In Due Season We Shall Reap
We are praising God for His mercies and His sacrifice; and for a very special blessing. Recently we were holding church services in our rented hotel conference room (as we do every week), but this day turned out to be an unexpectedly special service.
There is a verse in Galatians 6:9 that encourages Christians to “…not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This verse…oh, this verse, has meant so much to me. It has been a life giving promise, that I am seeing fulfilled here on the reservation, and I can only pray that what is happening here is just the beginning of the harvest that is to come. And, our recent blessing was just one more beautiful confirmation that God is leading here.
As we began church services this particular morning my son and I were the only two at our little church plant on the reservation; Tony was out of town. Then, one more came. But that was all; and it seemed we would have no one else join us in church. This was Easter weekend, so we expected many people to be away visiting family, but still the three of us who were present began to pray. “Lord, we are here for you, we want to bless someone else, please send us souls thirsty for you,” was our prayer.
During this time, there was a young Navajo mother and her five children who were staying at the hotel that continued to come in and out of the side door of the room where we meet. Normally, the only people who come through the door in the conference room during church are those coming to church. But, this family was busy carrying their laundry back and forth to the laundry room of the hotel so we told them to feel free to use the door. The mother was notably tired, and had her hands full with children and laundry.
At first, the young children and mother seemed unaware that we were holding a church service, but soon they began to notice the services going on. So, we invited the family to join us for church. The mother kindly said thank you, but didn’t seem too interested.
As church continued, we prayed more; for more people to come. I have to admit, I was feeling a little “weary in doing well,” and I prayed telling the Lord (as though He was unaware of our situation!) “Lord, you know we have to pay each week to be here for your children on the reservation, so they can hear the Good News about you…Please, Lord, all of our members are away today, don’t let us hold services for ourselves alone!” And, He answered!
After the main service began I looked up and suddenly we were no longer three anymore! We were now six! The mother and her two oldest sons had slipped into the back row. Soon others began to join us also, but to see this frazzled looking mother and her two sons thrilled my heart.
This particular Sabbath, we had a last minute (the Friday before kind of last minute!) change to our preaching schedule, and I was asked to fill in and give the message for the service. So, I spent the night before church praying and asking God what He wanted me to share. The morning before church started I woke very early to prepare, and then I felt a sense of clarity. I knew God was calling me to speak about His sacrifice on the cross and how much He loved each of us despite our sins. Then in church we read verse after verse on Jesus’ love and sacrifice for us all.
At the end of the service we called for anyone who had not accepted Jesus as their Savior to stand if they would like to invite Him into their lives. As we prayed with bowed heads, I looked around to to see if any were standing. There in the back row was the young mother standing, looking unsure of what would happen next, but standing nonetheless.
After the service, I approached the mother and asked her if she had stood and prayed for Jesus to come into her heart, to be her Savior. She said she had!
I then asked her if we could pray privately together. We talked about salvation and what it means to follow Jesus with a whole heart. As we were talking her two oldest sons were standing close by listening. I asked them did they understand what their mother had done today. They said they did, so I asked if they too would like to pray and ask Jesus to come into their hearts. They also expressed the desire to invite Jesus into their lives!
That day the four of us knelt, while the mother and her sons confessed to Jesus that they knew they were sinners in need of a Savior. Then each asked Jesus to be their Savior; to lead them; to guide them; and to help them begin to lead a life for Him.
Before the family left, the mother asked if she could have the church Bible she had been using during the service, we gladly gifted it to her, along with two other church Bibles for her two sons. She also asked for our contact phone number as they lived out of town and she wanted to stay in touch, though her grandfather and other family members only lived a block from where we hold church services.
Because of donations like yours we were able to share with her several resources we had on hand to help her and her children continue to grow closer to God as they grow in His Word. We also encouraged her to pray, read her Bible and to locate a church in her area where she could be sheltered in truth and grow in Christ.
What a blessing that day was! What a precious gift to see three new souls added to the registers of God’s eternal kingdom! And what a reminder to not grow weary, because Godwill provide His harvest if we continue to serve Him!
Even as I am writing the above with extreme excitement, this is not all God has done for us here on the reservation lately, please read on to find out how God is moving in our weekly Bible study group; how He has opened doors for more outreach this summer; and how God can use you to help the people here on the reservation come to know Jesus as their Savior! In His Service, Tony and Darah Varga
God Flings Open the Doors for More Outreach this Summer
The first of six healthy cooking class scheduled to be held on the reservation this summer...what a joy to serve the people of St. Michaels!
Last week we started another healthy cooking class series here on the reservation. Despite not seeing how and when this would happen, God opened the doors in a mighty way to provide for this community outreach.
We had prayed and decided we needed to hold the cooking class in a public place, and were hoping to secure the local Chapter House where we have held Health Fairs in the past. But, when I called to speak with our contact from the last fair (who had waived the rental fees for our before), I found she no longer worked for the Chapter House. Not only this, but the lady I spoke with this time expressed to me that they weren’t sure if it would even be possible to do the cooking classes there, because the chapter house had held elections since our last event, and as she put it, the new officials might “do things differently.”
She then went on to explain that I would need to write a letter of request to the Chapter House president, treasurer, secretary and it seemed the list grew from there! It started to feel as though the doors were closing.
We knew we could have gone to another location, but had already been working in this particular area with the people there and wanted to continue to build and nurture those relationships. We had also already prayed and felt like this was the best place to hold our next outreach. So, I sent the letters they requested. Then we waited and prayed more.
After about a week I made a call to follow-up on the correspondence to see what the outcome would be. This time it seems the doors started flying open!
I was transferred to a new lady, who had read our letter of intent. She then begins to tell me about a new program the Navajo Nation had recently instituted. As it turns out, around the time of the new elections, the new Navajo Nation president had implemented a program to issue “Unhealthy Food Tax Initiatives” to all 150 Chapter Houses all over the reservation. A program the Navajo government was implementing to help it's people get healthier.
At first I wasn’t quite sure how this related directly to our request. But, as she went onto explain, they needed organizations like ours to come to their chapter house and offer classes and programs so that they could fulfill the required governmental initiative. I started to catch on! She actually needed us! It's amazing how sharing the health message opens doors that we might not otherwise be invited in through!
Then she explained to me that if we could advertise the event with the them as our class sponsor they would be happy to “partner” with us to hold the classes. Could God open the doors any wider I thought…but then He did! I went on to lightly probe what “partnering” would look like, and the end result was, she waived the $175 (per cooking class; we planned on holding 6) facility rental fee for us!! God knew all along what His plans were, and when all was said and done, despite loosing our original contact person, God had other ways to provide!
Our first class despite a slow start, ended up with 13 people attending, many committing to come back for the following classes. At the end of the class I heard over and over how great the class was, and that many of the people wanted to bring a friend to the next class. We also had one lady express interest in joining us for Bible studies after the event!
Please pray for us as we continue this series of classes, and for Bill and Elen Wenell and their children, who are partnering with our ministry by traveling from Monument Valley (a 2.5 hour drive each way) twice a month throughout the summer to help teach the classes. We have seen in the past that these outreach events not only help the Navajo people to learn a better, healthier way of living, but as was the case for Linda and Priscilla (see story below) have also been bridging events to lead people into a deeper study of God’s Word!
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 Now Donate Online at: www.ATGOministries.org!
Bible Study and a Baptism
Our Bible study group has remained small, but large changes have been taking place in the hearts of those coming! Recently, as our small group studied the topic of Baptism, our sweet friend Priscilla expressed that she longed to be baptized. We will wait for the summer months to come as she has requested to be baptized in the lake nearby. But, soon another precious soul will go down into the watery grave just as Jesus Himself did…and rise up a new creation in Christ! We couldn’t be happier for her decision to follow Jesus with her whole heart!
Priscilla and another Navajo woman, Linda, who faithfully attends Bible study each week were both asked at a church potluck recently what their biggest blessing this year has been. Their responses warmed our hearts. Priscilla expressed that she felt she was digging dipper into God’s Word than she ever had before, and all because of our Bible studies. And, Linda said her biggest blessing this year was meeting our ministry group at the local flea market, which led her to our healthy cooking classes, which led to Bible study, and then to her attending church regularly. God has been merciful to connect us with those truly thirsting for His Word! Please pray that as Priscilla and Linda share their new excitement for the Bible with their family and friends that even more souls will come to know Jesus through searching His Word too.
Melissa, Linda, Darah and Priscilla after an afternoon Bible study class. We look forward each week to our time together as sisters in Christ learning about God's Word together! We laugh, learn and bond more and more each week! We pick the ladies up for Bible Study every Wednesday, and almost always make a few stops after class so they can run errands in town. Please pray for them as they draw close to the Lord and face trials within their families because of their faith.
Jackson continues to sell his handmade hats and soaps. He sells his soaps to help raise money for ongoing outreach efforts here on the reservation. (Below, he is telling our friend Thomacita about his soaps at our first outreach yard sale of the season) If you or someone you know is interested in purchasing soaps for a special group event, as a gift, or individually, please contact us!
SUNNY TAILS RESCUE:
Our family a neat blessing this week...we had gone biking two hours north of window rock (where we live and serve). While we were out on the trail our son says to us: "Look! That couple is walking Katie!" Katie is one of Sunny Tails Rescue's recent strays that we took on transport to find her forever home...only we never knew if she had found one or not. When he told us that he thought it was her we found it hard to believe that was one of our rescues. The odds seemed pretty far off that it could be.
Sometimes after we rescue a dog we get to hear about their new lives and sometimes we don't. Long story short, this time we got to see first hand the difference Jackson's ministry: Sunny Tails is making in one of a stray's life and her new family's life too!
Meet Zara (formerly Katie, the couple changed her name after adopting her) and her new family! We found out she had been adopted a month ago, and that she has been a huge blessing to the couple who adopted her. And, they were able to learn of Zara's beginnings from what we knew about her after finding her hungry on the street! We all left so amazed to have connected, and we left feeling hugely blessed to see one of our rescues happily strolling along with her new forever family! This proved to be a real encouragement to our son, who is learning to use his heart for the Lord's creatures now, but we pray that as he grows he will use these experiences to help reach God's flock in these last days!
Sunny Tails has rescued 45 dogs as of this newsletter. Still the numbers on the reservation for stray dogs is astounding...We are in need of ongoing support to help with transport costs, feeding rescues before transport and a few more cages to keep the program going, if you would like to support these efforts please contact us! The amount of strays we take in tends to increase during the summer months!
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.
MINISTRY PRAISES AND PRAYER REQUESTS
1. Priscilla's upcoming Baptism 2. A successful first cooking class this year 3. We were able to reserve our rented room for church for the remainder of 2017! 4. Three precious souls accepted Jesus as their Savior recently during church service
NEEDS AND PRAYER REQUESTS
1. A permanent church building where our growing church group can worship.
2. Replenishing our sharing materials: if you would like to support the ongoing publication part of the ministry please let us know.
3. Mission-minded volunteers are needed for future building projects (church property needs fencing, a sign, a building to meet in, and leveling to prepare the land for building).
4. Funding Needed for Church building / Bible Training Facility.
UPDATES ON JASPER
Many have asked us about Jasper. We are praising the Lord that Jasper has healed from his physical wounds, but unfortunately he is still struggling to find healing from his emotional wounds and addiction. Jasper now only has one functioning arm, resulting from the amputation after the attack. When he first arrived back to the reservation from his long hospital stay, we tried to encourage Jasper. Unfortunately, a few weeks after getting back into life here, his old ways returned, and with it he began struggling immensely with feelings of worthlessness and questions like “how Jesus could love him?” Telling him what we knew to be true, we reassured him with the truth that Jesus never died for anyone that was worthless…because we are ALL precious to God! Not long after these discussions with Jasper, he began to sink again, into drinking and wondering that had been common for him before the accident.
Jasper’s situation is yet to be determined according to what he will choose to do with his life. But, we know that Jesus is in fact Big enough, and has love enough for him and all like him who are struggling with addiction, and feelings of worthlessness.
Jasper’s situation brings to mind a beautiful quote: “‘Not because we first loved Him, did Christ love us; but while we were yet sinners He died for us.’ He does not treat us according to our desert. Although our sins have merited condemnation, He does not condemn us. Year after year he has borne with our weakness and ignorance, with our ingratitude and waywardness. Notwithstanding our wonderings, our hardness of heart, our neglect of His holy word, His hand is outstretched still.” (Ministry of Healing, p. 161)
And, though, we wish we could report more positive news about our friend Jasper, we do want to encourage you with how Jasper’s life has recently impacted others for good.
About a month or so ago, I (Darah) walked into the post office feeling a bit down about Jasper and some things happening here on the reservation. I checked our personal PO Box, then went over to our ministry PO Box. I opened the box and found a letter. Along with a donation in honor of a friend, this is what the letter said:
“I read about the Native American man who ended up in the hospital (Jasper) in your emailed newsletter and couldn't help thinking of Kirk Wilder—a Native American homeless man I met while Bible working in Detroit. He was also an alcoholic, but he tried to be decently sober on Tuesdays when my Bible worker partner and I would go eat lunch with him (usually soup I’d make from the canned goods he’d shared with me the week before from his dumpster diving). We studied with Kirk for a year before we were moved to another location. When I was most discouraged he would “just happen to call me,” once even quoting a Bible promise! He did manage to sober up once for a few months, but didn’t have any support. He got beat up very badly on the streets and almost died in the hospital. The blessing of it all was that he sobered up for good, the sad part was he had to go to a nursing home because of his brain injury and died 5 months later. The last time I spoke to him, he was thanking God for keeping him alive and sober and was planning his escape from the nursing home=) (The smile was in her note) I have very little money. But want to help the little I can in memory of Kirk.”
One special woman with a missionary heart reached out to help others like Jasper. That is what I want to share with you. Sometimes we see no good coming from a situation, but in God’s providence and mercy, He works all things together for good for those called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) I left the post office crying tears of happiness; for the hope that Jasper too could be turned just as Kirk had been, and with Jesus there is always hope! If we did not have the hope of an eternal life with Him, what a sad story Kirk’s would be…but knowing our Savior will come back to take us home to be with Him as promised makes Kirk’s passing a truly victorious one!
We believe that the time is not far from now when Christ will return to do just this; come back for ALL of His children. This makes us want to work for His glory all the more now, knowing the time is short to reach others just like Jasper and Kirk.
With this woman’s contribution ATGO Ministries has been able to continue reaching souls here on the reservation with the Good News of Christ’s soon return and the hope of eternal salvation! We believe the Lord is calling many others to help with this goal as well, both monetarily but also through prayer and through giving of your time and talents. If you are someone who feels God’s call to help the people on the Navajo reservation hear of Jesus’ love, hope and promises for their lives, don't wait contact us today!
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
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
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