Caye Courtney


In 1986, after a trip to South America, John and Caye Courtney felt God calling them into service. At first they thought they would be called to a Spanish speaking country, but the Lord had other plans: John and Caye were soon commissioned by Garden Park Mennonite Brethren Church to be their ambassadors of Christ to the Navajo Reservation at Navajo Gospel Mission (NGM), Hardrock, AZ.

John worked in maintenance, the garage, woodshed (preparing crafts for VBS), and plumbing shed. During his twice-weekly mail run, he would take several Navajos to do their grocery shopping at the same time. John also did many hospital runs to Tuba City to take staff members, students, and other Navajos for doctor visits and shots, and even ladies to have their babies.

Meanwhile, Caye worked in the mission office, helping Navajos make phone calls, and served in the NGM mailroom, which was the unofficial local post office. She taught Sunday school, ran Children’s Club every Tuesday evening for several years, and held prayer and devotions in their home for the staff and at the church every morning with the children before school.

After 19 Navajos died of alcohol-related incidents in one month in the Hardrock area, John and a Navajo man started Hardrock Council on Substance Abuse with a grant from the University of AZ – Tucson. The Council is still active today!

For many years, John and Caye held Bible studies at various Navajo camps, including some for children. Caye regularly took the school children to visit the elderly in their homes and to the residents of a nursing home 127 miles away. She would play the accordion and sing in Navajo for these and other events.

John and Caye returned to Denver in 2005, as the mission leadership was being turned over to the Navajo and their service was no longer required. Once in Denver, they worked for a job assistance center, helping at-risk populations find jobs.

In December 2017, John passed away after a life full of service to his Lord. Caye continues ministering in her role as a deacon and to the elderly in her community.

Their daughter Julie and son-in-law Tim have served at Navajo Gospel Mission in Arizona since 1983. The Lord has blessed John and Caye with 4 children, 16 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren – a full quiver!