Sorry it's taken me so long to update, I'm still trying to process all that God did and showed on this trip.
First and foremost, this trip was about relationships for me. I didn't hammer a nail or paint a stroke. What I did do was sit and listen, wipe runny noses, hug little children, glue puffy dots on paper and smile at people who couldn't understand a word I was saying.
I think this trip for me emphasized more than any other that God cares about people way more than projects or programs. The TO nation is made up of some wonderful people who need Jesus more than any indoor toilet, five-room house or working pencil. They need someone to listen to their heartache, love them for who they are and share Jesus with them.
I'd like to share about the people. Of course, First Papago wouldn't function as it does without Jay Juan, their local pastor. This is a man who loves the Lord and loves the TO people. He firmly believes spiritual renewal in the Native American population is going to come through the work of the people in his little faith family. Then there's Julie. This woman is simply amazing. When she hears of a need, she doesn't call someone else for help, she gets a prayer team up (sometimes it's just her) and she goes and prays over and with people. She is a spiritual warrior. Cheryl is much the same way. She knows the problems of her people and spends much time in prayer beseeching the Father on their behalf. If only my prayer life was as faithful! Then there's Yolanda. She greeted me on Sunday with the words "what a great surprise! I didn't know you were coming!" Talk about making me feel welcome and wanted. I love this lady. She has such a heart for the children of the nation and will drive an hour on Sundays to bring Sunday School lessons to kids in a village with no indoor plumbing.
Then there are all the other people we spent time ministering to: Frank, Angelita, Martina, Rosita, Del Raya, Alia, Micah, Shorty, Andrew, Pete, Agnes, Mabel, Josephine Y., Josephine M., Priscilla, Elliot, Miah, Mike, Tim and many more. This is why I go and where my passion is.
There are also some special people that my heart hurts for and why my passion is so strong for this area. One such lady is Josie. Josie is a believer but has struggled lately with alcohol abuse. Right now, she has 15 people living in her house. And we're talking 1000 square feet people. Josie also has baby Felicia who rocks my world. If she's around, she's usually in my arms. Anyone who knows me isn't at all surprised. :-) Be in prayer for Josie. She knows the right way but addiction is hard. Pray God works in her life in miraculous ways. K, Nessa and Kayla are another family. K is the leader of the Bloods on the reservation and is struggling to turn his life around. He's so close to taking the final step to trust in Christ as his Lord and Savior. And let me tell you, once he takes that step, watch out! God will use him as a force to be reckoned with on that reservation. Nessa is his girlfriend and Kayla is their adorable 7 month old baby girl. Pray for this sweet family. Pray a hedge of protection around K that his gang activity won't take his life or his freedom.
I hope in this post you can see my heart. This is a group of people that I could talk for ages about. I LOVE these people. I would move tomorrow if I could. In fact, I'm looking at job opportunities out there right now. Jay Juan and First Papago need people to help walk alongside them and spread the love of Jesus to the TO Nation. Who better than me?
P.S. Pictures will come when I'm on my home computer. :-)