We’re home from our Mission trip to Arizona. On Thursday (July 7th) our team traveled 3 hours on a flight to Phoenix Arizona and then drove 3 hours up and through the mountains to Grey Mountain Bible Church. Our overall mission was to support the Grey Mountain Bible church by sharing the gospel with the Navajo community through programing and fellowship, as well as to address the basic structural needs of the church facilities.
Grey Mountain Arizona is tough! The extreme 106+ degree temperatures and winds were harsh and unforgiving. Our group slept in tents in the gym, which was not air- conditioned, and used bottled water for drinking and brushing our teeth. The doors to the gym were so ill –fit that a brigade of cockroaches (among other critters) would enter the building at night and scurry in and out of the kitchen. We shared one shower stall (1 for women and 1 for men) and 2 toilets each. The gym floor was carpeted and stained and upon arrival we could actually feel the desert sand circulating in the air with every step. I say this to iterate that the conditions were difficult, but yet our team rallied together to make it our temporary home. We cooked, we cleaned and we began preparation for the community outreach and the construction projects as planned.
Some of the projects that were executed during our time at the church included the following:
- Repairing the air conditioner and the non-functioning toilets in the church, replacing the doors to the outdoor water pump room (which had been frequented by rats and other pests), repairing the hot water heater (our team became adept to showering in cold water), and replacing the ill fitting gym doors which left occupants exposed to the elements. There were also additional improvements to the facility such as replacing fixtures and exterminating in and around the buildings.
- We also focused on evangelizing and socializing with the local Navajo community. We hosted a Fun Fair, Movie Night & Discussion, Sports Fest and multiple luncheons where we served food and spent time getting to know one another. The children played together easily and their favorite games included basketball and duck-duck-goose.
- We also strove to encourage the current pastor (Pastor Toby) and his wife, who has only held the position for 6 months. He’s a welder by trade and is unable to dedicate his full attention to his pastoral work because there is very little money going into the church. The church is dependent upon missionaries who come to serve the community and maintain the facilities. Much of the congregation is comprised of senior members who are unable to work or find employment locally. Please keep the pastor and his flock in your prayers.
Phil spent much of his time commuting to and from Home Depot to purchase the equipment required to complete the repairs to the buildings. The lists were long and the commute was 45 minutes each way. It was certainly a test in patience. He also served as our lead basketball player on the courts to recruit young people to come to the sports fest the following day. Despite his training as a fencer, Phil still had a few smooth moves on the court!
After prepping for and leading the fun fair, Sydney and I fell ill. I spent the remainder of Saturday recovering from dehydration and heat exhaustion while Sydney battled a fever that sent us on a scary rollercoaster. Sydney’s declining health (high fevers, irritability and unwillingness to eat or drink) required much of my attention for the remainder of the trip. We finally took her to the Emergency Room when her fever spiked 104 degrees and learned that she had developed an ear infection. It was during this trial in which I personally witnessed the body of Christ working together.
Not only did our team rally around us to pray for Sydney, but a team member also joined us on the 45- minute trip to the Flagstaff Emergency Room where she remained with us to care for Zoe and Jada so that we could tend to Sydney. In her absence, her responsibility as team cook was managed by two other team members.
When I reflect on the book of Acts I can recall instances in which the apostles prayed for one another and supported one another when they were out in the field. Likewise, it was a blessing for me to see such a large group of people (28 total) all working together and serving not only the Navajo community but also humbly serving one another. Another instance of this selflessness is when a team member took it upon himself to be the “bug buster” and ensured that we had very few pests as possible entering into the building. He would patrol and spray the facilities even late into the evening and dispose of the remains of the pests. Two other members were charged with shuttling Navajo attendees to and from their homes so that they might participate in the activities we’d planned. Other missionaries took it upon themselves to refresh the bathrooms throughout the week or to just lend a hand in the kitchen as needed. Many of these acts were done proactively and they were done in excellence.
While our primary mission was to share the Gospel, what was most impactful to me was how a group of like-minded individuals operating under Christ’s directive to serve as witnesses was able to joyfully work together as a team under challenging circumstances. As a result of our team’s sense of humility and desire to serve one another, we all witnessed how the body of Christ is meant to operate with love and respect for one another. Our time in Arizona has certainly made an impression on our family and we hope to institute this attitude of selfless service in every aspect of our lives.
Thank you for supporting our family on this journey through yours prayers and financial gifts. Our mission trip has definitely sowed the seeds of service into the fiber of our family and solidified in my own mind how every part of the body of Christ is invaluable to the building of God’s kingdom.
Have you incorporated an attitude of service into your daily life?