Reflections on Navajo Mission Trip August 2019
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in Calvary’s mission trip to Arizona. This was my first mission trip, and it was a truly wonderful experience. This CBF mission opportunity was developed by Navajo Pastor Greg Long who pastors a church in Flagstaff, Arizona. He worked with Brian Varble and leaders of other western CBF churches with the goal of holding a one-day revival at a Navajo flea market. In order to prepare the flea market site, our Calvary group traveled to the town of Leupp, Arizona where the flea market was held. Leupp is located on the Navajo Nation, which is the largest U.S. Indian Reservation. The Reservation is approximately the size of the state of West Virginia. At the site in Leupp, we assisted in setting up the various tents that would be used during the flea market. The layout consisted of one large central tent with a lectern at the front and rows of hay bales set up pew style so that participants could sit in the shade. Calvary and the other participating churches set up smaller tents surrounding the large tent, and each of the smaller tents contained an activity geared toward children- balloon animals, face painting, etc. The night before the flea market event, Brian Varble and Pastor Long slept outside at the flea market site to ensure that everything was secure and ready for the flea market the next day.
Calvary’s flea market tent focused on providing bags of school supplies to Navajo children and their families. We had previously called upon Calvary members for donations, and, as usual, they were exceptionally generous in donating school supplies and money. Retired school teacher Barbara Bowman did a great job of maximizing our purchasing power so that we could be as generous as possible. Through all of these efforts, we were able to put together 250 bags of school supplies, and we gave all of them away during the flea market. The Navajo children and their families were extremely happy to get these supplies, and this met a significant need as many of the families living on the reservation struggle with high unemployment.
Not only was the flea market a fun day for children, but it also was a great means of spreading the Gospel. During the day, volunteer pastors would preach 15-minute sermons under the large tent, and there were musical interludes as well. Many churches had brought great musicians who played classic hymns on a portable keyboard. Listening to “How Great Thou Art” sung in Spanish was a particularly moving event for me. It was wondrous to be a part of a large community worshiping one Great God and spreading the love of Christ to so many children.
Navajo Mission Team Member