Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.
Navajo Nation | Update 1
Tuba City, AZ: After nearly 11 hours and 500 miles on the road, and which at times encountered snowfall, our Foothill Christian School 7th graders, parents and faculty/staff workers arrived safely to our base camp in Tuba City, here on the Navajo Reservation. Our first evening included a special welcoming banquet with nearly 30 Navajo guests who came to greet our team. A number of the pastors drove from distance locations on the reservation, spending anywhere from 2 to 4 hours one-way behind the wheel. What an amazing gesture of love and support for our team, which includes 37 students, nine parents, five faculty/staff members. The meal featured a “Navajo Taco” with delicious fry bread. The kids loved it!
During the evening, a number of Navajo pastors offered their comments and prayers. A highlight of the evening was hearing Mr. Peter McDonald speak about his years of serving our country during WWII as a Navajo Code Talker, a Whisperer of the Wind. This 84 year old gentleman told us how he began serving our country at only 15 years of age. The Navajo Code Talkers developed a code beginning in August 1942. The unbreakable code was used for the duration of the war and has been credited with helping the U.S. achieve ultimate victory. In later years, Mr. McDonald served four terms (16 years) as President of the Navajo Nation, where he gained the love and respect of the Navajo for his efforts to help bring about needed change on the reservation. Today, he is the president of an association of Navajo Code Talkers, which number about 40. Most of these men are now in their late 80s. What a rare opportunity our students had to hear this important piece of history from man who served his country and his people so well!
After a time of breakfast, our students have broken into four separate teams and are working nearby at the church where they are staying. That’s a big job that includes painting concrete floors. At another site, students are helping with various clean-up projects at a local radio station. Another group is tilling soil and preparing ground for a garden that will produce vegetables for neighboring residents. A fourth project includes work at a home in need of repairs.
We heard some sad news this morning that served to remind us how difficult life can be here on the reservation. Two projects with homes in the area that were earmarked for us to install needed insulation were cancelled. The reason being that in the last two weeks severe cold weather claimed the lives to elderly residents who occupied those homes. It’s hard to believe that conditions can be so difficult here on the reservation, but many still get by without running water and electricity.
Serving on the front lines is what Faith in Action is all about. What a joy to be engaged in such meaningful work, to serve the Kingdom by serving others. Please pray for our kids, parents and staff as they reach out with loving hearts and helping hands, getting dirty, getting sore, getting lots of work accomplished. Later this afternoon, the team will visit a nearby location known for actual dinosaur tracks left in earth that has since petrified. Tonight, a youth rally is planned back at the church. This will be a wonderful time when other young people from the community will come to enjoy the evening with our kids. What a rare opportunity it will be to share stories, to make new friends, and exchange the beauty of their faith and their cultures. We’ll keep you posted!