“Lord, what am I doing here?” a Navajo woman often ponders. Jenna never planned to move back to the reservation. Since childhood, all she longed for was to move away, breaking free from the poverty and hopelessness on the “rez.”
Jenna’s parents were believers in the Lord Jesus and pastored a church among the Native Americans. The message of the “white man’s God” was not well received by all. Jenna would sometimes come home from school bruised and bleeding by fellow classmates.
“I knew I had to get straight A’s to get out of the reservation,” Jenna recalls. By the time she graduated high school, Jenna received academic scholarships from several colleges including Harvard University.
“Mom wanted me to go to Bible college,” Jenna muses. This was her mother’s dream, not hers. But sensing the Lord’s leading, she attended Bob Jones University. Following college, Jenna was married and became a successful business woman in Dallas, Texas, working in economic development, accounting and insurance litigation.
Jenna’s mom continued to pray, telling her daughter that the reservation was where the Lord wanted her to serve. Although she resisted, Jenna once again sensed the Lord’s nudging and went into missions on the reservation following her mother’s death.
Jenna didn’t realize the impact this decision would make.
Jenna’s daughter-in-law is a Navajo woman who was hardened to the gospel. It took many years for her heart to soften to Jenna’s witness before she responded in faith. Her dad, a medicine man, was so impressed by the changes in his daughter that he sent his son to live with Jenna. This son also received the Lord as his Savior.
Jenna has had opportunity to share the gospel with her daughter-in-law’s father. With no electricity or running water, his request was for both a Bible and a radio. Jenna gave him a solar-powered SonSet® radio, and he is picking up the gospel programming broadcast by SonSet Solutions’ partner ministry Across Nations.
Deep down, Jenna knows why God brought her back to the reservation. Life is challenging there, but through her influence and the ministry efforts of Across Nations, a Navajo family is finding lasting hope beyond the “rez.”
Written by Erica Simone, April 2022