Returning to the Navajo Reservation this year was bittersweet.  It was good to see so many of the people that I have grown to love over the years, but at the end of the week, I was a bit sad to have to leave again.  Our church has been going out to the Navajo Reservation for many years now, even long before I went out there for the first time my sophomore year of high school.  Every summer we partner with Twin Mesa Bible Church in Hardrock, AZ (about 2 hrs northeast of Flagstaff) to hold a weeklong VBS for the kids, teens, and adults out there.  It’s a small church, with limited resources, so over the years we’ve also helped the church with various projects to help maintain and improve the facilities, from refinishing the pews to painting the church to installing new outhouses.

The Navajo Nation has long been torn by the effects of alcoholism, gambling, witchcraft, violence, and abuse.  So many of the kids come from broken homes and families, and fall victim to the seemingly never-ending cycle of alcoholism and abuse.  That’s why the ministries of churches like Twin Mesa Bible Church are so important.  It broke my heart this year to see some of our former students show up the first day intoxicated and wanting to pick fights.  I felt so disheartened and discouraged seeing this, and wondered if anyone was having any impact out there.  Then halfway through the week this Navajo man showed up, thanking us for our ministry, and sharing with us the awesome news that his father had just accepted Christ two days before!  He then shared with us this verse that was such an encouragement to me: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Here are some pictures from our trip.  I didn’t get to stay the whole time this year since I had to get back for a wedding, but I am really grateful I had the chance to serve again this year.

About to embark on the 11+ hour drive.  Love the flare from my 17-40!

We slept out in tents that we set-up in Pastor Albert’s backyard.  Here’s my tent.  I don’t know how I managed to get a tent all to myself while there were 6 senior guys crammed into a tent smaller than mine…..haha. =P

But if you think I was living it up, check out Pete’s tent…

One of the many beautiful sunrises I woke up to.

Face painting

Lesson time!

Memory Verse time!

Craft time!

Play time!

Our 3rd/4th grade class

How we cook

Toasting some pop tarts

Washing the dishes

Our showers

I live off this stuff when I’m in Arizona

My brother and “Peanut”

Haha…..I thought this series was pretty hilarious.

A lot of the families out there own horses.  In fact, there was supposed to be a big horse race at the end of the week that one of my former students was riding in.

One night the horses at Pastor Albert’s house escaped from their coralle, which put all the dogs in quite a frenzy (pictures of the many dogs coming up in another post).  The dogs were running around and howling like crazy all night long, trying to get the horses back into the coralle.  They eventually managed to get all but one horse back in.  The white horse you see below ran off and refused to come home.  Late the next day, the white horse eventually made his way back along with two other random horses, and quite a dramatic chase ensued to wrangle the horse back into the coralle.  It was quite exciting to watch!

It took two cars and seven people, but eventually the family was able to surround the horse and grandma yelled for the horse to get back into his coralle.

Repainting the pews

Burning our trash

By the end of the week, our car was pretty dirty.  Would you believe that under all that dirt is a silver Jeep?

And this is how our car got so dirty.