September thru May - Sunday School begins at 9:15 AM with Youth Choir in the Sanctuary, and opening at 9:30am, followed by time in the classrooms.
Mrs. Nancy and Mrs. Amber meet with the children ages 3 through Kindergarten in the downstairs classroom.
Mr. & Mrs. R. and Mrs. Cheryl meet with children in the 1st through 4th grades in the education wing.
Dave meets with children in the 5th through 8th grades in the choir loft.
Our DCE Intern Beth will meet with the high school in the Foundation (the church basement)
CTC (Cross Training Club) - for youth in grades 5 through grade 8.
Wednsday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Together we will explore Concordia Publishing Houses Catechism Study which walks us through Scripture and the Catechism answering the question what it means to be a Christian in a broken world.
Confirmation for students in grade 9 is held the last Sunday in October.
Mission Trip 2018 Day 1
Day one actually began on Friday evening at church as we all met to load the U-Haul trailer with camping supplies, tools, suitcases or duffel bags, air mattresses and other items. We left church at 8:15 with instructions to be prepared for a 6:00 AM departure on Saturday.
Saturday morning we loaded last minute items and took a group photo. George led us in prayer for safe travel and that we would be God's servants to be used by him in the Navajo Nation. We pulled out of the church parking lot at 6:02 AM. Along the way we stopped in Des Moines, Iowa to pick up Jared, our mission trip companion on several previous trips. We drove for about an hour before stopping for lunch and then resumed our journey. We were soon in Missouri and then eventually in Kansas headed west on I-70. We arrived in Hays, KS about 7:15 PM. All together we spent just over thirteen hours on the road, having traveled through parts of four states. It was 61 degrees when we left Elk River and 97 when we arrived in Kansas. It reached as much as 100 degrees in western Kansas in the late afternoon. Hooray for air conditioning! Pastor Rocco Mallardi, whom our group met three years ago on our Mission trip to Kansas and is now the Pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Hays, Kansas agreed to house us at the church. Pastor, Janine, his wife and their four children served us pizza, carrots, watermelon and cake for dinner. We're back on the road by 6:00 AM tomorrow headed for Albuquerque to pick up Chris' sister Dee and a friend. The final leg of our trip will take us to St. Michaels, Arizona where we'll be until Friday.
More to come tomorrow,
Mission Trip 2018 Day 2
Day two started early with all our air mattresses, sleeping bags and clothes reloaded into the U-Haul trailer and we left Messiah Lutheran in Hays at 6:00 AM. We picked up some breakfast at McDonalds and ate on the road. It cooled down to 73 degrees and it was quite a pleasant morning for a drive. By about 8:30 it was necessary to turn the air conditioning back on. We reached the Oklahoma border (we were ready to be through Kansas) and traveled south across the panhandle. Soon we were in New Mexico. Unable to find a fast food restaurant, we decided to pick up lunch supplies at a small grocery store and ate lunch in a park. We switched drivers and headed for Albuquerque Airport to pick up Denise and Sonja from New Jersey. We had 2 1/2 more hours to go to reach St. Michaels, Arizona and arrived about 7:00 PM. Pastor Jerry Hilbun was there to greet us. We met Pastor and his wife Eleeva in Nassau on our mission trip to Eleuthera last summer. He brought a group of seven from Louisiana and Florida. They had prepared dinner for us; a baked potato salad bar with all the fixings. It was delicious and really hit the spot. After dinner we unloaded our clothes and moved into our rooms. We are staying at a former convent at the St. Michaels Catholic Franciscan Mission. It is very likely the finest mission trip accommodations we have experienced. We then gathered in the chapel and Pastor spoke about what to expect this week. He shared some do's and don'ts regarding customs and our behavior. He handed out a paper with some Navajo words for us to learn. The three worksite group leaders met to discuss the three jobs and then we gathered in our respective groups and each was assigned a specific role. We ended the day with Pastor leading a devotion and we headed for showers and to bed.
Mission Trip 2018 Day 3
Day three began with a temperature of 47 degrees at breakfast. It warmed up quickly as the sun rose and eventually it was 86 at three PM. We unloaded tools and supplies from the UHaul for our three groups and packed our lunches. We got started a little later due to Pastor Jerry needing to lead us to our worksites one by one. Group one is building a wheelchair ramp and group two is building a deck. Group three is also building a wheelchair ramp back across the state line in New Mexico however still within the Navajo Nation. We met Miss Marie at that site. She is a widow with a son who is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. The ramp will be for his use. We discovered that the ground is hard like concrete and it's very challenging to dig post holes. We needed to reconfigure the plans several times as the deck was considerably higher than we expected which resulted in a much longer run to meet building code for the slope. We also ran into a snag as we accidentally cut her phone line and the phone company won't be out to repair it until tomorrow. Marie was very understanding and said several times she appreciated how hard we we're working. She "happened to point out" how her sink and ceiling fans needed repair and that her son was unable to do the work. It was such a sweet way to ask for additional help. We are stopping at Ace Hardware tomorrow to pick up a new faucet to replace it. We also noticed her smoke detectors are beeping so we'll get some new batteries as well. She mentioned she found a ceiling fan at a garage sale for $5 but didn't know how to install it. She heats her home with a wood burning fireplace in the living room and the ceiling fan moves the heat to the outer rooms. We'll try to look at that if time permits. We quit work at 3:00 to head back to the Mission to clean up. The group went to the Navajo Museum before dinner. It was moving and educational with much historical information about "The Long Walk" that the Navajo people were forced to make in 1864. The original hand written treaty from 1868 is on display. We headed back to the Mission for a spaghetti dinner followed by group sharing and devotions led by George. The rest of the evening was free.
Mission Trip 2018 Day 4
We are getting an earlier start today and leaving for the site at 7:30. We have some catching up to do due to the late start and cutting the phone line on Monday. It's a chilly 44 degrees this morning and will reach 92 by the mid afternoon. Supplies loaded, we head back over the border to New Mexico and Miss Marie's house. She is waiting as we arrive and greets us with "Yah-teh a bini", which is good morning in Navajo. She has been teaching us a few Navajo words each day. Pastor Jerry provided us with a list of words such as hello, goodbye and others when we arrived. We asked for a power auger to help dig through the hard earth. We arranged for one to be rented from "Big Mike's Rental" in Gallup, NM. Pastor Jerry picked it up and we dug fourteen holes in about an hour. Platforms were built, treads cut, posts cemented and the stairs to the deck were removed. Soon the ramp was taking shape and we were making progress. We took our hourly water breaks and reapplied sunscreen. The heat was rising quickly and soon it was close to 90 degrees. The phone company arrived at 3:30 to repair the line we cut on Monday. Pastor Jerry said to pay the bill and he would reimburse us. To our delight, they said if we dug up the old line , they would splice it and leave extra slack for us to retrench the line and there would be NO COST! Miss Marie was happy when she heard a dial tone. As we were leaving for the day she told Chris that our deck was "better than anything the Indians would build". Some of us hiked up to the Window Rock after work. It was a more difficult hike than expected and worth the effort. The view from up there is amazing. We hiked back down and drove back to the Mission for a baked chicken dinner with potatoes and cole slaw. Team sharing and devotions led by Cheryl ended the day at 10:00 PM. Bedtime came soon after.
Ha-goo-na' (goodbye in Navajo) until tomorrow,
Mission Trip 2018 Day 5 Greetings to all from St. Michael, AZ.
We are having an amazing time. Today was a little different from most.
We started out working hard and fast for a 1/2 day at our our sites and then met back at the Mission house to head off to Canyon de Chelly which is pronounced as Canyon de-shay. Some went horse back riding, some hiking and some on a jeep tour. Pastor Jerry had added marveling glasses to our packing list and now we know why. The views were absolutely stunning and breathtaking. Weather warm and windy for the most parts. Many stories to share from our outings when we return home. Eleeva and Virginia have primarily been planning the meals and have not left us disappointed. They had packed up a meal for us of precooked hot dogs, potato salad and cole slaw that was delicious. We originally intended on a picnic on our outing however it has been very dry and the fire risk is too high. Plan B was to have the hot dogs but there was sort of a mini sandstorm so we returned back to our main house and enjoyed a much needed meal after the busy day we had.
We enjoyed a story called "Coyote" read by Betsy, a gal from Louisiana who was the perfect story teller. The Navajo believe the coyote to be a bit mischievous and refer to young people from the mission trips that way sometimes. Not our kids though, young and old, have been doing an amazing job.
For devotions tonight we talked a bit about sacrifice. The parable of the Good Samaritan was referenced and how the lawyer and the Levi had no time to help however the Samaritan took a little of his time and treasure to help the man in need and pastor tied it in to the mission trip experience, the sacrifice of us taking or time away from our day to day routine and given treasure to others in need. After some reflection this feeling came to mind that the correlation was real, I see more blessings from this trip that far out weigh the sacrifices. We were blessed with a meal from one of the sites, handmade gifts and appreciation beyond measure from the recipients of our efforts at the others. Again many stories to share.
Lastly, pastor shared a story behind Navajo beliefs about mother turtle. How even though she is not the mightiest or youngest she had a role in the world and how it is true in relation to our lives that we each have an important role that God has created us for where we can make a difference for the better of all. They gave each of us a turtle necklace that we could choose as a remembrance of our time here and we are specially made with a purpose. Nothing could ever shadow the gift of grace and forgiveness of Jesus himself being the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
Thank you so much for for also being the hands and feet of Jesus with your prayers and financial support to the Mission trips. You are right here with us as we help others in need. We couldn't do it without you!
Ha-goo-nah until tomorrow,