Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mission to AZ

As I have mentioned before, Bryan and I are a bit unconventional 23-year-olds who enjoy spending every waking moment with high school students. On that note, our "vacation" this summer was spent over the last two weeks on the Navajo Native American reservation in Kaibeto, Arizona on a mission trip with 8 of our high school students and 40 students from Salem Heights.
The trip started at 5 a.m. on Thursday when the crew set out from Salem Heights. I did not accompany them on the first leg of the trip, because I had to finish the week of work. So I got up, saw them off, and went back home to sleep for a couple of hours and then went to work at 8:30.
After a mad rush to finish my work before my flight left for Phoenix on Saturday morning, I got to be around midnight on Friday night, and then took off for the airport at 3 a.m. (with my parents' taxi service). The flight was no problem, I only had a carry on, so no baggage to check. I sat around and tried not to fall asleep. The flight was short -- only 2 hours, and I mostly slept and read Catcher in the Rye -- which, by the way, is exactly like having a conversation with my older brother. I'm pretty sure it has to be his favorite book. Anyway, I got to Phoenix unscathed but more tired than I could handle. Thank the Lord for Starbucks venti iced white mochas. I ate at the airport Chile's for breakfast, which was overpriced, but all I wanted was somewhere to sit down and look like I belonged.
I learned three things in that airport.
#1: Arizonians must love uncomfortable whicker. Or maybe the miles of fibrous furniture is a combatant against bums like me sleeping in the airport.
#2: Never trust a mission trip time table. "We'll be there at 9 a.m.," really means "Maybe we'll see you at 1 p.m."
#3: Starbucks has the ONLY comfy couches in the airport. Literally. If you don't mind coffee stains.
In my third hour of sitting on the big tan Starbucks couch, a family of four came to join me. The parents were Australian-born, but they had moved to California 10 years ago for his job. They had two kids: Tim and Emma, who lacked their parents' accents, but were very cute nonetheless. Tim stuck to his ironman video game, but seven-year-old Emma loved to talk.
I was on the verge of drowning in boredom, so I welcomed the company.
Their family was taking a tour to the Grand Canyon before moving back to Sydney, Australia. The dad said he had to send all of their possessions on a freighter, which takes two months to get to Australia. They were glad to be moving back, except for the fact that the kids would have to start school right away - no summer break, because it is winter there!
They were a nice family, and we sat together off and on for two hours.
I finally got out of the airport and into the stifling Arizona humidity at around 1:30 p.m.
We met up with the group, and continued on North, up to Page and eventually Kaibeto late at night.
The next day, we went to the church service and the canvassed the area to promote the Vacation Bible School we would be putting on the next five days.
Monday through Friday, we did the VBS at two locations, Kaibeto and White Mesa. I worked at White Mesa while the rest of our Korean group stayed at Kaibeto. The church at White Mesa wasn't even a church, it was Benny's (one of the Christian Navajos) three-room house, which was in the process of a remodel.
We had about 30 kids up there in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit crazy, with fist fights on the first day and no bathroom besides a fly-infested outhouse around the back.
Matt and Tim coordinated a Bible study for some of the older (troublemaker) kids, which worked really well, and a couple of the fist-fighting boys even accepted Christ. I had the chance to talk with a seventh-grade girl named Samantha, who was already a Christian, and just needed some encouragement. Hopefully we will stay in touch, because she doesn't have many friends way out there.
Throughout the week we were all pretty tired, and some drama ensued...but it always ends up for the best (hopefully). I had a lot of good talks with some of the girls in our youth group, and that was great to see them growing, and wanting to grow more.
On Friday night, one of our girls wasn't feeling too good (she threw up 9 times) and then she started to hyperventilate. She got so bad that she couldn't control her breathing and we had to take her to the hospital -- which is 40 miles away. I went with her, along with two other leaders, and it was a scary trip. She was getting very tired, and her arms were cramping up and getting numb. It was my job to keep her awake and keep her breathing. By the time we finally got to Page (where the hospital is), she was falling asleep every two breaths, and I couldn't hear her breathing when she was asleep, so I had to keep waking her up. I was scared we would have to stop and give her CPR, but the Lord got us to the hospital, and it was amazing how much better she was, just knowing she was at the hospital.
By the time we got her in a bed, she was sitting up and smiling.
The doctor said it was most likely an anxiety attack, tipped off by the vomitting.
Back at Kaibeto, the students had gathered to pray and one of our students stayed on his knees until he heard she was home.
After about an hour in the hospital, she calmed down, and we got her back to Kaibeto by midnight.
The following morning (Saturday), our whole group loaded into the vans, as scheduled, and headed back to Salem.
Despite more heavy breathing episodes, falty transmissions, flat tires and little sleep, we made it back to Salem by 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night.
I was glad to be home from my "vacation," but not so happy to head back to work the next morning at 8:30 a.m.
This is Dan beating up Daniel. Apparently they wrestled every night...and Daniel says they "tied" every time. Does it look like a tie?
This is R Jay (one of the Mesa kids) attacking a hula hoop around Zac's neck. He was definitely a biter/dust kicker-upper.
Tim being tough with the rowdy boys. They weren't too thrilled with game time apparently.
We all love this photo...only because Wonmo looks like such a weirdo.
This is the inside of the Mann's house, which we used for VBS at Mesa View. The kids love song time.
Esther and Sun hula hooping.
Jane, Carolyn and Angie being starfish at Lake Powell.
Siera helping Treyton with his craft.
Our group at the lake.
Game time.
Sang with one of her little ones.

1 comment:

Andrew and Kathleen Finch said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I am glad that God has you and Bryan in the place that you two are today! You two are doing amazing things through our heavenly Father to the high school students. You are amazing woman of God Charissa and I pray that you will continue to let God use you and show you new things on a daily basis. You have a blessing on my life and I am thankful for you. I know your high school girls are thankful as well! Keep seeking the Lord in all that you do first and He will continue to show you how He wants to use you! =) The trip was worthwhile even through all that happened!