September 26, 2009
Our week at Rehoboth New Mexico is done. Rehoboth is a settlement just east of Gallup. There is a large Christian School here, founded and supported by the CRC. This were we had our dorm and also our breakfasts and most evening meals.
In my previous blog I mentioned our trip to this place; this time I’ll share some of the week’s activities. After breakfast every morning, we met together in two groups to have morning devotions, this focused primarily on God’s interaction with our lives and thus became sharing of individual faith stories. In the evening we would discuss the days’ accomplishments and the tasks for the next day. One of our evening activities involved making Navajo jewelry for ourselves. We also visited the code-talkers museum and we had a Bible study on Wednesday night; the men at Rehoboth, the women at Churchrock.
Our daily tasks involved some general repair work around some of the homes and churches in the vicinity. If there was a need we tried to help, without any regard to church membership or attendance. Monday was a big day at Verna’s place. She has a dilapidated home in Churchrock. Corrie and I were part of the team working there. We tore out damaged and hanging dry-wall in the ceiling and a wall around a window. This had been wet and was really bad looking. The ceiling pieces were hanging down, the insulation was damaged and had been wet.
The wall piece had large holes and was very brittle. Last year the roof had been replaced but the occupants are totally indigent, and battle alcoholism as well. So they could not get the inside repaired without assistance. Supplies were available and we supplied the labor. We also worked there to finish hanging the last ceiling pieces on Tuesday and did some general clean up. This is very hard if there is no electricity or running water. During the afternoon we worked at the Fort Wingate parsonage. On Wednesday we hung a new door at Verna’s. (When does a 32 inch door not fit a 32 inch frame???) With limited tools and the capable assistance of Corrie and Jeni, we got it done. The women also fixed the entry way, so it had a firm footing. In the afternoon we again went to Fort Wingate to help finish the job at the parsonage.
On Thursday we visited Grandma Pablo. What a contrast her house was to the one we repaired on Monday! She needed some fixing of the roof and replacing some dirt around the base of the house to keep the winter cold at bay.
She prepared some fry-bread for us!
A delicious mid-morning snack.
She was also very pleased to pray with us, both in Navajo and English. For lunch we went to the church at Tohlakai. I had some one on one with Darryl who is really struggling with staying “dry.” He takes care of his 90+ year old grandmother, who speaks no English at all. On Thursday night we had a cookout - potluck barbeque, Navajo style, at Pastor Ted’s hogan. Everyone was invited to try their hand at making fry-bread. From a ball of dough to a tasty treat. After we all shared the bounty and tasted the rich variety of food, we celebrated communion. While we were there we met with a couple having the same last name as us. To our pleasant surprise, we found that we were related. Chris Huizinga’s great-grandfather was my uncle. I stayed with him and his wife when I first came to the United States in 1964. As a matter of fact, Chris’ father played his trumpet at our wedding. We had a really fun time sharing our memories. We might just have to come back to this place in the future, to help with needed maintenance, help on the reservation, and to enjoy the hospitality and beauty of the place.
September 21, 2009
We have arrived in Gallup, New Mexico. We will be here for a week as participants in “Navajo Mission 2009." This is a recurring mission trip sponsored by Lutheran Church of Hope, of West Des Moines, Iowa. We took three days travel to get here. We spend the nights using a hospitality ministry, started by the Mennonite Church, called “Mennonite Your Way.” This ministry is joined by non-Mennonite Christians as well. We have also had many overnight guests stay at our home. The first night we stayed in Norton Kansas, with a couple who had been at our house in August. It was very nice to link up again and share our experiences.
The second night we slept at a farm about 8 miles north of La Junta, Colorado. During this second nights stay we had our fill of melon, water - and other kinds. The host family grows melons for seed production and develops new hybrids for taste, color and other parameters, as wanted by growers and producers. The growing season was over and many ripe melons were left on the test field. We were invited to indulge, try as many varieties as we wanted, and we even took some with us on our continuing trip.
We were blessed with light traffic and beautiful weather all our travel days. One of the benefits of taking time is the ability to take secondary roads, like US routes. Usually these roads are well maintained, but carry much less traffic than the express-ways or interstate highways. Also we see more history and culture, going though some of the small towns. It takes a little more time to go the distance, so it pays to not be in a hurry...
On Sunday we had a church service with a local Navajo CRC in the open air, because they held their annual church pick-nick at a site away from their normal place of worship in Churchrock, NM.
There was a rich variety of food, including some fresh fry-bread, prepared over an open fire. It was a real nice worship experience, we even tried to sing in Navajo; at least we got the melody right.
September 9, 2009
So, here we are on the other side of Labor Day.
Summer is over... yet there are many more nice days for outside activities until the chill of fall.
Days to ride, wether bicycle or motor cycle. Corrie and I ride together now, since I have passed my skills test (don’t ask - I won’t tell). So now I am legally a biker, and Corrie a “biker-chick.” The cycle we bought, with mutual consent, is a (large) scooter. I did not know that there were powerful scooters on the market until we started looking for something which would suit us.
So, we now own a Suzuki Burgman 650. It has the power to go, yet is very easy to handle.
On Labor Day weekend Tony came down with his two boys, our grandchildren, and we had a great time together. We went for bicycle rides and stopped at the ice cream place, we also helped as a small team with packaging “Meals from the Heartland.” This is a non-profit organization which assembles and distributes simple nutritious meals for the third world, like Haiti. Over 4 million meals were packaged.