Serving In God's Mission Among the Navajo

A Norton Family Newsletter—August 2014 Friends in Christ,

It has been a while since our last newsletter and much has taken place! Pictured directly below is the group of people who participated in the activities that the Idaho-Utah LWML group led in July. Eight women from various points in IdNavajo group w ID_UT group July 2014aho facilitated crafts, sewing, puppet making, Bible studies and, of course, the big crowd pleaser—food. They also did an outreach at a senior center in Fort Defiance, Ariz., and painted the house of one of our members. We also held vacation Bible school (VBS) earlier in July and around 30 children participated. The Word of God was shared at each of these events with people who usually don’t come to our worship services­—we know that God’s Word doesn’t return to Him empty (Is. 55:11). We thank God for the way He used these visitors to share His Word!

As well as being on the receiving end of encouragement, our church also was able to be on the giving end of encouragement to other brothers and sisters. At the end of July, we took a group of five men from our church to volunteer in Old Minto, Alaska, north of Fairbanks. We are pictured below, along with Clarence De Lude (Native Hawaiian), who serves with Lutheran Indian Ministries in Hawaii, and his son, Kona, who also joined our team. They also happen to be my brother-in-law and nephew (Kona is pictured at the far left and Clarence is fourth from left). We volunteered where the village of New Minto holds an annual culture camp. The people are ethnically related to the Navajo and, although their language isn’t exactly the same, there are many similarities. There is also a lot of cross-over between the two groups, as we met two couples where the wife was Navajo, and the husband was Athabaskan from Minto.

Navajo Team Rebuilding Fishwheel in Old Minto AK July 2014Our group led VBS for the kids at the culture camp, built a sauna for the women and, as you can see in the photo above, pulled a fish wheel out of the mud of the Tanana River so that people could use it for subsistence harvest. We were also able to share culture, stories and even dancing to mutually encourage one another. The people of Minto have some of the same struggles as the Navajos, but they are strong believers in Christ, so we shared that hope. It was a sad goodbye, but we are hopeful that we may meet again. The group in Minto proposed coming to Navajo next time, Lord willing.

Earlier in the summer I had my three weeks of residency for the CMC (Cross-Cultural Ministry Center) at Concordia University, in Irvine, Calif. My brother-in-law, Clarence, also is a student in this program and together we visited Jeremiah Trephibio, a member of our congregation and student at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Calif. Jeremiah traveled back home with me when classes were over, and he used the skills he is learning to lead music in worship on three different Sundays. Jeremiah also got meet the other students and a few professors at Irvine. God is molding Jeremiah to be a faithful witness to Him, and Jeremiah desires to use the gifts God gave him in service to his Lord.

We are thankful for an eventful and blessed summer.  Thank you also for your prayers and support of God’s Mission in this place!

In Christ’s Service, Tim, Heidi, Philip & Leslie Norton

Special Prayer Requests

Please thank God with us for:

—The LWML group and their service, and the blessing we received from them. —The spiritual growth that happened through our trip to Old Minto, Alaska. —The ownership and growth of more people in our congregation—look us up on Facebook under Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Navajo, N.M. The page is edited by Deborah Etsitty, one of our church members.

Please intercede with us for:

—Those who came to our summer events, that they would continue to participate —Continued growth for Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

Gifts to support this ministry can be sent to: Lutheran Indian Ministries 3525 North 124th Street, Suite 1 Brookfield, WI 53005     Memo line: “Navajo”

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