American   Indian   Christian   Mission  (AICM)
Show Low, AZ

memoirs compiled by Nora Adams

March 15, 1998

What an experience!! The flight alone was worth going! After getting up at four in the morning, we left Nashville Airport at seven-thirty a.m. On our first flight en-route to Dallas International Airport, were one hundred forty-two passengers and crew. Most of us had flown before. Jeffrey was the only one I know of that had not. For the most part, he did not seem very nervous. On takeoff, someone called back asking Jeffrey if he were all right. Scott answered, "Yes, he has his hands in the air, he thinks he is on a roller coaster!" I believe the whole plane busted with laughter! Holly had not flown since she was a toddler. An ecstatic, "Wow!" escaped her lips every time we rose above a layer of cloud.

Most of the passengers remained in their own world. Some were reading. Most were napping. Our group of twenty-two was not at all quiet! When the safety-belt light went off, about ten of us jumped up to retrieve articles out of the overhead compartments. We were playing cards, eating snacks; your basic party: all except Woody and Wendy, who decided to nap head-to-shoulder. Romance at 32,000 feet is so refreshing!!

On our decent into Dallas, we found the typical weather, rain. Thanks to the experience and quick thinking of our pilot buddy, George, we made our connecting flight. They had changed the gate number the pilot gave due to traffic (typically Dallas!!). Bless Tommy C., just like an old mother hen, he was always counting everyone, so we wouldn’t leave anyone behind! He did a great job organizing the trip!

The second leg of our flight was the most exciting! TURBULENCE! I don’t think the seatbelt light was off for more than five minutes from Dallas to Phoenix! The flight attendants had a tremendously hard time serving drinks. Wendy was laying back with her eyes closed, dreaming she was driving her car, and Holly was behind her searching for the barf-bag! I could not see Esther, so I yelled in her direction to ask if she were all right. Before she could answer, Kevin spoke up, "She’s fine, but I’m not!"

Phoenix was flat! Thank goodness Connie prayed for our luggage. Chris left his wallet on the plane, and Esther left her plane tickets in the women’s restroom. Chris retrieved his wallet at the gate, and Esther and I ran all the way back through the airport, knocking people right and left, to the restroom. Praise God, both were found!

We rented two 15 passenger vans with the back seats removed for our luggage, leaving just enough room for 11 in each van. After loading, we headed 6,500 ft. up the mountain! It rained the whole way. The van I rode in started smelling, so we stopped before our brakes went out. The other van didn’t notice until they went around the next curve. Though the rain slightly drizzled, the parking area we stopped was beautiful! By this time, I already decided I would love to move here! Our cameras were already flashing!

Night had arrived when we pulled our tired, overheated vans into the mission. The temperature was freezing! The rain was still drizzling. Mud surrounded us everywhere!! After dropping off the women’s luggage in the dorm, we were directed to the cafeteria in the gym for dinner and orientation. Even at eight o’clock, the kitchen staff graciously fed us poor starving souls a wonderfully appreciated dinner! Rodney Tarter, director of outreach, and Tim Hiem, waited patiently for our late arrival. Holly said Rodney was gruff as he went over the activities and rules (like they were going to do something, and weren’t allowed to do anything: typical teenage response!), nevertheless, she said he was "cool" the next day! Tim was a neat character. He went to Lincoln Bible College with Tom for a couple of years. He is taller and bigger than Scott!! Tim looked like an ordained biker! He really was great with the kids! After the general confusion over the lack of sleeping bags, everyone met in the girl’s dorm for nightly devotions. Tom did a wonderful job all week leading devotions. The whole group anonymously drew names for a secret prayer partner. I think everyone enjoyed writing encouraging words all week to their prayer partner. After a few songs, laughs, communion, and prayer, we gratefully hit the sack!

 


March 16, 1998

Four in our group needed to make a Wal-Mart run, so they graciously volunteered to stay behind while the rest of us went to Cibicue to get downright dirty! Cibicue is a village in the Apache reservation. On our way to the village, we stopped by a canyon at the side of the road that was absolutely beautiful! The hillsides had part trees and part rock formations with a river running through the middle. Two cars went over the cliff and lay smashed at the bottom of the canyon. The more I saw of the countryside, the more I fell in love with it! The landscape is so diverse. I don’t think I would ever get bored with the view!

The Christians in the village meet in a makeshift church. They call it T-Say Church. The floor was dirt, the sides were clapboard, and the roof was tin. The mission worker’s job was to help rebuild the church. The group before us dug out 3/4 of the dirt floor to make it level for the concrete. We dug out the remaining dirt, and laid gravel. We accomplished a lot in one morning. Everyone pitched in and worked hard. We even sang while we worked! I believe the best part of the morning was chasing Holly and Carrie with a couple of silly worms! Things really livened up when Esther and I chased them with the dead mice! Leigh, a nurse, was so concerned about spreading germs, I think we gave her a heart attack!!

The preacher at the Cibicue Church is a wonderful woman whose name is Eunice Tressler. She has seven children. I grew to love her during the time we spent there. Her daughter, Deborah, makes baskets for museums all over the country. The song leader is a pleasant man named Delmar. He was there helping every day.

The house Miss Eunice lives in is across the gravel road from the church. Her sister, Linda, lives up the hill behind the church, and her daughter, Mercy, lives in the house beside her. The government provides most of the houses. They love to paint their house’s bright colors. Scrap wood, junk, and trash was in all of the yards. Clothes hung on lines and fences. Landscaping was nonexistent. They warned us not to pet the dogs for the mange. The house on the other side of the church, opposite Linda’s, had cars coming and going. People were hanging around a brown sedan with the doors and trunk open and the music was blaring so loud we had no trouble hearing it. We suspected drugs.

Miss Eunice allowed us the use of her restroom as none were in the church. Her house was about thirteen hundred square feet. She had bare furnishings and no T.V. Mercy sat near the front window at the sewing machine. Miss Eunice did not have many Indian decorations, she had Christian pictures on the walls. When I walked in, she made me feel so welcome I could look past her surroundings and see her Godly spirit. I felt that certain comfort while in her presence. I miss her already.

After a brown bag lunch packed for us by the staff at the mission, we headed for Carrizo to conduct a vacation bible school. The children call it "Children’s Revival". They say they are not in school! Sounds logical to me! Tim met us at the community center in Carrizo with the blue bus full of excited children! The mission worked to collect a million Campbell’s soup labels to win a minivan. Then they traded the van for a bus. They call it "The Bible Time Dragster". The bus was gutted and they installed benches, bookshelves, and storage supplies for class time. They even installed a sink in the back. The mission is very close to another million labels toward another van. If they reach their goal, they will trade for another bus and can conduct more Bible Schools in other villages.

We started Bible School with songs and a skit. Carrie and Jessica did a great job acting out the fishers of men. The skit each day revolved around the bible lesson. I’m not sure when or if the children paid attention, they seemed to come and go. After the opening, the children rotated between snacks, led by Connie; crafts, led by Emmy; recreation, led by Jeffrey; and a lesson on the bus, led by Wendy. The four groups consisted of five to eight children. The group leaders were Kassie, Jessica, Holly, and Carrie. They participated with their group during each session. The first day the children were a little apprehensive and shy, but after the preliminary opening, they were very affectionate. Tim warned us to say no right away if we did not want to give piggyback rides as several of the children jumped on him. Tim really has a way with the children.

Most of the children on the reservation were about two years behind in school. Very few stayed until high school. The parents allow the children to make their own decisions at around age three. If the children didn’t want to go to school, the parents only made them go if they needed a babysitter. The Indian government has control over the school so we can do nothing to enforce attendance. Their lack of discipline was apparent in their behavior. Their lack of schooling seems such a waste as you could tell some of them are very intelligent. They were eager to please although they were unruly. Initially, some in our group had a hard time dealing with the children’s behavior and felt like they were wasting their time. Then it was apparent by the questions the children answered that many of them were learning little by little about the love of Jesus. We planted some seeds that I pray will continue to grow. I will never forget their dark eyes and eager faces.

Tim told us if we did not reach the children before the age of thirteen, chances were not likely they would accept the gospel. Satanism and gangs are rampant on the reservation. The suicide rate in the village of Carrizo was the highest in the reservation. Teen suicide rates are six times the national average. Life expectancy is only fifty years, despite free medical services from our government. As Rodney said, most of their financial problems are a matter of priority. They spend more on their Prime Star than rent, more on alcohol and drugs than food or medical. Unemployment runs from 25 to 40 percent which leads to boredom and low self-esteem. They feel trapped between their old culture, and our government system. Bringing the Indian to Jesus is their only hope for self-improvement, and joy.

When we returned to the mission, we famished over dinner and then took turns with kitchen duty. We met in the girl’s dorm for devotions and to recap the day’s events. Although it was bedtime, some of us (little Amy!) were too wound up to sleep!

 


March 17, 1998

I think jet-lag has caught up. We did not rise and shine too easily this morning so I decided to ease everyone into the day with a "Zip-pity-do-da!!" Now you have to understand; my voice in the morning is about like my looks - not great!! Needless to say, they arose pretty quickly!

Many of the children at the mission are in the children’s choir. They travel to different states to sing. They have been gone since last week and are due back today.

We worked at the mission most of the day. Tom split us into three groups. One group cleaned the gym and some odd jobs around the mission. The larger group put up a huge tent for summer camps, and my group refurbished the bus. We thoroughly cleaned it so we could pick up the children with their muddy feet for Bible School! George spent most of the morning straightening out the gray van’s bumper! He backed the van into a tree! He did a great job smashing that bumper! Wendy and Leigh volunteered to do everyone’s laundry for the week and since we obliged, they had a big job on their hands! We had some DIRTY laundry! Thanks Gals!! All of us adjourned in the library to help Esther, the English teacher, to cut, count, and bundle, sixty-five hundred soup labels! Please pray enough are collected to win another van!

Rain came down off and on at the mission all day. While we were en-route to Carrizo for Bible School, we encountered rain, sleet, and a hail storm simultaneously! Tim had to slow the bus to a crawl because of bad roads. All the teens rode on the fun bus, while they stuck the adults behind in the red van with Vern behind the wheel! The weird thing is; not a drop of rain fell in Carrizo! Boy, was it sure cold! We had on winter coats and gloves!

The VBS children were rowdy today! Tim warned us the children would try our patience to see if we were genuine. He was right. They were rambunctious! Carrie, Holly, Jeanette, Jeff, Kassie, and Amy performed a skit about who goes to heaven. Kassie was the host, and the others were the contestants. The host went to each asking if they should get to go to heaven and the children cheered or hissed their opinion. They were not at all quiet! Kassie introduced each as achieving something big in the world’s eyes until she introduced Amy. With each contestant the children all booed and hissed! Even when she introduced Jeffrey as a basket ball star! Amy’s reason for going to heaven was loving Jesus. They CHEERED!! They were not prompted at all. The children learned one of the most important lessons given!

Their faces are starting to grow on us. I would like to sneak one into my suitcase. Her name is Samaria. I really wonder if they would miss her! She is about five years old and nothing but bones. While we were in sweaters and winter coats, she was standing there shivering in her lightweight cotton pants, T-shirt, and sandals! I found a large sweater for her out of the used clothing piled against the wall, and actually saw a smile on her face! About half the children seemed underweight. The other half seamed to be overweight! None of them appeared to be cared for by anyone. Kassie lost two scrunches due to the children taking them off and wearing them. Tom lost a hat. You see; head lice were a big problem. If they put anything on their heads, you were better off letting them have it.

Though they were rowdy, they still participated in the activities. Emmy had them mesmerized with crafts. She didn’t have any discipline problems from her groups, especially after she conquered arm wrestling with a couple of bigger boys! Wendy held most of their attention with lessons given on the "Dragster." Of course they loved Jeffrey’s games, and Connie received the most amazingly correct answers to questions she asked during snacks to reiterate the skit and lesson! God’s word was sneaking in despite the lack of discipline!

The best part of the whole day was when we stopped for gas and Connie dropped Tom’s hat out of the van. When she tried to retrieve the hat, Vern decided to help her by holding her leg, which in turn scared her, causing her to slide head first out the door! You should have seen Tom’s face when he tried to get into the van only to find Connie hanging out head first!!

We ended the day with snacks and devotions. I’ll tell you what! Never hide the Dr. Pepper from the men! They were not happy campers when they thought the girls drank all THEIR Dr. Pepper! Man alive! Those guys can whine!!

Wendy dressed up for the evening, just for her true love! Of course she had some help from the girls! Her hair was up in a band, sparkle rouge spread on her cheeks, lavishing eye shadow, and bright lips ready to pucker! The look on Woody’s face was priceless! She was a sight to behold!!

We ended devotions that night with a song for George: "George, George, George of the jungle, watch out for that TREE!!" After the laughter died down, we then sang "Happy Anniversary" for George and Kay.

 

 


March 18, 1998

We heard thunder and lightning early this morning. When we arose, we found about four inches of snow on the ground!! The landscape was absolutely beautiful!! Snow rested on the trees like white bird nests. The snow flurried like a winter wonderland! As I walked alone to the cafeteria, the only sound was a couple of birds flirting with one another. In the quietness of the cold, crisp air was such a peaceful feeling. I definitely could live here.

When I almost reached the cafeteria, I noticed something huge on the ground. THE TENT!! The snow knocked it down overnight!! The workers took the desks out and were attempting to put it back up. They will need to get some large poles to accomplish this task! Vern rose early and after assessing the damage, decided for the moment to forget the tent and bake the best biscuits we’ve ever had for breakfast!

We participated in chapel service this morning as Tom led the worship music. The children enjoyed the music. The first and second graders read from scripture. They were quite accomplished for their grade level. An Indian woman, Rosie, who worked in the office and taught in the classrooms, gave a gripping testimony. She told of her childhood bible school where she first heard about Jesus. Although she was still connected to the Indian culture, God still had a hand on her life. Her husband treated her and her daughter, Chrissy, poorly. He was an alcoholic, as many in the Indian reservations are. Rosie had a dream about falling off a cliff and a man reaching down to take her hand and lift her up to safety. When her husband left, she was in danger of losing her daughter. She needed employment to retain custody. Through a series of events, God led her to work at the mission. She realized the man who reached down and pulled her up was Jesus. Rosie and her daughter, Chrissy, sang a wonderful song about Jesus reaching down to them in their Navajo language.

Rodney took six in our group to work on the reservation while the remainder worked at the mission. The group at the mission helped in the kitchen, worked odd jobs, and sorted more labels. Wendy and Leigh spent most of the day washing clothes. George and Pat fixed the ice maker and rewired some outlets. The two accomplished a lot of odd jobs around the mission. The mission has so much work that needs to be done.

Several took a hike in the woods to see an old Mormon cabin. The Mormons founded the town of Show Low. The hike was approximately one and a half miles. They crossed a river in which Tim, in most gentlemen like manners, carried Holly, Kassie, Grace, Amy, Jeffrey, and Chris across on his back. Holly held on so tight Tim was turning blue when he put her down! Jeanette decided she was capable of crossing without help. Thank goodness for Scott’s quick thinking, for as she attempted to take a dive into the freezing water, Scott rescued her from certain immersion!

While the six of us were en-route to Cibicue, I wanted to stop and take a couple of pictures of the village of Carrizo. Vern stopped the van at the top of the hill, overlooking the village. I needed to get closer for a better view and walked right into clay! This was not mud. This was very heavy clay! I got stuck. I started to lose my balance. All I could think about was the time I was ten and got stuck in my neighbor’s back yard. I felt so helpless. No one was outside. I screamed for an eternity until someone finally heard me. I had to be carried out. At the time I was so embarrassed. Of course now the whole scene was hilarious. Then I got tickled remembering the episode and started to lose my balance. Vern was too busy laughing and praying I would slide down the hillside he wouldn’t even come help me! Then I got tickled at Vern laughing and I really thought I was going to fall! Bless his heart; Rodney finally pulled me up. I got a very good picture of the village in spite of Vern’s prayers!

When we arrived at the church in Cibicue, we found the rain had flooded the floor the night before. Before we could mark off the area for the cement, a hole had to be dug out under the wall, and a trench dug on the outside to let the water run out. What a mess! Esther and Emmy had fun digging in the mud and muck outside, while Vern, Connie, and I pushed out the water from the inside! Kevin learned to work the laser level machine. I wouldn’t be surprised if he heard beeping in his sleep! Kevin caught on so well, he could own his own construction business someday!

Lunch was interesting. If you have never eaten at an Indian village country store, you should try it sometime! We met a great Christian guy from Iowa who was filling in for the owner that day. He is the basketball coach at the public school in Show Low. He asked what we were doing there all the way from Tennessee. When we told him, he said how he would like to go on a mission trip someday. Our response; AICM is a mission in his own back yard that could use his help! I wonder how many missions are in our back yard of which we are unaware.

After we completed our work in Cibicue, we left for Canyon Day. We were almost to the intersection of Highway 12 and 60 when a speeding ambulance passed us going toward Cibicue. Rodney commented how odd the ambulance was going the opposite direction of any medical facilities. Then we reached a road block. Our van was about the fifth vehicle in line. There seemed to be a bad accident ahead. Apache Police were everywhere. They taped the road off so no one could go anywhere. Some of us got out of the van to stretch our legs. I was trying to get a picture of the mountain in the background but where we stopped I couldn’t get a good view. I walked into the field to see if I could get a better view of the mountain only to get a better view of the accident scene. Then I realized why the ambulance was going in the opposite direction: they were notifying the family. There on the ground by a familiar looking car lay an Indian man who appeared dead. The police didn’t bother covering him up. It was then we started to hear the crying. Then more family arrived. They were screaming. I could feel their heart wrenching pain. Some were inconsolable. A car with family members sped past the stopped vehicles. They ran to the rest of the family by the accident. The crying was almost unbearable. We wanted to pray with them, but the time wasn’t right. After what seemed an eternity, a woman came sobbing back to the car. We could still hear her sobs when she was in the car with the door shut. After a few minutes she got out and stood weeping next to the car. When she looked at us, the pain flew from her eyes. We went over to her and prayed with her. I felt the Lord’s spirit rest on her as Rodney prayed. She calmed down as Rodney held her on his shoulder. He was a great comfort to her as he told about the Lord’s love for her. She started talking in sobs. The man was her brother. Then I heard a fight on the opposite side of the road. Two police officers were trying to grab a screaming boy about ten years old. He had a huge rock in his hand and threatened everyone with it if they touched him. He had so much rage and anger and pain, he was hysterical. The deceased man was his father. The boy was in the back seat of the car when two thugs gunned down his father. I prayed desperately for that boy. I will never forget the agonizing look on his face.

All this happened over a drug war. We later learned the deceased man was a drug dealer. He had his wife and ten year old son with him. Two other dealers in another vehicle approached them and started fighting over territories. The deceased man threatened the other two and retrieved a pistol from the car. He started shooting first and the other two men returned fire. They mortally wounded the man who shot first. Then his wife picked up his gun and started shooting after the other two as they sped away. The two men later turned themselves in. They were unaware the man was dead until the police informed them their rights. The man died just before the ambulance arrived. His son witnessed the whole scene. To this day, my heart aches for that boy.

Everyone in our van was very quiet en-route to Canyon Day. The church we were going to, Canyon Day Lighthouse Family Church, needed a room addition leveled off. We picked up the pastor of the church in an attractive house for that area. His name was Reno Johnson. He is so full of the Lord that his joyful spirit lightened our hearts. While Kevin and Rodney leveled off the room addition to the church, Pastor Reno told me how they built the church. The congregation worked to raise money to build the new church. They were meeting in the tin shed that still sits behind the new building. They rented a crane to put up the framing. The night the workers finished the framing, the congregation was meeting in the shed when a huge unexpected wind came. The wind completely blew down the framing. They were broke and did not know how they were going to continue. Then the other churches heard about their plight and joined together to provide the money to rebuild. The new church is bigger than the first! They now have a congregation of two hundred and fifty people! This number is astronomical since this is an Indian congregation in a village in the middle of nowhere!

Pastor Reno took a bus full of men to the Promise Keepers in Washington this past year. He talked about how wonderful and encouraging the trip was. They still meet weekly. He says, "God is good!"

Our van arrived in Carrizo for VBS before the "Dragster". They finally came barreling down the hill full of screams and laughter! The children were their usual rambunctious selves. The skit was about the Good Samaritan. Jessica played a good injured Samaritan. Holly seemed out of sorts. She said she doesn’t feel like the kids are responding to her. We tried to encourage her, but she really feels like all her work is useless.

The adults were out by the bus talking when Tim said he was from Cincinnati, Ohio. Since I used to live just north of Cincinnati, I told him I knew something was strange about him. He then proceeded to pick me up and started to throw me into a water puddle when Holly ordered him to put her mother down! Then he went after her! He didn’t succeed of course. She’s a strong one! Scott and Tim were talking about work at the mission. Tim felt like Scott would be a great asset to the mission. Scott is great with the kids. Maybe this is where the Lord is leading him. Scott accused me of putting Tim up to talking to him. I had the very same conversation with Scott at breakfast! I promised I did not know Tim had the same line of thinking. Tim and I had not talked about Scott working at the mission. Maybe God is trying to tell Scott something!

That night we settled down for worship and devotions in the girl’s dorm. Wendy had some good snacks prepared for us. We had one minor problem, no pop and no cups! Pat decided that was not going to stop him from quenching his desert thirst. He found a bowl, filled it with water, and started lapping!! We laughed so hard pretty soon everyone followed suit, except me of course, I had my coffee!!


March 19, 1998

Today is the day we get to pour the cement!! That’s probably the reason several skipped out! Not really. Woody took Chris to Phoenix to catch a flight back home for his gymnastics meet. Jeanette took Tim and Theresa (Rodney’s wife) to Phoenix to see her husband, Bob, play in an "Audio Adrenaline" concert. Seven others stayed at the mission to help in the school and prepare for VBS. The rest of us eager beavers couldn’t wait to get down and dirty!

Vern got up very early to meet Rodney at seven in town to pick up the power trial. After breakfast, we loaded our tools and headed for Cibicue. The hillside was very quiet this morning. We realized the brown car that they parked up the hill with the blaring music was not there anymore. Miss Eunice informed us that the family living there was the family involved in the shooting. The car was, of course, impounded.

Sam Miller finally arrived with the cement truck and parked it at the side of the church. We filled three wheelbarrows simultaneously. We worked hard. We had fun. We laid cement!!! Delmar and Miss Eunice’s grandsons helped tremendously. We got filthy!!

After we laid the cement, we ate a picnic lunch the cafeteria packed for us. Then we rested! I met Linda, Miss Eunice’s sister, who lives up the hill behind the church. Her daughter, Jeanette, and granddaughter, Nancy, were also at the house. Linda was weaving a basket. She stripped the twine and twigs by hand. No way would I ever have the patience or talent to make a basket like hers! They are beautiful! I bought a small one from Jeanette. They call it a burden basket.

Around two o’clock, all in our group except Rodney, George, Pat, and I returned to the mission. We stayed to wait for the cement to set so the power trial could smooth it out. The others prepared for VBS. Tom was privileged to drive the big blue bus!! The children in Carrizo did not want our group to go back home. Holly was a great influence. She finally realized how her teaching made an impact on the children and that her work wasn’t all in vain. She saw that through their boisterous behavior the children learned important lessons about God that week. She grew to love the children in her group. Now she doesn’t want to leave!

Our group led services that night at the mission. Wendy told the story of Noah’s Ark, while the others created special effects. The lights flickered for lightning, feet stomped for thunder, and balloons flew for rain. The children had a ball! After the service, they had an ice cream party in the cafeteria. The children at the mission have a better quality of life than the children on the reservations. They have proper clothing and food. More important, the mission has shown them a love that the children on the reservation so desperately need. This is evident in the behavior and attitude of the children at the mission. They are well disciplined and their disposition is delightful. As for the four left behind. . . .

We waited, and waited, and waited for the cement to set. The problem was the ground was still soaked from the rain two nights before and the temperature dropped. This made the cement too wet, and too cold to set. Since the cement can set in as little as fifteen minutes, and the closest anything was an hour away, we couldn’t leave for fear the cement would set while we were gone so we had to stick around.

Rodney, Delmar, and I were outside talking on the benches in the sun where it was warmer. We were talking about how we became Christians. Suddenly I noticed Delmar was quiet. I said, "Delmar, are you learning anything from this conversation? You’re awfully quiet.". He said, "Yes, you talk, I learn. I be quiet, I learn.". We did not even realize we were witnessing to him through our conversation!!

George and Pat seemed to disappear. I found them. Asleep in the van!! Rodney and I visited with Miss Eunice, Mercy (her daughter), Delmar, and Rhonda. They are the neatest people. Miss Eunice and Mercy won a trip to the Holy Land last year. Mercy told about a vision of Jesus she had while she was looking out over the lake. She was crying tears of joy while she spoke. I felt God’s spirit move while she told us of Jesus reaching out to her.

Prayer is the biggest part of Miss Eunice’s life. When they mention a problem, her reply is, "just pray about it". Miss Eunice is sincerely genuine. Rodney was exhausted and not feeling very well, so Miss Eunice said, "we’ll pray for you". Without being told, Delmar brought a chair in the middle of the room for Rodney. Then the four, without hesitation, encircled him. With laying on their hands, they prayed the most uplifting prayer I believe I have ever heard. Then they said they would pray for me. I realized how the disciples felt when Jesus washed their feet. The disciples were used to serving Jesus, not Jesus serving them. The people whom I came to pray were praying for me. What an uplifting, humbling experience!

Finally, getting a little impatient, I lit both wood burning stoves in the church to generate some heat. I wanted some marsh mellows to toast. Pat wanted some s’ mores. We didn’t get either! We just waited!!

George and Pat went to the general store for a snack break while I went with Miss Eunice to her kitchen. She taught me to make Indian Fry Bread!! She uses a pinch of this, and a pinch of that! We had such fun! Miss Eunice gave me an Indian Cradle Board!! Rodney’s mouth dropped when he saw it! He said, "It took me five months to get one from her!". That Cradle Board is as gold to me!

By this time it is eight o’clock! Miss Eunice made us Fry Bread Tacos. They were so big we couldn’t eat them all. Vern wanted Fry Bread all week so Miss Eunice sent some with me just for Vern. By the time we finished eating, the cement finally decided to set. Guess what! I got to run the power trial!! The floor was so smooth where I ran it, all it needed was a woman’s touch! When Pat finished the last run, we packed our gear and returned to the mission.

The guys were so tired. I drove us home. George was already asleep in the back seat of the van before we pulled out of Cibicue. When we pulled onto hwy. 60, I couldn’t believe how dark it was. I pulled the van over to the side and shut everything off. George sat up and asked if we were there yet. We said, "go back to sleep," and never heard another peep from him. The rest of us got out of the van. I guess I am more of a city girl than I thought. It was dead quiet and pitch dark! The only light came from the billion tiny stars in the jet black sky. The nearest city was an hour away. As we were on a plateau, the mountain peaks surrounded us. I could not hear humming sounds from a busy highway. I could not see the glow in the distance from a major city. I felt only land, air, and sky. One could describe the feeling as loneliness, but I only felt a quiet peace.

Amazingly, everyone was in bed when we returned to the mission at one a.m.! Since we did not have a phone in Cibicue, they had not heard from us since earlier in the evening. Leigh said Holly was so worried about me she was insisting on waiting up, but they made her go to bed. It’s so nice to be loved!


March 20, 1998

After about three and a half hours sleep, I arose on my last morning in Show Low. I think most of us were heartsick to leave.

We didn’t get to see Tim before we left, he was still in bed. They did not return from the Audio Adrenaline concert until after two a.m.! Tim is a neat person in which God is certainly using!

Rodney prayed for our safety before we pulled out with our packed vans, but he forgot to pray for his own safety. As we were pulling out, Vern backed the red van into Rodney’s van door! I don’t know if he was trying to imitate George, or if he just wanted to leave a good impression!

We stopped in Flagstaff to drop Carrie off with her grandparents and to find the church we were staying in that night. Tom was in the lead. We had a wonderful tour of a few neighborhoods before we finally found the church! He even made a new friend when he stopped at someone’s house to ask for directions! We women were flabbergasted to see a man stop for directions! He will definitely make some lucky girl a very happy hubby someday!

We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon around three o’clock. We stayed until after the sun set. The pictures do not describe the magnificence of the Grand Canyon! The snow still rested in crevices on the sides of the cliffs. Cedars grew between rocks. The valley below is so deep that the river running through looks like a piece of dark green yarn. I would love to come back to spend a few days hiking down to the valley. We did hike part of the way down, passing all breeds of hikers. When we were waiting for the shuttle bus at one of our stops, the teens talked to two women who had been out there for five days with no bath! That’s a little too much!! I had a lot of fun scaling the Grand Canyon. Holly was so scared I would fall off!! Usually it’s the parent worried about the child! We’re a backward family!

I tried to soak in the majesty while sitting on the edge. No matter how we try, we will never comprehend in our finite minds the majesty of a God who created this great world. How awesome that God took out the time to care enough about undeserving, insignificant me that He sent His son to die so that I might be saved!! When I looked into the greatness of the Canyon, I felt so much appreciation for the peace God gives. The English language does not have enough words do describe the depth of His love.

We watched the sun set. I have never seen a more passionately beautiful sunset. The hand of God painted the colors above the mountains. The sun slipped behind the mountain with a whisper. A peaceful calmness spread over the valley that engulfed like my grandmother’s winter quilt. Never has there been a more perfect way to end the day!

We stopped at a good steak house to eat. The waiters were mostly Mexican. I wonder what their un interpreted comments were about our group. Especially when Kassie, Holly, and Jessica line danced in the isles!! Of course, when we left, we all had to ride the (fake) horse and carriage!!

We returned to the church in Flagstaff around midnight to catch a few winks. The sanctuary had a row of stacked chairs lined up down the middle for a divider. Girls on one side, boys on the other! After everyone fell asleep, I sat in a chair by the window for a couple of hours reflecting over the past week. What lessons are we to learn? Where do we go from here? What significance does my life have? What impact am I having on others around me? Am I fulfilling God’s purpose for my life? Then my thoughts kept getting interrupted by the sawmills rumbling across the room. I counted four, possibly five guys, and one girl joining in the symphony. Funny thing is, the next day, no one took credit for such beautiful music!!


March 21, 1998

We are up at six! (I was actually up at five-thirty, but who’s counting?). After rolling up our sleeping bags, we headed for Sedona!

Sedona was just as pretty, if not prettier than the Grand Canyon! The Grand Canyon was huge, but Sedona was beautiful! The mountains were geometric rock boulders, one on top of another. The landscaping was full of cactus, yucca plants, and sparse trees. The landscape was very diverse. Another indisputable claim to the beauty of Arizona!

Phoenix was hot!! We were in our winter clothes in the mountains and had to shed a few layers when we reached the desert! When we arrived at the airport, Carrie was waiting to join us. We were in line to check in and Vern just happened to check his ticket in time to find his flight on his frequent flyer milage was different from ours! He had to run across the airport to reach his plane in time! Amazingly, Vern reached Nashville ahead of us!!

The flight from Phoenix to Dallas was beautiful! The skies were clear, except a few cotton clouds. I got a window seat with Emmy next to me and a kind stranger next to her. Kevin and Grace sat in the double seat across the isle. Occasionally I hollered across the isle "hand check!". Grace’s face turned redder than it ever has been!

When we arrived in Dallas, we had to ride the tram to the other side of the airport. Our pilot from the previous flight rode the tram with us. He was returning home to his family after three days in the air!

When we were boarding, three of us did not have boarding passes. The airlines over booked again!! George, Jessica, Connie, and Scott opted to cash in on some frequent flyer miles and stayed behind for a later flight. The rest of us snuggled down for our last flight home. Maybe, if the pilot will get the plane in gear! What is that? The pilot said we couldn’t take off! Mechanical difficulties with the brakes!! They did not allow us to leave the plane either. The flight attendants brought us dinner, which was a good thing since we didn’t have time to eat between flights! During the hour and ten minutes we sat in the hanger, I had enough time to inform everyone about all the crashes during landing due to faulty brakes. I think they were ready to throw me off!

I sat next to a man from Venezuela. He was going to Nashville on business. This was his first flight to the U.S.. His name was Victor. I informed him of some places to buy western gear (he asked!) and places to eat. He wanted to know about the Cradle Board and Burden Basket I was hand carrying home. I told him of the mission and the work with the Indian people. We talked of the spiritual aspects. He talked of his Madonna, and I talked of Jesus. Because of the language barrier, I don’t know how much he understood: but I was able to witness to a stranger through my Cradle Board! When we landed, in his broken English he said, "There no one like you. I remember you for lady with basket!". I pray for Victor, too.

 

 

 

Endnote:

The mission was able to collect enough soup labels to win another bus!! The missionaries are able to take the second bus into the Navajo reservation to spread the love of Jesus to the Navaho children as well as the Apache. They are now trying to reach some of the teenagers, which is very difficult due to their spiritual oppression. Please keep the mission and the missionaries in your prayers!

Scott Williams answered God’s call and a few months later, packed up and moved to the mission!! Next year, he may return to college to answer God’s call to youth ministry. He has proven instrumental in God’s work to reach the Indian nations with the love of Jesus Christ!



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