Nihitaa' Binaanish volunteers have slowed down a bit during the spring months. Life on on the Rez brings mud and wind and an occasional spring snowstorm. Diné tend to finish up their firewood and stay off the roads as much as possible during this season. We also have to care for family members and regroup as the Navajo Nation recently re-imposed curfews due to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and several occurrences of B-117 variants. Overall, the Navajo Nation has a very high vaccination rate for COVID-19.
But slowing down still means working everyday with our neighbors and relatives! We've done
Our Board of Directors met at Bread Springs on February 27, 2021 to assess the year's activities and plan for the future. We had an election of officers, treasurer's report and covered old and new business. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a year of hardship and grief for many of our Diné neighbors. However, it was also an opportunity for Nihitaa' Binaanish to rise to the challenge of leadership in service to the community. We continued our usual construction mentoring projects and firewood delivery programs. In response to the pandemic, we also initiated monthly food and hygiene products distribution. We worked with from 2-40 community volunteers at each distribution, as well as with numerous other churches, businesses, non profit organizations and Navajo Chapters. We discussed priority projects for 2021 to help and learn from our neighbors , including construction work, food needs, health support and educational opportunities. Our goal remains to walk side by side with our neighbors, listening, laughing, working and seeking lives of dignity in the Navajo Way. We offer prayer and encouragement in the name of Jesus Christ to all.
The Nihitaa' Binaanish Board of Directors meet annually to assess the previous year's progress and plan for the upcoming year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 we were unable to meet in person. Nor was it possible to have a digital meeting due board members' lack of connectivity on the Navajo Nation. This meeting will serve as our 2020 and 2021 Annual Meeting.
A sister of a NB Volunteer was beside herself with joy when she received her Christmas Joy bags from White Rock Presbyterian Chiurch, full of toys, school supplies, warm clothing and a special Christmas pillowcase. She sends a hearty "Thank You Everybody!”
Twenty-five bags were delivered to House of Fellowship. NB volunteers will add to those bags with others items that sent to her, like pretty t-shirts and lovely necklaces. Shee said of the gifts , “It makes me want to be a little Navajo girl again!”
The Christmas delivery was delayed because the NB volunteer who delivered the gifts was quarantined with her mom and sister ( both in wheelchairs.) The sister was testd positivefor COVID-19 and tyhe voluntyeer was tested negative, along with her mother, who was hospitalized from COVID-19 earlier in the year. They all recovered and feel thankful for all the prayers and love. The NB volunteer is confident God will bring her and her family through these trying times.
Thank you WRPC for bringing joy in the name of the baby Jesus to our Navajo neighbors.
Samaritan’s Purse reaches children near and far. This year, near meant House of Fellowship at Bread Springs, NM! Thirty Operation Christmas Child boxes were delivered to House of Fellowship via several other churches on the Navajo Nation. Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business was able to share these boxes with area families along with food and WRPC Christmas Joy Bags on December 29. The children were delighted to receive a special gift just because Jesus loves them. Thank you to all who ever prepared an Operation Christmas Child box; you never know how God is going to use your gifts.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
With full faith and hope in Christ, Nihitaa’ Binaanish volunteers laid the foundation of an addition to the home of an elder in Ft. Defiance, Arizona. On hand to help with construction were four family members who assisted NB Volunteersin putting in the floor, framing the room and building the trusses. There were many family members who cooked meals and ran errands for the workers. Manny’s Tool Share Trailer was there with all the tools needed to work at the site, which has no electricity or running water. Fred and Lorraine brought along their generator and the family rented an outhouse for the job site.
The project is being funded by a $3000 grant from the restricted funds of PCUSA Missions and designated for “establishing, maintaining or otherwise providing a home or homes for aging people.” White Rock Presbyterian Church as well as individual donors have contributed another $5000 to help this grandma have a safe and warm home this winter. Volunteers from Nihitaa’ Binaanish and the family are providing 100 per cent of the labor. Interns will be earning tools for their toolbelt as well as learning construction skills as they also volunteer their time.
Friends and strangers have donated furnishings for the home, including a bathroom vanity, a bathroom sink, a commode and a refrigerator. Still needed are kitchen cabinets and a kitchen sink. We praise God for his faithfulness!
Please keep this project in your prayers as work continues. If you would like to help in any way, contact Jennifer at email@example.com
NB is grateful for all the many ways our friends support God’s work with our Diné neighbors. Friends have used their talents to make beautiful masks. Others have given used but still useful appliances for installation in current remodels for neighbors. Others willingly donate their time to help out with food distribution and building projects. Most importantly NB feels all the prayers covering our work.
Ahe’hee, Thank you!
Here is Pastor Fred at the worksite installing a heater. Or is he praying or sleeping? LORD knows!
NB is grateful for all for help to winterize local Red Rock Chapter member's house, near Bread Springs in an area called Uprooted Tree. NB's neighbor has been living in an unimproved utility shed and has multiple health issues, so he really needs a warm house for the winter.
The work is progressing well with the help of volunteers and support and from the owner's family, Sandia Presbyterian Church, White Rock Presbyterian Church, House of Fellowship Church, and Nihitaa’ Binaanish. The NB directors and volunteers have been putting in 12-hour days on the project, balancing medical care for family and bus driving duties at Rehoboth Christian School.
This week they installed lighting, re-did some electrical work, added a bigger window, installed insulation and dry wall, and taped most of the joints. They still need to finish the dry wall, install the chimney kit, paint and do finishing work.
See more about Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business at our Facebook page
Please continue to cover this project in prayer. We are so thankful for all your support.
Submitted by Jennifer Holmes
Nihitaa' Binaanish volunteers recently made a home visit just down the road at request of a community member concerned about her brother's health and poor living condition. Her brother lives in a 14x28 ft storage utility shed that is crudely unfinished on the inside and is heated by a deficient stove. There is no indoor plumbing although water and electricity are available immediately outside his house. This community member has a compromised medical condition which includes lupus, kidney malfunction (requiring dialysis several times per week,) and diabetes. All these have rendered him infrimed and unable to do much. He is unmarried and has no children so his sister is trying to advocate for him.
Nihitaa' Binaanish has started a process to involve the family, the community and the wider NB network to help their neighbor. Pastor Fred Thomas wired his home with the help of a 14-year old nephew of the homeowner to whom he was mentoring. The local Navajo chapter, Red Rock Chapter contributed funds to buy insulation. NB is lining up volunteers to install the insulation and raising funds to buy drywall materials. With God's mercy and grace along with the hard work of family, community and friends, we hope to have our neighbor's humble home ready to live in safely this winter.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We are soliciting donations to complete this project.
Jennfer Holmes, Nihitaa' Binaanish Board Member