In December 2018, Team NOEL (Navajo Outreach Expressing Love) from FBC Minden, Louisiana, traveled to New Mexico to minister on the Navajo Nation by bringing Christmas joy to several different communities.
One of the pastors we have worked with for two years now is Rob McIntosh, who pastors two churches near Gallup, New Mexico, in the Church Rock community located on the Navajo Nation. Pastor Rob is an SBC pastor of Creator’s Fellowship Church in New Mexico, serves as moderator of his association, and is also serving as a task force member of the Navajo Nation Christian Response Team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our church also had Rob and his wife Michele speak this past March, and he shared with our church family the plight of the Navajo people and the work that he does to lead them to trust and faith in our loving Savior. I know him to be a compassionate leader with a true heart for ministering to his people.
As I have been made aware of the tremendous needs of the Navajo Nation during this pandemic, I felt led to see if there might be a way to help meet immediate needs. The most critical need that Pastor Rob has at this time is to provide nonperishable food items that he will deliver in the two communities where his ministry is mostly connected.
Recently, the city of Gallup was completely cut off to anyone who doesn’t have a Gallup address. People are not allowed into the city for any reason. Therefore, the Navajo who live in these Navajo Nation communities no longer have access to grocery shopping, gas purchases, pharmacy pickups, or laundromats to wash their clothes. There is no way to know how long this lockdown will continue. Thankfully, Rob and Michele have a Gallup address and can shop for items that are needed by his people and others.
One of these very poor communities has 100% unemployment and only one home even has electricity or running water, according to Pastor Rob. There has already been one death from COVID-19 in that community and another family has been infected, as well. He fears that there will be more infection soon. These people have no transportation for the most part and are sorely in need of help.
Our church WMU sewing ministry is working right now on making more masks that will be sent to Rob this coming week, but the needs go far beyond just masks. A HEART fund grant will allow Pastor Rob to buy not only nonperishable food but also hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items to distribute to these communities and possibly other locations within the Navajo Nation near Gallup.
As you can see: when we collaborate, lives can be changed through the gospel being shared. Our church in Louisiana connected to a church in New Mexico who ministers among the Navajo Nation, and now a HEART Fund grant, which is supported by Baptists from all over the country and world, has been granted to help further the ministry in New Mexico. God is at work, and this collaboration is just one tiny glimpse of all that He is doing in our world today.
When you give to the HEART Fund, your gift goes to help with immediate needs like the ones in Gallup, New Mexico. So many people are suffering right now during this pandemic, and this is just one story of the lives that will be positively impacted by your gifts. Thank you for your partnership and ensuring the gospel continues to be shared even in the darkest of times.
Written by Cindy Walker, vice chair of the WMU Foundation board of trustees.