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A Week on the Rez


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by Jenna Watry Jenna was a member of EM's 2018 Summer Staff on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. She and her teammates helped coordinate mission trips and built relationships within the local community throughout the summer. This is a reflection from a typical week on 'the Rez!'

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of new faces, long and beautiful car rides, loaded grocery trips, Home Depot runs, and fellowship with EM's incredible Navajo community partners. J.R. and his wife, Mary Lou, pastor House of Joy Church that sits atop Black Mesa, Arizona, just walking distance from a breathtaking canyon.

Outreach Coordinator Reflection

This past Sunday, our first short-term team joined us in our outreach efforts that include Kids Club, construction and home improvement projects, and most importantly getting to know the community and its unique culture.

A few words on Kids Club this week from Toni, our Outreach Coordinator:

“Kids Club this week was a little different than it has been the past few years. Typically, Kids Club is very similar to V.B.S—with arts and crafts, songs, and Bible lessons. It also lasts for four days a week and is done with a team. This week it was only Monday and Wednesday and was just done with Jenna and I, as our group was very occupied with their work projects. We took these two days to really start developing a genuine connection with the kids and teenagers who would be coming to Kids Club for the rest of the summer.

We had previously met some of the kids at church on Sunday, so we had already started to connect with them. These kids are amazing. Ranging from ages 4 to 15, the children are mostly related, both biologically and by ‘clan.’ On Monday, Jenna and I drove out to the field and immediately started playing different games with the kids. I took the 5 older ones and played baseball with them while Jenna took the younger three and ran around with them playing hide and go seek. After baseball, we all took a break and had a short Bible lesson focused around teamwork. Then, we grabbed a football and played some two-hand touch to end the day. When we returned on Wednesday, we brought out the game UNO to play. The older ones loved playing and trying to beat each other and us while the younger ones enjoyed helping Jenna and I choose cards to play. All in all, this week was well spent creating genuine friendships and some friendly competition amongst all of us. Beyond excited for the weeks to come.”


Navajo Mission Trips

Construction Coordinator Reflection

Isaac and Eric on the Construction this week:

“This past week, Ascent Community Church came in from Boulder, Colorado and laid a great foundation to our summer. It was a joyous beginning to a summer full of a lot of vision and a lot of projects here on the Black Mesa area of the Navajo Reservation. They came with open minds, gracious hearts, and a lot of motivation to work hard. During the week, the nine high school freshmen and four leaders worked on two homes in the community. On one project, the team spent long hours cutting and smashing through hard bedrock to form a trench for the footing of an extension to the house. On their last day, they even began mixing and pouring concrete, setting up the next team to finish the job. At the second house, the owner John had begun constructing the house by himself and completed a lot of it until he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, rendering him incapable of finishing the work. The mission team volunteers stepped in gladly and completed a necessary trench for a pipe which will one day carry water to the house. Once they completed that, they moved indoors and reinforced the structure in the rafters of the house, and also spent a lot of time getting to know John's family. They were very appreciative of the work, showing the team the pottery they craft and also cooking fry bread, a Navajo specialty, for the team as a show of thanks. The work the team accomplished will pave the way for future work to be done in order to complete the house. We consider it a huge honor to be part of the process of providing this family with a decent home. The students and leaders of this team from Colorado were a loving, fun, and hard-working group that not only exceeded expectations but also left a lasting impact on the community and the intern team here at Black Mesa.”

Navajo Mission Trips

Navajo Mission Trips

All in all, this week set the tone for an amazing summer and began our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ on the Navajo Rez. We are so humbled and thankful to be here serving the Lord and His people.

Apply now to be a 2019 intern and lead mission trips like Jenna, Toni, Eric, and Isaac!


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