Staff

 

Gerald and Deanna Wright
Gerald and Deanna Wright, natives of Illinois, moved to Arizona in 1985 to begin ministry to Native Americans as dorm parents, teacher, and administrator at a Christian boarding school.  Gerald has served as director of NAYM since its inception in 1997 and also assists with building projects.  Both are involved in the Calvary Native Fellowship and host mission guests. Deanna also teaches at a charter school in downtown Phoenix.  “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.” I Timothy 1:12 (NIV)

 
 
Mark and Nancy Smith

Mark and Nancy Smith, both Pennsylvania natives, have been involved in ministry to American Indians since 1983.  They ministered at Southwest Indian School, a mission boarding school for natives for 14 years, and have worked in their current capacity since 1997 with Native American Youth Ministries.  Mark and Nancy have two sons, Ben and Travis, who are both college students in Phoenix.

Mark is the director of the work team ministry and spends much of his time doing construction work on Native churches, missions and homes.  He leads short term teams to the Hopi, Navajo, Apache and Tohono O’odham Reservations.  Nancy holds down the fort at their home near Phoenix, and does bookkeeping and other office work for the mission.  She enjoys helping Mark with the work team ministry.  Nancy is a Registered Nurse, and is also involved with health care.

  email: smith@naym.org

Judith Kanouse
Judy, originally from Michigan, came to Arizona to serve as a dorm parent at Southwest Indian School from 1990 until 1997. She was one of the original NAYM missionaries. The first five years with NAYM, Judy was the director of Hope House. Primarily a Native American maternity home, it was also a guest house and a home for girls in the Student Education Program. Judy now serves as a volunteer chaplain at Phoenix Indian Medical Center, teaches the Native children’s Bible study, and helps with the monthly Native fellowship. She also serves as NAYM’s director of urban ministry. Judy loves being full-time grandma/mom to 12 year old Zachary. She also works part time at Northwest Christian School as a teacher’s assistant to supplement her income.

 
 
Teresa Collett
Teresa, an Indiana “Hoosier,” originally came to Arizona in 1982 to be a missionary teacher at Southwest Indian School. She also served as a dorm parent and coach. The Lord led Teresa to join the NAYM staff in 2000 to be the director of publications. Her responsibilities include editing and printing newsletters, and working on brochures.  Teresa is also involved in urban outreach. She co-leads our Native ladies’ Bible study, and helps with the monthly Native fellowship at Calvary Community Church. She has continued to be involved in education by working part time at Northwest Christian School as a preschool teacher. Teresa currently lives in the Phoenix area with her two cats.
 

Robin and Faith Jelle
Robin and Faith Jelle, along with children Jasmine, Jessica and Jeremy, moved to Hardrock, AZ on the Navajo Reservation in 1990 in response to God’s call on their hearts. They are also part of the original ROCK Ministries team.  They are currently involved in vacation Bible schools, family, youth and children’s camps, talking circle support group in a local school and home visitation. Robin also works as a carpenter to help provide for their personal and ministry expenses.

After obtaining a ministry site from the Navajo Tribe, they are currently in the process of constructing a family ministry center. This indigenous ministry center will be overseen by the Jelles and local Navajo Christians.

 
 

Scott and Melinda Wight
Scott and Melinda Wight are ROCK/NAYM as missionaries on the Hopi Reservation who served at Hopi Mission School in Kykotsmovi, AZ and were involved in youth ministry through local churches.  In 2009, they accepted the call to pastor Sunlight Community Church at Second Mesa. They both have real passion is to disciple teens living on the reservation. Through the use of adventure programs such as backpacking, rappelling and rock climbing, they hope to draw Hopi and Navajo youth into discipleship groups within the local churches.

 
wight@naym.org
Jim and Myrtis McCormack
Jim & Myrtis with their daughter Anna have moved from the Hopi reservation after 22 years to Catalina Arizona.  Jim is working with another missionary who already has a studio in Catalina doing audio and video scripture projects in Native American languages. They still return to the reservation regularly to call on team members and encourage Navajo and Hopi friends.

 

 
 

Russell and Cynthia Toews Family
Russell and Cynthia and their family are bondservants of The LORD JESUS CHRIST with a passion to follow JESUS as LORD, allowing HIM to work through them.  They and their family also have a passion to build GOD’S Kingdom wherever they sojourn.  They have lived among the Hopi, in Bacavi village since 1997.  They desire to live by word and deed The Gospel message of JESUS, in the hope that many will turn to GOD from idols to serve the living and true GOD - to know The TRUTH that will set them free, JESUS CHRIST our LORD.rtunities ahead of him, which he is seeking the LORD for direction on where GOD would have him.

 

Mike and Lorraine Napa
Mike, a Dine (Navajo) from Gallup,  serves as a volunteer missionary leading our devotions at our Calvary Fellowship, teaching at the Pinon area VBS, and ministering through  Jews For Jesus, Phoenix Indian Medical Center Chaplaincy, and Full Gospel Businessmen.  In 2010, God blessed Mike with a bride, Lorraine, (Piute) whom he met at his workplace, Arizona Industries for the Blind. Although Lorraine is visually impaired, we know our Father will bless us in the ministries He has called us.  We understand that it will be Father, Jesus and His Holy Spirit that will do all the guiding and directing of our aspirations in fulfilling His will.

 
 

Nathan Toews and Thomas Yoyokie

Nathan and Thomas are a recording team working with Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH).  These teams travel to locations around the world to record The New Testament spoken by the local people in their native language.  FCBH is then able to produce dramatized audio recordings of The Gospel making GOD’S Word available to more people in a format they can understand and apply to their lives.  At this time Nathan and Thomas are working primarily with Native North American languages.

 

Roy and Shereen
The Lacey family, Roy, Shereen, Joshua, Austin, Jared and Amber are volunteers who oversee our Pinon VBS Ministry. Roy works as a pharmacist while Shereen ministers as a homeschooling mother and through relationship building with families from the reservation with hospitality, planning, and organizing.  With our desire to serve God, an opportunity was introduced to us through our home school group, to help with a VBS on the Navajo Reservation in 2003. At the time, we thought it would be just an opportunity to serve as a family for a couple of years. Boy does God have sense of humor or what!

As a mom, I especially enjoy seeing us serve as a family and watching how God uses all of us, with our individual gifting and talents, ministering to the Navajo people.

 
 

 

Bill and Julie Odom

Bill and Julie Odom record and edit the Scripture in the heart languages of many people groups with native narrators.  In the past 32 years, the Odoms have recorded and edited in over 87 languages, from Navajo to Chinese. In the studio near their home, Bill and Jim McCormack are currently  working on editing the New Testament in the Gwich’in language of Alaska (related to Navajo).  Bill and Julie were commissioned with NAYM in May of 2011, and are excited to be a part of a team in ministry.

The Odoms have six children:  Tim (married to Launa), Carrie, Wendy, Robin, Nate, and Abby.  They enjoy being grandparents to four granddaughters.  Bill works as a handyman on the side, and Julie plays hymns for the elderly.

 

 


odom@naym.org