Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church
Dulce, New Mexico
Ina Montoya, Youth Pastor
With our huge box of teddy bears, we reached the Jicarilla Police Department, Indian Health Services, Behavioral Health Office, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Dormitory (a shelter), the Emergency Medical Health Office (with a helicopter ride to the nearest hospital) and a mom with five children whose father had just died.
Living in such an isolated area, the rate of domestic violence, alcohol and other drug abuses, dysfunctional families and other problems of underemployment seem more concentrated than in other areas of the US. There is a great need for children to know love. With Hugs Across America in the community, I believe that we will have a small but essential glimpse of that deep and wondrous love. When the police take young children out of their homes for safety reasons and place them in the dormitory they struggle with the loss of their parents, older siblings and their home. These children receive a hug from God in the form of a teddy bear upon their arrival.
September 2007 Update!
Ina and her family continue to enjoy the work of the Hugs Chapter on the reservation.
Recently they delivered some 40 + teddy bears to the Jicarilla Behavioral Health Dept. where they are being given to children in need of foster care. Her own children are delighted to be a part of the work and help to deliver the bears.
Thanks Ina for your wonderful work!
Hugs Across America Report – 02/09/04
Native American Indian Ministries
by Ina Montoya, Youth Pastor, Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church
The Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church is located in Dulce the headquarters of the Jicarilla Apache Nation, in rural northern New Mexico. Our ministry reaches mostly minority families, of whom many are Native American. Living in such an isolated area, the rate of domestic violence, alcohol and other drug abuse, dysfunctional families and other problems seem more concentrated than other areas of the U.S. There is a great need for children to see God’s love in the world they live in and with the challenges they face. With Hugs Across America in our community, I believe these children will have a small, but essential glimpse at this deep and wondrous love.
Receiving a huge box of Teddy Bears in the mail, I attended a community prevention program meeting and presented Hugs Across America to everyone present. By the end of the week, bears were distributed to the Jicarilla Apache Police Department, IHS (Indian Health Service) Behavioral Health Office, BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) Dormitory, Emergency Medical Service Office, and to a single mom with five children whose father died less than a year ago.
The Jicarilla Apache Police Department and IHS Behavioral Health Department often encounter young children who are taken away from their parents for various safety reasons. Bears will be given to these children in their time of crisis. If a child is removed from the custody of their parents over a long period of time, they may be placed in the BIA Dormitory. Young children struggle with the temporary or permanent loss of their parents, sometimes older siblings, and their home. These children will receive a hug from God through a bear upon their arrival and check in at the BIA Dorm.
Another area where children may experience trauma if they are physically injured or sick. In our community, we have an IHS Unit, a government clinic. If a child needs medical treatment before or after business hours they are taken to the Emergency Medical Service office. If their condition needs further treatment, they are taken to the nearest hospital by ambulance (a 90 minute drive) or by helicopter. Any of these experiences provide need for comfort and these children will receive bears.
At the mentioned community meeting, I asked if anyone knew particular families in immediate need of love through a bear. A dear family had been in my heart for the past few months and someone verified the need of that family. The children had lost their father in 2003 very suddenly, due to illness. I was able to give each child a bear before they had their first Thanksgiving and Christmas without their dad.
By distributing bears from Hugs Across America, we have opportunities to open doors to God’s Kingdom for children who might other wise have little hope in themselves or others around them. A bear helps to show that God’s love is real, consistent, and always with them. So on behalf of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and those serving in our community, thank you for your generous gift of God’s comfort by sending us a box of very important bears.