Churches Help Dine' Elders
Thank you for the elder care items!
At a USDA food delivery this winter. The pastor of House of Fellowship Church was leading the NB volunteers with the distribution of fresh food, along with minitering to the spiritual needs of the Dine' people in their cars. One common need of many was supplies to to be able to care for their elders at home and not expose them to COVID-19 but placing them in a care facility during this pandemic time.
So White Rock Presbyterian Church and Sandia Presbyterian Churches collected elder care items for neighbors on the Navajo Nation. Volunteers from Nihitaa' Binaanish, Our Father's Business distributed the cleaning supplies, wipes, adult disposable briefs, bed pads and disposable gloves to neighbors with elders at home.
Ahe'hee, thank you!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God’s grace was felt by all when Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business hosted a dairy and produce distribution for the community at House of Fellowship on December 29. In addition to the food boxes, families were given WRPC Christmas Joy Bags containing toys, hygiene items, books, warm clothing, jewelry, homemade pillow cases, candy and school supplies. It was a special treat for community members who have been struggling this season with so many quarantined or sick from COVID-19 and unable to go shopping. NB leadership, who coordinated the distribution, had themselves been quarantined right up until just before Christmas and were unable to make home deliveries. Praise God that their family members have recovered and all are healthy now!
Thank you to all who donated and ordered items and sent funds to keep this WRPC Christmas tradition going. We praise God for his faithfulness.
Cold Weather, Warm Hearts
Nihitaa’ Binaanish volunteers distributed 270 fresh produce and dairy boxes to community members during the first snowstorm and freezing weather of the season. Also shared were bottles of hand sanitizer and colorful handmade masks made by friends at Santa Fe Quilting. Nine local volunteers from House of Fellowship greeted the truck, unloaded boxes, brought them to cars and delivered them to shut-ins. Praise God for giving workers in his Kingdom compassion and strength.
Good News for Friends of Navajo House of Fellowship,
Nihitaa' Binaanish, Our Father's Business has decided to take up Shamrock Food's offer of bi-weekly dairy and protein distributions for the fall months. These food boxes have been popular and we hope receiving these grocery items help keep folks at home. The Navajo Nation is reinstating weekend lockdowns for the fall and we hope sharing healthy food in a safe, drive-by manner will align with other healthy practices in Diné Bikeyah. In addition, we know that the groceries reach some of our neighbors who do not have access to fresh food or transportation.
Since the NB leadership will be back at work full time, we hope to have people join the local volunteers at the House of Fellowship with set up, unloading, passing out boxes of food to vehicles, filling hand sanitizer bottles, making individual hygiene bags with sanitizer and masks, and clean up. NB may need help with food delivery to shut-ins and those who have no transportation. In addition to our local community, NB has been blessed with so much support from arounfd the country, especially Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos.
NB has to go by the distributor, Shamrock's schedule, and they cannot always tell us specific dates and times ahead of time. We are planning for the next dairy box distribution at House of Fellowship at Bread Springs, NM to be in the early weeks of October, and continue through November The trucks generally arrive between 10 a.m. and 2 pm.
We will let you know as soon as we get dates and tentative times via our Facebook page. Many have told us they would like to try to help out with at least one more distribution. This is a much needed task and though it will take a day of your time, it will be worth it in the love of Christ that you share and the friends you make and revisit.
Email or message us for more information. email@example.com
Please keep this project in your prayers. We appreciate all your prayer and support.
A Complex Problem with Dire Consequences.
Artticle in The Verge, https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/6/21311211/navajo-nation-covid-19-running-water-access
Yesterday I was talking with one of our members about the hardship so many Dine have obtaining water for their villages. I understand that trucks deliver water to many of them on a schedule. We wondered why they are not in general served by wells. Is it the expense of drilling that prevents that?"
Jennifer Holmes, NB Board member <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thank you for your question, and your prayers, encouragement, and interest about the Diné land and culture. The more folks know about our Diné neighbors, the more we can all understand each other.
About water on the Navajo Nation, here's my take:
Short answer: colonization.
Longer answer: It's very difficult to get permission from the Chapter/Tribe/ Bureau of Indian Affairs/State of NM/ Bureau of Land Management/ to drill a well. There's a lot of red tape and bureaucracy. All reservation land is held in trust by the US government via the Navajo tribal government. When "The Great White Fathers" in Washington set up the reservations, they had in mind individual land owners, like the bilagaana (white) way. But the Diné and most other tribes are a communal people and individual land ownership was a foreign idea. Anyway, they did adapt to the new system and now any homes or home-improvement requires a home-site lease from the tribe. Since the land was typically passed down to families through the generations, many of the allotments have been divided and subdivided which has caused strife among families. So now people are fighting with each other about land allotments as well as fighting with the bureaucracy of the tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and all the other government regulatory entities. Then on top of that, a lot of private drilling companies don't like to do business on a reservation because of some bad history with collecting payments (both from individuals and from the tribe.) And there is a history of corruption with drilling contracts, both federal and tribal. This is a simplistic analysis and is neither scholarly nor well researched. Just my observation.
June Leonard and Nelson Capitan from Laguna Presbyterian Church, and the Native American Ministries Coordinating Committee (NAMCC) of the Synod of the Southwest would be good resources to seek more infromation. Both are experts on the subject from a personal and professional standpoint. June is a water/land-rights lawyer besides being a scholar on the Doctrine of Discovery.
Finally, there are many articles and videos reporting on Navajo water issues and there are many other organizations beyond Nihitaa' Binaanish who are working on a solution, such as the Navajo Water Project and the Presbyterian Church USA. You can also see posts on Nihitaa' Binaanish's FaceBook page for our perspective and articles on land issues and why COVID19 is so devestating in Diné Bikéya.
edited by Kenneth Holmes
Nihitaa’ Binaanish Delivers Fresh Produce at House of Fellowship on July 30
Another 10 Tons!
You load 10 tons of food, and what do you get?
More understanding of how Jesus paid the debt;
Saint Peter, don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go,
We got ten more coming down the Bread Springs Road!
(With apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford, and countless others who have sung Merle Travis’s song, “16 Tons.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkRYuMqw-B0
Fred and Lorraine Thomas, President and VP of Nihitaa' Binaanish started their day at 5 a.m. with prayer at the House of Fellowship. By midnight they finally sat down and gave thanks for a day of giving and receiving in God’s name.
Given out: To over 400 families in the Bread Springs and Chichiltah communities, were ten tons of potatoes, cherries, mangos and bananas (called by some, “ ‘manas from heaven” in the food desert of the Checkerboard Area of the Navajo Nation, where no stores sell fresh fruit.)
Received: Overwhelming volunteer support from the community –over 40 family members and neighbors of all ages came out to help with the food distribution at the House of Fellowship. In addition, eight volunteers from WRPC and Sandia Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque showed up to help load the produce at Roadrunner Food Bank. Also received were numerous prayers for families as they waited in their vehicles; Pastor Fred visited and lifted up all who asked for prayer.
As with all work done in the name of Christ, participants felt they received so much more than they gave. We praise God for his faithfulness!
Nihitaa Binaanish volunteers made individual hand sanitizer containers for community distribution from quart and gallon portions donated by Operation Bandana White Rock Presbyterian Church.
These days, people coming to House of Fellowship to pick up food are also asking for cleaning supplies too. Usually the sanitizers and cleaning products are not available or too expensive because of price gouging by merchants in Gallup. Between predetory loans and disrespect, this border town is known for its indifference to the welfare of Native People and only the aquisition of the millions of dollars Navajos and Zunis add to the local economy. This pandemic has shed a light on the inequities and racism endured by the Diné.
For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.
1 Corinthians 3:9
Nihitaa’ Binaanishi Distributes Food and Hygiene Supplies to over 150 families
Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business partnered with White Rock Presbyterian Church, Operation Bandana NM, Road Runner Food Bank and the New Mexico National Guard to distribute much needed food and supplies to local families in the Bread Springs/Ch’ich’il tah areas south of Gallup on Wednesday, July 15. This area is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. (Three local families had loved one pass away just last week.)
This collaboration stands on the foundation of enduring support by the body of Christ at Navajo House of Fellowship and White Rock Presbyterian Church.
The five New Mexico National Guard trucks (including one with a forklift) roared onto the parking lot of Ch’ich’il tah Chapter and unloaded pallets of fresh produce, food staples, cleaning supplies, hygiene items and even art kits from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum! Fred and Lorraine Thomas and three other volunteers helped reload the items onto their trailers and headed back up highway 602 to House of Fellowship where there was a long line of cars waiting. God provided a cloudy day as volunteers scrambled to organize the items for distribution while recipients waited patiently in their vehicles.
Thirteen local volunteers from House of Fellowship and two from White Rock Presbyterian Church had set up traffic control and signs, reminding all of the Navajo Nation Health protocols. Volunteers passed out water and snacks to visitors. Several of the volunteers were Covid-19 survivors. It was uplifting to see so many of the House of Fellowship church community (including a number of teenagers) come out to serve their community! They worked throughout the day, loading up people’s vehicles and greeting one another through cracked car windows.
When they ran out of food by late afternoon they started giving away the snacks reserved for the volunteers, then they gave away the ice chests and baby items donated by WRPC and friends. EVERYTHING was gone by sundown!
After cleaning up, volunteers went 30 minutes into Gallup, bought pizza for all, then hurried back to the church for fellowship and reflection before the nightly Navajo Nation curfew set in.
“Even though we have not been having worship services, the church is serving our people in the name of Jesus,” commented one weary volunteer.
Yes, the church has left the building!
by Jennifer Holmes
The National Guard is Coming!
Previous delivery to Navajo Nation by NM National Guard and Operation Bandana New Mexico.
Nihitaa'Binaanish is preparing to partner up with other organizations to distribute food and supplies to our its neighbors. One of NB's partners is White Rock Presbyterian Church and here is a letter from Nihitaa' Binannish's board member, Jennifer detailing the plans.
On Wednesday, July 15, Nihitaa' Binaanish will be partnering with the NM National Guard, Operation Bandana, White Rock Presbyterian Church and Roadrunner Food Bank to deliver food staples, water, fresh fruits and vegetables and cleaning/hygiene supplies to our neighbors in the Bread Springs and Ch'chi'ltah areas south of Gallup.
All your prayers, support, ice chests, donations, masks and good thoughts will go with us. Ahe'hee, thank you!
Please pray that all the logistics work out well and that all remain healthy and safe. Most of all, pray that Christ's love will be known to all whom we serve and who serve us.
We have a cadre of local volunteers and we are ready with traffic control measures and safety protocols which adhere to the Navajo Nation Public Health Orders. https://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19
All activity will be outdoors; all will be required to wear masks, gloves and practice social distancing. Recipients will stay in their vehicles while volunteers load items in their trunk or bed of pickup.
President and Vice President, Fred and Lorraine will deliver boxes to elderly, compromised or quarantined community members.
We will be ready to pray with anyone who asks for prayers.
Thank you for all your interest and support. May God guide us.
Jennifer and Ken Holmes
White Rock Presbyterian Church
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
Masaani and Chei, Diné Grandma and Grandpa are thankful for a recent NB delivery of fresh fruits , vegetables, staples, masks, household cleaners and hand sanitizer .