Carrying on WorldwideBy Reid Powell
In July of 2013, three Foursquare youth pastors and their students joined together for a combined missions trip to the Navajo Nation. Reid Powell ’06 (Newlife, Pomona, CA), Judah Trabulsi 06′ (Living Way, Littleton, CO), and Cyndi Lindner (Cornerstone, Anaheim, CA) all met as students at Life Pacific in 2002, and 11 years later, are still doing ministry together.
After many laborious meetings on Google Hangout, coordinating fundraisers, programing themes, schedules, road trips, etc., the three churches came together for 8 days of united ministry at a local church in the capitol city of the Navajo Reservation.
For the last 15 years, The Tunnel Spring Navajo Church has been holding annual “Camp Meetings,” where several hundred Navajo people come together 6 nights in a row to worship and pray for revival and spiritual renewal in the Navajo Nation. This is the occasion that opened up the possibility for this combined missions trip. While the adults were in their services, Reid and his team lead a VBS for the kids, and Living Way and the Cornerstone lead services for the youth.
The programming for the kids included all kinds of skits, Bible lessons, treasure hunts, archery, and crafts, and the youth were blessed with dramas, creative artwork, student testimonies, powerful worship, and life changing teachings. All of the kids were called to “dream big” about their lives, and to believe that it is possible to live a life free of drugs, alcohol, incest, and suicide, which run rampant on the reservation and far surpass national averages.
One of the greatest victories of the trip came in the form of a large jungle gym. The three youth pastors had assessed the needs of this particular Navajo church, and came up with the idea of building a jungle gym that would not only draw kids to the VBS, but also draw families to the church long after the event was over. After pooling resources from all three churches, and spending over 80 hours putting it together, the playset was complete. Reid later said regarding the playset, “You should have seen the moment when we cut the ribbon! Those kids swarmed that thing, and didn’t want to leave! It was such a great moment of seeing what can happen when we work together, and use our resources to be a blessing others.”
Arnold Yazzie, the caretaker of the Tunnel Springs Navajo Church and point person for the missions trip said, “What you guys do out here is far more than teaching songs and Bible stories, you’re showing them that there are people who are really living it out. You are showing them that someone cares, and most importantly, you give them hope.”
All three churches came back tremendously encouraged, and hope to continue ministry there in the future.