Some communities in the largest American Indian reservation in the U.S. are experiencing a move of God that ministry leaders claim is comparable to the miracles recorded in the book of Acts.
They say that in parts of the Navajo Nation, entire families have come to Christ, crack houses have been turned into houses of worship as drug dealers have been converted, many have been delivered from alcohol and drugs, and a well that was dry for years is now filled with water that brings healing.
"The only big name involved in this revival is God, and it is sweeping the Navajo Nation," said Ray Saragosa, missions pastor of New Song Fellowship, a 300-member charismatic church in Denver.
Saragosa has taken ministry teams seven times to the Arizona communities that are located in the Navajo Nation, which extends through a large portion of the Grand Canyon state and into New Mexico and Utah.
The Navajo Nation is the largest of the 275 reservations and 500 federally recognized tribal governments in the U.S. Roughly the size of West Virginia, the territory covers 25,351 square miles and has a population of 180,000, according to census reports.
Since May 2003, Saragosa, 51, has taken truckloads of clothing, toys, bikes and furniture to Ganado and Whippoorwill, Ariz., located approximately two hours northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz.
He said the Navajo people live in poverty-stricken circumstances, and most of the church buildings are "very rough," but that has not stopped them from attending revival services.
"Many of the meetings are held in tents, which are simply put up somewhere and the people flock in by the hundreds, hungry for God," said Saragosa, who is Mexican-American.
A Navajo native who was raised on the reservation, Daniel "Larry" Furcap, senior pastor of Whippoorwill Fellowship Church, said a "full explosion of revival" is happening in Whippoorwill and Ganado, which are about an hour apart.
"It seems like the Lord started doing the outpouring beginning in December 2003," said Furcap, 42, who is ordained in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.).
Furcap and Sammie Begay, senior pastor of Ganado Glory Temple, held what was supposed to be a weeklong revival.
"During the revival meeting, we preached about the grace of God," said Furcap, who has seen the church grow from eight members to 135 since he became pastor in 2000. "Through that the people accepted that they were accepted and redeemed. That's when they opened up and when the outpouring started taking place. The week of revival kept going on and it continued for weeks."
Furcap said nearly 200 people have accepted Christ in Whippoorwill, Ganado and the community of Hard Rock, which have several thousand residents.
"Two couples in Whippoorwill who were the main drug dealers of the town got saved," he said. "Their houses had bullet holes and no windows. Everything was trashed. The people from our church came out to clean their houses, remodeled and painted their houses, got their power turned back on, and gave them food. They're now holding jobs and are part of the church."
Shirley Baker said she and several of her siblings got saved last year after one of her brothers and a nephew, who were both Christians, died. "We went through a lot before we knew God," said Baker, 42, who attends Whippoorwill Fellowship. "I would drink three or four nights each week, and I didn't think about anything except to get drunk again because there was no one to turn to for love or forgiveness. But now He has set us free from sins."
Besides deliverance and salvations, Furcap said he has seen supernatural signs and wonders. He said a well close to the Lord's Church near Piñon, Ariz., which was dry for years, was suddenly filled with water in April 2004, attracting people from outside the reservation. "People who drank or bathed from the spring experienced healing in their body," Furcap said.
He added that members of the Lord's Church reported seeing an oil-like substance on the walls during services, as well as the appearance of gold-colored dust and nuggets.
"I believe God is really moving in the Navajo Nation," he said. "The reason is that people have opened up to God and said, 'We're willing for You to do great and mighty things.' They have laid down their religious things. They want Him to be in control. The Word of God says where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty."
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