Now is Not the Time to Give Up!
Have you ever felt like giving up? We all have. There are times when life seems hard and the future not so bright. But, God wants us to persevere and keep pressing on! He especially wants us to never give up on the good work of reaching others for His kingdom. Now is not the time to give up! Because current events indicate Jesus' second coming is growing nearer and nearer, we believe the time is now to work for Him in anyway possible. This is why we are very excited to share with you our first newsletter for All Tribes Gospel Outreach; a self-supporting ministry, which God is helping us to start. Living on the largest reservation, we have had our eyes opened to the great needs here and we need your help. The reservation is a huge mission field right in our own backyard (the United States). We urge you to read on and learn more. You are receiving this email because each of you has been a part of our family's life over the recent years. And, as a part of our family's circle, we wanted to share what has been placed on our hearts. Thank you for receiving this mass email, we hope to connect more with you in the future. We also want to thank you in advance for your prayers and support.
Seeing the Beauty & the Needs
We are writing to you from the Navajo Nation's capital and our new home site in Window Rock, AZ. This area is surrounded by reservation lands which are home to the Navajo tribe, as well as many other tribes. As we look around, we see many beautiful souls here, but we also see many sad scenes on the reservation. The following are just a few statistics indicative of the struggles people here are facing.
"The Navajo Nation is the largest Indian tribe in the United States and has the largest reservation, which encompasses more than 25,000 square miles in Northeast Arizona, Northwest New Mexico, Southern Utah and Colorado." (IHS.gov.com)
"Native Americans (in general) continue to grapple with unemployment levels nearly double that of the overall population, have higher poverty rates and lag behind in education attainment. The national data that’s available paints a gloomy picture. More than 1 in 4 native people live in poverty." (usnews.com)
The situation here on the Navajo reservation is very similar to the national statistics. Unfortunately, "the unemployment level fluctuates between an overall 40 and 45 percent for the nation." (Navajo Division of Economic Development)
"The Navajo [also] struggle with some of the worst health outcomes in the United States. Take just diabetes. Historically, almost no Navajo suffered from it. But now, thanks in part to the scarcity of wholesome groceries available [and poor dietary habits], one in three Navajo are diabetic or pre-diabetic. In some regions, health care workers report diagnosing diabetes in every other patient." (Partners in Health)
"The Navajo are diagnosed at a rate about four times higher than the age-standardized U.S. estimate. (National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse)
Some other startling statistics:
"Children under age 18 are four times more likely to live with grandparents on the Navajo Nation (8.6%) than they are, for example, in the State of Arizona (2.3%)." (azcia.gov)
"According to FBI reports, the Navajo Nation is one of the most violent reservations in the United States. It has more rapes and murders than many large cities. And, unlike their big-city counterparts, tribal officials lack the resources, including manpower, to combat crime in an area the size of West Virginia. Federal agents and Navajo police officers often have to travel up to 700 miles in a day to make an arrest or conduct an investigation. In addition to a tribal court system that is traditionally lenient, there is not enough money to build enough jails to hold most offenders for more than eight hours." (dailyrepublic.com)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Indians suffer from the highest rates of alcohol poisoning deaths and are seven times more likely to die from alcohol poisoning. "This reflects both the higher intensity of binge drinking and other factors, such as geographic isolation and reduced access to medical care."
To further illustrate to you how forgotten the Native American people are: "President Obama visited the Standing Rock tribe in Cannonball, North Dakota in 2014. This was the first presidential visit to Indian country since Bill Clinton in 1999, and was only the third presidential visit to Indian country in U.S. history." (usnews.com)
It's seems like a sad outlook for the people on the reservation--if you only look at statistics. However, we are thankful to serve a God who looks past statistics! The Navajo and other tribes are truly a beautiful people, unfortunately though some are stuck in a situation that is not easily changed. But, we trust hearts and souls can be changed by the power of an Almighty God! We have seen God already in action on the reservation and in other parts of the world, and know there is no limit to what He can do!
Because we believe the time is very near when Jesus will return for His followers, we know this is not the time to give up! The Bible tells us He will make all things new, and there will be no more sadness or misery. The time is now to help people here and all over the world get ready for that amazing day! We long to see "every nation, tribe, tongue and people"given the opportunity to hear the Good News. This is why we felt impressed to begin All Tribes Gospel Outreach (ATGO ministries). We desired to start a serving ministry that could be used to reach Native people groups anywhere in the world. As our family has moved around the US and world, we have learned that we never know where the Lord will lead us or keep us. But, we feel it is time to start work right here where God has now led us twice! We have prayed and feel a peace that if the Lord takes us somewhere else in the future; we feel confident in those we work with that they will continue the efforts for the Navajo people that is beginning in this area!
Our hope and prayer is that through this ministry (and partnering with other mission groups and ministries) we will be better able to serve the Native American people where we live; as well as other indigenous people groups that we are connected with around the globe.
We would greatly appreciate your support through prayer! In fact, it is the greatest support you can give any mission or ministry! God bless, Tony and Darah Varga
To share the message of salvation with Native people groups using health outreach aimed at improving physical and emotional wellbeing.
To help Native people groups know Jesus by teaching from the Word of God.
To equip indigenous peoples to reach their own with the Gospel and to prepare them for Jesus' second coming.
Things Moving Along...
Things have moved quickly since our move to the capital. In four months time, ATGO (All Tribes Gospel Outreach) has already held its second health fair on the reservation. We have also been able to continue ministering at the flea market monthly, where God is faithful to send the hurting for us to share the Good News and pray with. We have helped hold a series of healthy cooking classes which so far have connected us with two beautiful Navajo women. Recently four more people have signed up to attend. The two women attending have expressed much thankfulness for the classes and the knowledge they are learning.
The Lord has opened many doors and has allowed us to distribute hundreds of Gospel sharing books, DVDs and outreach tracts to the local people here. However, there is much work still to be done. Please help us pray as the work continues here in Window Rock and all over the reservation...and globe!
Ministry Praises, Prayer Requests & Needs
We are PRAISING God for the opportunities He has already opened for this ministry, and for giving us the first steps to take. We do not know what steps He will want us to take next, but we know if we are faithful to follow Him in what He has already shown us, He will lead and guide us the rest of the way!
We are also PRAISING God for an amazing Native American woman who came to our first health fair, and who we found out later used to be a member of the church here in Window Rock; when the church was in existence many years ago. She has now joined us in our efforts to reach her people, and has said she feels like she has finally come home being back in our small church group!
PRAISE: two more Native American women have been coming to the cooking classes, and are using what they have learned to share with their families and friends. One of the ladies has also volunteered at our flea market outreach to share gospel books and invite people to upcoming events!
We are currently praying for funding for a Bible Worker for this area of the reservation. We already have several consecrated local individuals who have expressed their desire to fill this role, now we are praying for funding to provide a stipend for the work.
There is an ongoing need for replenishing our sharing materials (covering topics on spiritual growth, emotional and physical well being). If you would like to support the ongoing publication part of the ministry please let us know.
Mission-minded volunteers are needed for future health fairs and a possible evangelism series and kid's outreach in March of next year. We are also praying for the funding to continue bringing these events to the reservation.
We currently have a vacant lot for our church property, but no church building.
How To Donate: would you like to help us keep this outreach going? You can donate towards any of our current needs. In these beginning stages all donations received will be used towards our most pressing needs in the order God is leading us to fulfill them. There are no overhead ministry costs, as we all work on a volunteer basis. We are hoping to apply to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit soon. Support can be mailed to: ATGO Ministries: PO Box 3173, Window Rock, AZ, 86515, or contact us via email for a way to donate online at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-275-3180. To Subscribe to this monthly e-newsletter please send us a quick email stating that you would like to continue receiving these messages.
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4
STORIES FROM OUR MISSION FIELD & AROUND THE GLOBE
Going where Jesus would Go; the Flea Market
Each time we go to the flea market on the reservation it is a reminder of Jesus' method of reaching people when He walked the earth. Jesus went where the people were. He had no place to call home, or building where he regularly held "church," but rather he ministered where the crowds were. This place on the reservation is the flea market!
Every day of the week, at least in Window Rock in the summer, there is a flea market. We have been so blessed to be able to setup there at least once a month, and share a friendly smile, free books on God's love; or a message about healthy living with the local people. It has helped us begin building relationships within this community.
Each time we attend the flea market, we see God's hand at work, and experience His amazing divine appointments. One day when we were setup, three men came bee lining to our booth; each at different times. It was as if the Holy Spirit was guiding them by the hand! Two of the men were intoxicated, but clearly seeking something. As it turned out, each had a burden on their heart to seek the Lord. Our beautiful Zorida, or "Grandma," prayed with the first young man. This young man came back later, seeking prayer again!
The second young man, probably also in his late twenties came by and engaged Tony. By the end of their talking about Jesus' love and forgiveness Tony and the young man were hugging, united in one last prayer. It was a truly beautiful site.
And the third man, an older Navajo man, loaded with guilt from a traumatic experience in the marines, came and began asking the group if we were Christians. After a short while of talking it was clear he was looking to unburden his heart from his deep hurtful past, and for someone to tell him he was forgiven. We prayed with him; and explained how we are ALL forgiven, no matter the sin...all we have to do is ask Jesus and He forgives us freely!
Afterwards the man prayed the most heart touching prayer asking for forgiveness, and raised his head from that prayer looking like a new man! Please pray for this man to stay with Jesus, and for him to trust in His forgiveness.
Our most recent flea market trip occurred the final day of the Navajo Nation Fair. This fair is the largest event here all year. People come from all over the reservation, including many family members who have moved away. This year was the 70th anniversary celebration of the Fair. We knew it would be a great time to be at the flea market and reach out to people.
We signed up for a booth the week before the fair, purchasing two of the last spots open that entire week! In the past we had been told that we had to be Native American with proof of our tribal affiliation in order to purchase a booth. Otherwise, we were told, we would need to pay a $1000 dollar deposit for a “peddler's permit." And at the time we purchased these tickets, we still believed this to be true (we have since learned that it will not cost as much as we were told, and have begun praying God will provide for us to purchase our own ministry permit in the future).
Priscilla, one of our new friends and now one of our volunteers, offered to purchase the ticket for the ministry, since she is Native American. We were thrilled we had found a way to attend! Only, two days prior to the flea market Priscilla called with bad news; she had come down with fever and chills. We united in prayer, asking God if we were supposed to be at the flea market that he would heal Priscilla or provide a way for us to get in.
We prepared all of our materials the night before the flea market in faith that God would open the way; still not knowing if Priscilla would get better by morning. At 9:00 pm that night she called to tell us she wouldn't be able to make it, she was still too sick.
We prayed, went to sleep and made plans to press on in the morning believing that somehow God would open the way! At 6 am the next day all volunteers met together outside the flea market area and prayed, then one by one we followed in our cars through the barricade. No one stopped us there. We parked, and finally when the neighboring gas station that sells the booth rentals opened around 7, we went in to inquire about the pass for our booth. Tony tried to explain the problem with our ticket and ask the attendant if we could stay, but not understanding his question, she quickly instructed him where the flea market was, told him where to setup and that they would check him in there. After confirming her directions to “setup” several times, he came back and told us to move forward setting up.
By 8 am we were setup and ready to go; but we knew the person who checks the tickets would be coming by soon. Then the Lord sent Wendy. Another vendor we had met and prayed with at our booth months earlier. The Lord is amazing…Wendy knew the lady checking the tickets! So, she took us over, along with our ticket to show the woman. The woman glanced at our ticket then let us know she would be by later to check it. We began praying that the Lord would close her eyes to anything that could cause us to leave. And, God did! She came by several times throughout the entire day, and not once did she even look at our ticket! We stayed till 5 pm that day, and by the end of the flea market we had passed hundreds of sharing materials, prayed with numerous people, and invited as many as we could to several upcoming health events we are holding.
We have always left the flea market feeling like we were the ones blessed; but praying that at least one heart was touched for Jesus though this outreach!
Health Expos, Cooking Classes & Connections
The people on the reservation have many needs; some of which are health related. Some of the major health concerns for the people here are diabetes from poor diet, addiction issues, and needs for emotional and spiritual healing.
On May 22 volunteers arrived at the Fort Defiance chapter house (chapter houses are the meeting place for tribal events on the reservation) to begin setting up for our first health fair. Though we had secured the building from 8-5 pm, the doors were locked when we arrived at 8 am. Despite our efforts, our volunteers piled up outside the gate of the building ready to get the booths setup and to serve; but the gates remained locked.
We individually prayed, called those we thought could help us get in, and ultimately waited. Not long before 10:00 am when the event was scheduled to start, we gathered and decided to have morning worship together by the gate. Just as the Pastor who came to minister at the counseling booth bowed his head and prayed to ask the Lord to help us get in door, a car swiftly drove into the mix of our cars by the gate. Then we heard the sound of dropping chains! We thanked God, closed worship, hurried through the gates and got to work preparing for our first participant...who arrived within minutes of the doors opening and our volunteers getting inside.
Despite the late start, we were able to get her through all the booths, along with 40 or so other participants that day. By the end of the health fair, we heard over and over what a blessing the event was and that the people in that area would like to see that type of event happen again! God's timing is never late!
He even sent us the Chapter House activities director from the neighboring reservation, who after going through the booths herself asked on the spot if we would come and hold the event at her Chapter House. Incidentally that Chapter House is across the street from our vacant church property!
As a result of God’s providence, we hosted our second health fair at the St. Michaels chapter house this past week on September 25 (we will be sharing some exciting stories from this event in next month's newsletter). Please pray that the connections we made there will help the people there to live healthier lives and that we will be able to connect with them further to share more of the Good News. Please also pray as we seek ongoing funding to bring in medical professionals and the supplies needed for each each event.
Each health fair includes booths for physical health assessments with doctors and nurses assisting; exercise assessments; emotional counseling; an alcohol recovery booth; spiritual counseling; information on healthy eating; drinking enough water; information on diabetes and diabetes screening; as well as blood pressure screenings, free herbal samples and a massage booth. We had 25 volunteers and health professionals helping at the first expo. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering at one of our future health fairs please contact us!
The healthy cooking classes have become a smaller extension of the larger health fair events. To date we have held four healthy cooking classes to help teach better dietary habits. We believe that by sharing healthy living messages with the native people we can help meet their physical and emotional needs, and prayerfully build friendships for the kingdom through this outreach!
Around the Globe:
Currently we are working with former missionaries to Nepal who now live here on the reservation and are part of the ATGO team. As we are all at work here, they stay in constant contact with their former mission field to stay abreast of the needs there as well. ATGO is partnering with them to bring light and support to the ongoing outreach for souls in Nepal.
We will be providing updates on the work and needs there via our partner and contact, Sonia Cardona. The latest, most pressing needs come as the borders to Nepal are beginning to close to foreign missionaries coming in to share the Gospel. We are praying to find support for three local Nepali men who are striving to share the Gospel in one of the most remote areas of Nepal called Mugu.
With the doors closing the best way to reach the people in Nepal, especially the remote areas, is through their own people. There are 75 districts in Nepal and Mugu district is in 75th position. It is the least developed district of Nepal in in terms of health, education, life span, child mortality, adult literacy and food production. Please, if you feel called to support their work to reach souls in Mugu, contact us and we can share more details about their work and of their current needs.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth--to every nation, tribe, language and people. Revelation 14:6
Contact Information: PO Box 3173 * Window Rock, AZ * 86515 * 928-275-3180