Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A day with the Navajo people

We awoke Tuesday morning in a hurry to get to the Navajo Mission before Vacation Bible School began at 10:30 AM. But Alan made us a little late...

When he got out of the shower, I threw him his clothes for the day, including a pair of underwear. Meanwhile I was on the phone getting directions to the Navajo Mission, and because the route to get there sounded confusing, I handed the phone to him. When he hung up, he said, "Now, what did I do with my underwear?" No one could find them anywhere, and he was convinced we were all playing a trick on him. He started a serious search, even offering a monetary reward, but to no avail. He went through the sheets, duffle bag, and even pulled the drawers out (no pun intended!) looking for them. Meanwhile we are all dressed and ready to go and Alan’s still standing there in his towel. About that time, Coleman said, "Daddy, why aren’t you dressed yet?" We were all laughing so hard...all of us except Alan, that is! He was convinced one of us had his underwear on! Finally he put on his day-old underwear since everything else was still packed in the car. Remember I told you we play "stump the expert" and hide something in each hotel room to know that he fully searched the room? Well, we left his underwear behind at that Holiday Inn, never knowing what happened to them. He is still mad about losing a brand new pair of underwear! Maybe you had to be there, but he is Mr.Organization and was so frustrated...and the rest of us were in giggles.

We arrived at the Navajo Mission just in time for Vacation Bible School. There were about 25 Indian kids there. Our kids had fun getting to know them. Meanwhile Alan was snatched up quickly on the manual labor detail and helped to lay block and then drywall a ceiling for the Indian classroom. I was assigned to the cleaning detail, not having told them about my "disability" towards cleaning! As I was cleaning a bathroom, I called out to the other room to ask Diane, the lady in charge, "Ever see snakes around here?" She yelled back, "Yeah, why, did you find one?" I said, "Listen, lady, if I find a snake in here I’ll be on your lap!" She laughed and told me that just yesterday they’d seen a rattler, but most of the snakes are "good" snakes. Ha, only good snake is a dead one far as I’m concerned. From then on whenever I had to walk somewhere I stayed on the gravel and out of the sagebrush, with my eyes peeled for anything in the grass. There were a lot of lizards there, which aren’t as bad as snakes but aren’t a whole lot better.I was working with a Navajo lady named Vera, and while we worked we talked. She has recently started attending a Christian church, but still holds on to a lot of Navajo spiritual beliefs, of which there are many. She talked about an uncle who had recently died and said he was now an eagle. She said she can't believe in Heaven as an afterlife because it seems too vague, but instead believes that people go to a "third world." (As if that's not vague?) Anyway, I had a chance to tell her that's where Bible study and faith come in, and how I'm sure a lot more comfortable believing in Heaven rather than a "third world." She was a really nice lady and I enjoyed talking to her and learning more about Navajo customs. Our conversation really convinced me how much the Navajo people need the Lord.

When Vacation Bible School was over the girls came and helped out with the cleaning, but after a couple hours, there wasn’t much more for us to do. The Indian kids had already gone home. The kids and I were ready to go but the men at the Mission weren’t ready to part with Alan, really appreciating his talents. We left there around 5 PM and headed for Durango..I considered our time there a success since I didn’t see any snakes! Seriously, it was a good experience for all of us and we enjoyed meeting and learning more about the Navajo people.

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