Hope Lutheran’s Mission Navajo Youth Trip on the road

Students in Hope Lutheran Church's Mission Navajo Youth Group have a unique opportunity to learn about Navajo culture from tribal elders, such as Margie Tso LeChee, left, and Alvin Tso LeChee.

Earlier this month, eight Navajo students from a Gallup, N.M., high school flew to Des Moines to take part in the Hope Lutheran Church’s Delta Ministries Navajo High School Leadership Program. Now the West Des Moines church’s youth ministry is returning the favor with their week-long Mission Navajo Youth Trip.

MIssion Navajo is not so much a Bible camp as an intensive Christian leadership experience aiming to help boost the socio-economic living conditions on the New Mexico Navajo Indian Reservation now and in generations to come.

Hope Lutheran’s New Mexico Ministries helps build and improve homes, raise crops, find water supplies and much more to improve conditions on reservations.

The Mission Navajo Youth set out by train Friday from Kansas City, Mo., after a day at Worlds of Fun, and we are spending the week sharing the everlasting love of Jesus Christ with children and adults. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Navajo culture and history by visiting historical sites and interacting with tribal elders.

The New Mexico students who visited Des Moines were funded by Hope Lutheran’s Delta Ministries and by donations from many who felt a “holy discontent” found in living conditions on the reservations. “Holy Discontent” is a book by Bill Hybels that studies what motivates some people to volunteer, and it cites individuals who have acted at I-can’t-take-it-anymore moments: Marin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Agnes Bojaxhiu and Helen Keller.

These spiritual heroes and heroines acted on their concerns in ways that that coincides with God’s will.

The New Mexico students and their counterparts in Hope Lutheran’s youth ministries had an intense week of morning classes and dynamic guest speakers, including ministers, CEOs, the retired new director of WHO-TV and vice-presidents of Hy-Vee and Wells Fargo.

All together there were 15 speakers with three lessons each morning. After lunch the students boarded a bus to Des Moines for service projects at the Joppa homeless center, Mercy Food Pantry, Meals from the Heartland, Wildwood Hills Ranch and Habitat for Humanity.

Students put in three hours of labor for the group at each place.

Among the inspiring speakers was Eric Edehen, who witnessed to personal experiences ranging from starvation in Nigeria and fleeing to Spain and Russia before making it to the U.S. and becoming a naturalized citizen. This speaker of eight languages worked his way up from mopping floors to vice-president of community development at Wells Fargo.

Edehen gives all credit to Christ as his backbone and strength as he continues studying for a doctorate.

Students also listened to Jim Boyd, a professional motivational speaker, who connected with the audience and tied Christ to his continued success, and Mike Smith, real estate and sustainability vice-president for Hy-Vee Inc, who related his exceptional childhood with abnormalities and without Christ. He described the great benefits of allowing Christ to be his leader.

Bill Love shared the story about what motivated him to help found DELTA Ministries. He described his own “holy discontent” and challenged the young people in the audience to find their Holy Discontent and take a stand. To illustrate his point, he held up a DELTA t-shirt with the Christian message, “Disrupt the Continuum.”

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