In July we sent a team of 13 to minister to families on a Navajo reservation in Burnt Corn Valley, Arizona. They partnered with a larger team led by another church in the area.
Led by Bob Payne and Yvonne Bock and aided by a big “gospel tent,” the team helped put on a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for kids for a week. They also assisted with hands-on projects, held babies, and entered into friendship.
Some of you were part of sending this team – you prayed, you gave of your resources, you contributed supplies. Thank you for your partnership!
Below are some trip highlights shared by Bob Payne. Bob has been part of this ministry for years, but this was his first trip with Church of the Open Door (COD). I was encouraged to hear these three reflections, and I think you will be as well!
TIANA MADE ME CRY
On the Vacation Bible School (VBS) mornings, we drove out to the neighboring homes in the valley to pick up kids and adults.
On the first morning, I picked up 20 year-old Tiana (pictured below, left) from a house that I have been to numerous times in the past eight years. I did not remember Tiana from previous years, but I asked her about life and she told me that she was attending the University of Arizona.
“Oh really?” I asked. “What are you doing there?”
Tiana replied, “I am pre-med.” And she continued, “When I was a little girl, you told me I could be a doctor.”
I was in shock as the tears started forming in my eyes. What a gift from God. How many of us get to see the fruit of our work?
Later the young adult pastor told me that Tiana did not have assurance of salvation and asked me to follow up with her.
The next day Tiana let me take her through the scripture and she made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Another amazing gift from God!
OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WERE AMAZING
The team of COD young people were amazing. They never stopped even when they were exhausted.
Their cheerfulness, good humor, quick wit, and absolute desire to serve were ever present. They were a highlight to Yvonne and me. Yvonne and I were co-leaders of the young people on the trip, but we quickly found out that our assignment was one of title only. Never once did we feel like the 10 we were leading even needed direction.
During the four days of VBS, the gospel was preached and 14 Navajo made professions of faith in Jesus Christ!
Our theme was Psalm 51, with an emphasis on “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The teaching time was special to me as I taught two of the days, and Liam and Orlando made professions of faith in Jesus after they saw their salvation in the scripture.
Rylie Anderson had an amazing time as she led two young Navajo to professions of faith in Jesus.
The COD young people all gave testimony as to how this week with the Navajo ministering to them actually also transformed their lives.
A GIFT FOR SHAY
At the end of the week, our team had some money to gift. I asked the team where they would like to gift this money. I wanted them to decide by majority; Yvonne and I were not involved in the decision.
On the final day of VBS, the team made a unanimous decision that this money would go to woman named Shay. Shay is a humble single mother of three kids with little means. As Yvonne gave the money to Shay, the tears started for Yvonne, Shay, and everyone present.
This gift for Shay was also a gift for us.