One of the first things I noticed using Zoom was that the children struggled with paying attention to a little image of me on a small screen. I had been praying for the Lord to give me a clever idea and He did! One day after a scheduled break the hand puppet “Darryl the Donkey” showed up to teach math instead of me. I had to position myself off-screen, but I could still see their faces, and every one of them was totally engaged. They all were eager to answer any and all questions Darryl asked them. The 30-minute time slot flew by, and the kids actually seemed sorry that the worksheet was completed and Darry had to leave…before Mr. Jim showed up. Isn’t it comforting to know that the Almighty God of the universe has the time to give an idea to a teacher in order to help a handful of students have a better school day!
It was a blessing to be able to help out our elders and families in our community with packages of food every other week all summer. The workers were, Lees, Bielekies, Begayes, Curleys, Maddee Dee, Lorena Herbert, and us, the Hosteens.
It was a special experience during this pandemic. Each family and elder really looked forward to our visits and enjoyed our testimonies that we included in with our care packages of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and cleaning supplies. Some just wanted to sit and talk with us because at that time they were very lonely. One time we just had to take pictures of the elders, the ones on our list (the Hosteen’s). Some were very shy and some wanted to make sure that they looked good which was sweet. The grandmas were very adorable.
News from NIC is not often included in the Mission newsletter but such great things are happening in the local fellowship that it’s time to share some of it. For many years we tried to get the local Navajo believers to take more part in the church (i.e. teach Sunday School) but often the response was ” No, you missionaries can do it better.” However, recently we have seen tremendous growth in both numbers and desire to be involved in the local church. Now young Navajo believers (many who graduated from our school) are taking responsibility. Sunday School teachers, song leader, youth leaders and Mom’s group planners are all Navajos. People are inviting their friends and relatives to church. We recently bought 20 more chairs anticipating even more growth. Please pray that souls will be saved and we will continue to grow both in numbers and in spirit led worship to our Savior.
I don’t remember if I ever wrote an article in all the years I’ve been at Immanuel Mission. I am now going on my 23rd year. It seems like I’ve been here forever, but again it also seems like it was just yesterday that I moved to the Mission. In all these years, I’ve been doing many different things; I’ve taught 2nd grade, substituted, taught Navajo Culture, and led both group Bible studies and one-on-one studies. Right now, I’m reaching out to our community by doing visitation. During Christmas time I visit with the shut-ins and give them a gift and the Gospel. In the summer, I organize the V.B.S. for the youth groups who visit.
I also have been very involved with funeral preparations, grieving with the family, reaching out wherever I can. Recently I lost someone who was dear to me, my nephew. That kind of made this ministry tough, but I fully trust the Lord to continue to reach those that are grieving. The Lord is teaching me the taste of how it is grieve the lost. I am praying that I will be more effective in ways I have never been in the years before. My life has been rough and at times I feel like I’m over with grieving for my nephew. But out of nowhere, life hits and leaves me barely holding on. Many times, I find myself praying for strength, and the answer seems so far away. I know the Lord is by my side and then I see the Lord working in the midst of this hard time of my life. I wouldn’t have chosen to have a loved one taken, but God is using my nephew’s death to work in my families’ lives. My brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews are showing a lot of interest in the things of the Lord. Some have started coming to church regularly. I and others have been praying for my family for years.
FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NOR ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS; SAYS THE LORD.
This scripture brought me through some of the difficult times when I didn’t understand why things are happening. God has a plan!
Over all the Lord is providing in every way and in everything that I ever need. I praise Him for all He is doing in my life.
Full time work, what does that sound like? Does it sound restful and rewarding? Well, it is. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
True true true! We all work hard here and our work is rewarding at Immanuel Mission. Another thing. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey and will give it to us. Numbers 14:8, Have you applied these promises to your own life? Immanuel Mission is a delight. He’s given me friends here, ‘closer than brothers’. My yoke is easy, the only problem I see is trying not to get fat. Oops, too late ha ha. We all have so much to be thankful for. At the mission there is more opportunity for service. Check with Anne Denny for school needs and John Bloom for general Mission opportunities. Please continue to pray for the work here. We have a common goal and work together to serve our King, and see souls saved.
How does a person motivate children to memorize Bible verses and then recite them from memory? We can be creative, but to really succeed we need to ask the Lord for ideas. And sometimes those ideas come about in ways we never would have imagined on our own.
For instance…Recently the Lord provided the means by which I could purchase a new bass guitar. The one I’ve been using since I started playing back when we lived in St. Louis was about the cheapest one a person could get (shy of a wash tub, pole and a heavy string!) I found a good quality instrument at a reasonable price and placed my order online. When the guitar arrived, there was a sticker inside the box with the name of the company that sold the bass: Sweetwater. Now, you may think Immanuel Mission is located in Teec Nos Pos, but that is just our mailing address; the mission is actually located in the Sweetwater chapter of the Navajo Nation. So you can imagine my surprise and joy to receive a bumper sticker with the name of our community on it! When I asked my sales rep if he could possibly send me a few more stickers, so that I could share them with my students, he said he would make sure some were included in my next order. Fortunately I also needed to order a microphone, so I didn’t have to wait long. Soon the box arrived with my order, and I opened it with anticipation. And there, nestled between a T-shirt and my new microphone, were some stickers. But not just a few…THEY SENT ME 100 STICKERS! As soon as I saw this little treasure trove, I remembered something the Lord had me do a few years ago around Christmas time. At that time, I rewarded any child who could recite a Bible verse with a candy cane. This time, I walked around the school during lunch and recess times doling out nice, big Sweetwater bumper stickers to anyone who could recite a Bible verse. After the first few kids showed off their stickers to the others, I had no shortage of kids coming to me offering to tell me a Bible verse.
It makes me smile the way the Lord orchestrates seemingly unrelated things in order to motivate children to learn and remember God’s Word. Little things add up to big things, and we know the Lord can do big things with the little we have to offer. Instead of fishes and loaves, this time it was bumper stickers. Next time…well, we’ll just have to see what the Lord uses next time
This is my second semester of preschool at Immanuel Mission School, and I am encouraged! When I started the preschool program last fall, I had no idea how this year would go as I adjusted to a new school, a new culture, a new home, and a new climate. It has been exhausting, but I can see the Lord doing so much in my classroom and in my life. A verse that sums up how I’ve been feeling about the preschool program lately is Psalm 118:23, “This is the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
It has been such a blessing to have Christy Love here this semester helping with preschool and kindergarten! We currently have 10 preschool students ages 3 to 5, plus a mom and a grandma who come nearly every day. Our preschoolers are an energetic, creative, independent bunch. They are a handful on the best of days, but it has been a joy to see them slowly but surely growing in responsibility, empathy, self-regulation, and an understanding of who God is and their relationship to Him.
Here are a few things you can pray about with me for the preschool program:
Understanding of the gospel and salvation for the preschoolers and their families
Academic, social, and emotional growth for preschoolers
A teacher assistant for the 2020-21 school year. It could be you!
Adam: ‘The woman whom thou gavest me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.’
God: ‘What is this thou hast done?’
Eve: ‘The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.’
[Genesis 3:11 – 13 BC 4000]
Recently, I gave four students discipline sentences for throwing bites of food up into the air to catch in their mouths during our lunch meal. I wouldn’t have minded if they had actually caught the bits – but they rarely did, and that left quite a few on the floor. The Cook stormed over and told the kids, in no uncertain terms, that they were going to have to sweep up the mess!
Later that day, I talked with them about their actions and the reason for the sentences. At the top of the page, I had them express the reason they were given sentences, forcing them to think about it and confess to what they did. Renee’s read, “because Amy and Troy did it and I wanted to do it,” and it made me think . . . not much has changed in 6,000 years!
Sunday morning during our breaking of bread meeting, our Navajo Elder Eddie Benallie who suffers from Parkinson’s said something in Navajo. Another Navajo brother, Raefer Begaye went over to him and helped him stand as he prayed. It was so beautiful to watch someone literally hold up a brother in prayer. I loved seeing Eddie’s heart to honor and respect the Lord by standing. I also loved seeing Raefer able to stand with this elder and support him as he worshiped the Lord side by side with him. What a picture for all of us to hold each other up and lean on each other as we come boldly before the throne of grace .
I sat surrounded by sweet ladies, waiting expectantly for the revealing of each Secret Sister. I had been Tiffany Hosteen’s Secret Sister for the past 5 months, putting little gifts and notes in her mailbox to encourage her. I had tried pretty hard to remain secretive and kept glancing her way while all the ladies were talking to get an idea of whether she suspected her Secret Sister was me. Before each person opened their final Secret Sister gift, they would guess who had been their Secret Sister. When Tiffany’s turn came, I held my breath, hoping she would at least guess someone else before suspecting me. To my dismay, she immediately muttered, “I know who it was. It was Abi.” I sat there, horrified, wondering how ever she could be so sure. Tiffany than proceeded to tell how, after signing the first few Secret Sister notes with the typical “Your Secret Sister” or “SS,” I signed the third or fourth note with my NAME!!! Needless to say, I was pretty embarrassed, though quite amused as well. We all laughed together and enjoyed the comical relief or the moment. For over 30 years, the ladies of Immanuel Mission have participated in Secret Sisters, making an effort to intentionally encourage each other in the work that we do here. Even though there was no “secret” for my Sister this time, it was a true joy to get to pray for and show love to this dear friend. I was extremely encouraged by the notes and personal gifts from Ginny, who had been my Secret Sister. They each came at the perfect time and lifted my spirits. So, take time to do the little things. Reach out in love to your siblings in Christ. Be intentional about loving them and continually pointing them back to Christ. Even if you slip up from time to time, the encouragement is never in vain. Thanks again for your prayers and for the words of encouragement and gifts of love you contribute to the ministry here at Immanuel Mission. Your labor is truly not in vain and you remind us that ours isn’t either.