During spring break, 22 Riverside students, faculty and friends traveled from Fayetteville to Ft. Defiance, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation to serve on a mission team with local Christian ministers, Terry and Pam Laurence.

“Terry and Pam have been ministering to the congregation at Ft. Defiance for over a decade and have a love for God’s Word, a love for souls and a desire to see people living on the Navajo Reservation turn to Jesus for hope and for salvation,” said Jim Black, RCA mission director and Navajo Nation mission team leader.

The Riverside group stayed in Window Rock, which is the capital of the reservation. The group had three main goals while serving on the Reservation: to provide spiritual encouragement for the local Christians, help with facility improvements at the local church and have fun while learning about the culture and the geographical area.

The mission team provided spiritual encouragement for the local Christians by conducting a three-day Family Vacation Bible School that was led by RCA students. The theme of the event was, “Fix Your Eyes On Jesus” from Hebrews 12:3. The event was well attended with over 50 people participating in one night. Jim Black and Adam Ragland, RCA’s varsity girls’ head basketball coach, led an adult Bible study each night of the event while the RCA students taught children’s classes. The RCA mission team also visited with and encouraged church members at a congregation-hosted cookout with food and games.

The mission team also made many facility improvements for the church. The team made improvements to the church’s parking lot, relocated the church office and created a space for the minister to meet with families and teach classes and installed a wall thermostat to regulate the temperature in the building addition. The team also made some repairs to two of the church members’ homes.

The students learned more about the Navajo culture when they visited the Window Rock Park and Navajo Code Talker Monument. The group also spent one day visiting the Grand Canyon where they had a devotional that was led by a Riverside student.

“Our team was disappointed that, while we experienced no problems due to the Coronavirus adjustments being made across the country, we decided not to make our visit to the Manuelito Children’s Home out of precaution. The children’s home is located in New Mexico, and the state had just begun issuing restrictions on schools and restaurants, so we decided to return home a day early. Many thanks to Southwest Airlines for graciously going out of their way to arrange our flights a day early and returning us home safely with no trouble,” said Black.

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