submitted by Rev. Chuck Blaisdell
Many of us take for granted a short trip to a grocery store where we find an abundance of fruit, vegetables, meats and various protein sources. A short trip to a grocery store is not possible for many Native Americans who live on the reservations, and once they arrive the amount of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources are lacking. This compounded by the poverty on the reservations means diets are filled with sweets and carbohydrates, which helps lead to obesity and diabetes.
After several years of discussion, dreaming and planning, the Mission and Outreach Committee, led by chair Nancy May and staffed by Don Sarton, associate minister of mission and stewardship, partnered One Nation Walking Together, a Colorado Springs endeavor devoted to assisting Native American families, in designing, building, and transporting chicken coops, chickens and supplies to the Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico.
Eleven members of First Christian Church, including men, women and two teenage young men, spent their Memorial weekend near Shiprock, New Mexico, erecting two chicken coops that were built in Colorado Springs, and transported by truck. Members of the group also measured windows in Navajo families’ homes and beautiful curtains and drapes were made on-location for these families.
Kathy Dunson of One Nation Walking Together said “The feedback I have received from … the families is so heartwarming… you all have touched their lives in a huge manner and we will never know the total impact it will have as it is too huge for words.” Nancy May, chair of the Mission and Outreach Committee reflected on her experience by saying: “This was my first experience participating in a mission trip and I was not disappointed. We learned beforehand about cultural elements we might encounter on the Navajo Reservation which enabled us to be as respectful and unobtrusive as possible. We discovered that each participant had unique skills and gifts to give. We were also invited to eat a wonderful meal prepared by the family, and the Navajo fry bread and conversation with the grandmother of the family will remain priceless memories. We know that our gift of chicken coops and curtains are as appreciated as their welcome to their homes were to us. The project was truly spirit filled.” Sr. Pastor Chuck Blaisdell said “This trip was indeed a spirit-filled response to FCC’s mission statement of ‘Joyfully serving God and neighbor, with particular emphasis on serving at-risk children and youth.’”
This project can be duplicated in many areas of the country. If you are interested in details contact Don Sarton at [email protected]