Pastor Tim & Heidi Norton | Navajo Nation
The congregation has 42 baptized members (two of whom were baptized during COVID). There are young children and adults in that group, but those are the people who Tim has either personally baptized or have a record of baptism at the church prior to his arrival. Five of them have moved to other towns (Rock Point, AZ, Phoenix, San Diego, CA), but they still follow the online worship services or bible studies. Although that is their official membership, they had many people who would attend as either frequent visitors or guests (Tim has a list of 106 people who have attended worship more than 5 times that are not baptized members). Of course, their worship attendance was greatly disturbed by COVID.
Since March 2020 they have not held a worship service on a Sunday morning. The Navajo Nation government had weekend curfews and lifted them briefly for Saturdays (mid-August to mid-September) but never for Sundays. They held Divine Services on Saturdays from late August to September and Wednesdays since September, when both the government of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation went to “shelter in place” orders. During the time when they met face-to-face, they averaged 18 people per worship service (around a 50% decrease from pre-COVID).
Since COVID, they received donations of clothing, gift cards, and masks from churches, the RMD LWML, and even some secular hospitals. I estimate that we have distributed over 200 masks and given $500 worth of food to various needy families (some of those are church members and some not).
A few months ago, Pastor Tim presided over a graveside service for a non-member. He was asked to perform the service by the person’s niece, who had used the kitchen of the church. Isn’t it amazing how God uses our missionaries to spread the gospel even to those who do not attend church or who many not believe? Continue to pray for the Navajo people that they come to Christ.
For more information on all of our missionaries, please visit our Monthly Missionary Newsletter Page.