“Is this what The Church is supposed to be? Because we like this,” say a handful of students living in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation.
The significance of this statement cannot be overstated. The Navajo reservation in New Mexico has historically been wary of Christianity.
“When white church or white man’s religion came, and I know it wasn’t intended this way, but the message was, ‘We love you. Jesus loves you. But we really don’t like the way you are,” says Rob, who has served the Navajo Nation for five years.
This skepticism is beginning to wane in light of years of consistent, compassionate ministry of Send Relief. Your gifts to Global Hunger Relief support the hunger outreach programs of Send Relief.
“It takes an investment of time,” Rob adds. “You’re not going to see life change here in a moment’s notice. Because of years of evangelism that has been misunderstood, there are a lot of Navajo people who know the Roman Road (to Salvation) better than Christians, but there’s no life change. But being able to come and live Christlikeness day in and day out allows them to see who Jesus is and to trust Him with their lives. That this is not just a religion; it’s a way of life.
“Because of the compassion ministry of Send Relief,” he continues, “I’ve seen where we’re able to sit down, do life and sit across the table to show them what the love of Jesus really looks like.
The impact of and response to COVID-19 has been a testament to the strength of those relationships. Systemic poverty, lack of technology and slower dissemination of important information about the coronavirus have conflated, making Navajo Nation a hot spot for the virus.
“In our culture, for greetings, we shake hands,” says Deana, a Navajo Nation native, and wife of New Mexico’s Send Relief director, Chad Spriggs. “It’s deemed very disrespectful to refuse to shake a hand in greeting. The other thing is that families usually live very close to each other. So, it isn’t abnormal to see entire families being infected.”
The voracity of the virus led to food shortages across the reservation. Due to the generosity of supporters, Send Relief has been able to distribute critically needed food items to those in dire need, doing so to reflect Christ’s love.
“I definitely think that things like the food distribution, the buckets of supplies, it all makes them feel like people do actually love them and care,” Deana says. “And those are the things that they don’t forget.”
Your support of Send Relief will save lives and soften hearts. As Deana says, this ministry, “Shows them what the love of Jesus really looks like. It helps give us the ability to build a church that allows them to worship the Creator who died on the cross for their sin while still being able to be who they are as Navajo.”
Click here to donate and help us continue to demonstrate what the Church should be.
Published July 15, 2021