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Navajo children find a home in New Mexico


A sign greets visitors at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home in Gallup, N.M. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Blogging live from Gallup, N.M.
I spent the weekend at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home working on a future feature for The Christian Chronicle.
Sponsored by Churches of Christ, the home celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.
The ministry serves children from the Navajo Reservation, a 27,000-square-mile patch of desert and mountain terrain covering parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. (Read a story I wrote in 2006 on Navajo evangelism.)
I had a great time at Manuelito and enjoyed worshiping with the Gallup Church of Christ on Sunday. I thought I’d share a few photos from the trip.

Houseparents Norman Chee Atchison and his wife, Cathy, and the children who live in their cottage at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Houseparents Merle and Annette Roehr and the children who live in their cottage at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Cathy and Norman Atchison show off a June 1967 Christian Chronicle story on Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home, where Atchison came to live when he was 16 months old. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Norman Chee Atchison, as a boy growing up at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home, during a 1960s trip to Texas with his late father, former home superintendent L.D. “Vernie” Atchison. (Photo provided by Norman Chee Atchison)

Nizhoni, in the yellow dress, and Monica play in the Gallup Christian School gym on the Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home campus. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Merle and Annette Roehr discuss their nearly 19 years of ministry as houseparents at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Nathan, 16, and Alex, 15, residents of Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home, enjoy a stroll near the playground. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Joel Peterson has been a driving force behind Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home since its founding a half-century ago. Peterson and his son, Greg, both serve as elders for the Gallup Church of Christ. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Tisharae, 12, smiling and Heather, 15, wash dishes. The girls live in the cottage where Norman and Cathy Atchison serve as houseparents. (Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.)

Norman Chee Atchison holds Monica, who is almost 3. The framed photograph shows Atchison’s mother, Norine, and his late father, Vernie.

  • Feedback
    grew up here as a child from 6mo old until i went to college at harding univ.
    loved it, hated it, despised it, relished it, the “it” being the children’s home… but i wouldn’t have changed anything for the world…
    nathan king
    August, 18 2010

    I grew up in California at Sierra Children’s Home that was Church of Christ sponsored. The previous poster (Nathan King) said it very well and expressed my feelings exactly. All that being said, I have to thank God for all those Christian people who gave their lives and money to support the home. My life certainly would not be what it is today without them! Thank you all!
    Donna Heck
    August, 19 2010

    Our congregation, <a href=”http://bowiechurchofchrist.com” rel=”nofollow”>The Bowie Church of Christ</a>, is planning to have a short-term mission trip in the summer of 2011 to a Navajo children’s home. I’m not sure I will be going, but I will encourage some of the college students in our young adults and campus group to go. (We are also planning to go to Honduras that same summer, which I do plan to attend).
    Fuller Ming
    August, 20 2010

    Years ago our youth group helped out with a youth event at Manuelito. Whenever I am reminded of Manuelito, I offer up a prayer for the good ministry there.
    Kevin Kopsa
    August, 20 2010

    My father loved Manuelito. He grew up in a nearby church (Dove Creek, CO), and was familiar with the home. Later, my parents were foster parents in Canada, and when Dad built a home to accommodate many children, he had it designed like the homes at Manuelito.
    Ralph Williams
    August, 24 2010

Filed under: News Extras Travel Reports

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