Last summer I had the privilege of serving as a leader on the student ministries mission trip to New Mexico. On this trip, the students partnered with Ted and Toni Farris to host a VBS for Navajo children in the area. It was such a joy to see how the students’ vigor to serve the Lord complemented the Farris’s decades of faithful ministry. The whole team was encouraged to learn how their faithfulness had impacted one young Navajo man to become a pastor at a nearby church. The Farrises were an example to our entire team, and I hope all the students follow that example to lead a life of faithful service to the Lord.
The students certainly demonstrated that they were already on that path of lifelong service by leading VBS and dealing with the challenges we encountered. I watched the youth lead VBS incredibly well amidst the many uncertainties that come with serving the Lord in an unfamiliar place and culture. We at Heritage recently saw all the work it takes to run VBS successfully at our church – imagine the effort required to host VBS on the other side of the country! I was also encouraged to see how the students dealt with other challenges. On the drive back to the airport, half of the group traveled in a van with no air conditioning in 105-degree heat, and they didn’t complain! Another difficulty that some students witnessed was the travesty of alcoholism on the Navajo reservation. Pastor Kent reminded the team that our goal was not merely to free these people from an addiction to alcohol. Rather, they need salvation available to all through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This will bring them true freedom from sin. May the Lord water and grow the seeds planted at VBS so that the Navajo youth grow up not devoted to alcohol but to Jesus.
The Lord used the 2022 short term missions trip to New Mexico to grow the Heritage youth in many ways, including emboldening their faith, practicing their spiritual gifts, and showing their love for the lost. The students spent multiple days distributing literature to invite people to attend the VBS program they would be hosting that week. This put many students out of their comfort zones as they went both door-to-door in neighborhoods and “booth-to-booth” at a flea market to inform people of the upcoming VBS. This was a great opportunity for the students to grow in boldness as they serve the Lord.
Once VBS began, students had the opportunity to exercise spiritual gifts such as serving, teaching, leadership, and encouragement. The youth were happy to fill all the roles needed to run the program, even if they had never before filled that role. The students took the opportunity VBS provided to show love to all the Navajo children that attended. This was a special time for the kids to experience the love of Christ through the smiles, encouraging words, and Gospel truth shared by the HBC youth. This trip was such an important time for the students to grow in their faith!
Thanks to all of you who supported this team! Whether by participating in the 2022 Trivia Night or through prayer for this team, we are so grateful for your generosity to help make this trip happen!
by Joel Harkness