By Sam Thompson, St. David's Roswell
A few weeks ago, in the sweltering midst of July, the St. Davidʼs Youth Group traveled from the Georgia heat and humidity to New Mexico for a taste of something different. Our
pilgrimage was a combination of road trip sing-alongs, mission work, and self-exploration,
as we were able to get in touch not only with the inhabitants of Gallup, New Mexico, but
also with ourselves as individuals.
To experience the beautiful, traditionalist lifestyle the Navajo people continue to pursue despite being surrounded by modernity and change was breathtaking. Our team worked closely with St. Bonaventure, an Indian mission and school, to help clean up and preserve the land around their school so that their leaders can focus on providing children with education rather than worrying about menial tasks such as picking up trash. Despite our love for weeding, the real highlight of our trip came from our interactions with Sunny, a Navajo storyteller who had been struggling to single-handedly build a house for herself. Not just any house, Sunny is currently building herself a traditional Native American hogan, an octagonal-shaped log hut, located in the middle of a grassy field and overlooking an incredible mountain view. We were all greatly touched by Sunnyʼs life, her family history, her culture, and her perseverance to accomplish her task, one that represents the heart of her heritage and the history that her family has worked to preserve for generations.
That week, we saw Godʼs light in the vast canyons and the coalescent
mountains, in the severe peace of the expansive desert and in the simplicity that exists in
nature. Most of all however, Godʼs light shone and continues to shine through Sunny,
through her ambition and her love that touched all of us as soon as we met her. It was a
blessing to meet her, and a blessing to gain such an appreciation for the Navajo lands and
their culture as we did while following the way of the Lord along our pilgrimage.