Have You Prayed?
Have you ever had a vision for something? Have you ever prayed for that something to become a reality? Maybe it was a job, or healing for a loved one, or maybe you prayed for someone to come to know the Lord. We have prayed these prayers in the past and have seen God's hand move mightily to fulfill those prayers.
Today we are praying again. We are praying God's promises over the Navajo Reservation, and for His Spirit to be poured out here to convert hearts. This newsletter we are sharing some of the ways God is already moving hearts here on the reservation. But, there is still a need for more prayers, as the spiritual battle here is very real, just as it is all over the world!
Will you pray with us that God will open the doors He needs opened here on the Navajo reservation in order to reach His people who are waiting to hear the everlasting Gospel? Will you pray with us for a place where our small group can grow and worship? Will you pray with us for a way to train local people to reach their own people? Will you pray with us for God's will to be done here on the Navajo reservation and all over the world?
May God bless you and your family as you endeavor to do His will, Tony and Darah Varga
Last Minute Connections at the Recent Health Fair
On September 25, we held our second health fair on the reservation. This time we were in the community of St Michaels. The event was providential from the very beginning, being that we were invited (we didn't approach them, they asked us) to do the health fair from the St Michaels' chapter house coordinator, who attended our first fair!
We had 28 volunteers helping, and saw close to 30 participants come through the doors. It was truly an awesome day getting to see how God used our volunteers to personally touch the life of each participant. We believe with all of our hearts that outreach is not about counting the numbers, but rather reaching the hearts of the people who are in most need of personal care and love--just as Jesus did while he was here on earth.
Frances and Jasper are just two people we met at this fair. But, Frances and Jasper are two very good reasons why we are doing outreach of this kind on the reservation. Both came in towards the end of the day, but came in separately. Frances came to the door of the chapter house just as we were closing the event for the day. She told us that she had been invited to come while visiting our booth at the flea market a few weeks earlier. She seemed almost desperate to make sure she got in before the health fair closed. We registered her, and began to take her through the booths that were not already closed. We could tell though after she completed the program that she wasn't ready to leave, she seemed to hesitate. So, we asked the volunteer running the massage booth, if he had time for one more participant. Gladly, he took Frances to his booth and began to massage away what looked like eons of pain from her. After finishing at the massage booth, several volunteers gathered with Frances and prayed with her.
When Frances came to the health fair that day she had reached the end of her rope, completely exhausted from the pain of life, and from dealing with multiple deaths of family members. As she walked out after being prayed and cared for, she said she knew without a shadow of doubt that God had guided her to us that day. She had been at a breaking point; but after attending, told us how grateful she was for our concern and helping her feel better about her situation through the things she learned at the health fair.
Jasper was another man who came in towards the end of the fair. Jasper, a Vietnam veteran had actually come to the Chapter House that day looking for a hot meal that he said the senior citizen program normally provides on Sundays. But, after we explained what we were doing he decided to stay and go through the health fair instead. He completed all the booths right as we were starting to close up. Once all booths were torn down and materials packed away, the volunteers gathered to say a final prayer. Jasper was the only participant still with us.
Jasper had asked a volunteer after going through the program if they had any food for him, they didn't, but several of us were planning a trip to get some food after closing, so we invited him to stay through the prayer and go with us.
From this invite to buy Jasper a hot meal, we were able to begin getting to know him over dinner, and the struggles he faced as a Vietnam veteran--and now an older man struggling with alcohol addiction stemming from the traumas of war. We also learned that he had been estranged from his children for quite some time, and that he was dealing with extreme loneliness.
After dinner that night, as we were sitting in Jasper's driveway, we asked if he would like to study the Bible together. Never have I seen someone so happy...he said he felt like God had brought him new friends. That Wednesday Tony drove to his home and studied God's word with him. By the end of the bible study, Jasper prayed and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior!
Jasper is a man who served his country risking his life; but has since been left alone in life. He has little contact with family, no phone, no car, no electricity at his house; but now he has the most important thing a man can have...he has Jesus as His personal savior and best friend!
Please help us pray for Jasper; he left his home not long after this first bible study and we have had not been able to reach him since. We know the devil is strong, and temptations are very real for Jasper. Please help us pray that he remembers his commitment to Jesus and remembers that Jesus has the power to help him overcome his addictions.
From this last health fair, we now have three new ladies joining us for our Healthy Cooking Classes, and two more people joining us for our weekly Bible study group.
Ministry Praises, Prayer Requests & Needs
Thanking God our last Health Fair that connected us with several new souls who we are now studying the Bible with at our weekly Bible Study group.
The cooking classes continue to grow, and more importantly help people in this area live healthier lives; we are praising God for this!
Praising God for our largest church service yet, when unexpectedly we had 24 people at our most recent service!
NEEDS & PRAYER REQUESTS:
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.
We are in need of a church / outreach building where we can hold church, Bible studies, cooking classes, outreach events and training for Native American lay preachers and Bible workers. We initially did not see this as one of our bigger needs, but after much prayer, and talking with those attending Bible study and church with us, we see their desire to have a designated place to meet.
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 (dates to be set) and an evangelism series and kid's outreach in the summer of next year. We are also praying for the funding to continue bringing these events to the reservation. Other mission opportunities include: the church property needs fencing, a sign, a building to meet in, and leveling to prepare the land for building(s).
STORIES FROM OUR MISSION FIELD & AROUND THE GLOBE
COOKING CLASSES & NEW FRIENDS
Our cooking classes have continued, and now we have around 7-10 people attending from the area. Each class we teach healthy eating and living habits. We are very blessed that Sonia and Fernando Cardona, who we work with in our outreach efforts here, offer their home to hold the cooking classes in. Our group has grown from three dedicated women to now include their family members, their friends and a few more ladies that came to learn about the classes through attending our last health fair.
The best part of every class is watching the group try the food and seeing their amazement that healthy food can and does taste good! We also enjoy sitting around sharing stories about our lives while enjoying what was prepared. Each class we have the opportunity to pray with class members and read bible verses that relate to the topics we are covering. God always opens a way to share Him during the cooking classes! Several ladies that are regulars from these classes are now joining us for our weekly bible study group, and learning to feed on healthy Spiritual food as well.
STUDYING THE BIBLE ON THE BATTLEFIELD
Our bible study group is a true labor of love. The very reason we seek to reach people with healthy living messages during our health outreach programs is so that through healed bodies and cleansed minds, these precious souls will hopefully begin to desire to hear more about God. And praise the Lord, this is starting to happen on our corner of the reservation! God continues to bring new souls into our study of the Bible, and more importantly, we are seeing those who attend regularly light up as we open their eyes to the Good News of the Gospel.
When we asked during one of our early meetings why each person was attending, we were excited to hear several people say they came because they wanted to know their Bible from the beginning to the end! This is thrilling because "traditional" beliefs and spiritualism are very alive and strong here on the reservation. We see evidences of this continually; so to have people coming to the Bible studies truly seeking God is very exciting to us.
We get strength knowing that through Christ we can do our part in the Spiritual battle that is waging here on the Navajo reservation! We always keep in mind what God tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Currently, we have no building for the bible study group to meet in; or for the church group that is being planted. Both the church and the bible study group meet weekly in rented conference rooms at two different hotels in the area. But, we know God is aware of our situation.
We sensed His blessing during our last four Bible studies when out of the blue the hotel where we meet told us we didn't have to pay the rental fee for any of those nights! This was a complete surprise and one we still don't fully understand, but we praise God each time we meet and are told again that there is no charge.
God continues to give us small and large confirmations like this one, that encourage us and move us forward in His command to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:19-20
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
Around the Globe: Haiti Hurricane Relief Efforts
We want to thank everyone who donated for the Haiti relief fund after the recent devastation of Hurricane Matthew. Our friends Brenda and Michael Cooper, founders of Haiti Helpers, were able to get your funds directly to those affected in Les Cayes and Jeremie, Haiti. They spent time in those areas delivering food, clean water, and tarps to families who lost everything in the Hurricane. In total $680 was raised during the week prior to their relief trip. Thank you again for helping the people there feel Jesus' love through your care and contributions.
Sunny Tails and 25 Dogs
"Pull into any gas station, supermarket or housing area on the Navajo Nation and you’ll see them: skinny, mange-ridden, often limping; weakly wagging their tails in hopes of a handout or slinking away in fear of being kicked.
It’s no secret that the Navajo Nation has a stray dog problem — estimates of their number range into the tens of thousands. As with seemingly every problem on the Navajo Nation, those assigned to deal with it are too few, under-equipped and underfunded.
For an area of 25,000 square miles 'there are only five animal control officers on the Navajo Nation,' Senior Animal Control Officer Stacey Daw said, and only four active animal shelters in Tuba City, Fort Defiance, Many Farms, Ariz. and Shiprock." Navajo Times (http://navajotimes.com/reznews/a-happier-tail/)
This is where Sunny Tails Rescue and other rescue volunteer organizations get involved. Sunny Tails Rescue began over four years ago, but only recently received an actual name; given to the operation by our son Jackson. Over the three years that we have lived on and around the reservation we have worked with various individuals and organizations in Colorado and Utah to rescue (our part) and re-home (their part) dogs off the reservation. This past month marked the 25th dog given a new chance at life!
We know the numbers aren't huge but for us we see each animal for what it is, God's precious creature that He created and doesn't want to see suffer. We know too that in a spiritually dark place (like the reservation can be), each animal we remove, removes at least one more scene of suffering that the people here are being exposed to, and removes the opportunity for locals to mistreat God's helpless creatures (many times not intentionally but from lack of eduction or compassion), which we have seen causes hearts to grow cold.
Figures for how many dogs roam feral on the reservation are astounding. In a 2011 article on the "Rez dog" problem on the Navajo Nation, it was cited that around 6000 dogs are euthanized here yearly! But, then, there are those that survive and even end up thriving like Jenna. We met Jenna at the storage unit where we rent. When we first saw her about 4 months ago, she was completely matted and had a massive tumor hanging down around her rear leg. The tumor was about the size of a football. It seemed obvious she wasn't being completely cared for, but it also seemed she wasn't completely neglected either, judging from her pleasant attitude. Calm personalities are rare here in stray dogs as they contend with being kicked, malnourished and scared off frequently...giving them very sad, skittish or worn out personalities quickly.
We waited to see during our visits to the storage unit if we could tell if she belonged to the house beside the unit. We try not to ever take dogs that have owners. Then the Lord put it on our hearts to ask the storage unit manager if she knew who the dog belonged to. Turns out the dog had been a stray that wondered onto the gated property, and the manager (who incidentally we found out lives in the house by the unit), began to feed her. She then informed us that even though her family had become fond of her they were going to take her to be euthanized that very week. They couldn't afford to do anything for her tumor and feared she was living in pain. Though, if you met Jenna she exhibited absolutely no signs of being in pain.
Long story short they agreed we could take her on our latest transport. She arrived at her first stop in the transport in Aztec Colorado, where they performed surgery to remove her tumor and now she is living in Colorado with her forever home and doing great! Jenna was our 25th dog successfully rescued and now happily living in a safe, secure home.
Along with Jenna went three perfectly healthy dogs from the local animal shelter who were scheduled to be euthanized on Thursday by the close of shelter hours. They were released to us just 2 hours before their appointment to be put down. Sadly, one of the dogs we were scheduled to pick up with them was ordered to be euthanized before we could get her. We loaded the three dogs that were not euthanized into our car with Jenna and drove them to their first stop in Colorado. They have all since found homes in Colorado as well!
Being that we now live in a small single wide trailer with closeby neighbors, we can not feasibly contain the stray dogs in our yard as we once did. Please help us pray for reliable foster families that we can count on to help temporarily house rescues until transports become available.
Encouraging the youth to use their gifts...
As parents we strive to raise our son to honor God with all his talents and abilities. As ATGO has grown from an idea to an action of serving the Lord for His glory, our son has determined in his heart that he would like to be a part of the ministry. One of the ways he has been helping has been by making handmade soaps that he sells to help raise money for ministry needs. All sales from his soaps benefit the native people groups that ATGO serves. Sales help us to purchase sharing materials, Bibles, Bible study lessons, purchase materials for healthy cooking classes among other ministry needs. Soaps are $5 each. Contact us if you or someone you know is interested in ordering handmade soaps to help benefit the ministry.
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 You can also contact us via email for a way to donate online at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-275-3180.