Allen Fowler scattered corn pollen into the cool morning air as he greeted the sun rising in the east. Growing up Navajo meant living in harmony with the land, valuing family ties, and never questioning the wisdom of the elders.
Allen met Kelley, a young woman who worked in a store in a nearby town. He knew that he had found his life partner and worked to convince her as well. Eventually they married and started a family.
Allen’s work took him away from his family for weeks at a time. Neither he nor Kelley was happy with the separations. Kelley had wandered from her Christian faith, but she prayed that God would provide a way for Allen to be home with the family more.
God opened a way for the couple to move halfway across the country, closer to Kelley’s family. Best of all, Allen could be home every night.
Kelley reconnected with her Adventist roots, and the couple’s new friends surrounded them with love. As Allen learned the health principles Adventists teach, he thought, If following health principles taught in the Bible can improve my own health, maybe Christianity has something for me after all. As Allen’s interest in healthful living grew, so did his interest in spiritual matters. Allen gave his life to Christ and was baptized; Kelley recommitted her life to Christ and was rebaptized.
Allen continued to study and grow in his relationship with Jesus. Then he recalled the words of a Navajo elder: “If you leave our community and learn something new, you must come back and teach us.” The Navajo have so many health problems, Allen thought. They need to know how to live more healthfully.
Allen and Kelley prepared to move back to Arizona. But it took two years for the house to sell. Meanwhile, God prepared them for the work He had for them on the Navajo reservation.
Allen and Kelley understood that the Navajo people have many needs. Poverty is always lurking at the door. A high percentage of Navajo suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues. Alcohol and drug abuse contribute to their problems. Allen suggested that they work on meeting the health needs of his people as a way to reach their hearts. Navajos are leery of Christianity, the White people’s religion. These same people had brought them so much pain and grief.
The couple lived God’s love by example, giving hitchhikers rides to town and hauling water from town for families on the reservation who couldn’t get it for themselves. Without this water, the Native American families couldn’t survive.
They shared natural remedies and health information with anyone who would listen. One day Allen’s uncle came to see Allen and Kelley. He had been bitten by a spider, and the wound was getting worse. He had been unable to get help at the local clinic. “Can you help me?” he asked.
Kelley applied a charcoal poultice to the wound and asked the man to return the next day. After several treatments, the wound healed. Word spread quickly, and others came to Allen and Kelley for help and advice.
As Allen looked at the community in which he’d grown up, he saw so many needs. Homes needed repair, and the people needed medical and dental care. The couple arranged for medical and dental experts to make mission trips to provide health care and invited other groups to help repair or rebuild houses.
Other mission groups helped to build a community center that Allen and Kelley use to hold health seminars and outreach programs for the Navajo. Although the center isn’t yet finished, they are using it to bring Christ to the community. They give out donated blankets, sheets, and towels, and prepare food baskets for the elderly and neediest families.
“The community center is a beacon of light in the surrounding Navajo community,” Kelley says. “Here we can show these people that Jesus loves them and wants to be part of their lives.” Practical, loving service has broken down barriers so that God’s love can flow into the lives of His Navajo children. Recently 12 precious Navajos were baptized into God’s family.
Allen and Kelley’s ministry is entirely faith-supported. This quarter part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help to build up the work among the Navajo people of northern Arizona. Thank you for sharing so that others can meet the Savior we love.