It was so hard to believe that the mission trip would be ending in only a few short hours. We had shared so much together and grown so much together. Everyone seemed unwilling to see it come to an end. We gathered one more time, holding hands, to offer thanks to the Lord for all He has done through us, with us, and in us during the past two weeks.
But this is only a chapter that is ending, not our ministry. At our final stop, when we took some time to reflect and share, we all agreed that today marked a new day in all our ministries as we bring back what we have learned in San Carlos and Zuni and apply it to our lives and ministry in Midland.
Praise the Lord for an amazing experience and His bountiful blessing throughout the past 15 days!
This morning we packed up our belongings, swept out and tidied our bunkhouses and then … it was time to go. It seems like it was only yesterday that we arrived at Dusty Pines! Roger Scarbro, our mentor and guide, came by to pray with us before we departed. It was bittersweet – sweet because of all the ways that the Lord had blessed this ministry and bitter because we all hated to leave. For the last time this year, we watched as the Dusty Pines faded into the distance.
Then off we went to Albuquerque! It’s about a two hour drive from Gallup to the “big city.” We paused along the way for brunch, then kept driving. We had been hoping to do a little sightseeing when we reached Albuquerque but honestly, the team was so tuckered out from the past two weeks, that after a refreshing stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee or ice cream (thank you Bob for the treat!) we just headed to our hotel for a nap. By dinner time, everyone was renewed and ready for a good hearty meal. Laurel recommended the 66 Diner and she was spot on. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in a room decorated with all kinds of old signs and petroliana. After dinner, the team posed for a group photo in front of a vast wall of signs outside the diner.
When we got back to the hotel, we gathered in one of the rooms for our final devotions and a service of Holy Communion. Sharing this sacrament was a fitting conclusion to everything we had shared together in the past 14 days. After the service, we shared in one more mission trip tradition – affirmation booklets. At the end of every trip, each team member is assigned their own affirmation booklet in which every other team writes an encouraging message or thought from the time we have shared together. These booklets have proved to be powerful reminders of ministry and encouragement in the days and months to come.
Today was the final day of volleyball camp. It was a very blessed day from start to finish. Our campers brought great enthusiasm to their workout as they learned new skills and honed old ones. The air was alive with flying volleyballs and jumping kids! At refreshment time, we gave a short Gospel presentation. The students from Christ Church Anglican performed the “Thief” mime, which was well received. At the end of the day, campers received their very own volleyballs and goodie bags with candy and Gospel materials. It was so hard to say goodbye to our new friends, but it was wonderful that the first major outreach at the new worship center/gym had been such a success.
After a tasty dinner of left-overs, our team joined the Zuni teens for their weekly Wednesday night youth group meeting. It was a very joyful time to share together, worship together, and play games together. The sound of worship songs drifting down into the gym from the second floor balcony where the youth group meets, was a truly a blessing.
All too soon it was time to say a final prayer with and a final farewell to our Zuni friends. There were more than a few misty-eyed goodbyes as we bid our friends adieu for another year. Thankfully, we can stay in touch through social media!
Today was another blessed day. We spent the morning praying and preparing for the day ahead. After brunch, we headed to the Zuni Christian Mission for our second day of Christian Volleyball Camp. We were delighted to welcome 12 more students to the camp. Volleyballs were flying everywhere as all the students learned to serve — or perfected their serves. During snack time, we heard testimonies from Grace Reed and Chris Purdy. They were such an encouragements to all the listeners. At the end of camp, the students received their blue volleyball t-shirts then gathered for a group photo. Every face was shining!
After a tasty chicken fettuccine dinner, we traveled to Gallup to enjoy an evening at the Native American dances. The colorful costumes and the skill of the dancers made for a wonderful experience. When we returned to Dusty Pines, we shared a devotional time with our Zuni team members, then headed off to bed.
- A blessed last day of camp
- People would come to the Lord tomorrow
- A great turnout for the Volleyball Camp
- Good worship and teaching at the youth meeting tomorrow night
- Improved health for the people in the group feeling under the weather
- That our team would stay focused for the end of the trip
-Susan Talbot and Ross Whitten
Monday marked the first day of our Volleyball camp at the Zuni mission church. We spent the early day praying and preparing before embarking to the church for our ministry. The camp ran from 1 to 3:30 and consisted of a big kids and a little kids camp. We ran drills, had snacks, and prepared testimonies for the kids to hear.
After the camp was over, we were able to take warm showers at the church (a rare commodity for our guys), and headed home for a quick dinner of chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and green beans. We were hoping to make it to the dances in Gallup, but unfortunately we ran out of time. Hopefully we will be able to tomorrow! In lieu of the dances, a couple of us ran in to town to grab some necessities while the rest of the team prayed and did devotionals. We spent time with one another before heading to bed.
Sunday was a day full of relaxation and worship. We started the day heading to the new Zuni Christian Reform Church for Sunday service. Personally, I thought the service was incredible. They didn’t have the worship group they usually have so the songs were mostly traditional, but still very solid. Pastor Mike Meekhof preached a very moving sermon that everyone enjoyed.
After the service, we visited with the community at the gym in the same building as the church then shortly headed to Chu Chu’s Pizza. The pizza was very tasty, but it took a long amount of time to come out, so we didn’t get as much relaxation time as we would’ve hoped. One team went out to make a Walmart trip to get things that we needed while the rest of the group grabbed some items from Dusty Pines before everyone reunited at the church for youth group.
Once the youth group started, Pastor Mike cooked some bratwurst and hot dogs.They were absolutely delicious and we all ate and enjoyed each other’s company. After that, Pastor Mike taught a very nice lesson to everyone. He then dismissed us and we played a few very intense games of dodgeball. It was obvious everyone had a great time together playing dodgeball. Lastly, the group participated in a very nice prayer group with the ministry. Personally, that was my favorite part of the youth group . It’s was such a calming time as we all prayed together. After that, we headed back to the camp to get some much needed rest to prepare for the following day to come.
-Hunter Haynie, ed Ross Whitten
Saturday was the day of the Dusty Pines Games. While there wasn’t a massive turnout, there was a lot of fun, laughter, and fellowship. We played a lot of games, including cornhole, horseshoes, volleyball, and basketball. The cornhole and horseshoes games were very enjoyable and calming, but once it was time for volleyball the day got very exciting. We had a delicious dinner of burgers and hot dogs and concluded the day with an epic tournament of basketball that came down to the wire. In conclusion, the Dusty Pines Games were an opportunity to connect with and have lots of fun with one another.
-Hunter Haynie, ed. Ross Whitten