A week of service, learning, and fellowship
My church group and I just got back from a week long serve trip to the southwest. All 30 of us stayed in the old dorms at Rehoboth Christian School near Gallup, New Mexico.
The location surrounding the camp is known as the “checker board” by residents that live their. This is because land is separated between Native American reservations and land owned by the U.S. government in a checker board pattern.
I participated in a Bible camp for preK-8th graders that lived on the Navajo and Zuni reservations. The camp wasn’t like any other camp I’ve been to. All of the kids didn’t listen when they were asked to do something and they didn’t trust any of us. Only a few of the kids knew who Jesus was. Much less said they were Christians. However, as frustrating as it was, it wasn’t completely their fault. Most of them came from families that were broken by alcohol, addiction, abuse, and crime. Therefore, they did whatever they could to get attention. Although the typical Bible camp “handbook” flew out the window as soon as the kids went crazy, we finally discovered a system that worked. Jesus calls us to love one another, even strangers that come from completely different worlds; and that’s just what we did. My church group and I played along side them outside and asked about their interests. Working at the camp was both emotionally and physically draining. But our acceptance of the situation and trying to make each kid feel included, resulted in strong relationships with each child.
This week was a true test of patience and getting out of a comfort zone. Before we left the camp, each of them gave us hugs and some wanted us to stay forever. It was a heartbreaking sight to see them plead and show how much you impacted their lives. Being with these impressionable children made me realize that each child is still a child, no matter what they have been exposed to. That means that they each needed someone to love and care for them.