It is a humbling experience to be in the presence of those who realize their brokenness and treasure God’s forgiveness and healing. We were reminded of this in January when our staff and associate staff gathered for our annual retreat, along with several special guests, including Timothy Yazzie (Navajo).
Timothy is a member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Navajo, New Mexico, where our own Tim Norton serves as vicar and has become Timothy’s mentor. “Jesus my Savior changed my life. He healed my heart so that I could walk with Him,” Timothy told us.
Like many of our Native brothers and sisters, Timothy grew up in poverty and without a father, whom he finally met at the age of 15. While he may have been given little direction for his life growing up, his mother reminded him of her hopes for him the day before she would pass away—words he holds dear to this day.
Life for Timothy took a number of turns over the years. While serving four years in federal prison, he opened the Bible one day. Timothy shared how God spoke to him through His Word, and he began attending chapel. Despite being ridiculed for his growing faith, a peace finally settled over Timothy as he learned patience and humility. Today, he freely expresses his faith and his thankfulness to God.
“I want to serve as minister to my people. Like me at one time, my people don’t know they are made in the image of God. I want to be able to open up His Word to them and say, ‘Look, it says here that God made us in His image and that He loves us and will never leave us.’”
Like the apostles in Acts 4:20 who “cannot help but speak about the things [they] have seen and heard” regarding the Savior, Timothy also cannot help but share God’s love with everyone around him. But as a minister, his mentor Tim reminds him on occasion, “Be patient, my little Brother.”
In the meantime, Timothy makes the most of every opportunity. This past summer he volunteered with our Alaska ministry to serve among the Athabascans in a hammer-and-nails project in Old Minto. He recalls it with great fondness, saying, “It was awesome!”
While Timothy is without transportation, it does not deter him from serving. He assists with leading songs and prayers in the Navajo language during weekly worship and participates in Bible study. He and Vicar Tim chop wood for Navajo residents so they’ll have heat in the winter.
We give thanks to God for Timothy and his zeal to serve his people with the Gospel message of Christ. Please pray for God’s continued guidance and direction in Timothy’s life.