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A Place to Meet Jesus: Students Serve During Mission Trip to Arizona

Benjamin Speegle, April 22, 2014
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After dust storms, construction, and more than 40 hours of driving, a group from Pacific Union College can say that they experienced a unique, service-focused spring break. Eschewing the typical college student trips home or to the beach, this group of students spent ten days, March 21-31, working with a small church in the Navajo heartland.

Sixteen students and one staff member from Pacific Union College spent their spring break in Chinle, Ariz., in the center of a Navajo reservation. The group was invited to by Pastor Dale Wolcott of the Chinle Seventh-day Adventist Church, and focused their efforts on installing a new roof on the church. The group’s efforts, declared a blessing by Pastor Wolcott, help the church keep its long-term commitment to the local community.

Along with providing laborers, PUC was also able to donate $3,000 to the project. With the help of Al, a roofer from Michigan who supervised the project, a large portion of the work on the church was completed. Despite high winds and a heavy dust storm in Chinle, the group was able to remove the old, damaged roof and begin installing a new metal roof that will last for years to come and give many people a place to become acquainted with Jesus.

In addition to working on the roof of the church, the group also assisted the local school, located on the church property, with classes and a week of prayer program. The school has only eight students and is staffed by one teacher and one volunteer. The PUC students helped out at the school by preparing hot lunch, providing day care services for the teacher, leading physical education classes, and coordinating a week of prayer program. Additionally, the students at the Chinle Seventh-day Adventist School were able to learn about the countries of South Korea, Haiti, Ecuador, and Colombia from the culturally diverse group of PUC students, which had members who grew up in each of these countries.

Long hours of work and even longer hours of traveling left the group exhausted but happy at the close of the trip. A concluding highlight was a detour the group made to the Grand Canyon on the drive back to PUC’s Angwin, Calif., campus. After a tough week of working in the sun, sleeping on the ground, and interacting with those they had come to serve, the group reflected on the ways they had been blessed by their unconventional spring break while overlooking the majestic formation of rocks around the Colorado River.