“Here is home,” said Jennifer, who giggles easily and asks deep questions about faith that make staffers pause to think. “They feel like family.” Having that loving support taught her to trust God more: “Before, I felt like everything that happened was bad, and that God didn’t have a reason for it. But now I see that He does care, and that He does have a plan.”
Taylor and Jennifer are two of many such stories at Navajo Ministries, an interdenominational nonprofit that started in 1953 with a borrowed tent when founder Jack Drake saw a desperate need to care for neglected and abused Navajo kids. The president of a local bank donated $12,000 for Drake to purchase 12 acres of land in Farmington, a town bordering the reservation. Drake borrowed books from the local library to learn how to build a house and, with the help of several volunteers from the Midwest, erected the first children’s home on the property—a two-story, five-bedroom, cinder-block house with a shingled roof that quickly filled with 17 Navajo kids.
Sixty-four years later, the mission of Navajo Ministries stays the same: To help people through programs that instill hope, restoration, and Christian values. Throughout the decades, the ministry expanded and shrank depending on available funds and need. Today Navajo Ministries includes an after-school learning program, an award-winning Christian radio station, and an outreach program that provides material and spiritual help to the Navajo Nation through vacation Bible schools and support to Navajo churches.