I have always wanted to take my family on a mission trip. I grew up in a missionary family, and I while I know that a short trip is not the same as living the life, I still wanted them to get a taste of another culture and the blessing of giving to them.
Our church has worked closely with the pastor of Red Mesa Bible Church on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for many years and when they announced they were planning a trip I was thrilled! We were to take a 4 day Vacation Bible School to the kids. We brought lessons, music, puppets, crafts, games, and snacks to the Navajo children.
The kids, as kids usually are, were super excited for this new adventure.
Joy had originally been disappointed that she wasn’t given a job but placed in the VBS. She really wanted to help. But I was so happy to see her make friends with the kids there.
Joy was reportedly very helpful to her teacher and I loved seeing her take initiative to help with the young children when needed. It did my heart good!
While my younger kids participated in the VBS, Faith helped as one of the puppeteers. She loved being part of the skit.
Oh the beautiful children! How I enjoyed them. One of my girls came up to me and in complete surprise said, “Wow, Mom, the kids really seem to like you.” Cracked me up.
Games. I was in charge of games. I had never led games for a children’s ministry before, but I think it was the last job to be given out, and I didn’t complain. I was really nervous, but I took a deep breath and figured, if I could teach high school kids Spanish surely I could play a few games with children right?
Faith and JB were my invaluable helpers. I was ever so thankful for my teaching skills and just being able to see what worked and didn’t work and change my plan as I went. Whew! Funny, how some of the games that I thought would be great were not the favorites. Others like Pin the Tail on the Horse that I thought might not work so well, especially with older kids, was great fun for all.
Relay games I found are the king of VBS. After the first day I made sure to have at least one relay game every day.
And the winner of all the relay games was the fill the bucket with a wet sponge game. A friend had told me this was a hit at her VBS, and so when I found it in my book for games I put it on the list. This one I would do every year.
Snack time! I loved these little farm themed snack boxes.
The children opened those boxes like they were gold and some of the sweet children could not stop eating and kept saying, “Eat, eat, eat,” after snack time was over. I loved how our leaders saw the need and went out and purchased extra nutritious snacks that the kids could eat for breakfast and throughout the day when they were hungry. Did they all get enough to eat on a daily basis? We wondered.
While the women and kids worked with the VBS the men had other jobs. One of the things Jason did was shuttle children from and back to their homes. Our awesome Ford Transit did it’s part to help!
There was also a work project in one of the buildings where some of our men leveled floors and did other construction.
Some of our crew also cleaned up some of the dead thorny brush that was around the property.
The church provided us with a Navajo Taco dinner as a thank you for coming. I was over-the-top excited. I learned to love Navajo tacos when I was in boarding school and some of the kids from the reservation would take over the kitchen once in a while and prepare Navajo Tacos for everyone. I loved them!
Oh my goodness! They were amazing! At the dinner I went up to the pastor of the church and tried out a couple of the Navajo words I remembered learning in high school. He smiled and asked me about my school. He quickly began listing kids that went to my school. Such a small world, as they say!
The boys–I think what we were doing was quite lost on them. Their favorite thing about being on the reservation was playing in the dirt. They did this by the hour when VBS was over, and there was other work for the rest of us to do. Really, what more could a young boy want than some rocks, sticks, and all the dirt he can play with?
We loved our time in Arizona! It was a dream come true for me to take the family. I hope we were as much of a blessing to the people there as they were to us. My income from my blog paid for our expenses, so I wanted to thank you for sharing in our journey. You are appreciated!