Turn: Three; Setting: Peoria; Writer: Noah;
Day: 13; And…….. action!
We are on Day 13 of our trip, and since we got back from Sells yesterday, it was back to work preparing for camps. We did a lot of the usual; cleaning, sweating, folding, drinking water, cleaning, mopping floors, sweating, drinking water; I think you get it. Nothing really special, which made me think about yesterday. Before we got back to Peoria, we visited a church, like my mom told you. The thing is I wanted to go into a little more detail about it, because her post just doesn’t serve it justice (no offense mom). It was about an hour-and-a-half long drive from where we had been staying to where the church was, in an area called Hikiwan. It was a pretty drive, complete with cacti and mountains and sand and everything; but it was also full of another sight that has been a frequent here in Arizona; the little white crosses on the side of the road.
I know they appear back home in Ohio every once in a while, and I’m sure they do in other places as well, so I’m sure you all know what I am talking about. However, there are two big differences here that stick out; one, the frequency, and two, the road.
Let me cover the second one first. While it’s not all this way, the road we traveled on yesterday was long and basically straight. No curves, no hills, and basically no traffic. Easy road to travel on, right? Well I will answer that by covering the first difference; there were more crosses and little memorials on the one-and-a-half hour drive than I have seen in probably all in the state of Ohio. The main reason for all these deaths is drunk driving. The reservations have no lack of casinos, so there is no shortage of these kind of incidents. As one of the songs we sang yesterday in church put it, it was a “road marked with suffering.” I wasted no time in pointing this out to my parents, and they agreed; this song really describes the situation here in Arizona. As if to prove my point, the song also says “when I’m found in the desert place” and “when the sun’s shining down on me” (most people would take this to mean when all is bright and happy, but trust me on this one: the sun really shines down on you here in Arizona, whether things are going good or not). Now I’m sure some of you know what song I am talking about at this point, but don’t tell anybody, because it will ruin what I am getting at here, so just pretend you don’t know (for those of you that really don’t know, keep up the good work). I will come back to this song, because it has a really good point.
Now given the situation that those Native Americans are living in, with so much death, high suicide rates, and everything else, I would just like to say I was completely not ready for what met me when I got to the church. Two men. Wait, I worded that wrong. I meant to say was “what met me when I met the people attending the church.” These people were some of the most faithful believers that I have ever met. These people truly loved God, and you could tell. One of them said something along the lines of “if Jonah continued to praise God after what happened to him then so can I” (I think he meant Job, but I’m not entirely sure). After talking to these people for awhile, I was just amazed at how even when they had rough backgrounds, they still praised God without hesitation. In fact, they never hesitated to share God’s love either, and this went for some of the others we met outside of the church. We met a restaurant owner names Mondo who always shares the love of Christ with all of his customers and how God has blessed him, a man named Marco who was a sort of taxi driver who always talked about how God can change your life, and a man who had spent time in jail, and now is trying to gain his daughters’ trust back so he can get them to hopefully come to church with him. Even when they are found in the desert place, when the sun is shining down on them, on the road marked with suffering, they never hesitate to say “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” As the song so perfectly points out, “You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.”
If this type of attitude can be found on the reservations of Arizona, then it should be abundant in places like Ohio and Indiana.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
With that, I am done. Your eyes are tired from looking at the bright screen, your fingers exhausted from scrolling / swiping / however you move the page down, and you are on the edge of your seat with excitement, waiting to see how I end this thing. Speaking of that, I have recently received some subtle pressure from people that will not be named (you know who you are McVeys) about the ending of my blog. About that I have no comment, but instead I say God bless, and I will see you in an ark ride (get it? We will be gone a total of 40 days and 40 nights. How’s that for an ending?).