We had the pleasure of meeting Tyson this summer when he came to serve with First Church in July. We loving nicknamed him Titus when one of our team members mistakenly called him that. Evangeline found a new bestie in Tyson, and we’re thankful for his time here.
We can’t wait for you to come back!
We arrived at Hidden Springs Church on Thursday and met with a group from a church in Newport News, VA. This church has been taking missions trips each summer to Hidden Springs for the last 26 years. We took the next few days to do some sightseeing (Grand Canyon and Navajo Flea Market) and prepared for our upcoming VBS beginning on Monday.
Over the next five days we helped with VBS in the morning, which had participants aged 2-22, and in the afternoon we did some special activities with the older kids. One of these activities was going tubing on Lake Powel. For many of the Navajo kids this was both their first time in a boat and their first time going tubing. It was amazing to watch their faces go from nervousness and uncertainty to breaking into smiles as the tubes began to gain speed. Over the course of the VBS week we saw the participants grow from 30 on Monday to over 60 on Friday.
Overall it was a great (and a little hot) week of VBS and 12 days of serving alongside the church from Newport News and the Mannings. Out of the 26 years of ministry, they reported that this was the softest that they had seen the hearts of the Navajo youth. It was amazing to be present to witness a breakthrough year for this group.
Why is it important to have outreach specifically to the Navajo people? The Navajo people, especially the people living around the Hidden Springs area are living in extreme poverty due to many mistreatments by the US government, the worst of which may be the Bennett Freeze. This government act made it illegal for Navajo people living in the affected area to build new homes, make any home repairs, repair gas or water lines, and repair roads. This freeze lasted from 1966 until it was repealed in 2009. As a result only 24% of homes were habitable when it was repealed in 2009. 60% do not have electricity and most do not have access to potable running water.
The Navajo people have been mistreated for many decades and so the work being done by Hidden Springs Mission is to both share the gospel and to share the love of God with these people. Through caring for the needs of these people and building relationships with them they can see the love of God in action. I hope you will choose to pray for the Navajo people and to pray for the work being done by Bill and Grace Manning who founded and work at Hidden Springs Mission.
What was your favorite moment/story/thing?
My favorite moment was our tubing trip at Lake Powell. I worked on the boat getting kids on the tube, teaching them what to do, and helping them feel confident in what they were about to do. It was a great moment for two reasons. First was watching the transformation of each of these kids from nervousness and anxiousness to pure joy. As they got onto the tube almost every kid looked nervous, but as the boat began to speed up I could see their faces light up with excitement as they realized how much fun it was. The other reason it was a great moment is that I was able to watch one of the Navajo kids take on leadership responsibilities and do an amazing job. One of the teenagers was the only one who had been tubing before. After her turn, she rode with each of the other kids to help them with their technique and help them each feel safe while they rode. She did an amazing job of being a leader.
Why did you want to come on this trip or why do you want to come back?
I want to come back because of both the people that I served and the people I was serving with. Before I came on this trip I knew a little bit about the struggles of the Navajo people, but after seeing it first-hand and meeting the people I can say that my heart has been awakened. I was able to develop relationships with Navajo teens and young adults and hear some of their stories about what their life is like. I was encouraged by their openness and also saddened by what many of them go through in their day-to-day lives. I also want to come back because of the people I met and served with from First Church as well as the Manning family. They were/are an amazing group of people who truly have a heart for God and a heart for the Navajo people. I was greatly encouraged by serving alongside them and getting to know them.
Thankful for you, Tyson!
• Interested in bringing a group out to serve our community? Contact us & we can chat!