John and Bethanna Kortie - Missionary Spotlight

Nov 14, 2021 4 min read
John and Bethanna Kortie - Missionary Spotlight

John and Bethanna Kortie are Reformed Baptist missionaries serving the Tohono O'odham community in the Southwest Arizona Sonoran Desert. Their ministry is a lifeline to the native peoples, both in meeting physical needs as well as presenting the lifesaving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mission Organization

Reformed Baptist Network

Reformed Baptist Network

With a purpose to "glorify God through fellowship and cooperation in fulfilling the Great Commission to the ends of the earth," Reformed Baptist Network (RBNet) has recreated the New Testament model of church collaboration to accomplish shared goals. This cooperation has created a group of churches with similar purposes of evangelism and church planting. RBNet is committed to ensuring the following four tenets are central to their mission: 1  

  • A Christ-centered message is paramount.
  • The gospel is presented holistically, with the benefits of being a Christian taught in the context of Christ's person and attributes.
  • Each interaction must be steered with love and grace.
  • Christian love and peace must be evident.

Country Spotlight

Southwestern United States

The Tohono O'odham reside in the southwestern United States, from Phoenix, Arizona to the Gulf of California and to the San Pedro River in the east and are comprised of four recognized tribes. With approximately twenty-eight thousand members, the Tohono O'odham are returning to an emphasis on education to ensure the success of future generations. Within the community, nearly every one of its members is a nominal Roman Catholic (with intertwining native beliefs). Although the purchase of indulgences has mostly been eliminated from the Roman Catholic church within the United States, the practice remains prevalent within the community. In addition, even though there are many churches present, these buildings are rarely used to hold regular services and instead are reserved for weddings and funerals. 2

The reservation has a long border with and extends into Mexico. This geographical boundary creates an opportunity for undesirable traffic and circumstances, such as gang and drug activity and human kidnapping. In addition, the United States border patrol is limited in its ability to provide assistance since the reservation is its own nation (though the community must follow many federal laws).

Interestingly, the children of the Tohono O'odham Nation enjoy hot and spicy treats, such as spicy chips, or sour treats, such as a pickle slushy, rather than sugary treats or candy. 3


Saved at the age of 11, John was not discipled until well into adulthood. At that time, he began attending a Reformed Baptist Church in South Carolina, where he matured in his faith, understanding of doctrine, and service. Both John and Bethanna have a heart for service and work collaboratively to reach the O'odham people for Christ. 4

Source: Missionary – John Kortie | Reformed Baptist Network

Current Ministry Opportunities

John and Bethanna's ministry, Hope in the Desert, is located in the Sonoran Desert in Southwest Arizona where they work with the Tohono O'odham community. John has opportunities to preach on a regular basis – sometimes with cows looking in the door – and is focused on building personal relationships with each member of the community. Also, John has been assisting with the food bank ministry; as a car is filled with food, John is able to pray with and present the Gospel to those in need. This ministry with the food bank has been a tremendous encouragement to families, particularly during the global pandemic. 5

The Korties visit the town of Chuichu on a weekly basis. While Bethanna holds a Bible club with the children, John interacts with other townsfolk, praying and teaching them as situations arise.

In addition, John strives to encourage local pastors to continue serving and honoring God. During the COVID-19 pandemic, John has not been able to continue in several ministry pursuits in the same manner as before, but God continues to provide opportunities for faithful service to Him. Visitation and services may not be held at the Archie Hendrix Elders Home, but lap blankets and tracts may be brought for the staff to distribute to the residents. In addition, many families are not comfortable returning to church services yet, however John and Bethanna are able to hold dinner and devotion times with them.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for safety as the Korties travel between ministry locations within the community. Pray also that current ministry needs (lap blankets for the elder home, ESV Bibles, Gospel tracts, and Pamphlets) will be provided. In addition, pray for God's protection on the Tohono O'odham Nation against COVID-19; many members have significant medical issues that put them at a higher risk of complications. Pray that the pastors and churches will be strengthened despite challenges and restrictions due to the pandemic. Also pray specifically for the mental health of the members of the community; substance abuse and suicide rates are increasing. Finally, please pray for a bountiful harvest of souls.

Additional Information

For additional information about the Kortie's ministry to the Tohono O'odham Nation, please visit Missionary – John Kortie | Reformed Baptist Network.


1. About - Reformed Baptist Network

2. History & Culture - Tohono O'odham Nation (

3. John Kortie Missionary Presentation on Vimeo

4. Missionary - John Kortie - Reformed Baptist Network

5. John Kortie Missionary Presentation on Vimeo

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