Missions Blog

Sep 19

Chuck Harper’s New Position at Western Indian Ministries (WIM)

Chuck and Cindy Harper are our Missionaries in residence at DSC.  They head up our Native American Partnership in Global Missions.

After 12 years with North America Indigenous Ministries, the Harpers are returning to Western Indian Ministries, where Chuck will serve as the General Director- and continue his work with Christ for Native Youth (CNY).

Chuck discusses his new role as General Director of Western Indian Ministries (WIM)

Chuck says,

“We’re going back to our roots”.  “My grandfather came to the Navajo Reservation in 1904, and by 1907 he planted the first officially documented protestant Navajo Church.”

By 1937, Western Indian Ministries (WIM) was incorporated and stationed out of Fort Defiance, Arizona.  It was around this time that Chuck’s mother was born, and she was raised on the reservation.  Chuck’s parents have been serving with Western Indian Ministries for 55 years.

Chuck Harper discusses the history of Western Indian Ministries

As a teenager himself, Chuck got involved in WIM’s radio and youth ministries.  After graduating from Moody Bible Institute, working at WMBI radio, and spending close to 4 years on the mission field in Alaska, Chuck went to Biblical Seminary in Pennsylvania.  It was on a short-term missions trip that Chuck and Cindy met.  Cindy was on staff with Youth For Christ in New Jersey, and met the Harper family on the Navajo Reservation.   Cindy led Campus Life Clubs affiliated with three high schools, after school programs, and was involved with counseling, during her time with YFC.   Chuck and Cindy were both faith supported missionaries while they were single and have been working together and married now for 24 years.

Cindy and Chuck felt called to Native Youth Ministry, and after seminary, went back to WIM where they served for 9 years (1990-1999).   Christ for Native Youth (CNY) began during this time, which led them toward North America Indigenous Ministries  (NAIM) where the Harpers and CNY have found a home since 2000.

Chuck is officially taking up his new position as Executive Director of WIM on September 1, but will be part of the NAIM staff until the Staff Conference (which the Harpers are helping organize), which comes to Albuquerque in October.

Chuck is quick to say,

“We get teary-eyed thinking about leaving NAIM… it is a wonderful family and ministry to be involved in.”

Christ for Native Youth will also move to Western Indian Ministries along with the Harpers.   The vision of CNY is to see every young person in Native America within reach of a thriving disciple making opportunity.   At present CNY hosts youth leader retreats and training events, mentors youth leaders, and builds local “communities of hope”  a grass roots effort to pray together, support each other,  and build strategies to reach students for Christ.   Today there are over 600 Native Churches in AZ and New Mexico.  Many of those churches are without pastors, fewer have trained pastors, and most all live with very little resources.   In fact, the average Navajo Pastor makes less than $50 per month, if anything at all.   One of the major objectives of WIM will be to serve the native churches; with prayer, training, coaching, resourcing, and building a support network.

Chuck Harper describes some of the ways in which WIM seeks to help Navajo churches.

Besides serving the churches, Western Indian Ministries currently broadcasts the Gospel with three-radio stations- covering all of the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni Reservations.  Window Rock is home to Hilltop Christian School, police chaplaincy, a Christian Book Store, counseling, and a church planting ministry.    Chuck’s role with Western Indian Ministries will be the General Director.  These responsibilities include overseeing the Ministry Direction, Financial Viability and Leading the Mission staff to accomplish the Strategic Plan of equipping and serving Native Churches, and making disciples who make disciples.

The Harpers are “faith based” missionaries, which means all their income is provided by supporting churches and individuals who give, as God provides.      Some current specific needs:

  • Vehicle: dependable for Chuck to travel an average of 500 miles per week (a small pickup is preferred to haul equipment, food, etc.)
  • Staff:   2nd Grade Teacher, School Principal, Field Supervisor, Grounds and Maintenance Director, Radio Announcer (all in Window Rock, AZ)
  • Staff:  Bookkeeper, Youth Workers, Operations Manager (in ABQ, NM)
  • Tools:  (the mission shop was vandalized, and most of the tools were taken; mechanical and building construction)
  • School Bus
  • Office Space:  about 3-400 sq feet in Albuquerque, NM

Please email Chuck and Cindy if you or anyone you know might be able to help them with the above needs for WIM.