In September Kay and I were blessed to once again host our annual Navajoland Tour. Our group was a bit smaller this year making it possible for all ten of us to travel in one van. As with most of our tours over the years we quickly became a “family of friends.” Here are a few of the comments we heard at our farewell gathering.
A week ago before we started the tour, we didn’t know anybody. A week later I feel like we are with family. We had fun, we laughed. There was nothing bad about the whole trip. The beauty of God’s creation was amazing. We loved the time with the kids Friday evening, too. Having been donors for so long, we still didn’t really know anything about this ministry. Now we do. (Cathy Caster, Maryland)
We’ve wanted to take this trip for a long time. Besides the sites that we visited, it was the “extras” of our travels meeting people like Robert and Rose in Shiprock and the Begays at Canyon DeChelly and Hope McDonald Lonetree, the Code Talker’s daughter. Having never been in New Mexico, this trip was inspirational and educational. It was great being with fellow believers and having devotions each day. What a well- planned tour! (Dave and Diane Showers, Pennsylvania)
I’m in Joe and Gerri Begay’s church in Chinle on the reservation. I came to learn more about Navajo Ministries. Our visit with the Vice President of the Navajo Nation, Jonathan Nez, inspired us with his bold Christianity and his heartfelt belief that there is hope for the Navajo people. His vision was real and we caught it! And, spending time here at the ministry has helped me catch what you are doing at Navajo Ministries. (Ann Whitis, Chinle, AZ)
We have supported this ministry since we got married and wanted to see for ourselves what goes on here. The scenery was dramatic, the tour was flawless. But the crown of the week was the people we met and heard from each day. (Judy Yarnell, Alabama and niece to Jim and Kay)
My good friends, the Showers, kept talking about going on this tour. So, I decided to come along with them even though I have been here at the Ministry many times over the years. Dave and I were in school together and this has been special to be on this trip with him. (Parke Duing, Kay’s brother)
Just a couple of weeks after the tour Kay and I were headed to the East Coast for a three week adventure visiting donors, speaking to church groups and connecting with our supporting partners in five states. While these travels get rather exhausting at times, we treasure the opportunity to visit, hug and pray with our loyal supporters, some of whom have been supporting this work in the early days shortly after founder Jack Drake built those first homes for children.
One of those early friends shared the story and photo of her dad and Jack standing by their car after a fender bender back in the 1940’s while attending Moody Bible Institute. In the home of a widower outside of Baltimore we noticed the photos of four of our children that this 90 year old friend is currently supporting. He also has the photos of prior children including John Livingston who now lives with his wife in Boone, N.C. John and his wife Amy are both Marines and attending college in Boone. We got to treat them to a great lunch at the Daniel Boone Restaurant. John, who is now in the Army Reserves and will be headed to Kuwait in January for at least a year. Please add him to your prayers.
Speaking of prayers, we got to speak to the folks at Peace Presbyterian Church in Cary, N.C. This church has been supporting for many years and they are making good use of our monthly Prayer Links in their prayer gatherings on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings. (These are daily prayer requests that Kay prepares and send out to our family of prayer warriors each month)
Our travels ended in our homeland of Lancaster, PA where we had two banquets on Oct. 26th. What a joy it was to share the victories and challenges of Navajo Ministries with the 200 friends who gathered that day at the appropriate place called The Gathering Place. We have been hosting these banquets every three years for over three decades and this gathering was our last as many of those helping as table hosts and coordinators are aging, as are we.
Kay and I are honored to have the privilege of representing our staff and the work of this ministry through personal visits, phone calls and letters to our friends who have become part of our family here at Navajo Ministries. “For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” (Psalms 122:8)