ENDURING AS A GOOD SOLDIER
Following Jesus isn’t always easy. Though, many times as Christians we fall into the trap of thinking: if I am following Jesus, how come things aren’t going my way? Well, the Bible tells us why. In fact, as I am typing just now, I stopped to pray and ask the Lord what exactly does He want me to share in this newsletter…and when I opened my Bible after praying I came to these words: “Thou, therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:3.
That is what exactly what life has felt like lately. Soldiers on a battlefield...a very present battle between good and evil, not only here on the reservation but within our own sanctuary—our family. When the adversary of souls sees good things on the horizon for God’s children, he becomes angry and attacks!
Our family and our church family have been tried and tested over these last few months. From health concerns, attempts from the devil to discourage our members in the local church plant, to loosing our personal/ministry vehicle when it unexpectedly had a complete engine failure. We had to leave our car 2 hours north of where we live and sell it for parts…and, all of this while planning for our recent health fair. But, God still reigned victorious! He had a plan in the middle of every challenge…He always does!
We tell you all of that to say this: take heart if you are facing challenges, you are in good company. Our Savior faced many, many challenges—more than most of us will ever face. When the tough times hit (and they will if we are truly following Christ, the Bible tells us so; especially as the days are rapidly approaching for His return) draw closer to Jesus as your Savior, protector and guide; because He alone is able to see us through the dark times and out into the light.
We have also seen in every attack the devil waged against our family and our church family these last few months, that God has fought even harder on our behalf! That is what we want to share with you; the miracles that have come in the midst of trials. Read on to see how God turns problems into amazing stories of His love and provision.
In His service, Tony and Darah Varga
Walnuts and Health Fairs
Each health fair provides the local community in and around the Navajo Nation's capital, Window Rock, AZ with free massage; doctors consults; exercise and health assessments; nutritional and lifestyle information; as well as offers free blood pressure and diabetes screening. We also have qualified volunteers who speak with participants about depression and alcohol/drug addiction and recovery and always offer a table full of literature on spiritual, emotional and physical healing!
You are probably wondering what walnuts and health fairs have in common? As we mentioned above, our family has been facing some personal challenges these past few months. While all these things were happening (it seemed in rapid succession!) we were also busy planning for ATGO’s bi-annual health fair. We were not only getting ready for the fair itself but also preparing to help host a group of 10 volunteers from the Eden Valley Institute of Wellness who would be coming down from Colorado to help with the health fair.
As I was preparing arrangements for meals for the group during their stay, I continued to keep an eye on the ministry budget. Between advertising for the health fair, replenishing booth materials that we needed for the fair, and purchasing food for the volunteer group it seemed the money that was recently donated for health outreach was quickly dwindling.
I was praying “Lord, please let there be enough money for this need, or for that need”…it seemed like it was continual in the weeks leading up to the fair. Then a few weeks before the fair, we made a trip to Albuquerque where I was hoping to get better prices on food for the mission group coming.
I found myself standing in an aisle at Costco once again praying for what I “felt” was a need. I was pricing the almonds and walnuts that I had planned to provide as part of breakfasts for the group. Only, by the time I reached the aisle with the nuts, I had already spent most of the money I had budgeted on other items for the group.
At that moment when I realized there wasn’t enough money-the stress of the last few weeks finally came into full view, and walnuts became my breaking point. And, if you are thinking, it’s just walnuts, it wasn’t. I fully understood that there are far greater concerns than walnuts. It was much more. It was a reckoning of all the recent events and a settling of the stress that came with each of those challenges.
I left the store feeling overwhelmed, so I prayed: “Lord, I suppose walnuts don’t really matter that much; if you wanted them to have them, then you would have provided them. Please let your will be done for this group coming and for the work on the reservation…and in our lives.”
We went back home and over the next few days I began to settle in my heart that whatever the Lord would have us to do in our own lives and for the local church plant here, then we would do it.
Two days after leaving Albuquerque I went to the post office in Window Rock where we live to check our mail. When I checked our personal PO box, we had a notice of a package. This seemed strange because we weren't expecting anything. We grabbed our box and went home. We got home and opened our box to find a 3 pound bag of walnuts (the exact size of the bag of walnuts at Costco). I was shocked—three pounds of walnuts!
I called my mother who had sent these from her home in Tennessee, and asked her why she sent us walnuts. Her reply was “I don’t know, I just felt an impression a while back to send you walnuts.” It was as if the Lord was saying: “See. I am that I am. And, I am Big Enough to meet ALL your needs…and the needs of others…even walnuts!”
In that moment I felt God’s love for me, and for all those who are seeking to serve Him.
The group from Eden Valley arrived safely, and the health fair they helped with and health seminars they gave were a huge blessing to those in this area. But, an even bigger blessing of partnering with their group came on Sabbath.
Another burden on our hearts has been the local church plant we are helping to start. Many of our members had stopped coming to church over the last month or so. The devil was working hard to discourage them too.
Our church home had been displaced several times over the last two months. First, our contract with the local hotel was abruptly discontinued; we could no longer hold worship services there (where we had met for close to a year). Then, we tried moving onto our empty church property, but it was in transition and in the process of being surveyed. About this time our family left for our yearly visit to the East coast to see friends and family. For the three weeks we were away, we could not find anyone (one week was the Navajo Nation Fair, other weeks we had speakers cancel) to come and open the church doors to hold services. So, for three weeks, church stopped.
Upon coming home it seemed we no longer had a group meeting. This was especially difficult for us as a family to see the group that God had built up being torn down. But, as I mentioned earlier, God was not done fighting for His children yet!
We began to spread the word that the group from Eden Valley was coming and that we would be hosting a guest speaker. We told all the church members, and prayed that the excitement would bring some back—and praise God it did!
We had an especially high Sabbath when Dave Upham, the Educational Director for the Eden Valley Institute of Wellness came to preach.
Not only was the little church trailer filled with 10 missionaries from Eden Valley but we were bursting with joy (and at the seams), because ALL of the local members came back too!
The message could not have been more timely either. Brother Dave shared with us how God does not want His church—His bride to be lukewarm, but He wants us to be on fire for Him. Please help us pray that God’s church here on the reservation will be kindled with a fire so hot that His message of truth will spread far and wide on this reservation…and all over the globe!
We had 25 precious souls come to the health fair, several of whom stated they felt that, “God had led them there for a reason.” Many others shared stories of emotional heartache and for others their physical pains. We were able to pray with and offer natural health remedies to help them live healthier, happier lives. We had several Bible study leads after the fair. Please pray for those who indicated an interest in growing closer to God as we endeavor to reach them with God’s last day saving message!
Effie (Top) was our first health fair participant! She had just finished getting a free massage when she came over to thank us, and get her picture taken. (Bottom) The remaining volunteers taking a group photo together outside the chapter house. (11 volunteers had already gone home before picture taking time)
BIBLE STUDIES IN THE NAVAJO NATION'S CAPITAL
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Everyone without Christ is empty, seeking to fill their souls with the unsatisfying pleasures of sin. The sad thing is that most people don’t want to realize they are empty, and those who do, don’t know what it is they are looking for. These facts are no different on the Navajo Reservation, I started doing Bible work in Window Rock - Kinlichee and surrounding areas.
Few have been initially responsive to spiritual interests such as bible studies. Yet we have still tried to reach them through means of cooking classes and other health activities. Praise God there are encouraging moments to cheer us along the way. Such as with a man I will call John, who has been receiving Bible studies regularly and coming to church. John attended a meeting we had that covered Halloween’s origins and the Protestant Reformation. He began asking more questions and expressed a desire to know the truth on the state of the dead-which is a touchy subject with the native culture.
There is a great hunger for spiritual truth, in every place there are those who are seeking, yet they must be sought after. Workers are few, the work is great, have you answered God’s call to work in the part of His vineyard He has assigned you? He is calling for you! Please pray for the work and workers on the Navajo Reservation, that God would send more laborers!
Orlando Hernandez (Bible Worker: Window Rock / Kinlichee)
Hannah Hernandez (pictured above) sharing one of the recipes with the group. (Picture below) Nine ladies from the community came to the last cooking class along with several of us from the ministry.
THE BREAD OF LIFE
This past weekend our Bible worker’s wife, Hannah, taught a cooking class to help local people learn how to make their own, affordable healthier bread with simple ingredients. On the reservation, fry bread is a common bread served. As the name suggests it is fried, and certainly not the healthiest option. And, among the grocery stores in our area, low cost (low nutrition) white bread is what mostly occupies the shelves. So, everyone who came to the class was excited to learn a healthier recipe for a common staple in many homes.
During the class we were able to sit and talk with new class participants. In particular, we spoke with a lady who had just lost her husband from cirrhosis of the liver from a life long drinking habit. We were able to share with her how good God is despite the bad things that happen to us, and how He alone can see us through our darkest times. She expressed how glad she was she had come to the class and how good is was to be around others seeking to live healthier lives.
As Orlando mentioned earlier, being able to share the One true source of peace, the Bread of Life—Jesus, is All of our calling. We praise God daily that He allows us to help in the commission to go into all the world and share—and that He enables us with the strength to do what He asks! We have seen that by reaching people with their daily needs—even “their daily bread,” God can and will open the doors to speak about Him more!
ARE YOU BEING CALLED? Are you being called to come to the Navajo Reservation to give of your time and talents? Is God calling you to share with His children here? “To those who are looking for a place where they may work in the Lord’s vineyard, come over and help us. Come prepared to practice self-denial, determined that you will not fail nor be discouraged. We can not pay your passage, nor can we give you large wages. We can not carry you financially or spiritually; but if you will come to do a work for the Master, if you are willing to visit and labor for souls where they are, come, and we will co-operate with you as long as you co-operate with God.”2 “Helpers are needed who have some means, who can engage in some employment and sustain themselves and not draw upon the [church] for their support.”3 “Let such workers go…where truth was presented years ago and the work has not been followed up. True, it will require self-denial to leave the churches where [you] have assembled to worship. But, if Jesus, the precious Savior, had studied His own pleasure and convenience, as many who profess to be His followers do today, He would never have left the mansions of bliss, His heavenly home, and come to our world, all seared and marred with the curse…”4
Though these words above were spoken over 100 years ago, they apply to all of us today. The call is still being sounded for individuals to come; only this time to the Navajo Reservation. We need people who would be able to help in short-term and possibly long-term capacities with a variety of skill sets, and who are willing to be self-supporting in the work. If you are interested and feel the call to come: please pray about the following needs and if God is calling you to come.
We have several needs currently:
Evangelism next summer. You may remember from our previous newsletter, Wyatt Allen from Amazing Facts came this past summer to Chinle, AZ. During that time we drove many nights 3 hours round trip throughout the month they were preaching to take the ladies in our Bible study to hear God’s truths being preached! We are excited to announce that Wyatt Allen, through the grace of God is now scheduled to come and set up an evangelism series on the Window Rock church property this coming summer! But, in order for us to be ready to host Wyatt and his team, we desperately need some infrastructure on the church property, such as water lines put in, so the team can stay with us in their RVs.
Another one of our current and pressing needs for the church property is a fence. Our property has been vacant for many years, and the lot has become a common dumping ground for trash, and parking semi-trucks. Now that we are finally holding services on the property in our church trailer, we have seen there is a need for fencing. If you and/or your church group have skilled workers who would be interested in donating your time to a mission trip to accomplish this goal, please contact us!
We are also in need of a planning specialist, someone who could come out to Window Rock and review the land surveys and possibly help the church with land development ideas. There are three acres of undeveloped land, with power lines on the property.
Finally, next Spring, there will be volunteer workers coming to help lay the foundation for the future church building. As you can see there is much work that needs to be done on this land. If God is leading you to come out and help, please pray for His guidance and timing, as we are also praying for more laborers in this ripe field!
PRAISES & PRAYER REQUESTS:
Praises for church members coming back to church after our worship services were displaced several times.
Praises for the blessing of partnerships, such as Eden Valley and the many other volunteers who continue to come out and help with health fairs, cooking classes and various outreach events!
Praising God for Wyatt Allan and his team being willing to come out this coming summer for a month-long evangelism series in Window Rock.
Praising God for finally knowing the borders of the church property grounds, and progress on getting cultural surveys done so we can soon begin to get electric and water on the property.
Praises for a recent donation that will allow us to fund our next Health Fair here on the reservation!
Prayers needed for more workers in this area of God's vineyard.
Prayers for perservence for the workers who are already here working.
Philippians 4:6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...
Most vital is the prayers of others on behalf of the work here on the reservation, without prayer and without God's guidance we wouldn't be able to move forward.
Donations needed to continue the church building project (currently we have around $18,000 to start the work, but estimate the entire project to cost around $40,000-$60,000)
Support for Bible Workers (if you wish to help support the Bible worker in this area donations can be made tax deductible to: Window Rock SDA Church, marked Bible Worker)
Volunteers to come and help with building the church and developing the property.
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.
How To Donate: would you like to help us keep this outreach going? You can donate towards any of our current needs. 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 in the future. However, we are able to provide tax deductible receipts for many donations, contact us directly if you need a receipt for tax purposes on your donation. Support can be mailed to: ATGO Ministries PO Box 3173 Window Rock, AZ, 86515 You can also contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-275-3180.
You Can Also Donate Online: www.ATGOministries.org!
Baby Honey the cat (right) and Ginger (left) were the 79th and 80th animals to be sent for adoption.
PRAYERS FOR HURTING HEARTS
Recently, Jackson’s dog ministry rescued / transported its 80th animal. But, as happy as we were that the last dog, Ginger, and cat, Baby Honey, received good homes, we were saddened by the condition of the home they left behind.
Ginger and Baby Honey came from a home here on the reservation that was overrun by strays (turned pets) that the family had tried to care for but no longer could—twelve dogs total, and numerous cats.
We had already taken four puppies, one momma cat, her two kittens and one adult cat with a missing nose from this family upon their request. We were building a friendship with the family and hoping to help them to be able to keep the pets they could afford to feed and care for. Our connections in Colorado who setup the adoption side of our rescues had even offered to spay and neuter the rest of this family’s animals.
However, on our last pickup from this home, sadly we witnessed what happens here more frequently than it should. Upon arriving to pickup the last of the dogs and cats the family wanted to surrender, we began to round up the animals when a domestic fight between mother and daughter broke out. Things quickly became heated and physical. Our trip ended in leaving the property while the police were being called. We left with a very startled dog and cat. But, most of all we left with a deep sense of grief for this family who had always been so friendly to us.
We share this not to display this family’s pain, but to share this side of life here on the reservation. Stray dogs and cats are truly a problem on the reservation, but in the light of eternity we know that this problem pails in comparison to the hearts that are being destroyed from pain and sorrow. There is much generational pain and hurt here that runs deep. Please help us pray for our friends in the above situation, and for all the hurting and sorrow here on the reservation, that the Lord’s light will shine brighter and stronger into these dark strongholds.
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
Copyright © All Tribes Gospel Outreach, All rights reserved. Our mailing address is: PO Box 3173 * Window Rock, AZ * 86515