Friends will be helping friends March 14

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By Special to the Monitor

White Rock Presbyterian Church will host a yard sale and Navajo Taco sale March 14 to support the church’s Navajo Mission Project. The event begins at 9 a.m. at Presbyterian Church’s Memorial Hall located at                     310 Rover Blvd.

The yard sale will feature clothing for all sizes, household items, appliances and tools.

Funds raised will help build ramps and complete home repairs for elderly Navajos living in the VanderWagen area south of Gallup. The church also hopes to build a patio for the Navajo House of Fellowship Church.

Lorraine Thomas, wife of House of Fellowship Rev. Fred Thomas, along with other members of the church, will travel to White Rock to prepare the tacos.

“Navajo Tacos are made from fry bread (dough fried in hot oil) which is topped with pinto beans, ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions,” Lorraine said. “For those who like their tacos spicy, salsa, jalapeños or green chile may be added as well.”  

"There's nothing like a hearty Navajo Taco," she added.

Donations for the yard sale are being accepted at the church. For more information, contact the church at 672-3682.

The church began its Navajo Mission Project in 2008, providing support to the House of Fellowship Church. The Thomases have ministered to the needs of their own community for more than 20 years. They hold church services, prayer meetings, make home visits, haul wood and water to shut-ins and bring the Gospel to those in need.

Both are bilingual in Navajo and English.

“We have been a part of the VanderWagen community for a long time,” Lorraine said. “Our partnerships with the congregation at White Rock Presbyterian Church enable us to expand our support and services to our members.”

Church member Jennifer Holmes used to teach on the Navajo reservation, where Lorraine was one of her students. Last July, Holmes approached Rev. Harry Chronis at the Presbyterian Church about adding this project to the church's mission work. Holmes brought Chronis and Lorraine together and the shared ideas and goals exploded.

“Both pastors were excited about the possibilities of these two congregations working together to improve living conditions on the reservation as well as sharing the word of the Gospel,” Holmes said.

Lorraine is not only a full-time pastor's wife, but also a full-time student at UNM where she is pursuing a degree in business. She hopes to start her own construction company some day. The Thomases have built and repaired many homes for people around the reservation.

In September 2008, 23 members of Presbyterian Church, including some of the younger members, gathered at the House of Fellowship Church, built a ramp and put in a new floor for Marion Yazzie, an elderly community member. The Navajo community joined the mission team for meals, volleyball games and worship services as well as work on the project. Many relationships were formed and a partnership between the churches was sealed.

“It was a very rewarding weekend for everyone,” Holmes said. “This yard sale and Navajo Taco sale will enable us to continue the work we have started.”

“Our church members are very gracious and generous in regards to our mission work,” Chronis said. “It has been a rewarding and educational partnership for both congregations.”

Since then, Fred and Lorraine and other House of Fellowship Church members have visited WRPC where Fred has served as a guest speaker. The Navajo congregation has reached out to the White Rock congregation and taught them many cultural beliefs and skills, Navajo mission protocol and fun activities such as how to make fry bread. WRPC has reached out the Navajo community by helping with House of  Fellowship projects that the Thomases oversee.

The Presbyterian Church is planning an upcoming mission trip to the House of Fellowship from March 27 through March 30. The trip is for families and all ages and will include construction work projects, fellowship, family visits, volleyball games and food. Community members are welcome to join the trip. Call  Holmes at the church for more details.