So we are back from our week long mission trip to New Mexico with World Servants and it is strange. I feel that though I was forced out of my comfort zone in every way imaginable, I left some of my heart at Oakridge Fellowship and the Navajo Indian reserve on which the church is built.
A few stories in particular will stay in my heart. Tuesday morning at around 10 o’clock, two brothers named Silas and Eli were brought over for kid’s camp. These two boys were the only kids that came for all four kid’s camp classes and we all had a soft spot in our hearts for them by week’s end. (A few volunteers from our group would literally drive up the dusty dirt roads in the area, pull up to houses and ask parents if their kids would like to come to our kid’s camp. Within half and hour or so, they would collect about 15 kids and bring them to us). As I was pushing Eli on a swing at the playground adjoining the church, I asked him what he and Silas had had for breakfast. His reply? “we ain’t had no breakfast.” Well, I quickly decided that must be remedied and so me and the other volunteers for that day took the two boys into the dining area and gave them cereal. After that incident, I became aware that many of the kids are not fed properly and I could tell many were going without meals. As a parent, my heart broke for them.
The day before, I asked Silas and Eli if they had heard of Jesus since our first lesson plan was supposed to be on the story of Rahab. They were the only two kids that first day and I figured we better know where the kids stood before plunging into a bible story. Both said they had not heard of Jesus and so Miriam, a trip leader, explained who God is, how He made them, how He sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins, be our best friend, etc. She did a great job and though we can not know now how this might have made an impression on the two boys, we can have hope that God will work to plant a seed in their little hearts. (As an aside, Rick and I noticed many Navajo use biblical names for their children even though they have no knowledge of the fact that the names they are using are biblical such as Silas, Eli, Jeremiah, Delilah, etc.
Perhaps a most poignant story concerns a guy named Antonio. He is a brand new convert, having come to the faith through World Servant’s about two weeks ago. His is an interesting story. A carpenter by trade, he has been very successful and had lots of land which made him a target for those in the community who would seek to destroy his success via the help of a witch doctor. Like a country song, Antonio suddenly lost all that was dear to him…his land, his truck and his girl friend. He felt certain he had been cursed and was on his way to see a witch doctor and have the curse reversed when he came upon some people from World Servants.
Anyways, Antonio has also been heavily addicted to alcohol and has become greatly influenced by the native spiritualism which is rooted in the occult. For example, he asked Rick and another guy named Steveo one night,
“Have you guys heard of a guy named Luc, Luceous…”
“Lucifer?” asked Steveo.
“Ya! That’s it,” replied Antonio.
“That’s satan,” Steveo told him.
Antonio went on to tell them how Lucifer often talks to him and has told him that he can be a general in his army. Isn’t that incredible in all it’s creepiness? That just solidifies exactly who satan is but who we in much of North America want to ignore. He has an army and is 24/7 waring against God. Of course we as Christians can have assurance at the end of the world that he will not win this war in the heavenlies but for now, God has given him much power and the prince of darkness has determined to keep as many people in bondage to every kind of evil as he possibly can. He is not cute. He is not some character in a computer game or in a Harry Potter story. He is a roaring lion, seeking to destroy all those who he might. We need to be aware of how much power he has in the lives of so many people so that when situations arise, we might be praying against what is really happening. We shouldn’t live in fear of him but we also should not pretend he is not fighting for the very souls of many.
More stories and pictures to come…