A team of 13 high school students and 3 adult leaders are spending a week on the Navajo Reservation in Northern AZ. Situated right on the AZ/NM border, the reservation is a place of great spiritual oppression and darkness. Physical poverty is also a severe problem among these people.
June 19, 2015
Hello again for the Navajo team!
Our time here on the reservation is quickly coming to an end. We have been so blessed by all of the ways we have seen God work through our team. Today is our final day on the work site, where we anticipate finishing the retaining wall, as well as a few other smaller projects. Our team opted to skip the afternoon free time hike, so that we could have a longer day on the work site today. It's been a great blessing to see the hearts of our students and their desire to serve the people of this church and community. Tonight our team will head to Gallup, NM for a special meal out, then back to the team house for our final 'team time.'
Yesterday marked the last day of our VBS will the local Navajo children. Our team planned and executed an elaborate water day for the kids. As you can imagine, there was not a single dry person by the end of the day. The smiles on the kid's faces were such a blessing to see. I told our team yesterday that the ultimate testimony of a successful VBS was the fact that none of the kids wanted to get out of the van when we took them home. One young boy even rode to the next stop after his, just so he could stay in the van longer. I am immensely proud of the way our students have reflected the love of Christ this week to these children.
Finally we want to say thank you for partnering with us as we have been here on the reservation. Your prayers have been felt and answered! I wish everyone had the distinct privilege I've had this week of watching our students be stretched and used by God. Please keep us in prayer tomorrow as we travel home.
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone." Isaiah 9:2
June 18, 2015
Good morning from the Navajo nation!
The close of the week is drawing near as our team continues to work hard with our service here. Progress on the retaining wall and emergency driveway for the Good News Church is coming together nicely, but there is still much to be done before Friday. Please pray for continual energy and strength as our team strives to be the hands and feet through our service!
The turnout of Navajo children for the VBS program jumped from fifteen our first day to twenty six children yesterday! Praise the Lord! Upon picking up children in their neighborhood, the excited chatter from a successful and fun first day filled the van and was a huge encouragement for the team members who rode along. One child in particular shared with us that this was his first time at VBS, and he was excited to be back. We anticipate another busy and good day today... our last day of VBS! Our team hopes to be a blessing the Navajo children with otter pops and a surprise water day!
For dinner Wednesday evening, the faithful community of Good News Church gathered together to serve us through an incredibly delicious dinner of Navajo tacos! After speaking with one of the women kneading the fry bread, she explained that it was eaten only during special occasions. Our team was so blessed and filled with this treat... we even had the opportunity to interact with the beautiful people of this beautiful land. Throughout dinner, the team sat amongst the Navajo church members. As Eugene put it, it was a wonderful way to come together and "fellowship" with God's people. Our bible study in James has continued to challenge us both as a team and as individuals.
We trust that God will continue to present us with practical ways to apply what we have learned in our devotional time to how we work throughout the day. Thank you again for praying for us throughout the week!
June 17, 2015
Hello to our CCC family!
Today marks the start of our third day at our mission site, and the multiple projects our students are working on are looking great! The retaining wall's foundation is almost complete, and our hope is to have the entire wall finished by Friday. Other members of the team have been working on an emergency roadway on the east side of the church. Yesterday the road work was completed and today they will dig two footers and pour concrete to set the posts for the gate, which will be installed at a later day.
The VBS team had a terrific day yesterday. The local children who came were engaged with biblical stories teaching about the love of God, arts & crafts where each child decorated their own Sword of the Spirit, and of course some games and snacks. We are praying for another good turnout today for VBS, and the team is prepared and excited to spend another day pouring into the VBS children who attend.
Our continued study of the book of James is bearing good fruit. The students are engaged, asking tough questions and discussing personal insights into the scripture being studied for that day. The growth that is occurring is a great thing to witness.
We thank you all for your prayers, and ask that you continue to pray for our team; to be patient with one another, encouraging one another, and working diligently toward the completion of our team goals.
June 16, 2015
Greetings from the Navajo mission team!
Our team is off to a busy start with work projects here at the Good News Church! Various teams worked on projects such as establishing a retaining wall, leveling out a road for a driveway and swinging bricks, which required the full teamwork of everyone here. More than 400 bricks were swung... something we are very proud of doing, especially in the allotted time! We have become acquainted with Eugene, the pastor here, who is a very kind and Godly man. We are ever thankful to be serving the Navajo people alongside Eugene!
The VBS team laid out the game plan for the program the student team will be leading for the Navajo children throughout the week. Activities will include recreation time, crafts and snacks, and worship. We are anxious to see how God will use the team in serving and reaching the children with the light of Christ.
After a tiring yet fulfilling day of service, energy and words of affirmation are gained through team time, a non-negotiable part of our day for us to lift up one another and refuel. It's exciting to see each of the stude nts use words of encouragement to build up teammates and recognize strengths, as well as how to tackle weaknesses to improve for the next day.
So far we have had an overall great beginning to what we believe will be an incredible time of service here in the Navajo nation! We thank you for your continual prayer for us here!
June 15, 2015
Hello from the Navajo mission team!
We arrived safely yesterday afternoon, and headed straight to Walmart in Gallup, NM, where our food team purchased all of our food for the week. Interesting fact...the Gallup Walmart is the highest grossing Walmart in the country.
Following Walmart, we headed to our team house, which is 30 minutes east of Gallup. The house sits a quarter mile from I-40, and a hundred yards from the train tracks. We've counted on average 3-4 trains an hour, making for a noisy team house! We had a good night's rest, and were up this morning at 6am for breakfast. Our devotions for the week come from the book of James, this morning's from James 1:1-18.
We are now here at the church where we will be working all week. Projects include building a retaining wall, digging holes for a fence installation, and some painting projects. This church has a very long and faithful history here on the reservation. We are blessed to be able to partner with them! This afternoon we will do a practice run through of our VBS before it begins tomorrow. Most of the children that attend, we will pick up from the neighborhood where all of the government-issued homes are located. The land is beautiful here, as are the people. Please keep us in prayer as we begin to interact and build relationships with them. The team is doing well, and excited to get going! We are celebrating Alex's 23rd birthday today as well.
Thanks for your prayers, more tomorrow hopefully!