A State of Emergency Declared
The Navajo Nation recently declared a state of emergency. Much of the reservation has been blanketed with heavy snows and lower than normal temperatures this winter. People we talked with who have lived here their whole life said they haven’t seen a winter like in a long time. That being said, many people were not prepared for the harsh weather. This combined with everyday life on the reservation has led to a very busy winter for our ministry.
We have seen lines at the roadside stand across the street where we live (that sells coal and wood—until the wood was sold out for days) backing up traffic—we have never seen this before. At the beginning of our biggest snow storm we purchased the last cord of wood (to distribute to families in need) from the local feed store in the next town over. For them to run out seemed unusual; from what we heard it was. Families were struggling to heat their under-insulated trailers and hogans. There has been a lot of need this winter.
We received several calls from families struggling in the cold with not enough, or no wood to heat their homes. Tony and Jackson stayed on the road for several days cutting, hauling and delivering wood, or just checking up on those we know that don’t have the funds for extra firewood or coal. Along with calls for rides to the emergency room to help out sick friends who have no support or vehicle, we have stayed surprisingly busy this winter.
We continued to work also during this time to prepare the church for incoming workers and volunteers for upcoming projects. Each time we would clear something from the church property we would haul the wood or cardboard boxes to one family or another that could use it for heating.
God has been faithful to bless the small idea of getting a chainsaw a few months ago, and outfitting the ministry truck with gates for hauling wood to bless many in our area with wood and coal to heat their homes during this tough winter. This has given us a chance to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those around us, and hopefully will open doors for those to know more about the Savior we love and serve!
In His Love and Service, Tony and Darah and Jackson Varga
Picking up the last cord of wood from the next town over before our last snow storm hit.
Tony and Jax pulling the makeshift snow plow in the trailer park where we live. (above) Shoveling out one of the cars that got stuck (pic below).
Delivering Hope Snow Storms, and Wood Deliveries
We got up on the morning of our most recent and largest snowfall thinking we would spend the day sledding with Jackson at a hill within walking distance from our trailer. The snow storm had dropped two feet of snow in our area overnight, and even more in the higher elevations surrounding us (our elevation is close to 7000 ft, and the summit nearby is over 8000 ft).
However, after sledding for an hour or so, we decided to head back to our trailer park to grab warmer clothes. On the way home, we ran into three different cars needing help to get unstuck from the snow. We shoveled, rocked and pushed cars out of the snow, while watching others slip and slide around us; then finally made it back to our trailer park where it was obvious this would be what we were going to be doing for the rest of the day!
We stopped our sledding to help some of our neighbors get out of their driveways, and pushed several back in who had cars too small to attempt the deep snow. For the first time since we had lived in our trailer park we met several of our neighbors who we didn’t know. The snow brought people out, it seemed like everyone was outside helping someone else…it was a nice departure from how life in our trailer park normally is! Aside from a few neighbors who we have gotten to know over the years, many around us are typically reserved and keep to themselves, so this was a real treat to see people pulling together and helping each other out.
Tony and Jax spent the rest of the day pulling a home-made snow plow (old pallets and an old donated bed frame) behind the ministry truck to clear the drive in our trailer park. Then they went over to the church and did the same to prepare the parking lot for church the next day.
The next couple of days were a blur of cutting, hauling and distributing wood for those who called needing help.
One morning we received a call from our friend, Rose that that there was an emergency need for wood on top of the summit about an hour from where we live. Tony and Jax diverted their plans for the day, and drove to our friend’s Rose and Emilio’s house on the summit. The roads were heavily covered with snow but thankfully the large four wheel drive truck was able to make it through the country roads.
When they arrived they found Josephine (an elderly church member in her 80s) and her (also elderly) son completely out of wood; and they had been the night before. So they wouldn’t freeze to death, the woman’s son had torn down their wooden horse corral to burn it for heat, but once that wood ran out, they couldn’t get out for more and were stranded without heat or help.
Josephine said to Rose (who translated) in Navajo that she had gotten up in the middle of the night while they were cold and freezing, and heard a voice that said: “There is hope.” She shared that she knew God would send help.
Without the Navajo Ministries truck that had been recently restored to us with the insurance money from it being stolen and wrecked, many of these trips to help others would not have been possible without its four wheel drive. This winter it has been a huge blessing to have the truck back and running to help our friends, neighbors and church members!
Jackson helping Emilio split logs one day during a lull from the snow. The wood later was delivered during the snow storms.
Are You Being Called?
Are you and your family sensing a call out of your current place in life? Are you being called to missions? Do you have a burden for those living in darkness, not knowing the love of Jesus and the special message that He is coming soon? Maybe, the Lord is calling you to the Navajo Reservation? In search of a missionary family or couple with a burden for souls who can be self-supporting, or who has medical experience and can secure work at the nearby IHS hospital. Currently, there is a newly purchased (last 6 months), 3 bdrm / 2 bth mobile home which is located on three acres of land just outside the small town of Window Rock, AZ (the capital of the Navajo Nation: 3000 population), which is for sale. The woman who owns the home, a friend of ours, is desiring to relocate quickly due to some health/work challenges. She has asked if we would share this with anyone we know who might be interested in purchasing her home. The Lord impressed us that this would make a great home for a motivated missionary family (who can serve and work without a supporting organization) who desires to live in the country, but that also desires to reach others with the health message and serve as missionaries sharing the love of Jesus and Bible truth on the Navajo Reservation. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know that might be praying for their place in missions. If this is you, please contact us and we can put you in touch with the homeowner for more details on the home. We would also be happy to share the many ways your service can be used on the Navajo Nation. Some of the projects ATGO ministries has/is working on,
or that could be started in the area:
Cooking Classes Health Fairs Helping at the young church plant in Window Rock Bible studies in homes and mid-week Bible study at the church Depression Recovery Classes (or a weekly depression support group) Flea Market Outreach (sharing books/DVDs and prayers for local community) An Evangelism Training Center Ministries for local youth Community Gardening projects / classes
* There is also a possible reservation-wide Adventist radio station in the works that will likely need help with content for programs.
Life on the Navajo reservation is similar in some ways to life anywhere else in the U.S….yet life here can also be very different than other places in the U.S. We have heard people say when they come to visit us; it’s almost like a third world-developing country in places verses a state within the United States. We have also heard it said that poverty in other places looks much different than poverty on a reservation. People can be just outside a populated area living in abject poverty with no running water and no electricity—and this is normal here. For those of us living…and even serving on the reservation, it can also begin to feel like normal.
Domestic abuse and alcohol addiction are also very common here, so much so, when it happens in public, onlookers sometimes seem unphased. Earlier this month, while visiting the border town near where we live, Tony noticed a man passed out near a bus stop. Multiple people walked over him without checking on him. Again, this is sadly common. This day though was especially cold, and the man wasn’t wearing warm clothes. Tony stopped the first time to check on the man, then called the police to come take him in—where at least he would be warm and safe.
Tony had to leave to pick us up; but about 30 minutes later we returned to check on the man and see if the police had picked him up—they hadn’t yet. Tony searched our car and found a warm blanket (we kept in the car for picking up stray dogs) to put over him. With people sitting within arms reached, no one even turned to look. We pray often, and stop often to check on people while we are out and about because they can be seen as a nuisance; yet we know that God sees a potential child of the heavenly kingdom.
Later in the month Tony and Jax were out on the church plant property putting up a temporary sign by the main highway. While they were working on the sign a petite, young lady, who was intoxicated came by struggling to walk and crying. She said she had fallen into a cactus and needed help to get the thorns out of her hands. While they were speaking with her, and explaining they couldn’t get to her right away because she was across the fence, she became distracted and continued walking down the sidewalk.
As she walked a short way down the sidewalk, they soon saw a very large man pass her by. And within minutes of passing her, he turned back around and began to walk towards her, then proceeded to assault her. Tony climbed the fence and ran as fast as he could yelling at the man to stop. As Tony came closer the man quickly left and went behind the local hotel. All the while, several cars passed in clear view of what was happening…no one stopped. Eventually a few people came out to see if they could help, and the police were called. After the man realized the woman was getting help he ran across the street, jumped the fence and went into the woods. The young lady whose name was Linda, said that the man, Renaldo, was her boyfriend. Please pray for Linda and Renaldo to find God’s healing.
We live in a world full of evil, and as it becomes more and more normalized, not just on the reservation or in other poverty-stricken areas, but all over the world…people’s hearts are becoming numb. It’s a sad reality, but one the Bible predicted (Matthew 24:12: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.) would happen in the last days in which we are living.
We continue to pray that we can do our part, and others like you can do your part to help hasten the soon return of Jesus, who promises us a new world where there will be no more pain and sorrow!
High School students from SWUA repainting the outside of the church.
Painting the bathrooms inside the church modular. Hard to imagine not having to use the port-o-potty outside anymore!
Moving the new pastor and his family's belongings into our old church trailer for storage until their mobile home on the property can be delivered and setup with water and sewer.
The same week SWAU was helping on the property, the local contractor hired to do the sewer and water lines began his work of digging the lines. We are praying now that all permits will be cleared soon for the sewer lines to be finished.
Volunteers Help to Progress the Work
What a blessing it is to have volunteer groups see the needs on the reservation, and answer the call! Recently, Southwest Adventist University came to help at several locations near us, and offered to help the church plant in St. Michaels with anything we needed. They were able to repair/repaint our two church modular bathrooms, and haul many downed trees and limbs which were left from clearing the property into manageable piles so we can wood chip them later on.
Another need was repainting the outside of the church. The trailer we currently use was donated by our Mormon neighbors next door and was painted in the same colors as the other structures on their property. So commonly, we were being mistaken for the Mormon church. While we didn’t mind the colors, we felt for identity sake it was time to repaint, and SWAU did a great job!
The group even jumped in and helped to unload the new pastor and his family’s belongings into our old church semi-truck when they arrived the same week. This was a real answer to prayer! When the family reached Window Rock after several days of traveling from their previous home in Michigan, Katie, the pastor’s wife was excited to see extra help. She said she had been preparing herself mentally thinking it would be just their family and ours moving all their belongings. We have moved enough to know it can be tough without help; and had been praying for their trip and moving also! We were truly grateful for the extra hands to help make the transition easier for our new friends.
The group even made time to visit our housebound friend Priscilla who is always excited to have fellow Christians visit her. She said she was so happy while the students were there for Bible study, lunch and fellowship (but sad when they left!). During the visit, Priscilla's full time local care giver (who does not attend our church) began to ask questions about the Sabbath as one of the men discussed why he went to church on Saturday. This led to an impromptu Bible study about the Sabbath, which Leona has become very interested in.
PRAISES & PRAYER REQUESTS:
Praising God for volunteer mission groups coming in March and who have already have come to help with the church plant property and buildings.
Praising God for the progress in Priscilla's health and praying for continued physical and emotional healing after the medical missionary leaves.
Prayers for plumbing on the church property so the donated mobile home can be in use quickly for the new Pastor and his family who are currently staying at the Kinlichee church until their home is ready.
Prayers for all of our Navajo friends who have drifted away or are struggling with addiction.
Prayers for a missionary family interested in living on the border of the Navajo reservation and helping to spread the Three Angels message using the health message as an open door.
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. And permanent housing solutions in the area for all volunteers.
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.
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 able to provide tax deductible receipts for some donations (specifically, if they are donated to the local church plant needs), contact us directly if you need a receipt for tax purposes on your donation. Support can be mailed to: ATGO Ministries 8952 Prairie Schooner Circle
Soddy Daisy, TN 37379 You can also contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Priscilla after week one, the swelling in her legs and feet have reduced, her skin has cleared, and she is already walking 15 minutes a day with only a cane!
A New Beginning Healthy Lifestyle Changes and Progress
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for Priscilla to find healing for her medical challenges. Through a series of connections we located a ministry called Project Central, connected with Wildwood Lifestyle Center in Wildwood, GA; who has sent out a medical missionary to help Priscilla for three weeks this month.
We have been praying for Priscilla to have an open heart to the changes she will need to make for her health to return. The medical missionary arrived last week, and already, in one week’s time, we have seen Priscilla’s foot and ankle swelling decrease; she has gone from being in a wheelchair to walking with a walker, to now walking outside up to 15 minutes a day with only her cane!
It hasn’t been a completely smooth transition, it has been mentally challenging for her, but she is truly trying to overcome, and we are praying hard she will be able to! We know it can be hard to make big changes, especially in the Navajo culture where family and friends are many times also steeped in unhealthy ways of living, and can be less than supportive. Please help us pray for continued encouragement for Priscilla as she braves standing alone in a new diet, and new healthy lifestyle changes. We are hopeful for the day when our sister in Christ is physically able to come back to church where she can gain strength and encouragement from fellow believers. But, until then we are excited that Priscilla recently offered to host a weekly Bible study group in her home. We can see the Lord working in her life and remain steadfastly prayerful for the work God has in store for His missionary, Priscilla!
Sunny Tails Rescue UPDATE
To view Sunny Tails Rescue video click on the youtube video above...
Jackson's dog rescue: Sunny Tails Rescue is currently working to raise funds to provide free spay and neuter surgeries to help our friends on the reservation, where there is an 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!