Members of Sanostee, N.M., Christian Reformed Church have to drive a lot of extra miles for their nursing home ministry. The small church is in a remote community on Navajo Indian land, 65 miles from the nearest licensed nursing home.
“We’d been praying about what kind of ministry to do and never thought about going way out there,” said Rev. Raymond Slim. “But the Lord led us there. I think those are the more neglected people of our community.” Now the church has committed to make the long drive to the nursing home every Sunday afternoon for a year.
Church members leave after their morning service, skip lunch, arrive in time to hold an afternoon service in the nursing home, and stay to visit with residents afterward.
Those miles of highway take the church across cultural barriers as well. On a recent visit to the Cedar Ridge Inn nursing home in Farmington, N.M., the Navajo members from Sanostee found themselves ministering to a group of people who are mostly not Native American.
Rev. Slim preached in English and Navajo. The worshipers sang hymns in both languages, too. Church members passed out gifts of warm socks, slippers, and gloves as snow fell outside.
“We love our brothers and sisters in Christ who are here,” said church member Linda Yazzie. Her husband, Daniel, explained, “If you believe in God, you’ve got to be everywhere, not just one place.”
The whole church, including children, is taking part. The Christian Reformed Church’s Sustaining Congregational Excellence program helps with the expenses.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said nursing home resident Catherine Bessie after attending a service. “I love their service, and the fact they take the time and come out here.”