WRPC volunteers help Navajo House of Fellowship Church distribute food, water and supplies coordinated by Operation Bandana NM. Courtesy photo
Navajo girl from Bread Springs receives a child-sized mask made and donated by WRPC and friends. Courtesy photo
Volunteers help offload food from Road Runner Food Bank for delivery to Bread Springs families. Courtesy photo
WRPC and Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business help distribute food at the Navajo House of Fellowship Church. Courtesy photo
Five National Guard trucks delivering food and supplies to the Chichiltah Chapter on the Navajo Nation. Courtesy photo
Navajo Nation Department of Health protocols followed in food distribution by WRPC and Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business. Courtesy photo
BY JENNIFER HOLMES
Though White Rock Presbyterian Church has only been able to meet collectively via Zoom since March, the mission partnerships of the church has not stopped. One of those partnerships has been supporting Covid-19 relief efforts on the Navajo Nation.
Due to the high infection rate of the coronavirus in McKinley County and the Navajo Nation, many Navajo families have been left without jobs and are having to care for multiple sick family members. Since many homes lack running water, family members have to use valuable resources and time just to keep their homes disinfected and provide water for handwashing. Many tribal members have lost relatives due to the coronavirus; many are grieving as they continue to care for sick relatives and still try to carry on everyday life for their children and elders.
To help Navajo families through these trying times, White Rock Presbyterian Church and its partner church Navajo House of Fellowship near Bread Springs NM, south of Gallup, have worked through the small nonprofit organization, Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business. The urgent need is to get food, water, cleaning supplies and hygiene items to community members. In addition, WRPC and Navajo House of Fellowship support Nihitaa’ Binaanish’s mission of “improving the lives and homes of low-income Diné people through mentoring and prayer.” Nihitaa’ Binaanish’s work includes self-help projects in the areas of job training, construction, life skills, advocacy, educational opportunities and spiritual growth. During this coronavirus pandemic, WRPC, Navajo House of Fellowship and Nihitaa’ Binaanish have also been ministering to the spiritual needs of many who are grieving loved ones who have died, often many in one family.
Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business has collaborated with other organizations, including Operation Bandana New Mexico, Road Runner Food Bank, Shamrock Foods and The New Mexico National Guard to collect, transport and deliver tons of needed supplies to the Bread Springs and Ch’i ch’il tah Chapters south of Gallup. White Rock Presbyterian Church members have worked side by side with local reservation volunteers to get the critical items to families in the area affected by coronavirus, often living in remote locations. Also, WRPC members have made masks, donated supplies and financially supported these efforts. There have been five major deliveries to the area since early June.
WRPC and the Navajo House of Fellowship have built a strong partnership over the years. White Rock Presbyterian Church members make regular trips to House of Fellowship to work on construction projects, home maintenance and sewing initiatives, as well as sharing fellowship and worship. The Navajo congregation has travelled to White Rock to participate in music, preaching, church maintenance and fundraising activities. Members continually pray for one another.
This cross-cultural collaboration has been going strong since 2008. This partnership was there before the pandemic hit, and will be there after it is gone, always seeking to understand one another and help neighbors live in dignity.
All are welcome to support and participate in this cross-cultural program. Learn more at binaanish.org or find White Rock Presbyterian Church or Nihitaa’ Binaanish on Facebook or leave a message for Jennifer Holmes at WRPC, 505-672-3682.