By Dorie Panganiban — Farmington, New Mexico … The La Vida Mission School building is closed, but school continues until May 22, reported Dorie Panganiban, office manager at the Mission. When the students went home on March 14 for their one-week Spring Break, they never came back for face-to-face school since all schools in New Mexico were ordered by the governor to close. At that time, La Vida Mission made the decision to close until the end of the school year and to use a distance learning program. Because good internet is an issue in this part of the country and many of our students don’t have internet access in their homes, online school was not a good option.

Educators opted to mail schoolwork to students weekly and have them mail back their finished work. Both elementary and high school teachers–Claire James, Vicky Pioche, and Catherine Hartley—use the distance-learning method.

The church is also closed, and live services are temporarily suspended, but worship happens in members’ homes. The Mission staff continues to hold outdoor Sabbath worship at Treehouse Park with everyone sitting six or more feet apart, except for husbands and wives. The church leaders are able to connect with church members and community family through Facebook, Messenger, cellphone texts, and phone calls, the Outreach team packs “love/care packages” of rice, beans, canned goods, wipes, fruit, bread, missionary books, and other essential items, and delivers them to local friends in the community. “They are truly grateful because the “stay-at-home” order prevents many of them, especially our elders and poor families, from going to town,” Panganiban commented.

During Spring Break, before the lockdown order by both the State and the Navajo Nation government, the Mission director, Steve Gillham, and his wife Carol, were in Texas, emailed a list of projects to “adopt,” which keeps the staff busy doing practical things to improve the campus.

At the end of April, board member Neal Kelley brought a load of food from the Montrose Adventist Church and several of the Montrose members. Sharing Ministries, an independent food bank involving several area congregations, donated the food. Such donations support and reinforce the Mission’s Community Food distribution.

While the office is mostly closed to the public, administrative and other regular office work and community mail service continues.

Lockdown? Yes! Shutdown? No! The Mission is still at work and continues to serve the Lord through its ongoing ministry to the students, church members, and community family. “We continue to keep in prayer our students, their parents, and mission supporters. May God keep us all safe,” Panganiban adds.

Dorie Panganiban, Office Manager & Community Outreach Director; photos supplied