When we came to La Vida Mission the local people wondered, “How long are you gonna be here?” and “Do you like it here?”

During our first year the Native people were friendly but also cautious in becoming close to us. They are wary about attaching themselves to people who would just leave anyway. But as time went on, the Native people began inviting us to their family celebrations. Now they have adopted us into their families as “big brother or big sister” or “little brother or little sister,” and their kids call us “uncle and aunt.” We can come to their homes anytime, without an appointment, and now they are coming to our home to have church on Friday nights.

Most of those who attend are those with whom we have, over time, built a relationship of love, friendship and trust. They describe what they experience in our home every week as a “warm and welcoming church” and a “place of peace and joy in our community.”

The dream of starting another company of believers, in Crownpoint, kept burning in our hearts. We talked to some local people years before about whether they could open their house for a Bible study group, and the response wasn’t so positive. But in God’s own time the door opened. During Native Camp Meeting at La Vida, a former church member from Crownpoint—whom we had never met—expressed to us his spiritual vision for that little town. He graciously offered his home, and so we began a Bible study in his place. Our plan is to do a twice-a-month church service there, hoping that eventually a new company of believers will be established in the area.

We pray that our relationships will grow stronger and that soon these friends will surrender their lives to the Lord and decide to become a part of His family. Please join us in prayers for our outreach to these precious Navajo Native American brothers and sisters.

Author Dorie Panganiban and her husband Polly are the church and outreach coordinators for La Vida Mission near Farmington, NM.  To learn more about the ministry of La Vida Mission, visit www.lavidamission.org.