On March 30th, our team of 24 loaded up the cars and headed down to the Navajo reservation for our third annual trip to Immanuel Mission (ImmanuelMission.org). Your generous gift made this possible so we wanted to say thank you and share some stories from our time.
We were able to distribute 45 Easter food baskets for elderly Navajo shut-ins and give them an invitation to church. Our work crews built a horse and sheep corral for an elderly couple, installed 400’ of much-needed fence on the mission and completed a French drain and retaining wall for one of the buildings on the mission. Our teens also made a gourmet steak dinner for about 50 of the school and mission workers the staff appreciation evening, complete with some fun dancing afterward! On Sunday, we served a meal to the locals after church and played some fun games with them as well.
One of the highlights of the trip was hearing from some dear Navajo friends, who Scott and Andie met in college at Ft. Lewis years ago. For the past 25 years, Dino and Nanette have been faithfully serving on the reservation and they came to share their testimony and lead a discussion on the cultural differences between the Navajo and us. Many in our team also got close to an older woman named Ada (pictured with Andie below) who grew up near Immanuel Mission. She shared the story of her being sent to a boarding school when she was only 6 where they cut off all her hair and forbade her from speaking in Navajo in order to produce ‘cultural assimilation’. I had just finished reading the book This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger which tells the story of the Native American boarding schools so her life story came alive as she shared! I highly recommend that book if you want to see history through the eyes of a native child. It is so good for all of us to enter into another culture, learn from them, and serve them.
The final highlight of the trip was an abandoned litter of 7 adorable puppies that one of the work crews found out in the field while on their project. Packs of abandoned dogs who go feral are a big problem to the school there as they become aggressive to the school children and need to be put down. So we agreed, to the great rejoicing of all the kids, to bring them back to Denver and they all got adopted! It was a fun way to end a great trip!