The Great Need
Hurting Hearts and Their Greatest Need
This past month, we received several calls all within the span of a week to ask for help or prayers for another person who had passed in our small community. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon. We helped in the small ways we were able; providing blank bulletins for memorial printouts, taking food to a funeral, and visiting and praying with our friends who lost their loved ones.
Over the last few years as our family has driven by one of the cemeteries in our area, we have noticed almost weekly how many new grave sites show up. So much so, that the cemetery had to be expanded at the end of last year, and we were told recently that the Nation is now allowing people to bury their deceased on their own homesites (if they are not afraid to do so; many who are traditional are extremely fearful of death and being near a burial site).
Knowing that some of these individuals may have passed not knowing the love of Jesus in their own lives, really gives us pause to realize what a great work we have before us. Many here struggle intensely with addictions, health challenges and family problems or are falsely following a traditional religion that won’t lead them to heaven—and even though they may not yet know it, their need for Jesus, the great Healer, is immense, and so is their need for someone to share Jesus with them.
We share this to ask for your prayers for this work. It is no greater or less important we realize than any other work to share the Gospel in these last days. The need for workers, prayers, and perseverance to continue reaching out to the hurting on the Navajo reservation and around the world is great. But, we continue to see many prayers answered for His children here. We remain very excited by the many miracles God has been providing, and many that we believe are on the horizon!
In His Love and Service, Tony and Darah and Jackson Varga
Fitting the truck with a wooden fence on the back to better haul wood and supplies.
Helping a disabled church member move to a new home.
God's Truck Delivering His Blessings
Tony recently picked up the four wheel drive church truck from our friends down in Holbrook, AZ who were able to take care of the mechanical issues and grille work it needed after being stolen and wrecked last year. We received it back in much better condition than we last saw it in! After getting it back up to Window Rock, Tony and Jackson fitted it with a wood fence on the back to better haul wood and items for the church and those we minister to.
Since then, it has stayed quite busy; Tony and Jackson have too! Daily it seems God has had some mission or errand for them and the truck, from cutting and hauling wood for our elderly friends and some needy families in the area; helping a disabled church member to move into her new handicap accessible home, to helping us get up steep muddy driveways to pick up people for church and Bible study. It has also proved invaluable while clearing out the church land in preparation for a newly donated mobile home which will serve as a parsonage. The truck that God has provided us again has been a real blessing!
WINTER HEATING PROGRAM
Clearing wood from the church property after cutting down dead trees in the area.
A pallet of wood pellets for an elderly couple in the church, which will get them through the whole winter.
God laid it on Tony’s heart to help those struggling with heating their homes in our area. As he was visiting and ministering to various friends at the start of winter, he heard how several of them were having trouble being able to heat their homes. Some were challenged due to financial reasons and others due to health challenges or because they were elderly and unable to cut their own wood.
He decided to purchase a chainsaw and some basic wood cutting equipment as well as outfit the church truck with a fence to haul the wood. The program has begun to take shape and he and Jackson have been able to cut wood on the church property while clearing it, and deliver this to a couple who came to our evangelism last summer who were in need of some help with heating their trailer. And drop off wood for another family and an elderly lady with no support.
Another man we know that lives within walking distance of the church plant was coming to church for a brief period until he had his chainsaw stolen last year from his home while he was attending church with us. He has barely been back to church since this happened believing that he has to stay close to his home so thieves won’t break in again. Fear has gripped his life in many ways, but we know the Lord is wrestling with him. He recently prayed to accept Jesus as his Savior, though he still struggles in many areas. Tony and Jax spent an afternoon helping him cut down some trees in his yard for heating, since he no longer has his chainsaw. He was grateful for the help, and mostly the friendship.
They have also made several trips to our Bible worker Emilio’s property to help him cut and gather wood. Emilio and his wife, who is Navajo, have lived in this area for many years and are now in their late 70’s. Tony was able to learn a lot from Emilio on falling trees and getting permits secured to be able to cut and haul wood on the reservation.
But the real blessing in helping others has been ours. It has also given Tony and Jackson time for father, son bonding while teaching Jackson the importance of caring for our friends in need.
CALL FOR LABORERS STILL OPEN
I heard a missionary say recently: "God doesn't need money to move forward in the work, what He needs is more human resources!" We have to remember though it might be easier at times to give money and feel our requirement to the Great commission is fulfilled, our Father in heaven already owns it all. Our Father owns all the cattle on seven hills (Psalm 50:10-11). What He doesn't own is your free will and mine. He will not force us to become deeply involved in the work of spreading the Gospel, God doesn't force. He does however call, and many are being and have been called that have answered, but knowing the shortage of workers in our field alone (which is similar all over the world) many are not answering the call. Time is short and doors will not always be open to do today what we may not be able to do tomorrow. (John 9:4: I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.)
When you hear the voice of God; sometimes the still small voice, sometimes the loud cry, calling you, will you answer? We will only speak directly to the needs in our mission field of the last several years, but the workers are few, and we are praying to the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers. Maybe you already have a work right where God has placed you, you should stay and not neglect the first work. But, for many others, God has been calling them away from their own pleasures to do His pleasure, is this you? We ask ourselves this also, is this us?
We are hoping to have something like this in the future over the two donated storage containers.
A Year of Open Doors
This year has already been a year of opening doors and opportunities. One of which is our most recent news. We have a full-time pastor from the Michigan conference who has committed to begin serving in the Window Rock and Kinlichee churches! Our family has prayed over the last two years for God to send more workers to this field, and despite help from mission groups, local missionaries and even several part-time Bible workers, we have continued to pray for a fully committed individual or couple/family to come and help move forward this work. We believe God has answered.
The pastor, his wife and their two young boys will be joining us (Lord wiling) next month, and will eventually move onto the church property as soon as we can get water lines and plumbing worked out.
Over $40,000 has been donated along with some church funds to purchase a new mobile home for the family to live in. We will also have a group from Sonora California coming at the end of March to help prepare a 40 x 8 x 8.5 storage container to go next to the new parsonage. Not long after this offer to donate a container came another donor who has offered to purchase a second matching crate for extra storage for a residing pastor. Eventually, the goal is to have a roof built over the two crates which will be spaced about 24’ apart leaving a 24’ x 40’ open space. We hope to have church picnics here; or a place cars can park out of the mud when needed; or even possibly where we could hold outdoor outreach events in the future.
PRAISES & PRAYER REQUESTS:
Praising God for local missionaries who volunteered to get the church truck fixed so it can be used this winter to help provide firewood for local people in need.
Praising God for the progress so far to start a high powered radio station on the reservation, prayers for the many steps involved to make this a reality!
Praising the Lord for several mission groups coming to help on the church property with the storage containers and maintenance work this March.
Prayers for plumbing on the church property so the donated mobile home can be in use quickly after the new Pastor and his family arrive first of March.
Prayers for Bible workers who can work as a team in this area sharing the Everlasting Gospel, and permanent housing solutions in the area for all volunteers.
Prayers for all of our Navajo friends who have drifted away or are struggling with addiction.
Prayers for a possible 12 step Biblical Addiction recovery program at the church plant.
Philippians 4:6: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...
Prayers for a radio station to become a reality in the Navajo Nation's Capital and that it would have a strong enough frequency (or be able to be played through repeater towers) to reach the entire reservation.
Bible workers and other consecrated volunteers who have the means to be self-supporting and who desire to see more people on the Navajo reservation come to health, healing and salvation.
To share the message of truth in the Bible and salvation through Jesus Christ 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.
The boys feeding the horses at Holbrook Indian School during their tour before school started.
A New Beginning The Start to a New Beginning at Holbrook Indian School
We had been praying for our friends. They wanted to get their boys into Holbrook Indian School to provide them with a safe place to live and a place that would teach them the love of Jesus. Now, we are praising God for the miracle He performed to answer their prayers and ours!
At the first of the year we were told that the boys would be put on a wait list with 13 possible students ahead of them. It seemed the doors might not open for them to attend, at least not soon. But, we continued to pray. The day before the New Year, Tony called the boys mom and mentioned that a friend of ours at the school suggested that she call the Principle to see where the boys were now on the wait list, since school would be starting in just a few days from then. To our surprise the principle told their mom that the list had cleared and that she should have them ready the very next day with their belongings to come down and get ready to start school!
They are now settled in their new room in the dorm, and say they are loving the school! We have been able to take their parents down for a visit over Sabbath, and the boys came up one day to visit their very sick great grandmother in the hospital, and spent a little time with their mother during that trip. After seeing them during these two visits, you can see a change in their excitement for their future; they seem hopeful and very happy with their new school! We continue to pray that they will come to know Jesus as their best friend through the influences at the school. Please pray for their home life during home leaves and school breaks as that can be a challenge here on the reservation for many children without stable homes. Their parents could use prayers too for healing in their own lives while their boys are now away and safe at school.
Our friend Priscilla has had some big changes lately! Indian Health Services setup up a newly renovated Handicap accessible home to meet her increasing health challenges. She recently called us very upset because the housing authorities where she lives called her and notified her that she had only a few days to pack up and leave her current home and be in her new unit or else she would have to pay two rents this month, which she didn’t have.
Priscilla is now confined to a wheelchair due to her advanced rheumatoid arthritis and complications from lung issues, and relies almost completely on her live in care giver. Her care giver couldn't pack and move an entire home, and Priscilla’s family were unavailable to come help her with the short notice given. Praise the Lord though, that several years back God gave Priscilla a new church family!
Several of us from the church over a span of a few days were able along with her caregiver to help get Priscilla packed up and moved. It was a very challenging time with what seemed like several unknowns for Priscilla but God remained faithful and she is now happily getting settled in her new wheelchair friendly home, which will hopefully help her get around easier. Though, we are still praying and believing there could much healing for Priscilla through diet and natural remedies so that one day she could be mobile again and not need her wheelchair!
Priscilla had been planning to attend a medical program this Spring in Wildwood, Georgia that focused on natural healing methods. However, she was recently advised by one of her doctors at the local hospital that she should not travel that far due to her condition, and added that she wouldn’t benefit from care outside of the hospital at her stage of disease anyway. Sadly, this discouraged Priscilla from trying to attend the program.
But, God has opened another avenue that we are praying will help Priscilla with her health challenges. We are working now on lining up a live-in caregiver for two weeks who will help to teach Priscilla ways to eat that will help her reduce her symptoms, hydrotherapy treatments, and simple exercises to assist her in living a more full life hopefully without as many medicines, and through prayer maybe even without her wheelchair someday! Priscilla turns 58 years old this month. We know (and have seen first hand) that God is a God of restoration, and we believe He is able to provide healing and better health for our friend!
Priscilla and Jax after getting her belongings in her new handicap accessible house.
Diné Adventist Radio
We recently had another preliminary meeting with two AWR representatives; Allen Steele and Sam Gregory and our group here on the reservation which included local missionaries, pastors and lay workers. We are amazed at God’s working all things together for good for His children on the Navajo reservation. It has been exciting to see missionaries and local lay members from all over the reservation coming together to unite behind this idea of a Navajo nation-wide radio station! There is still much to do, but God continues to pave the way. Though it is still not a complete definite that the radio station will come to our area; we are trusting that through prayer it can and will happen.
Should the station become a reality it was decided in the last meeting that the name would be Diné Adventist Radio (Diné is a Navajo wording meaning “the people.”) The informal committee also made some decisions about programming. It was decided that topics discussed on the air would include health, well-being and spiritual programming. Also an important part of the daily programming would be prophetic programs during the prime time airing hours. And, another important topic was a discussion to ensure there would be programs presented in the Navajo language to reach the older generations in their own tongue.
Please pray for this project as many hands are working to continue exploring open avenues to hopefully make this a reality for the Navajo people!
Jackson has created a video to help spread the need for the strays he has been working to rescue over the years we have lived on the reservation. He is currently hoping to raise funds to provide free spay and neuter surgeries to help our friends on the reservation with the extreme stray animal overpopulation problem.
Currently, we have been working with those we know here to help them with their own pets so they can afford to keep and feed the dogs they already have. Many of our friends are not financially able to afford the surgeries for their dogs; but they are also not able to afford the extra food that extra mouths need after their pets continue to have more litters of pups. This usually results in the puppies being released to be strays or being given away or sold, but still not being fixed, allowing the cycle to continue over and over. If you are interested in helping him meet his goal of at least 10 surgeries ($40 grant available currently at neighboring shelter), please let us know!