old school

I just have to mention that this week, the Kids Club team used the felt board to tell the Bible story. It took me way back to Sunday School days with the Weavers and those old movies where the kids would jump into the Bible and go through the story. It was awesome, and the kids were so attentive during the story. Felt boards should never be done away with.

On the other hand, our logistics coordinator that has been taking care of us from the main office in Washington is here with us this week. She was my sidekick today, helping me with the small things I do, one of which includes driving and picking up kids for kids club. We had some serious bonding time and we got to talk about our summers and what our jobs have looked like on the field and in the office. And it was awesome. She basically considers Arizona to be like an international site because of the limited resources we have while we are out here. And she saw it first hand today when we passed by several cows on the road and almost hit a sheep with a church van packed full of kids. Needless to say, her experience is nothing short of exciting.

It’s amazing how reverting back to the old way of doing things can be so refreshing. Like cooking outside for instance. I have never in my life spent this much time outside, it’s almost all day. And besides barbeques, I have never really cooked outside. So to come here and learn and see the cool and interesting ways of doing things has been awesome. I feel like I now have a whole set of “Navajo skills” that I can carry with me the rest of my life. And I carry a knife everywhere, can it get any better?


the unexpected

*stepping out, what a child, my steps ahead of my mind
not a doubt, till you knocked me off my paradigm
simple me, only trying to see you in the stained glass
I walked right past the unexpected

Any way you want to show me all your glory
Anywhere you choose to speak, tell your story
In the low and lofty places
Strangers’ faces
And any way

Doubt that I would have found you there in Bethlehem
It’s no surprise you changed the world through fishermen
Good to know you would go so far to finally get through
It’s just like you, yeah, and so unlike me

Any way you want to show me all your glory
Anywhere you choose to speak, tell your story
In the low and lofty places
Strangers’ faces
And any way

In the back streets and on a rooftop
And at the end of a rocky road you don’t stop
On a mountain, in a rainstorm
And in a coat where a mother keeps her baby warm
In the back pew, at the altar
And at the well where you gave the woman water
In the chaos, in the holy
In the darkness and anywhere a heart beats
Anywhere a heart beats

Any way you want to show me all your glory
Anywhere you choose to speak, tell your story
In the low and lofty places
Strangers’ faces
And any way*

- Kelly Minter

I remembered this song the other day as I was washing dishes. And I don’t exactly remember what happened that day, or why this song jumped out at me again, but looking back, especially on this week. I realize how true this song is.

Too many times I look in the wrong places to find God. And then, like a breath of fresh air, He shows up in the unexpected. Like this morning, as Kiki took my hand to walk me back to the house, or the team offering to do the dishes for me. He’s shown up in little kids’ faces and Sarah’s wise words. He’s shown up in Daniel’s talks and the Euchre games we now play at night. He showed up yesterday as Townie and I talked for a long time. And sometimes it’s Him talking through people who ask you if you’re doing alright. I’ve seen God in the canyon, on the dirt roads, at the swap meets and in the women making frybread. I’ve seen God in a drawing instead of a stained glass window. I’ve seen him on long road trips and early morning hikes. And the other night, when I was the last one to run up a steep, sandy hill, He was waiting for me at the top in those that were standing there encouraging me. God surrounds these people. And it’s wonderful to see God in the ordinary, in the mundane, and in the people of the Navajo nation. He’s here, friends, don’t worry, he’s here.

And he’ll go home with me too. And to Indiana and to wherever the next year takes me. I just pray that I’ll be able to see him in everything there too, even the unexpected.


being sam and frodo

Daniel talked again tonight. And no matter how many times I hear a talk about his drawing, God always has something new to say to me…

A few weeks ago as we hiked down into the canyon, we all talked about which characters in Lord of the Rings we would choose to be if we got to pick. The boys all picked the warriors like Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, Townie wanted to hold a big stick and be Gandalf. And I told everyone that I would be Sam.

There’s a part of me that’s always known I would be the best friend in a story. I’m not the main character type. Please, stick me behind the scenes. No one would write a movie based on my life. But I want to be the one giving hope, the one picking my friends up when they fall down.

There are times in all of our lives when we’re each Frodo. It’s true that each of us are on our own individual journey, carrying certain burdens and things that no one else carries. We all fall many times. But there are Sams in each of our lives; those real heroes that pick us up and force us to move on and continue the journey.

I’m blessed I guess. I have so many Sams in my life. And I realized that tonight. But I also remembered that Sam is exactly who I want to be to people in my life.

Sam couldn’t carry the ring. So he carried Frodo.

So dear friends, when I can’t carry the thing, I’ll carry you.

“…together we can run to the finish line
and when you are tired, I’ll carry you…

… we were never meant to make it on our own.
and when the load becomes too heavy and your feet too tired to walk
I will carry you and we’ll be carried on…”

*rebecca st. james


the leadership major

Whenever I tell people I’m a leadership major, they always ask me what you do with that degree in the “real world”. I shrug my shoulders and say I have no clue. I could do anything with it. Why do people always pressure us to have our lives mapped out? Why do I have to know today exactly what job I’m going to be in for the rest of my life?

Why isn’t what I’m learning more important that what job I may have in the future? I wish people would ask about who I am because of the classes I’ve taken instead of what I’m going to do with some degree in the future.

Many of my classes have come back to haunt me in real life situations. I guess that’s what happens when you let God tell you what to take in college. This summer is no different. Those leadership classes are constantly in mind.

I took a class this past spring called team leader. It was a great class, I learned more than I though I could. And I got to work in a team and apply right then and there what we would talk about in lectures.

But today, in Arizona, I’m the only one who knows these principles. And my team of three is about to change dramatically in 48 hours. We’re adding a member. Experience Mission is sending us another intern to help with the last three weeks of teams. And he comes on Friday. And while I think this is going to be a good change, that never means it’s going to be easy, or that there won’t be things I need to focus on to bring all of us together.

I was telling a friend last night that the split second decisions you have to make on the field are some of the hardest I’ve ever made. I’m one of those introverts that thinks everything through before I make my final decision. And that’s not a bad thing. But sometimes, you simply don’t have the time. Sometimes, taking your time is the wrong thing to do.

Getting the phone call that someone new was coming was somewhat of a shock to me. My team, that I’ve now lived with for 7 weeks is suddenly going to change. And what am I going to do about it. How can I apply what I know from those leadership classes to make this transition smooth and good? What is God showing me here? What in the world am I going to learn here that I could never learn in a classroom?


love, the chef

dear future housemates and friends at iwu,
i officially have our first meal picked out for the fall. you have to promise to eat it, and i'm telling you right now it's great. i know i promised i'd cook once a week, so for anyone brave enough to come to dinner, we'll have a good ol' navajo classic dish.

the chef


a God I don't understand

“But today you have met a God you do not understand. Such is the mystery of His sovereignty. Such are his ways in every generation. No man has ever understood God, not fully. No man ever will. God will always be something other than what men expect Him to be. He will work out His will in ways different from what men forsee…

…the question is, “Will you follow a God you do not understand? Will you follow a God who does not live up to your expectations?” – The Prisoner in the 3rd Cell

I wonder why I was placed in Arizona.

Why, God, why?


youth group of the year

We’ve had three teams come and go. Houses have been repaired and painted, shades have been built, floors have been tiled, and a lot of food has been eaten. It’s hard to believe that half our teams are done and gone. Time flew by. And now, it was time for me to go on another adventure.

Ever since we arrived, I’ve heard the church youth group talk about Trail of Hope. It’s a native youth conference, a place for these guys to be encouraged and see what other native youth are doing around the area both on the rez and off. It’s like their own version of Christ in Youth conferences that I went to summers in high school.

I didn’t think I was going to get to go. It wasn’t until the night before that it was decided I would go. Chris and Townie had to stay to run errands and take care of things around the church. But God granted me yet another crazy adventure.

I wish I could express how much I love these people, especially the youth. Two of the girls have been my traveling companions as I pick up kids for kids club and they have been so much fun. The boys are always running around and helping me cook for the teams and Daniel the youth leader has become a friend that can be both crazy and serious. I was so excited to spend this time with them and share in the experience of Trail of Hope.

As with most things here, this trip was completely unpredictable. Everyone was chasing us off on Saturday, saying we were going to be late. In reality, the conference started on Sunday, and we had to buy some tarps and camp out on Saturday night since we were a day early. I loved it though: the randomness of life and the spontaneous decisions. They make my day without even knowing it.

The actual conference was really good, a little different from ones that I’ve been to in the past, but it was yet another learning experience for me. The kids were the best part. I got to see them learning more about God, I got to see and hear them worshipping and singing, and as always, I got to laugh with them and have fun.

And God spoke to me too. It’s a place I would never have expected to be and yet God showed me how I got there. I got to go to a seminar on missions, I got to meet some really cool people that are working with native youth. And I was challenged by what God is doing in my life. I knew after the first week that these people and this place would hold an extremely special place in my heart. I saw that even more as I spent time with the youth and Daniel on this trip. They mean so much to me, more than they might ever know.

On the last night awards were handed out to the youth pastor of the year, youth group member of the year, youth group of the year and there was a lifetime achievement award. Our youth from New Testament Indian Gospel Church won youth group of the year. I could see it coming. I was so incredibly happy they won. No other youth group deserved it more. These kids help out so much. There’s no way Chris and Townie and I could survive without them and what they do for us. And on crazy days, they keep us sane. When I see those boys pull up, I know the day is going to be alright. They make the long days worth it, and knowing that we get to hang out with them all summer is so wonderful.

They so deserved it, and when they opened their gift they were shocked. They won a Wii for being the youth group of the year.

And no one deserved it more. You gotta love them.