Navajo Lutheran Ministry Newsletter November

Advent Group Spend Week at the
Navajo Lutheran Mission – Ahxil Na’anish

On October 6, 2012, a delegation of five, from Advent Lutheran Church in NYC, embarked on a week long adventure at the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, Arizona. The trip was headed and organized by Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission (NELM) Board Member, Kathleen Carpenter, who was accompanied by Suzanne Chadwick, Alison Garnjost, Hans Hageman, and Barbara Sadowsky, CNP.

Advent members began their stay by helping out during the weekly House of Worship church service. This was followed by fellowship time in which they got to meet members of the NELM staff as well as the Navajo Community. Later in the afternoon, Executive Director of NELM, Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, took the Advent delegation to various historical monuments and landmarks on the Navajo Reservation, giving them a better understanding of the topography, culture, and history of the area and Navajo people.  On Monday, a tour of the mission was given and then the delegation went to work.

Suzanne and Alison helped out at the mission school while Barbara and Kathleen helped out at the Hozho Café and planned the Health Fair. Suzanne worked with Mr. Chee in the 4th-6th grade classroom while Alison assisted Mrs. Wagon in grades 1-3.  Hans was on hand to lead morning fitness routines as well as present health and fitness lectures to the students of the school. Kathy and Barbara organized and ran a Health Fair with the great assistance of Navajo nurse aide Marina Elliott for the Navajo Community which was attended by students and adults. Blood pressure and blood sugar screenings / tests were given and people were encouraged to ask questions and take literature. We also organized a Field Day for the children featuring several different games of skill and hand/eye coordination. The persistent wind of the area made some of the games a challenge but the children soon figured out a way to make things work! The children were each given a bag of prizes to take home, which also included books donated by members of Advent and literature about healthy eating brought by Kathy. Kathy prepared several recipes based on typically eaten foods which were well received by community and school members.

During the week-long stay, the members of the delegation were also able to explore the outlying grounds of the mission and other parts of the reservation. Led by Pastors Lynn and Deborah Hubbard, all five members of Advent hiked Canyon de Chelly.  The group also visited Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and saw the historic Goulding Trading Post and Museum. During the week, the weather ranged from windy to rainy and the group was able to get a feel for how vast and arid much of the Navajo Reservation is. The group asked for the Navajo word for “team”, and were given the translation of Ahxil Na’anish, which means “working together.”

 

 

The delegation left the mission on October 12, feeling that it indeed was not enough time, but grateful for the experience and wanting to return.  There is talk of a Navajo Sunday at Advent Lutheran Church in the spring of 2013. The members of the delegation are hoping to bring more awareness to the mission and specifically, to the children who are the last ones at the mission school in need of sponsors.

Note:  This article was written by Suzanne Chadwick, who thanked us for a life changing experience, and was prior to Super Storm Sandy hitting New York City!  We are happy to report that the group is all fine, and Advent Lutheran Church is assisting in the relief efforts.

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