Navajo Mission Trip

Students Build Community Garden and Host VBS

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Keene, Texas » A group of 35 students and sponsors from Southwestern Adventist University and Chisholm Trail Academy traveled to the border of Arizona and New Mexico to complete the work God had for them in the Navajo Nation. The Gallup All-Nations Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted the group.

The vision of the Gallup church is to expand their ministry to the Navajo reservation through programs that promote healthier lifestyles. A community garden provides various opportunities to minister through the production and sale of fresh produce and the introduction of programs that promote healthy choices. Faculty from the University’s religion and business departments collaborated on the best way to create an impact. Through funding from a Unilever Bright Futures grant, secured by Southwestern’s Enactus team, along with private donations, the multi-use garden space became a reality.     

Snowy weather caused valid concerns for the construction project. As the snow melted, a layer of mud formed over the frozen ground. Contingency plans for securing heavy equipment allowed the project to move forward. Answered prayers came in the form of strong winds that dried up the ground and allowed work to progress. The team completed the construction of a garden area that includes a greenhouse, 12 elevated growing beds, and secure fencing.

In addition to the building project, the mission team had the opportunity to provide a Vacation Bible School program at Rez Refuge. Rez Refuge is a community center in Fort Defiance, an impoverished area on the Navajo reservation that is plagued with many social and economic adversities. The center provides safe after school programming. They also implement supplemental programs such as a garden program, cooking classes, music, and summer activities. The response to the VBS program was overwhelming! Over 20 enthusiastic children participated. Each day they learned about virtues such as compassion, patience, and self-control through Bible stories, crafts, science experiments, and songs. 

God blessed the work of this mission team with successful outcomes and positive interactions. However, the definitive goal is that the seeds of our labor result in the glorification of God before all nations. Isaiah 61:11 states “For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Ultimately, God has a plan to use our willingness to “go” in ways that far exceed our goals and expectations. 

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