October 18-22, 2012 – Our October and January trips are our most important distributions of the year as cold weather envelops the Navajo Nation and Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Generally, by mid-October over-night temperatures begin to reach the low thirties prompting a need for blankets, cold-weather clothing, and food. Exposure is a serious concern due to a large homeless population and high cost of fuel for various methods of home heating. The addition of the Holbrook warehouse permitted us to gather and store winter supplies from March on this year resulting in the largest amount of supplies we have had for distribution since our inception in 2007. We were blessed to have a number of first timers accompany us on this trip… Doug, Rich and I are the standard distribution team and on this trip our wives accompanied us as well as our Pastor, Jeremy Bratcher, his family and Denise Mitchell.
The days were long with a lot of driving, delivering supplies, and night reloading of the trailer for the next day’s journey.
We started our distribution on Friday the 19th at Sun Valley Indian School (Director Mardell Knowles) in Sun Valley AZ as Pastor Jeremy delivered the weekly chapel devotion… we then traveled east to Black Hat NM and Wildcat Christian Academy (Pastor Jim Bowling) which now distributes to nearly fifty churches… then back west to Sanders AZ and Red Mesa warehouse. As we arrived at Red Mesa we were met by Pastor Paul Beasley Sr. sitting in his car… experiencing congestive heart failure. God plans… Denise Mitchel is a Registered Nurse and immediately attended to Pastor Paul and continued to follow up on his condition during and after the completion of our trip. As a side note… Pastor Paul was in need of an oxygen concentrator… Denise communicated the need and a very generous donor provided the means and God provided the equipment on November 13th … the oxygen concentrator was delivered to Pastor Paul on November 20th. Departing Sanders the team returned to Holbrook and reloaded the trailer for Saturday’s deliveries.
On Saturday the 20th we first headed a short distance west to deliver supplies to NAOMI House (Director Linda Thompson) in Joseph City AZ and then returned to Holbrook and began our trip south… our second delivery was to Snowflake AZ and Valley View Southern Baptist Church (Pastor Bob Seymour) which distributes to fifteen additional churches... continuing south our third delivery was to McNary AZ and McNary Apache Baptist Church (Pastor Jack Townsend)… continuing south our last delivery of the day was to Whiteriver AZ and The Hope Center (Director Debra Clendon)… once again followed by a returned to Holbrook and a reload of the trailer for Sunday’s deliveries.
On Sunday the 21st we headed west to Leupp AZ and First Presbyterian Church of Leupp (Pastor Calvin Kelly) which now distributes to fourteen churches… at PCL we attended a Navajo language Sunday morning worship service which was both a treat and an experience. Following the service we drove north to Kaibeto AZ and our last delivery of the trip to Pure Heart Bible Church (Pastor Stan Patterson) which distributes to six churches.
In summary, once again we experienced a blessed, safe and successful trip. Pastor Jeremy was able to spend time with the pastors and develop an understanding of their particular needs which will continue to be addressed as we move forward. The ladies of the team were able to meet and spend time with many of our pastors’ wives and missionaries… the resulting conversations birthed the first of two new components of Operation 29:11’s ministry… new born baby layettes of which the ladies are now working on ninety packages for our January distribution. The men met with Pastor Stan at Pure Heart Bible Church and the second new component was birthed… the development of a community vegetable garden project which is, as of this posting, also underway. And something new for us… the ladies of Gleanings for the Hungry provided us with over one hundred new quilts which were distributed to the wives of reservation pastors and missionaries… they were a special gift and the feedback we have received indicate they were a special blessing to a number of ladies.
In closing, thank you to all who prayed for us, donated time and resources, and continue to stand with us in ministry to the Native American community.