October 1st marked the beginning of a new chapter in our life. People often use the analogy of chapters to mark the end of something and beginning of the next thing, and it’s very fitting for our family because we just moved out of the house we’ve called home for 4 years and 11 months. Ok, let’s just call it 5 years. Our fingers were cracked and rubbed raw from all the cardboard boxes we carried down two flights of stairs, and from scrubbing out our disgusting refrigerator. Our bodies were sore from hefting furniture and over-stuffed boxes.
We drove away from Window Rock at sunset. The kids were all smashed into the car, right along with our Leopard Gecko, Steve. We were about half way through a pretty remote part of our drive on the Reservation, with maybe 40 minutes on either side of us to a gas station when we noticed that our gas tank was almost on empty. Just like the first downhill part of an amusement ride when your stomach drops, some of us simply felt like we had been jerked around enough on this ride, and could not take one more sudden drop or “loop-the-loop.”
Maybe you’ve had the experience of being on a roller coaster that is absolutely terrifying to you. In contrast, perhaps you’ve been on a roller coaster that is scary, but “Weeeeeee!” it’s also super fun and exhilarating. The Timber Wolf wooden roller coaster was the first kind of experience for Emily, as a pre-teen, at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. She hated every minute of that ride and was pretty sure she was going to fall out or the dang thing was going to give way at some point. There are some rides you are willing to stand in line for again and again, but not this one. Not for Emily. No way.
Walking into the unknown is a little bit like riding a roller coaster. Embedded within that experience is an authority issue. When we don’t acknowledge God’s authority in all circumstances, it’s similar to feeling like we have to steer a roller coaster and keep it on it’s track. But roller coasters are engineered to be safe for the people that are buckled in. And if you trust in the engineering, it can be a total thrill!
We knew that moving away and taking our family on the road for the next few months would not always be a thrill. At times, we have experienced this transition like the Timber Wolf ride Emily hated so much as a tween. But as we drove off into the unknown, we realized that we can truly have a blast on this crazy ride if we trust that God has perfectly engineered this season. We’re not saying that we have to push past our fears and ignore our hearts and just “enjoy the ride.” No, some of that fear is healthy. It’s there to remind us that we might just be forgetting to trust the one who made the ride.
|Want to help us with a place to stay along our trip? Maybe you don’t know of a place to stay, but want to put us up in a hotel! Please consider a hotels.com gift card. Get a gift card here!|
|Our ItineraryCheck out our itinerary so you can pray for us as we safely go from place to place. See our itinerary here.|
Pray with us…
– Every Wednesday and Saturday during October we plan to travel to another city for more funding appointments. Ask the Lord to keep us in His Way; for safety from temptation, from the enemy of our souls and clarity as we drive. Pray for peace in the car. (Jude 24; Duet. 28:6)
– We are 69% funded! Pray for the remaining 31% to come in before January 1st. (Phil. 4:19)
– Continue praying for our protection from illness as we “pitch our tent” in many places and visit various people. (Psa. 91:10)
DH & Emily Henry
|Transitions are hard.|
Transition with a family of six during a pandemic is especially arduous. We would love your prayers over the next month during this season of being “up-rooted.”
The Transition Bridge is a great illustration for the experience of transition (we learned this at Mission Training International). It can often go like this: being settled in life, then being uprooted, going through the chaos of the unknown, finally becoming transplanted and re-settled into your new normal.
Pray with us…
– For our whole family to know God’s loving presence with us, holding us up amidst the chaos of change
– For safety and wisdom as we travel
– That we will be spiritually healthy, vision driven and full funded
DH & Emily Henry
Our ItineraryCheck out our itinerary so you can pray for us as we safely go from place to place. See our itinerary here.
|Security guard at Basha’s grocery store in Window Rock takes our friend’s temperature before allowing him into the store.|
|While many news stations talk about governors reopening commerce around the country, the Navajo Nation has also been hitting the news for a very different reason. You’ve most likely heard the story already: the Navajo have the second highest infection rate per capita in the United States, which means the fight against the virus rages on in and around the Navajo Nation. As of this week, there have been over three thousand cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation with 100 known deaths. To give you an idea of how that compares to other parts of the US – the land of the Navajo is about the size of West Virginia, the population, though, is only 20% in comparison to that state. Nevertheless, the Navajo people are suffering from more than twice as many cases and have lost almost twice as many people to the virus. All this despite a nightly curfew (between 8PM and 5AM) and a 57 hour weekend curfew that the Navajo Nation leaders have imposed.|
President Jonathan Nez, while speaking to DH and a number of pastors Monday morning, mentioned how he has had a greater voice than usual. News anchors from C-span and CNN have been calling him up for interviews. In order to explain the source of the problem and why, for instance, 30% of the population has no running water, President Nez and his Vice President have had to catch their interviewers up on Navajo history – how, for example, the water rights system of “first in time, first in right” didn’t apply to Navajo during the westward expansion of the 19th century. This land, so often overlooked, is being acknowledged because of this pandemic. A number of big names have stepped up to help and have asked people to go to <protectthesacred.net>.
The border towns around the Navajo Nation have been feeling the effects of its high infection rate, since so many from within the Nation frequent those towns to provide essential needs. With only 13 grocery stores on the Nation (and prices that reflect that disparity in supply and demand), most of the people living on Navajo’s Western agency go in and out of Flagstaff, AZ regularly. Likewise, those in the Eastern agency, like us, commute to Gallup, NM. But as Gallup’s infection rate began to reflect that of the Navajo Nation, they closed the city off; with the help of the National Guard, the Gallup Highway patrol barricaded the roads into town for 10 days. Just yesterday, the city reopened with hopes that the extreme measures would slow the spread of the virus but not hurt their economy too much.
It has been stressful for us to be in a place with such a high rate of infection, in the midst of nightly, weekend, and 10-day curfews – unable to get to town where we do most of our shopping. But, the challenges we have faced are practically nothing compared to what faces those deeper in the “rez”, who do not have electricity or running water.
|Our work here continues on amidst the pandemic, though it is much different. Lately, DH has been connecting Navajo pastors with Navajo Nation Christian Response Team (NNCRTeam) to assist in the distribution of food boxes to those in need. It has been beautiful to see the Diné step up to take care of their own people in this difficult time. Emily and the kids keep busy with phonics and math now that Classical Conversations is over for the summer, as well as the normal business of life with four young kiddos. |
We are incredibly grateful for your continued support and prayers!
DH and Emily Henry
|Please pray with us…That the work DH is doing to help mobilize the Navajo church will reach beyond the network our small mission has and extend to the remotest regions of the Navajo Nation. (Is. 41:9)That the Lord would help us to be creative in equipping the church right now. (Eph. 4:12)For wisdom as we think about what future ministry will look like after this pandemic. (Prov. 18:15)|
We wanted to pass this Washington Post article on to you all to motivate more fervent prayers for the Navajo Nation and other tribes in the US.
|Please pray with us that:Navajo (esp. the youth) can practice long-suffering and “shelter in place” until this virus runs its course (Is. 26:20)our world and especially those infected by this virus would speedily recover (Is. 58:8)the Navajo language [Diné Bizaad] would not be lost to this virus (Is. 43:23)|
|Thanks for lifting up the vulnerable to our Lord. |
-DH & Emily Henry
P.S. If you feel the Lord moving you to respond to the Navajo Nation’s emergency, the Navajo Nation Christian Response Team will be picking up donated medical supplies, in part, from our mission. If you have hand sanitizer, rubber gloves, face-masks etc. they can be sent to:
c/o Across Nations
P.O. Box 9090,
Window Rock, AZ 86515
(FedEx or UPS):
c/o Across Nations
02C Hilltop Dr.
Gallup, NM 87301-9090
|On March 11, DH crossed the last hurdle to begin resettling after the acoustic neuroma crisis. He had his first fitting appointment at the audiologist’s office and finally received the sound processor for his bone anchor hearing aid, a Ponto 4. In essence, it picks up sound with two tiny microphones and sends sound vibrations directly onto his abutment anchored to his bone. It carries the vibrations to DH’s working ear on his right side. DH’s right ear continues to hear very well and now, for the first time since the surgical removal of the tumor, he can pick up sound on his left side too. He’s still adjusting to the new quality of sound the processor delivers; it offers a much more digital version while his right ear still provides a natural sound. Even though it’s been a week since he got it, we have yet to test out how it works in larger group settings. That will have to wait until political leaders lift the regulations about social distancing.|
Sometimes life feels like we barely finish one crisis before the next one begins. Of course, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has begun to threaten the Navajo Nation. Earlier last week (Monday, March 9th), before that threat began to make its presence known on tribal land, the Navajo Nation President and Vice President held a morning prayer event at the foot of Window Rock. Both traditional medicine men and Christian pastors from around the Navajo Nation were given opportunity to pray against the spread of the pandemic.
DH had been asked to invite someone he trusted to represent the Christians in prayer, so he invited one of our favorite prayer warriors, pastor Irvinson Jones (pictured above) from Huerfano NM, two hours north east. We were glad he was able to come. Also, our family was privileged to provide coffee and hot tea for everyone who made it to the event. Despite all the juggling of kids and hot drink preparations, our whole family made it out for the tail end of the event. Even during those early days of the crisis, President Jonathan Nez took the virus’ spread very seriously. We praise the Lord, for granting such wisdom to the Nation’s leadership and their advice to temporarily shut down Navajo Nation schools and their encouragement toward social distancing.
If events are being canceled and there is “social distancing” happening all over the U.S., such measures are even more important on the Navajo Nation. With Indian Health Services and the various Hospitals already being tapped out (because of high turn-over rate among staff and having to supply medical aid for vast areas), the potential of over-crowding medical facilities in our area poses a true threat. Furthermore, with so many elderly Navajo in close quarters with (or functioning as guardians for) their grandchildren, and the reality of wide-spread diabetes among the people, the Navajo Nation desperately needs to successfully slow the spread and reduce the number of cases, i.e.“flatten the curve.” Needless to say, our family has been staying close to home.We’re a homeschooling family, so we’re used to being home, but our kids have felt a bit cooped up during this odd time. Please let us know how we can be in praying for your families. We love you!
DH & Emily Henry
Phinehas LOVES to build!From marshmallow bridges to popsicle stick trebuchets, Phinehas has been ecstatic about our hands-on-science this quarter.
Josiah LOVES to draw!If he sees a picture of it, he can draw it. His favorite subjects include Bot Bots (transformers), robots, animals, monsters, and “Chinese characters.”
Zoe LOVES to play!This sweet girl is most happy when playing with her stuffed animals or pretending to be a princess. She loves Mermaids because they are “elegant and beautiful and fun.”
Felicity LOVES to eat!She’s almost 1 now, and this girl is growing like crazy. Dee Dee (as we call her) sleeps through the night, crawls, opens cupboards, and keeps us all laughing.
|Pray with us….The Navajo Nation has closed its borders to visitors. Please ask our High Priest to intercede and stop the pandemic at just the right time. (Num. 16:47)Many traditional Navajos believe in the protection of the Four Sacred Mountains, when this protection fails them, pray that Gospel truth may find its way into the hearts of even the most dogmatic medicine men. Andwhen God’s will is done, that His goodness will lead many Diné to repentance. (Judg. 16:24; 1Kings 20:28; Rom. 2:4)|
|2019 Concludes with a Successful Christmas Homeless Outreach|
|We praise the Lord for allowing us to pull off our second annual Navajo Christmas Homeless Outreach. Serving the down-and-out on Christmas morning has been one of our family traditions for years. So, last year, when we heard from the Navajo Nation President that he and members of his cabinet were handing out meals to the homeless on December 25th, we asked if we could join. We had no idea that the office of the President would hand over the whole event to DH this year but, because it was such an exciting opportunity, he was happy to see the process through. DH had been coordinating with the Navajo Nation President and Vice President since the end of November and the Lord supplied us with a substantial donation from Marathon Petroleum, owners of Speedway gas stations, that provided more than enough funds to cover the cost of all the supplies. Those provisions, paired with a team of ten families to help prepare breakfast burritos, the seventh-grade class from Hilltop Christian School assembling snack bags, and a coffee aficionado from a local church, afforded everything necessary for the outreach. On Christmas morning, DH lead the team, made up of a beautiful mix of Diné [Navajo] and Anglo volunteers. We distributed more than 300 breakfast burritos, 250 Christmas bags, eighteen gallons of coffee and more than fifteen back-packs filled with warm blankets and toiletries. One of our favorite things to see was how our friend Leander demonstrated effective compassion in his conversations with some of the men we met. We’ve been listening to a podcast called “Effective Compassion,” it’s based on the principles explored in The Tragedy of American Compassion (we highly recommend both the podcast and the book). Both the book and podcast communicate that true hope comes most effectively when our outreach is: 1) challenging; 2) personal; and 3) spiritual. Our friend Leander didn’t just hand out food but he took time to get to know the men we met, he spoke to them about God and even graciously challenged the fathers he met to consider reaching out to their childrenLeander spent a year living with us – a guest in our home. He just moved out on January 18th. On one of his last nights with us, we sat together and shared some favorite memories. We talked about some of the times he worked with DH on construction projects, how he had been so sweet with baby Felicity and the fun times we had together. He shared with us how he would never forget the example of family worship and what healthy discipline looks like. Leander truly walked with us through a stressful year, but, with DH’s recovery, Leander has also been able to witness the beginnings of our transition back to a new normal.For the most part, DH’s health has returned to normal and the stress experienced by the family with all the surgeries has come and gone. Emily has jumped back into her challenging role of directing and tutoring the Classical Conversations community in Gallup. Zoe has begun a more active role as Felicity’s older sister; now that Felicity begun to sit up and interact, they play together more often. Josiah is enjoying his education, especially memorizing his math facts and important events in history. And, last but not least, Phinehas has been developing his musical abilities through piano lessons. DH has also had to recollect a lot of lessons he learned as a music major as he strategizes how to put the Navajo Psalms to music.The Navajo Psalms project has proved quite a daunting task but DH has made impressive strides in networking and, with the help of those connections, planning an initial course of action. The Lord’s hand has brought him in contact with a number of groups and individuals that have proved invaluable – the most significant being a group of Navajo believers committed to creating and implementing contextualized Diné [Navajo] music for the evangelical church (a rarity). God has also answered prayers and connected DH with another missionary who has begun a very similar endeavor with a First Nation tribe in Vancouver BC. A primary goal is to compose and record four variations of one Psalm that can be distributed to the growing network of Navajo advisors. Hopefully, with their feedback, one of those variations could be used as an example for future Navajo musicians to follow.|
|Thank you for your partnership!|
Prayer requests: Plead with us for the community all around us that feels down-and-out, ask that our compassion for them and ministry among them would become more effective to produce hope and eternally changed lives (1 Cor. 15:9; James 5:16)Ask our Father to comfort and provide for Leander – now that he has moved out of our guest room, a lot more challenges seem to be before him. Pray that God would make his path straight (Prov. 3:6; Psa. 107:7)Pray that the Lord provide wisdom for DH to gather a skillful team – that what is produced among them might bear much fruit on Diné Bikéyah [the Navajo Nation] (1 Chr. 25:7; 1 Kin. 3:9; Jn. 15:16)
DH & EmilyPO Box 9090 Window Rock, AZ 86515
|Everything about DH’s surgery trip to LA last week seemed to be going smoothly until around 4:50 PM the night before his scheduled surgery — ten minutes before the surgeon’s office closed. Two days before Thanksgiving this year, DH had scheduled a surgical procedure that would adjust for the deafness to his left side. We certainly didn’t like the idea of having to shuffle our family celebration around, but the prospect of getting this done before our health insurance cycled all over again in January was hard to pass up. DH made it to LA for a pre-op appointment, got all the waivers and documents signed, and the okay from the surgeon, so a frantic phone call from the surgeon’s assistant, late that afternoon came as a total surprise. She said that there had been some confusion regarding payment: “Were you going to pay cash for the surgery or use insurance?” Since we use MediShare, a medical bill sharing program that is not technically insurance, she was under the impression that we intended to pay cash for the procedure and had filled out all of Daniel’s paperwork with that in mind! She said that if he couldn’t clear up the confusion in the next ten minutes, they would be forced to cancel the surgery. That’s when stress hit hard. We began to worry that the whole trip might be for naught. We both called MediShare, which had been made fully aware of the surgery and had received all the necessary information from DH. They assured us that the procedure was eligible for sharing. However, they had never received a filled-out pre-clearance form from the surgeon’s assistant because of the confusion. Anyway, since House Ear Clinic closed before the mix-up could be repaired, DH was told it wouldn’t work out and they would try to reschedule — possibly early the following week. Needless to say, we were shocked, heavy hearted and overwhelmed. We continued praying and reached out to family, asking them to intercede with us. We were praying for peace, and contentment with God’s hand in all of the chaos and for His wonderful solution/reasoning to make itself readily apparent. With all the uncertainty, Daniel felt like the best thing to do was to get back to work until there was more clarity. He had been juggling a number of things: functioning as the point person for one construction project on the mission, networking with pastors in preparation for the upcoming pastors’ Summit, and coordinating an exciting Christmas morning outreach to the homeless. Despite all the disappointment, DH was satisfied at how many loose ends got tied up in the window God opened. For instance, instead of reading up on the surgery, like he probably would have that night, he worked on sending out an invite for the Summit event to the three hundred some Navajo pastors and Christian leaders on his contact list. In the morning, when he would have been in surgery, DH was texting with the Navajo Nation President and Vice President about the latest draft of the Church Land Use Lease policy (one of the Summit topics). He was able to finalize details about the Christmas morning homeless outreach and coordinate payment for the pumper truck that was scheduled to supply cement at the mission’s job site. And all from Los Angeles!|
Later that morning, DH went to the surgeon’s office, at House Ear Clinic, hoping that some resolution could be reached. While he was meeting with House’s financial representative, discussing possible solutions, the surgeon’s assistant barged into the room and shook DH’s shoulder saying, “Go over to surgery! They’re ready to take you right now at the admitting desk!” She explained briefly that when the misunderstanding had been cleared up that morning, everything fell into place. After the initial shock of her Kramer-type entrance wore off, DH was able to celebrate how God answered our prayers to allow the surgery to happen on the same day it was scheduled — only instead of being the first patient of the day, DH was the last. In fact, one of the doctors in the O.R. quoted our Lord while DH was being operated on, “The first shall be last.” Praise the Lord for His answer to prayer and for allowing the surgery to be a successful one! This hearing aid abutment represents the last medical hurdle to overcome before DH can begin resettling into a new normal in his hearing.
|Pray With Us…for the Navajo Nation Christian Leaders Summit scheduled for this Saturday (Prov. 11:14)for all the work we’ve been doing on the mission property to have lasting benefits (Ps. 90:17)that the Christmas morning homeless outreach would be an even more coordinated effort this year (Gal. 2:10)Thank you for your support!!|
DH & Emily
|Our house sits right next to Hilltop Christian School, an important part of Across Nations ministry here in the Window Rock area. Emily takes our kids out to recess in the mornings for a break from their homeschool studies and to get a chance to play with friends. This year we have befriended a few new students at the school and we believe God is at work in these new relationships. |
While the kids run and play, Emily takes the opportunity to get some exercise by walking the perimeter of the playground. Two girls, Eden and Shayla (pictured above), have taken to walking with her. While they spend most of their time sharing silly stories, or talking about which hair bows they wear with which outfits, the conversations have also included information about family members like absent fathers, deceased grandparents, aunts who are raising them, baby siblings and cousins. They have even begun to share their testimonies with one another. We aren’t totally sure of the extent of their the relationships with the Lord, but we would love for you to join us in praying for God to open up opportunities for Emily to point them to Christ while they walk and talk.
Emily is not the only one making friends on the playground. Zoe has a sweet friend named Raleah who is in kindergarten. Phinehas made friends with a boy named Liam who has already transferred to a different school (both pictured above). We were so sad to not see him every day, but God opened up a chance to invite him to Phinehas’ birthday party. (He’s pictured again on the bottom left below.)
|Free Coffee and PrayerDuring the warmer fall months we were able to set up a tent at the flea market and give away coffee and offer prayer to anyone who wanted it. It was a whole family affair on Friday mornings. We’ve enjoyed meeting with a variety of new people and being able to pray with them about things like recovering from addictions, family conflicts, health problems, or grown children who have become distant. One couple approached us and told of their new faith in Christ and asked us to pray that they would remain faithful to their decision to move out and remain chaste until they get married. Some traditional Navajos would even ask us to “do a prayer” for them. We were honored to be able to pray with them in the name of Jesus Christ. Now that the weather is getting colder and the flea market isn’t quite as busy, we are considering other avenues of service and outreach. Please pray with us about being able to deliver fire wood to families in need, and that God would use this as an avenue to share the hope of the Gospel.|
|Pray With Us…DH has another appointment scheduled in LA at the House Clinic on Nov 27th. He’s scheduled to get an implant, or abutment, for a bone anchor hearing aid. It’s an outpatient surgery, but he’ll be traveling the day before surgery and the day after Thanksgiving. Emily and the kids will stay in Window Rock for Thanksgiving. Please ask the Lord to create open doors for the gospel through DH’s trip and for stronger hearing because of the surgery. (1 Cor. 16:9 & Matt. 11:15)For wisdom and discernment for our friend Leander who has been living with us – he is trying to figure out where he will live next. (Job 28:20)For wisdom and perseverance for DH as he acts as “standing clerk” (of sorts) for the Navajo Nation Christian Leadership meetings November 14th and December 7th. He’s also planning a Bible conference that is scheduled for November 15-17th. (Gal. 6:10)Pray that the church here could spread faith and the knowledge of God and His glory — transforming destructive thoughts and behaviors to those that build up. A core group of Navajo pastors are planning to meet in the afternoon of November 14th in order to discuss their position on biblical sexuality. Generally, traditional Navajos aline with the traditional Judeo-Christian perspective on the matter, but many members of the tribe have adopted the worldview of mainstream culture. Some of the leaders hope to discuss whether they want to sign a document like the Nashville Statement or develop their own statement. (2 Cor. 10:5) Thank you for your support!!|
DH & Emily
|On July 16, 2019 DH went under anesthesia at St Vinvent’s Hospital in downtown Los Angeles and a team of surgeons removed a vestibular schwannoma from his left ear. We knew this would take away the remaining 50% of his hearing on that side because of how involved the tumor was with his vestibular nerve. The goal was to save his facial nerve. He was in surgery for about six hours. During the first three hours, Dr. Slattery, the neurotologist (shown on the left above), drilled through his mastoid bone and the bony canal of DH’s ear removing the long portion of the tumor. The second three hours of surgery were done by neurologist Dr Lekovic (shown above, holding a model of the brain), who removed the larger, round portion of the tumor – right next to DH’s brain stem. These surgeons are the best in the world at this surgery and, together with the other doctors at House, they do it over 500 times a year. We were very confident in their skill and ability. But when Emily kissed DH goodbye before surgery she cried tears of anticipation and grief. This felt like too much. Thankfully, Emily had the great help of her sister-in-law, BJ, and niece, Lael, there with them for the week of the surgery. BJ and Lael helped to bare the burden of caring for the kids and making things fun for them during a stressful time. They were able to remove the whole tumor and save DH’s facial nerve! God took such good care of our family and continues to do so.