Nihitaa' Binaanish has helped coordinate and support the Julie's Helpers Memorial Scholarship since 2011, awarding more than $40,000 to 25 Navajo women who desire to return to Dinétah and serve their people. You can read about the 2022 scholarships here.
This month we celebrate and highlight Diné advancements in the education of all, from pre-school to senior citizens. Stay tuned for updates.
Spread the word, the Julie's Helpers Memorial Scholarship is now taking applications for a $2500 scholarship to a Diné woman enrolled in a New Mexico university. See your college scholarship website or the JHMS website for details and application. Deadline is June 1, 2022.
Last year's winners were: Alys Allen-$1,200 Engineering, San Juan College
Kailani Charlie-$1,200 Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Tech
Kristen Etsitty-$1,200 Business, University of New Mexico
NB recently distributed books along with food at Tohajiilee Chapter House. We care for the body, mind and soul.
Volunteers with Nihittaa' Binaanish have been working throughout the winter and early spring to help our neighbors stay safe and warm. We have mentored and paid interns to harvest and deliver firewood to shut-ins and also we provided monthly food distribution in partnership with Road Runner Food Bank and Sandia Presbyterian Church. We have helped with home improvement and repair, including bringing electrical wiring up to code. In addition, thanks to our many donors, we have made plans to purchase a Big Tent, and replace our tool trailer, Manny's Tool Share.
The Board of Directors met in November and set a new budget as well as elected a new board member, Leonard Platero. The Board has directed us to continue serving in small and big ways, always with compassion for our neighbors as we navigate the roads our Creator has put us on.
The Board of Directors will be meeting to discuss past projects and future plans on Saturday, November 6 at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque from 12 to 2 pm.
NB supporter from Sandia Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque and a long time friend of the Navajo people donates car to Nihitaa' Binaanish volunteers to use for community projects.
Sage Memorial Hospital, Ganado, circa 1968
Paying It Forward on Long Dusty Reservation Roads
God had placed becoming a missionary on Susanne’s heart when she was in her early teens. She had been inspired by a missionary family from the Sudan, who came to her small United Presbyterian church in southern Ohio. They were from that rural community and 2 of their children attended a weeklong Bible camp with her and her older sister. Susanne had felt the Lord’s hand guiding me after that camp experience. The Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20 plus Romans 8:28 became ever present scriptures which supported her. After graduating from nursing school, the Presbyterian National Missions sent her to Ganado, Arizona. Heeding God’s call she left the comfort of the familiar surroundings in rural Ohio and headed west to Sage Memorial Hospital in her little Volkswagen Bug down the long dusty roads of the Navajo Reservation. Her heart was open for a widened understanding of God’s people and the missionary call. She served the Navajo people as a nurse from 1964-1966 through the Presbyterian National Mission program.
During her time at Sage Memorial Hospital in Ganado, Arizona, Susanne learned to appreciate the Navajo culture and see the resilience of the Navajo people. God gave her compassion for her patients. One was a Diné elder, suffering end stage pancreatic cancer, whose pain “the White man’s medicine was not helping.” This young nurse from Ohio was the only one on duty at the hospital late evening when the man’s family came to her to ask permission to perform some traditional ceremonies for him. She wasn’t quite sure what the protocol for this was (they didn’t teach her that in nursing school or speak of those situations at the mission) but she allowed the family to proceed. Afterwards she found her patient calm and at peace with his medicine bundle. He passed away a few days later, free of pain. Susanne marveled at how God worked through the Navajo culture and family to minister to this man’s needs and allow him to enter the gates of heaven in peace.
When her schedule permitted, she traveled with a team from the church to very isolated areas on the reservation and helped with Vacation Bible School events.
Susanne’s work among the Navajo people inspired her to continue her nursing career of ministering to marginalized populations. Her expertise in the field of pediatric rehabilitation and developmental disabilities nursing has offered her many opportunities to service the Lord in settings that she could have never thought possible. She has worked with underserved populations throughout New Mexico for 40 plus years as an Advanced Practice Clinical Nurse Specialist.
When Susanne heard of the work of Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business through Sandia Presbyterian Church, she knew God was calling her. She was able to pay forward a good deed that was done for her and provided our volunteers with a sturdy low mileage vehicle to get the work done on those long, dusty reservation roads.
Nihitaa’ Binaanish is so thankful for her humble generosity. Ahe’hee, thank you, Susanne.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,
day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
May We Walk in Beauty
Neighbors on the Navajo Nation will help each other
in leading safe, productive and healthy lives
full of God’s Grace, aligned with Navajo Culture.
You can enliven this Organizational Vision of Nihitaa’ Binaanish through your prayers, encouragement and financial support.
The Diné suffered immensely through the Pandemic of 2020/21. We all have relatives, neighbors and friends whose lives were lost. We mourn each one. Many have been left with compromised health and in economic hardship. It was a hard season. Nihitaa’ Binaanish volunteers were there with our neighbors every day to listen to their needs and respond with prayer, food, water, hygiene supplies, home repair and friendly visits.
Amid the pain we felt God’s all-encompassing power as the Navajo Nation led the country in vaccine rates and our people persevered through tragedy as they have always done. Nihitaa’ Binaanish especially felt Christ’s love from individuals and churches all over the United States who supported us in prayer, encouragement, and donations of both money and goods. Thank you! We know that scripture teaches:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)
We are thankful that God is with us in this new season. He has brought many supporters through the summer and winter, day and night, as we continue to help our neighbors improve their lives and homes through love, mentorship, and prayer.
Through God’s all-surpassing power, we have come through the raging pandemic into this new season. We were able to meet the needs of His people with material goods such as food, water and supplies during the pandemic. We are now able to get back to our mission of mentoring community members to better their lives through Christian labor and love.
We pray for God’s guidance as we start new projects, embracing our original vision and mission.
Thank you to all who support us. Your prayers and labor have sustained us.
The Board of Directors of Nihitaa’ Binaanish have discerned
Purchase a commercial grade tent for Nihitaa’ Binaanish to take our services to the people instead of asking the people to come to our building. We will be able to use the tent to hold workshops, do job trainings, promote family and youth activities, hold church services as well as distribute food and supplies. The cost of a big tent is about $10,000. Local Diné supporters have already raised $4000, leaving $6000 to go. Please partner with our local neighbors to raise the rest.
Build a sturdy mechanic shop in our community which would serve many of our neighbors who cannot get their vehicles maintained and serviced locally. Our local mechanic and relative has solid plans and tools to use in his shop. He and his sons have already invested in the labor, along with Nihitaa’ Binaanish volunteers, to lay the foundation. We need about $5000 to finish this project. This is a wise investment in our community.
Replace our old “warhorse,” Manny’s Tool Trailer, which carries around our tools and supplies as we travel and work across the rough roads of Dinétah. Manny’s Tool Trailer has served us well over the 8 years we have used it, but we have outgrown the space and it is becoming an unsafe vehicle at this point. We need a bigger, fully equipped cargo trailer capable of housing all the tools and materials that have been graciously donated to us. The cost of a new trailer would be about $7000. We have money in the bank to seed this project; we need about $5000 more. Manny’s Tool Share is the backbone of our organization.
It was a wonderful day to celebrate the Living Christ among the Diné. Church family members from the area showed up for three days prior to clean and get the church ready. On Sunday morning, the church was sparkly and welcoming as elders, moms and dads, teens and kids came to hear the Word from Pastor Fred, sing praises with the HOF musicians and to fellowship with one another. Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business, the non-profit organization that supports the work of House of Fellowship in partnership with other churches, provided PPE, signs and supplies to follow the Navajo Nation health guidelines.
Attendees celebrated several birthdays, (including Pastor Fred’s!) complete with fresh-made tortillas and grilled meats. It was so good to be together again and live out the Fellowship in the church name!
Through all the pain and loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, the saints at The House of Fellowship have remained faithful and served as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in ministering to their people.
The church has been headquarters for community pandemic relief projects since March of 2020. It has stored boxes of PPE, hand sanitizer, adult care items, dry foods and school supplies, which were given out to the community by church and community volunteers. It has been a distribution point for many shipments of fresh and frozen food coordinated by Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business volunteers to assist families in staying safer during the pandemic. It has kept construction materials safe and dry during the winter months.
And now this little church down Skeets road is able to open her doors for neighbors to hear the Word of God, sing, fellowship and make plans for more service to God’s people.
Praise the Lord!
But slowing down still means working everyday with our neighbors and relatives! We've done
- snow removal
- food distribution
- mentored neighbors who need court-ordered community service hours
- participated in community outreach events, including an outdoor concert
- Distributed hand sanitizer and PPE
NB Volunteer since 2014