Native American Ministry
CROWNPOINT, N.M. – Amidst the windswept mesas and stunning rock formations of the Navajo Nation a very special group of people gathered for a Spirit-filled weekend and a celebration of God’s work for the Diné people. For the first time in the history of La Vida Mission a special weekend that combined an alumni homecoming, camp meeting and a health expo was hosted by the Mission. The Texico Conference joined with the La Vida Mission staff to help celebrate the ministry of the school and to mark the beginning of a new community outreach to the people who live near the new Crownpoint Seventh-day Adventist Company. Lee-Roy Chacon, Texico Conference president; Phil Robertson, Texico Conference executive secretary and treasurer; and Dr. Robert Gardner, health ministries director, joined with Yepsica Moreno, the Crownpoint pastor, to partner with La Vida Mission to expand the ministry impact of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to this very important people.
The work of the Church among the people of the Navajo Nation spans more than a century and is the legacy of many missionary-hearted members throughout the years. Several long-standing ministries are dedicated solely to sharing the gospel of Jesus with the Diné people through education and health-related outreach. One of these ministries is La Vida Mission which has long been serving the southeastern portion of this 27,000-square mile mission field that actually spans four conferences and three unions in the North American Division.
Since 1961, La Vida Mission Academy has been known as “a Safe Haven for Navajo Children” as the various teachers, medical, and administrative staff have tirelessly served this unique mission field. And on this special weekend, former students shared inspiring testimonies of how they lived with dorm parents when they were as young as four years of age on through their graduation from the eighth grade. Stories were told of how their parents brought them to the Mission to get an education and to have regular meals and a safe place to live. Some of the students have gone on to Sandia View Academy and even to Southwestern Adventist University after their education at La Vida.
The Texico Conference has sponsored various efforts to plant and support church groups among the Diné for more than 100 years yet the development of local leadership has been only marginally successful. However, for the past three years or so we have been focusing on the city of Crownpoint, where a small group that was initially supported by the La Vida Mission staff had been meeting for several years. We have been blessed by the ministry of Pastor Yepsica Moreno and the addition of a larger worship facility, and currently the Crownpoint company is growing in membership and ministry participation.
The plans to expand the impact of service are focused on very unique needs. Lifestyle challenges have long kept folks in a seemingly overwhelming combination of drug and alcohol addiction and poor nutrition that has resulted in diabetes rates that are 400 percent of the national average. This reality is further impacted by domestic violence and unemployment rates that reach as high as 50 percent in some areas of the reservation.
During the summer of 2018, the Texico Conference, through special funding from the NAD and the Southwestern Union, will host a special Community Festival in Crownpoint that will include food, music, health screenings and presentations about good nutrition and the importance of family support for positive steps to greater happiness. The goal is to serve the community with the compassion of the Gospel and to create connections with people for ongoing support of lifestyle change and spiritual nurture. Join us in praying for a special outpouring of God’s Spirit on this outreach event.
By Phil Robertson, Executive Secretary/Treasurer