It was 1957 during one of those hot summer days where the heat was especially brutal. Daytime temperatures in the Nevada desert can easily reach 115 degrees plus. This didn’t deter Harry and Lily Reimer. They met with a few Paiute Indians under the shade of an old mesquite tree. Their hearts were touched by the people who lived and farmed in the Muddy River Valley. This was the day the Moapa Christian Church began.
Eventually, one of the women of the tribe opened up her small home where she lived with her children. Sunday services were faithfully held there until the first church building was completed in 1963. It was a small 20 by 20 brick building but judging by the excitement, you would have thought it was a cathedral.
Pastor Reimer and Lily lived with their family in Las Vegas. Harry Reimer was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for the state of Nevada. Every Sunday he and Lily packed up their nine children and drove the hour or so drive from Las Vegas to spend the day ministering to the people of the Moapa Paiute tribe. With a heart of compassion, they stayed all day with no air conditioning in the intense desert heat. In the winter they used a wood burning pot belly stove to heat the small sanctuary. No financial support was received from any church or denomination. Their time, talents and love were freely given to the people of this tribe for the next 27 years.
Many Sundays, you could find Pastor Reimer baptizing hungry souls at the head waters of the Muddy River. He and his family would often take the congregation to the camp meetings in Prescott, Arizona. They would also travel to northern Nevada to minister to the Paiute tribes in he Elko and Reno areas.
After 27 years of faithfully ministering to the people of the Moapa Paiute tribe, Pastor Reimer moved to Reno to minister to the Native Americans in that area. Pastor Reimer passed away in 2008 at the age of 89, leaving a legacy of changed lives.
Joseph Primm, a Native American, pastored at the Moapa Christian Church for a time. After Pastor Primm left, Pastor Fidel Smith pastored until he passed away followed by Pastor Wilford Benn until his death. The church was striving to stay opened after Pastor Benn passed away. Members, Bud Meyers and Julie Smith held Sunday School for awhile to keep the doors of the church opened but eventually the church became unoccupied for seven years.
God had not forgotten about the little church or His people on the Moapa Paiute Reservation. Sixteen years earlier, Pastor Bill and Anita Lang heart God’s call to minister to Native Americans. Not knowing when, how or where, they began to prepare. Anita Lang was a labor and delivery nurse, while Bill Lang had spent most of his career in the United States Air Force, retiring after 27 years. He went on to become a high school teacher.
While attending the International Church of Las Vegas, they began attending Bible College. In their very first class, Fanita Reimer-Douglas, the daughter of Harry and Lily Reimer, introduced herself as the daughter of a missionary who started the church on the Moapa Paiute reservation. She told of years she traveled with her family every Sunday to help her parents with the little church. Upon hearing this, Bill and Anita’s heart jumped knowing God was leading them! Bill and Anita knew God was opening doors for them. With many confirmations, they knew God was preparing them for the call of their lives.
They came to the reservation in October of 2000 to meet with the Moapa Paiute Tribal Council. It wasn’t until January of 2001 that they found out they had received a positive consensus from the tribal members and were allowed to open the church. Renovations started in March of 2001 and in July of the same year, the renovations were complete. After seven years of being dormant, the church doors were opened again. Services began on August 12, 2001 with 15 people in attendance. Within 18 months, the church was totally debt free and has been operating that way ever since.
God gave a vision to build a new sanctuary in 2004 that would seat 250 people. Easter Sunday, the people gathered and broke ground for the new building. Every Easter since has shown major advancements toward completing the building, all without any debt owed. Again, no financial support is received from any church or any denomination. This is no small miracle!
Pastor Bill and Anita Lang dedicated over 16 years attending to their full time pastoral duties at Moapa Christian Church even before they retired their full time positions. Pastor Bill as a high school teacher and Pastor Anita as a nurse. Pastor Anita once said, “God is our Pilot and we do nothing without His direction. We are so blessed to be in this ministry and we love our family at Moapa Christian Church.” They retired their pastoral duties in January 2016 and moved to Texas to be close to their family. They poured their lives into the people at Moapa Christian Church and have forever left their mark of love on so many. They are greatly missed.
In January of 2016, Moapa Christian Church was blessed with new pastors to carry on the work of the Lord. Pastor Paul Howard and Pastor’s Richard and Rosita Fisher are giving lives to the God’s service. His church continues on from what was started on that hot day in 1957.
Many more years are ahead and many more lives will find Jesus due to the dedication of His faithful servants.
Traditions through the years video.