June 2020

“Crybaby”, she’s just a crybaby. The Navajo ladies in the village all agreed with a nod of the head. The small girl was about three years old. She seemed lost in the village of smoke and brown faces. She felt lost and unwanted. She knew she was different. Not one spot in the village was hers. She wandered around in hopes someone would give her a scrap of bread or meat to eat.

One day a strange lady appeared in the village. She spoke some words, but no one knew what they were. The lady was white…not brown. The lady “smiled” everyone understood that language. The lady was drawn to the child called “Crybaby”. There was an instant connection. The lady said in Navajo “Jesus Loves You”. The village listened, who was she? Who is Jesus? Later they learned her name was Sylvia. But the idea of her “Jesus” was strange. One-night Crybaby had a dream, she saw a really bright light, a hand with a scar on it reached out to her and said, “little girl don’t be afraid.”

The years flew by, Sylvia was always there with books, papers and pencils, also clothes and shoes. Crybaby loved the place called school. One day she received a Bible story book with beautiful pictures. At the age of thirteen, Crybaby asked Jesus into her heart. Soon some family members asked Jesus into their hearts too. But some family members got ugly to Crybaby. One day Crybaby asked her mother why she looked different than her sister and brother. She was hit and told to never ask that question again.

At the age of eighteen Crybaby graduated from high school with excellent grades. She loved Math. She was happy to go home and hoped for a Coke to celebrate. But when she arrived home she was told to get out! With tears in her eyes, Jesus in her heart and her diploma in her pocket she caught a ride to Phoenix. She was scared but got three jobs and put herself through college. Twenty-five years later, she is still in the accounting department for the City of Phoenix. At the age of twenty-seven she married a Christian Navajo man. They have two sons in High School.

She is no longer Crybaby; she is a Christian with a mission. She and Sylvia make up family bags of needed items for people on the reservation. A copy of the Lord’s Prayer is placed in each of the family packages. Crybaby’s real name is “Bernita.” She says she has been blessed and wants to give back to her people.

As I write, the phone rang. Crybaby was crying. What she said made me cry too – she just lost her sister to Covid 19. Please keep us all in your prayers as we help others. There’s much illness and death on the Reservation.

Sylvia Webb

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