Recently The Mission’s Board at “The Church of Grace and Peace” sent out a Scouting Trip to the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, AZ. A Scouting Trip is made to determine the possibility of making a Short Term Mission Trip in the future. Our goal was to meet with current GAP supported Missionaries Bishop Herb Hutchinson and his wife Pastor Lois Hutchinson. GAP has had a relationship with the Hutchinson’s for years and is one of our many supported Missionaries. They head up Summit Training Post better known as STP in Window Rock, AZ. The Hutchinson’s have had a heart and a calling for the Navajo Indians for the last 17 years. Our mission was to spend some quality time at STP and evaluate their need.
Because I was on this trip and because of the vastness of all we were exposed to (There were four of us on the trip) I am going to share my testimony of this incredible Native American Nation. I pray the Lord will give you a feel for the Missionaries, The People, and the Region. In this way perhaps the Lord will encourage you to do your own research of the Navajo and where you may one day fit in their future.
This being my first scouting trip with our Missions Board I was totally open to any experience we might face. As we landed at the Albuquerque International Airport we were met with warm smiles and a sincere excitement. Bishop Herb Hutchinson, his wife Pastor Lois Hutchinson and a Navajo Native serving as our guide were there ready to drive us the two and half hours to the Navajo Reservation and to “The Summit Training Post”. At this point our small team was under the impression we would spend most of our time at STP to get a feel for exactly what the ministry to the Navajos would require. During the trip to the Reservation we quickly realized there was a different agenda for the team. We would be in Arizona and MOST of our time would not be spent at STP. We were going to get the Red Carpet treatment. They wanted to give us a feel for the needs of the people, the vastness of the region and the diverse spiritual beliefs which the Hutchinson’s faced daily.
STP is a training facility whose mission is to strengthen and raise up the body. STP’s goal is to train the Navajo in many aspects of their lives; giving them self-confidence and independence which has been all but eradicated in these people. STP is a 2 acre parcel of land the Hutchinson’s purchased many years ago. There are living quarters, a training center, horse stables, an area for recreation and an amphitheater for many different kind of functions, one being Praise and Worship! The amphitheater is full with musical instruments, speaker systems and most any thing you might need for a concert. STP has Bible study classes, discipleship classes, holds yearly kids camps, All Nation Conferences, and is a satellite campus for “The Wagner Institute of Toms River!” Bringing hope to the Navajo is the heart of the Hutchinson’s ministry. After seventeen years they have made an impact in many neighboring communities in the name of the Lord!
The Navajo people are a proud people; warm and friendly, and very hard workers. They were nothing like the stereotype we have so often heard. The Native Navajo religion believes the physical and spiritual world blend together. They believe everything alive is sacred and the holy ones live in four mountains which outline the boundaries of the reservation. We need to share the truth with them and lift all limitations, give them hope and introduce them to the one true God.
Some of the challenges that the Navajo face everyday are: an 80% unemployment rate, lack of education, poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, gang violence, teen suicide and an overall feeling of desperation. The people need help, they deserve help, and they need Jesus! I could write a book on this mighty nation which played such a vital role in the Allied victory in WWII through the famous “Navajo Code Talkers”. They allowed us to surprise the Japanese in IWO JIMA which helped usher in the end the war. Our challenge is;, due to the wounds the Navajo suffered at the hands of our government over the years; to create a lasting trust with the Navajo people when doing missionary work which would allow us to help them.
I can tell you if you talk to all four of the people who made this trip (Including myself) you will get a different heart felt observation from each of us. BUT I do believe we all agree on the two critical areas which we could possibly help support STP in their work with these amazing people.
First, is the training and discipleship of Pastor’s. When a man is saved on the Reservation and seeks to grow in that salvation he sometimes becomes a Pastor by default. His home becomes a church. He becomes one excited dangerous Christian! However; they need consistent solid guidance, Bible Study, leadership training, and a way to get their questions answered.
Second, we must get to the children! Children’s programs of all types are needed in order to keep these kids away from growingly dangerous environment. STP has horses, archery equipment, rappelling equipment, musical instruments, a class room, and amphitheater, land and much, much more. STP hosts an annual kid’s camp which has been an incredible blessing to as many as 300 children in past years. I believe with help they could do these events more often. Again the Hutchinson’s have done incredible things over the years for these kids. When 300 kids show up at a camp, many from hundreds of miles away, you know God has a hand in it.
As of the writing of this article the Missions Board is taking much into consideration, evaluation, and prayer to seek God for His direction. We don’t know if it is His will for us to make a trip in the near future but we would ask you all for your prayers. Ask God for his guidance, ask God for leaders and ask God for a plan if He so chooses to bless us. Thank you and God bless you!!
Barry Moll, Missions Intern