The 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation—stretching across parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah—has surpassed New York’s per-capita COVID-19 infection rate. Among a population of around 175,000, the Navajo people have registered 5,250 cases of COVID-19 and 241 deaths.

While states scramble to respond and reopen, Christian ministries are among those turning their attention to the unique needs of the Navajo, who have less access to basic resources like utilities, the internet, grocery stores, and hospitals, with just four inpatient facilities on the reservation.

Carol Bremer-Bennett is positioned well to lead the charge. The only Navajo at the head of a US evangelical organization, she became the national director of World Renew—the international relief and development agency of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)—after a career as an educator at a Christian school for native students. In the classroom, Bremer-Bennett said she learned to see the God-given potential in every child and help “eliminate as many barriers and obstacles and challenges in the way.”

That attitude has shaped her approach to development work, pushing her to see the opportunity that lies within a community that may have been held back by injustices of the past. As she turns her attention and relief efforts to her former and ancestral home in Navajo Nation, she is rallying the church to join along.

Besides the CRC, other denominations operating in Navajo Nation have joined in to help. Franklin Graham visited last week to meet Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer and distribute supplies. He offered to set up a Samaritan’s Purse field hospital.

Bremer-Bennett talked with Megan Fowler about ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.