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.