, he made a decision to attend a church that reached out to him in his time of need.
“I enjoyed my visit so much that I continued to attend even though I still struggled spiritually,” he said. “One night when I was out with friends, I got into an argument with them on whether God exists or not. As I argued for the existence of God, I was convicted of my disobedience. The next night I informed the church that I made a decision to rededicate my life to the Lord.”
Years later God called Mule to preach, and he was ordained to the ministry in 2005. For 16 years, he has served as an evangelist to Native American Baptist churches and ministered across Indian country. For the last five years he has been pastor of Chief Cornerstone Church in Geary and simultaneously serves as director of missions for Cheyenne and Arapaho Baptist Association, ministering to the spiritual needs of Cheyenne and Arapaho churches.
Honing in on missions
Due to the decline of Native American churches, congregations and leadership in western Oklahoma, Mule said missions is the main focus of his ministry.
“We conduct Vacation Bible Schools and revivals,” he said. “We feed children during tribal gatherings and make ourselves available for any tribal activities. Most importantly, we are restarting churches that have closed and planting new ones (in Seiling and Hammon).”
Mule said they have challenged themselves to go outside their boundaries and do missions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they conducted Vacation Bible School at First Seminole Baptist Church, Hollywood, Florida, for four years.
“Our goal and desire is to take a team to minister to our Cheyenne and Arapaho relatives in Montana and Wyoming,” he said.
Mule indicated that their greatest opportunity to reach the lost are through Powwow Bible Clubs.
“This is a unique ministry that puts us right among the people, and in particular, it’s a chance to share the gospel with the unreached,” he said. “The Powwow Bible Club is a ministry that ministers to children and youth who are attending any powwow or tribal gathering. Our goal is always to conduct a Vacation Bible School and make it an organization they can stay connected to. However, due to lack of manpower and resources, we are not always able to carry out everything. But, either way, we teach and minister throughout the duration of the powwow.”
Mule noted they draw attention because they set up their tipi, revival tent and inflatables and have cotton candy, snow cones and popcorn available to all. They also practice the tradition of tribal feeding where anyone is welcome to come and eat at their camp.
“After so many years, each of the powwows expect us to be there and appreciate what we do,” Mule said. “This is the main reason why they allow us to enter into the Powwow circle to tell everyone why we are there. We take those moments to share the gospel to hundreds and sometimes thousands in attendance. We have even conducted our own powwow and shared the gospel to tribal nations from across the country and from Canada.”
Mule said his family considers themselves Powwow people, meaning that they dance/sing and compete at Powwow competitions all over the country.
“We are mindful that we are ambassadors of the Lord and represent Him wherever we go,” he said. “Therefore, we take those opportunities to share the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ to the tribal nations.”
The Mule family consists of his wife, Toni Tsatoke-Mule, and two daughters, Jaylee, 9, and Lily, 7.
Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the gospel together.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally written by Dana Williamson and published by the Baptist Messenger.