Friday, April 16, 2010

New Mexico, Sheep, KickBall and Tutoring!

Hey, Sorry to have missed a week of blogging! With all of the traveling I've been doing this last month I've had to play some catch-up this week with some different things. Since arriving back from Guatemala (see my last blog entry) I was back in Holland at the rescue mission for three packed days before heading off to New Mexico! The short time back was good and much needed, I spent a good chunk of the time getting together with some of the kids from my youth program, one of the days me and one of the younger guys at the mission got lunch and spent the afternoon at the park feeding ducks popcorn and throwing a football around. It was so fun chasin' those ducks all over the place!

New Mexico was crazy! I was there for a week leading worship and helping out for another missions trip project with Adventures in Missions. This time the group of kids we had were from California, and there was also a family from... Pennsylvania??? I hope I'm not wrong... :) We spent the week at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch doing a lot of work projects for the camp. Broken Arrow is a Christian camp for kids who live on Indian Reservations. They get around 1,000 kids every summer from all over New Mexico who get a chance to come to camp, have some fun, learn some things, and hear about the love of Jesus. We came to find out that most of the kids coming to this camp come from home backgrounds that are surrounded by a lot of poverty; as well as drug, alcohol, and physical abuse. To many of these kids, camp is able to be a safe place for a week out of their summer where they can see some hope for the future through a life built on the principles of Christ's love. Given the type of camp that they are, most of their bigger building and maintenance projects are funded by donors and volunteers coming in to do the work. So that is what we spent most of the week doing. Everything from clearing out old dead trees, to painting cabins, to moving huge piles of tires for a go-cart track, to fixing backstops for their rifle and archery ranges, and all kinds of other tasks.

On Wednesday night we split up into several groups and went to help out at different youth programs that the full-time camp staff are involved in throughout the school year. This was also a really cool opportunity for us. One of the groups went to one of the boarding schools on the Navajo reservation, while another group went to a church on the Zuni reservation nearby.

Probably the most ridiculous and stretching thing for the kids throughout the week was the day we went to help a local Navajo shepherding family perform the yearly task of castrating their new lambs. Yes, I typed that correctly! While it was a bit on the edge for all of us, it is something totally normal for the Navajo, Sheep herding is a part of everyday life for many of them. The family that we helped is connected with the camp and has been in and out of the hospital lately, It would have taken them several days to take care of all their new lambs, but with us helping it only took a couple hours. After we were done they invited us in their home for some fried bread and we got to hear about their families story and learn a bit about Navajo culture. It was different... but all in all a good time. :)

This past week it has been good to be back in Holland as we were starting up tutoring again after spring break. It was really cool to see all my kids, I really started missing hanging out with them after a week or so. Since its starting to get warmer we played some kickball in the lot outside of our youth building yesterday. Earlier in the week and went over to our daycare and spent the afternoon helping out with some of the young boys there. We went over the bridge that supposedly has crocodiles living underneath and pretended to be spider-man at the park. It was so much fun!

1 comment:

  1. nice story about the lambs. that's a once in a lifetime activity.