In 1958, Dr. J. Lloyd Mason, his wife Alice, and their four children came to Monument Valley to build a hospital and a church. They also encouraged Christian education for the Navajo children and a Seventh Day Adventist Elementary School was started, which is still running today.
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Many of the Navajo people were born at this hospital. The hospital attended to many trauma cases and stabilized them to be sent on to other facilities.
Truly, it served many native people.
Not only was there a clinic and hospital, but even a dental clinic.
In 1970, a dentist/orthodontist, Dr. Gene Wilson, his wife Blanche, and their 5 children (ages 6 months to ten years old) came to work in the dental clinic. He was the dental clinic director from 1970-1982. Blanche was a homemaker and “mom”, giving care to her own children and 13 Navajo children through the years.
During this time, a dental training program that was an extension of Loma Linda was started. Senior dental students came in groups of four to six and stayed for six weeks at a time. They practiced hands on dentistry under the supervision of Dr. Wilson. This program continued until 1984.
Dr. Wilson then went into private practice for orthodontics and preventive dental care in the area. Today, at 81 years old, Dr. Wilson is still active giving orthodontic care two twelve hour days a month, often on a gratis basis. He continues to garden and take care of the church lawn. He is active in the Monument Valley Church, an elder, and preaches when needed. He also runs several times a week.
Blanche, a lady always full of smiles, and very pleasant to talk to, is still active in the church, helps with Vacation Bible Schools, and teaches the cradle roll class. She is on the mission school board and always ready to lend a helping hand; painting, cleaning, or whatever is needed. She says, “My heart is often sad as I remember the closing of the Monument Valley Hospital and dental clinic.”
The hospital closed in 1996 due mostly to regulations and state codes. Funds were not readily available for the Indian patients from the Indian Nation anymore.
There is still a blessing that continues to this day; the Mission Elementary School did not close.
Besides the mission elementary school, the mission occupies seven acres that is leased from the Navajo Nation for mission use. The church at a location by the old hospital building holds services every Sabbath.
In 2003, a young pastor, Charlie Whitehorse with his wife Bernadine, and their first son, accepted a call to Monument Valley Church.
Charlie grew up in the area. His mother was a Seventh Day Adventist and she did everything she could to raise her children to be true to God. They lived in a hogan and though poor he always remembers his mother having something to share with others in need.
During his high school years, he noticed his friends using alcohol and marijuana to “have a good time”. He decided that he did not want this kind of “fun” and that there must be something better. He went on to get an education in electrical engineering. He was offered a very good job in this field, but, when he inquired further about the job, he found out that he could not get the Sabbath off. He refused the job and decided to go to Weimar College and take a course in pastoral evangelism. Later, he continued his education in pastoral evangelism at Andrew’s University.
At the end of his education at Andrew’s, he had to choose a project. He decided that his project would be to raise up a work at Monument Valley. Some of his classmates thought he was taking on too much, but, he was determined and now the determination is paying off.
Before coming to Monument Valley, he took his first call as a pastor at Chinle, Arizona. He was the pastor there for seven and a half years.
Then, he lead out in the Ft. Defiance Church.
In 2001, while at Ft. Defiance, he married his love, Bernadine. Bernadine is a nurse. She has worked locally in a diabetic clinic and does home health care with the Navajo uranium mine workers, who are very sick. She desires to learn natural ways of treating the sick and wants to be a part of our new health center. Since coming to Monument Valley, Charlie and Bernadine have added to their family, two daughters and another son; totaling four children now.
Pastor Charlie keeps very busy giving three evangelistic meetings a year and doing follow-up Bible studies. One goal that he has is to hold twenty evangelistic meetings every year on the reservation. He is very active and health-minded. He runs three times a week (a very fast runner, Navajos of the past were known for their running abilities).
Recently, the President of Arizona Conference called him and asked him to be the Native American Coordinator for the Nevada/Utah and Arizona Conferences.
He has hopes to train more native workers for the Lord’s work, making them medical missionaries, Bible workers, and lay evangelists. He would like to hold health presentations and evangelistic work for other tribes in the area. God is helping his dreams come true. A health expo was held for the Ute Indians last fall.
In July 2008, Joel and Joyce Meyer with their three children, Joella, Mark, and Joanna, came for a visit and became interested in ministering to the Navajos.
The Meyer family had been in Nepal as missionaries for seven years. After returning in 2001 to America, they went to live near Joyce’s parents in Utah. While there, Joyce's dad told the family many stories about the Navajos. At that time, they were taking their son, Mark, down to Monument Valley for dental brace work from Dr. Wilson.
One day, after Mark’s appointment with Dr. Wilson, the Navajos were having a Walk Across the Nation (a group that gets together every year and walks many miles to encourage exercise) near Monument Valley, Utah, and the Meyer family decided to join them. In the group they were walking with, there were several diabetics. They were able to share health information with this group and hand out some Health Power books.
The Navajos of the group asked if the Meyers would come and teach health topics at the many Chapter Houses (local town hall) on the reservation. The Meyers had to turn them down because they had already committed to work in West Virginia and be close to Joel’s parents.
After being at his parents for a while, the Meyer family began to pray about where they should go to help their children get training to return to the mission field overseas. So, the Meyer family contacted Uchee Pines Health Institute in Seale, Alabama. Joel accepted the position of farm manager and gardening teacher for the students. While there, Joyce and the children were able to take the Lifestyle Health Educator course. Joella, their oldest daughter, also took the Lifestyle Counselor Course.
While at Uchee Pines Health Institution, they decided to go and visit Monument Valley, Utah.
As mentioned earlier, this was July 2008. Joel said that he thought they would go over seas again, but God had other plans. In the fall of 2008, the Meyer family made their move to Monument Valley, Utah. Not knowing where their funding would come from, they moved out in faith. The first year was hard, but God sustained them.
One of the first things that helped them was Joella being able to help teach at the mission school and receive a small amount of monthly pay. Next, Joel was able to begin selling hay, a very necessary commodity for the Navajos, who raise sheep, cattle, and horses. Joanna began to use her talents to train people’s horses and get paid for it. Later, Joyce began to teach kindergarten at the mission school. God supplied their needs.
Last year, Joella spent some time at Uchee Pines Health Institute working in the lifestyle center as a lifestyle counselor. She was even able to take a Navajo young woman, who took the Lifestyle Educator Course there.
The hay sales keep Joel and Mark very busy. They are able to spend time working on the health center and keep up with the hay sales. Mark is the media director for the mission and is currently working on a website (www.monumentvalleymission.com) and other promotional material. Joyce teaches first and second grades at the mission school. Joanna continues to train horses and teach cello lessons. Joella is busy with making brochures and plans for the new lifestyle center and doing treatments for the local people at home.
In January 2009, Rick and Judi Keener and their two daughters, Kezzia and Lydia, came to help in the work. They moved to the area from Georgia, where they had spent the previous 12 years. In Georgia, Rick had worked as a mechanic for a tree planter, training himself as he worked. Judi was a homemaker and homeschooling mother.
The company Rick worked for was soon to close and he had just received his lay-off notice, when they received a call to come to the Navajo Nation, specifically Kayenta, Arizona. After much prayer, they decided to make the move.
The Keener family are the directors of the Community Service Center in Kayenta, Arizona. They play a big part in the church there, holding weekly church services in the Community Service building.
Rick is able to continue using his mechanical skills and sells hay to support the family. This provides for many opportunities to witness to the local people.
Also, Rick has helped to build the Dine’ Health and Healing Center in Monument Valley, Utah. Their daughters have helped often at the mission school. Judi helps with cooking schools and other helpful seminars in the area.
Kezzia is the co-director for the Dine’ Youth Horse Camp. Lydia is busy with her homeschool work and helps her mom take care of Navajo foster children.
Pastor Charlie, the Meyers, and the Keeners had a vision of building a facility for educating the local people to do Bible work and teach about healthy lifestyles and how to use natural remedies. In May 2009, a new facility was started, the Dine’ Health and Healing Center. It is built in the shape of an octagon. Some Navajos live in octagon shaped houses. We refer to it as “The Octagon”. When we started building this health center, people asked, “Is this your house?” We replied, “No, this is your house.” This health center is being built specifically for Native Americans.
Since May 2009, many mission groups and others have come to help build the new health center. We are so grateful for all the physical and financial help that has been given.
Jim Stimpel, a contractor from Weimar, California, came and donated his time for six months this past year. It was a great blessing to have him here. We hope he decides to come again.
Another family came to join the team, James and Lisa Weishaar, Jr. and their daughter, Kendra. They came from Casa Grande, Arizona, which is south of Phoenix, Arizona.
James had previously been a cook at Gem State Academy in Idaho. Also he and his wife had managed apartments and the maintenance of the apartments.
During the year 2011, James attended classes about healthful living and treatments. He and his wife decided they wanted to work in the Lord’s work. They came in the spring to check out Monument Valley Mission. James was hired to be the cook for the mission school. He also does small engine repair for the local people. He is the teacher for the youth class at church. Kendra is a 4th grade student.
The Weishaar family came in a small motor home and have recently moved into a small trailer home on the mission grounds. They are very happy here.
Another very important member of our team is a Navajo young lady, Cara Luna, who is the principal and teacher of the 3rd -8th grades. She was raised in the area. She attended Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and received her education degree. She has completed a master’s degree in education. She has been teaching at the mission school for the past nine years.
She has an interest in helping young students in their learning process.
The children really like her and if she has to miss a day, they continually ask about her.
Her family is very friendly. They seem to always be full of smiles.
All team members are working hard and we are eager to see the Lord’s work go forward in His way.
We wish the health center could be finished soon. It is not always easy to treat the people in our homes due to lack of space and privacy. There are people now that need to go through a lifestyle health program we will be offering. Many are suffering from diabetes, which is one of the number one diseases among Native Americans. Many people have cancer and heart disease. There are also those, who are suffering from the effects of uranium mining.
Although we are doing everything as economical as possible, we still need about $25,000 to bring the health center to completion. We also need some skilled laborers, finish carpenters and stone masons.
Our plans are to not only have health treatments, but to also have a school to train medical missionary evangelists, as mentioned earlier. We want to train the people to serve each other.