Our family had the wonderful experience of spending the month of June at the Southwest Indian Ministry Center, (SIMC), in Peoria, Arizona. My husband, Doug, had been there the year before on a week-long work team with students from Ohio Christian University. God had surprised Doug through an announcement in our church bulletin about a need for adult male dorm leaders for one of the SIMC youth summer camps. While the idea of being a dorm leader didn’t interest Doug, God spoke to him that day and he knew he was supposed to go. And so he did.
Several weeks after returning from the July 2015 work trip, Doug felt the call to return to the field. The idea came up to go as a family, and since Doug is a teacher, our family was available to go. We were not completely sure how our three boys: Noah, 15, Elijah, 12, and Josiah, 7, would handle being away from their friends and home for more than a month. Josiah has gotten homesick on vacation before, so we had our concerns.
God is so good! We were abundantly blessed by the strong prayer and financial support from our Faith Memorial Church family, friends, and our family. Knowing we were being brought before the Lord in prayer was encouraging and how we felt those prayers!
Our time in Arizona was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had never been there before, but we weren’t there very long and it just felt like home. The week we arrived had record-high temperatures (120 degrees!) which was quite a shock. We did eventually get used to the heat. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the missionaries at SIMC. Everyone was so welcoming. There was only one fleeting case of homesickness, and that was from me. (It only lasted a few minutes).
Our time there consisted of: assisting with two weeks of teen camp, helping out with day-to-day work around the Ministry Center campus, visiting a reservation, attending church at two Native American churches, and developing relationships with both the missionaries and Native Americans. God continually brought people into our path that reconfirmed we were where we were supposed to be.
Doug and I can’t wait to go back, and Lord willing, we will return in summer 2017. We have been accepted by World Gospel Mission and the American Indian Field to return again as Missionary Volunteer Partners. The plan is to stay two weeks longer this time around, so we can help out with a third week of camp.