As many of you know, Dr Mary Peter has led the annual Christian Veterinary Mission trip to the Apache and Navajo reservations in July for the past 4 years. The team of veterinarians and veterinary students from across the country travel to these reservations in Arizona to provide veterinary care for the Native people and to share the gospel. The teams over the years, first led by Countryside’s founder Dr. Billy Myers, have made many friends and they look forward to fellowshipping and serving them each summer.
As our Countryside family, you have always been tremendously supportive of the team’s efforts, through both monetary and in-kind donations. We cannot thank you all enough, because without your help - from cargo trailers to towels and other supplies – the trip would not be possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the reservations especially hard; the Navajo Reservation has experienced the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. It is hard to believe, but 40% of the residents do not have access to running water. In consultation with our Native hosts, we will do our part to support safety and health, and forego the cross-country travel. Although we will greatly miss seeing all of our friends, we have decided to take a path of social distance and share Christ’s Love from Afar. We can still support our friends from where we are!
Please join our extended team this year to support the Navajo and Apache Reservations during this pandemic. We partner with three primary organizations each year for our mission trip. Your direct giving to these host ministries can help Share Christ’s Love from Afar by helping to purchase meals and necessary supplies (e.g., masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, etc) for those families who need it most.
1. Christian Veterinary Mission, which is our parent organization, has opened a Western Navajo Relief Fund - 100% of the donations go to the Navajo Nation.
2. Good Shepherd Mission Episcopal Church in Navajoland, our host church and base camp while on the Navajo Nation, is accepting donations online to go towards the Navajo COVID-19 relief.
3. Apache Youth Ministries, our host ministry on the Apache reservation, empowers Apache youth to impact their community for Christ and has established a link to join their COVID-19 relief efforts.
If you are crafty, why not consider making face coverings to send to the Native people? Special designs and uplifting messages can provide a small gift of love and hope. Simply mail or deliver the homemade face coverings to the Countryside office and we will take care of the shipment to the reservations.
Through all the turmoil of the last few months and days, we continue to trust in this verse from Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go". We don't understand all that has happened this year or what the future holds, but we trust in the Lord and are praying for His guidance, healing, and humility. With truth and grace, we will be able to move forward in love; building each other up and serving each other.
By: Dr. Mary Peter, Dr. Lee Myers & Dr. Billy