Meet Our 2013 Team: Samantha


mypictureMeet Samantha

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Funny Nickname: My name makes it possible for me to have lots of funny nicknames. Samoa (from our trip last year), Samsung, Samela, Samson, Samaya, SAM (Surface-to-Air-Missiles) – just to name a few!

Things I Enjoy Doing: Writing, reading, drawing, cooking, guitar, piano, singing, hanging out with people, and oddly enough… studying. If I were honest with myself I would also include pinning things to Pinterest onto my list.

Things I Enjoy Eating: I really like spicy food – buffalo wings, Asian cuisine, jalapenos, and the list goes on. Other than that, McCalister’s is my favorite eating place right now. Their Savannah Chopped Salad is the bomb.

First Trip to the Navajo Reservation: 2011

Funny Rez Trip Memory: My favorite funny trip memory was last year when we were making the 20-hour drive to the Rez. It was probably like 2 or 3am and we stopped to shuffle out passengers (we had people rotate whether they were riding in the van or in the car so that everyone would get to hang out with everyone else). Most of our passengers were pretty out of it until, of course, they realized someone was climbing over them to get to the back seat. This someone was Jarrod. Jarrod climbed back to the back row of the 14-passenger van (sandwiching himself between Josh and Andrew – not to mention he destroyed the elaborate armrest Josh had made out of seatbelts) and sat down. I guess Jarrod was picking on Josh or something because eventually Josh, utterly bewildered that his roomy backseat was now uncomfortably packed, exclaimed: “Don’t touch me there, Jarrod! Those are my ribs! That’s a very intimate spot! That’s where God made Eve!” The rest of us broke out laughing!

Testimony Snapshot: I grew up in a home where I was taught about Jesus. It wasn’t all daisies and roses or anything – my parents got divorced when I was two – but the general idea of God was with me from a very young age. As I got older, I went through some of that painful forming-your-own-identity-in-a-public-school-where-there-are-bullies stuff and really became depressed and in bondage to different things. I remember 6th grade being the most difficult. I was generally angry or overcome with loneliness and felt like I had very few friends. At this time, I also felt an unusual drawing towards God. I would talk to Him a lot, never really sure if He actually heard what I was saying. A little while after that, I started going to a youth group. My first visit to the youth group, I encountered the presence of God during worship (even though I didn’t know at that time what was going on) and found some relief for the pain in my heart that had been pent up until then. I kept coming back to youth group over and over again because of that experience, just hoping that that worship time would strengthen me enough to make through the next week. In that context, however, God got ahold of me and started really growing me in Him. That was the beginning of the beginning of this now 8-year-long journey I’ve been on with Him. He’s has healed so many of the wounds of my heart and strengthened me in the confidence that He truly loves me. There are so many stories about His faithfulness I don’t have room to do them justice, and I can’t wait to see what adventures with Him are in front of me!

Something the Lord Taught Me on the Reservation: I remember on my first trip to the Reservation, the Lord taught me so much about His desire and His compassion for the Navajo people in particular. On the second trip, I actually learned so much more about His heart for me personally. I thought it was interesting how He didn’t do the same thing in me twice, but each time was completely unique.

Hopes, Dreams, and Goals for this Upcoming Trip: My dream and desire for this upcoming trip is that God would sovereignly step in to the lives of the young people on the Navajo Reservation and encounter their hearts. I know how He drew me to Himself by really revealing to me that He wasn’t just a bunch of memorizable facts or information, but that He is a person. I pray that God would give our Navajo friends this kind of revelation – a revelation of the living, real, tangible, powerful, captivating Person of Christ – the kind of revelation that marks them for the rest of their days. This is something I know it will take Him to do, because it is something no human being can give them. And I long that our Navajo friends would go home not just with a nice camp experience, but with something lasting.

Meet Richard

Occupation: an A/G PastorImage

Nickname: Ritchie, Rick, Harjo, “that Native looking guy” (kidding….)

Things I Enjoy Doing: What I really enjoy is what the Lord is doing with our family with our two boys, my wife and I love the Lord, and the joy that there is with life. I enjoy doing and growing in the things of God, especially what is on the heart of God for people. Whether it be at a church pastoring, working in the community, or working with young people, etc. Other things I enjoy doing are more simple partly because of where we live: hiking, playing guitar, sitting around a fire with friends, grilling brauts, looking at the AZ sky at night, enjoying smooth “Cosby show jazz,” but more than all of that I really enjoy my family and what the Lord is doing with us: Amanda and our two boys Caleb and Shiloh. I thank the Lord so much for what He’s given us.

Things I Enjoy Eating: I enjoy eating all kinds of the local flavor out this way. Especially eating green and healthy.

Random Fact About Me: I still like cartoons, and one of my top favorite films is “Seven Samarai.”

My First Cruise to the Rez: I was in my senior year of bible college and I had one more semester to go. At that time it was summer. So instead of choosing a summer job, I wanted to do a third internship – in this case Shonto (not knowing then it was where I was going back to later). Anyway, they needed a summer fill-in. The pastor there had just left, so I decided to go and help. As I think of it, my first night there I felt the silence and a feeling of inadequacy. As I was taking in the gravity of the situation of what brought me there, there I was by myself sitting having dinner. And I cried. The Lord ministered to me and said, “Its you and Me, it’s the secret to minister in places like this,” and that night was like a prayer meeting with my Lord that I have never forgotten. I have to admit, that slowly sank into my spirit as I began to minister there three times a week, getting to know people and understanding that the Lord has a great plan for Shonto. You know it really does take more than us to do what we do out this way as ministers, where you are discovering constantly the needed joy and outpouring compassion to be in the hard places

Here is a Snapshot of My Testimony: You know, I was born in Corvallis, Oregon, Raised in Claremore/ Tulsa, OK, called into ministry at Pensacola, Florida at the Brownsville Revival in 98’ and went to bible college in Phoenix Arizona. Growing up, I had good parents, good sisters. I’m the middle child. In the beginning we moved around a lot. And finally Claremore, OK came. We settled. As I got older, I didn’t see a whole lot for me in leading a great life. I just wanted to “get by.” I got into drugs and the junkie culture around 8th grade and into high school. I was in and out of immoral relationships, always looking for a good time. I was always with different kinds of people and places. I often said of myself, “I’m like a walking zombie on the streets.” Many times I remember coming home late night being just out of it, and feeling like I really hated myself.

At that time my parents had come to know the Lord, and were going to church. And they wanted me to go on this charter bus trip that the church was taking to Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. I consented because I didn’t reject God but reasoned that He wasn’t for me, or for that matter I just didn’t know where He fits at all in my life. Little did I know, we would wait in humid heat with a multitude of people in this line in our lawn chairs from 4am in the morning til’ 7pm at night when the doors opened up for the services. I waited and was prayed for in the four nights that we were there, and with this resounding question, “God, what do you want from me?” and I would hear Him in my spirit and heart saying, “I just want you, son.” Until finally the last night came, and I still did not feel like I got my answer. But I was in the back, and I just got tired of the seeking and almost left the service, then the minister there named John Kilpatrick came and put his hand on my shoulder, and before I could get the words out of my mouth “can you just pray for me?” He pointed his finger at me and said, “Go and preach the gospel to your Native people.” I fell back, filled with the Holy Spirit. I felt at long last I finally found where I belonged; the question was finally answered; the WHO I was looking for all this time loved me. Shortly after that, I went on to Bible college away from everything I know to know the Lord better for myself, and being trained to do what I’m doing now for Him in Shonto, AZ. I’ve been pastoring for almost 12 years now, and a worship leader too. But I can’t think of doing anything else with my life. God has great plans for Shonto and He is pouring out His Spirit among the Native Americans. I’m glad to be a part of that, in the harvest that’s ripe in this community, following Jesus in the joy and brokenness. Thanks for letting me share my heart.

Last Words of Encouragement: I’m so excited to be working with this team coming out here this summer. Get to know them on this blog because they have the kind of hearts that are after God’s heart for the Navajo people. Its like this “huge giant wave of compassion that is flooding the Navajo culture.” I can’t wait to see what God will do with them!”

Richard is our partner in the Gospel, good friend, and contact on the Navajo Reservation. He pastors Victory Assembly of God in Shonto, AZ.Image

Meet Our 2013 Team: Chelsea

ImageAge: 18

Occupation: Student

Nickname: Sometimes when my friends don’t want to call me Chelsea (like when we drive for 21 hours in a van and our jaws are too tired to create full words haha) then they just call me Chels.

Things I Enjoy Doing: Things I enjoy doing (outside of getting in the word, going to church…etc) are reading, fishing, snowboarding, scuba diving, playing fetch with my pup, singing in the shower, and being outside. (I just LOVE the stars and grass and rain and sunshine and all that stuff).

Things I Enjoy Eating: Things I like to eat include chocolate and chocolate. And chocolate. (I’m really not emotionally unstable, I promise.)

Random Fact About Me: My ears are uneven and I fell down a mountain once.

My First Trip to the Rez: was in July of 2011. Words can’t describe that trip. I was overwhelmed by the brokenness of so many youth and blown away by their desperate cries before the Lord. The things of the world were strangling them, and it was wonderful to be able to lead them into the presence of the Lord where their hearts could soften, minister to them and show them the love of Christ throughout the day.

Here is a Snapshot of My Testimony: I did not grow up in church, my family isn’t really into it, and growing up I didn’t have much obvious influence that would incline me to Jesus. Some extended family knew Him though. My life was seemingly perfect. Great family, security and stability, in school I was popular, had the right clothes, had the looks, made the grades, was good at sports, and more. I had the American Dream as far as a twelve year old girl was concerned. But here is the thing: I was miserable. I often wished I just wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I had a lot of anger, was depressed at times, emotional, anxiety and fear, bitterness, and hate were raging on the inside. I wore a mask to cover it up. I just had a huge, unfulfilled hole in me that nothing in the world could seem to fill and it frustrated me. In my tween years I was dragged along to some events by friends who were in church like Falls Creek and Acquire the Fire. Those sparked something in me and I started going to a Bible study that my pastor started with my friends and I after Acquire the Fire my 8th grade year. After seeds began taking root in me, a day came where (I was not in a church or with anyone, this was just me and the Lord) I prayed to a God I didn’t really believe in. “God, if you’re real, I need you. I guess I’ll try out this whole ‘Christian’ thing.” And that’s where my journey began! Since then I’ve been unbelievably transformed in a million different ways, and I found the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price, and I’ve never let go since that day.

Something the Lord Taught Me on the Reservation: Something I learned on the Rez was the reality of our broken world. Its so easy to stay in a nice little bubble where its just me and Jesus, but I learned there is a world of brokenness out there that needs my friend Jesus just as much as I do. I was challenged to kill the selfishness in me and truly let God use me however He wished.

Lastly, my dream for this upcoming trip is this: I want every kid to leave with more than a feeling, more than a fun time, or three full meals a day, or more friends, but with a solid foundation in the Lord. That they would be able to leave camp and walk back into broken homes and hold fast to their Savior, ever growing in Him and knowing Him more, and becoming a contagious light. And that this wouldn’t fade in a week or a month, but that they would stick with it for the rest of their lives!

Well there ya have it, folks. That’s Chelsea in a nutshell.

Meet Our 2013 Team: Ryah

ImageMeet Ryah

Age: 18

Occupation: Student

Things I Enjoy Doing: I love to hang out with my friends and spending time with them. When I am not out and about I like to do little DIY crafts and make things!

Things I Enjoy Eating: I pretty much eat like a five year old, so as you can imagine my favorite food is chicken strips!

First Trip to the Navajo Reservation: First went in 2011

Funny Rez Trip Memory: This last summer when we were on the Rez, for reasons beyond me, everyone started singing me happy birthday at dinner (It wasn’t my birthday at all on the trip) and from then on “Happy Birthday” would spontaneously be sung to me throughout the rest of the camp!

My Testimony: I was raised up in a non-Christian home. My dad worked a lot so that caused us to move quite a bit in my early years. My mom tried her best to raise us, but with four kids things got a little hectic at times. I was finally moved to Oklahoma for good in kindergarten, and it was from then to about 5th grade that I lived my life very secluded and filled with so much insecurity. In 5th grade I met Sam and Lyndie who invited me to a Kids for Christ meeting and from then to my current church, Saturday Night (Jesus Revolution). It took awhile for me, but God began to reveal himself to me and gave me a complete 180-degree shift in my life, I mean my personality was just transformed! Ever since then God has just been revealing himself to me in new ways and still constantly transforming me and making me into his image!

Something the Lord Taught Me on the Rez: When I think back on what the Lord did in me on my trips to the reservation, there is one thing that sticks out above all else. Last summer, I had been spending a lot of time leading up to the trip asking God to give me a compassion for the Navajo and for me to actually feel what he felt for them (I didn’t quite know what I was asking for!) I believe it was the last night service and in the middle of worship it felt like God had given me a heart transplant and put in his heart in my body. My heart broke and all I could do was cry for what felt was hours, I honestly don’t think I have felt this much pain, but it was a holy pain. I ended up going up to the stage and was able to share a bit what I was feeling to everyone and attempting to put words to what God was allowing me to experience. God really let me feel how he felt and how he loves the Navajo so much and he DESIRES them to know him, like really know him, where he is their Father and they are his children.

My Hopes and Expectations for this Upcoming Trip: I feel like this year God has been giving me so many revelations into scripture and his Word. So, my hopes for this trip is for God to give me a boldness and the ability to walk in a spirit of discipleship, to not be intimidated, but speak what he has already spoken to me.

Meet Our 2013 Team: Alicia

ImageAge: 20

Occupation: Student, Nursing Major

Nickname: I have two, Ali (which is what I prefer) and Allavisha. That was the name given to me on the way to the Rez last year.

Things I Enjoy Eating: Well, I obviously love frybread. But I also love pasta, seafood, a nice juicy steak, chocolate pie, cookies, ice cream… It’s probably easier to say what I don’t like. I don’t like nuts or squid. Anything else: ME GUSTA.

Things I Enjoy Doing: I love to be around music. Rather it’s attending a concert, or performing a concert, I love it. I enjoy read the Bible, spending time with friends, cooking and more so eating

Strange Fact About Me: I love shopping – and shoes. I also have an obsession with painting my finger nails.

First Trip to the Navajo Reservation: This will be my second time to the Rez. My first trip was in 2012. 

Funny Rez Trip Memory: I think the nights during camp, right before bed check. It was funny to see the different personalities. Girls and there girl talking, girls who just crashed and the leaders who forced themselves to stay awake for bed check and became silly as all get out.

My Testimony: I grew up in a Christian home. When I was a little girl I would have conversations with the Lord. (I would tell him to “hang on I’ll be right back” when our convos got interrupted.) Some stuff happened though and I fell away from him. My junior year of high school I met some good Christian girls. They convinced me to go to church with them. I went a couple times. It was there that I gave my life to the Lord, and I’m free. He freed me from some bad relationships, He freed me from tobacco, and he freed me from all the chains that held me down.

Something the Lord Taught Me on the Reservation: The Lord taught me so much on the Reservation. I think the most important is probably that the sweetest and most awesome miracle is when He changes a person’s heart. I had that knowledge, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10), but he revealed it to me in a special way in my heart. It was like I could feel the angles rejoicing. That was a huge revelation in my heart.

Hopes for the Upcoming Trip: I just want to see hearts changed. The Lord loves us so much and He just wants us to dwell daily with him. I know how happy he is when someone dedicates their life to him. I know how happy we are when we are with him. I want to see this happiness begin in the lives of these young people. I also want to plant seed of wisdom. Once they leave camp, it is going to be hard for them to maintain a life for the Lord. I want the Lord to give us word of wisdom and encouragement to help them. So that they can grow and grow and grow!!

Meet Our 2013 Team: Andrew

Meet Andrew

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Age: 20

Occupation: Student (Major: Music Composition and Technology)

Nickname: “Mandrew.” There were more girls than guys on our trips so if I did something like kill a spider or mention something like trimming my beard I was sometimes called… you guessed it… “Mandrew.”

Things I Enjoy Eating: It’s hard to pick a favorite. I’m creative and love food – whether it be Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese, etc… in fact, I’ll even combine foods.

My First Trip to the Rez: 2011

My Testimony: I’ve grown up in a Christian home under a wonderful church. I may have gone through a few “teenage phases,” but my testimony really is that the Lord has kept me all this time. I will note that I really began pursuing the things of God around eighth grade and was kept accountable by again, great parents, but also some wonderful Christian mentors.

Music: I’m studying Music Composition and Technology at Oral Roberts University. Quite a bit can be said or felt in just a few minutes through music. I have so much fun thinking of a song idea, arranging what all the instruments will do, and then recording it. On our trip last summer, I had the idea to write an album for the kids we’d be visiting at a youth camp in Arizona, so it happened. During the month of June I wrangled a few others from the trip (Jarrod, Rhiannon, and Samantha) to collaborate on writing some songs. We periodically met at my house to pray, share input on song ideas, solidify the songs, and then record different parts in my room. It was exciting but a huge challenge on my end because this wasn’t tracked in a professional studio with a team of engineers and high-end gear. I had to wear several hats to problem-solve and make sure everything worked out with what we had. On top of that, I had to work very quickly for it to be ready in time. I contributed to the vision, tracked everything others sang or played, recorded most of the instruments myself, and mixed it all together… but I can say it was well worth it. In about one month’s time we accomplished a 12-song CD and handed it out at the camp. We also got a chance to sing some of our songs live when we were there. A handful of kids said they really appreciated the music and it reminded them of us and what God did in them. Since then, I’ve decided I want this project to be available to everyone so I’m working on several changes and enhancements to make the quality “commercially acceptable.” It has been a huge learning process for me as I continue to get better at what I do and I look forward to getting this project onto iTunes, Spotify, and other online markets as soon as it’s done!

What God Taught Me on the Reservation: On our first trip we were sort of bombarded by a new culture with many different needs and behaviors than we were used to, but our hearts grew quite warm for the Navajo people by the end. On our second go-round last summer, I was encouraged that much of our work had visible results. Some kids gave up their traditional religion for Christianity, some abandoned poor habits like drugs, or at least reached out to us for help. Many who felt depression and hopelessness began to lighten up simply because someone chose to come into their world and show them somebody cares; that God cares. As much as their lives were changed, I gained a deeper understanding of how much God loves me too. I can’t wait to help them however I can on our third trip!

Meet Our 2013 Team: Rhiannon

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Meet Rhiannon

Age: 20

Occupation: Coffee Shop Manager

Nickname: My nickname bears no significance… We woke Andrew up from his sleep on the drive to Arizona to give me the first name he could think of. And that name was Radahlia.

What I Enjoy Doing: I enjoy anything that has to do with the creation or enjoyment of music. My husband also got me a lab mix puppy for Christmas so I have enjoyed playing with and training her… And laughing at the silly things she does. Her name is Daisy, and let me tell you, she’s absolutely hilarious.

What I Enjoy Eating: I absolutely LOVE pasta!! And recently I’ve been reigniting my love for sushi.

Strange Fact About Me: I love tomatoes. I detest ketchup.

My First Trip to the Reservation: My first trip was in 2011.

My Testimony: I grew up in a non-religious home as a kid. After my parents’ divorce when I was in 2nd grade and after subsequent moves throughout the states with my mom and older brother (we actually lived in Tucson, AZ for a long time!), we eventually moved to Oklahoma where I came in contact with Sam Mather and other leaders at Jesus Revolution after they paid visits to my school during lunch. I began attending their camps, Bible studies, and weekly meetings in 7th grade. I accepted Christ in 2006 and my life has never been the same since!

Something the Lord Taught Me on the Reservation: Our first trip in 2011, the Lord showed me something I will never forget: We were on our way home. Camp Bita Hochee was over and we all piled into our vehicles before sunrise ready for our journey home. In the car we had put on some worship music to listen to on our drive. It was very moving and beautiful, and I began to truly put myself in a place of worship before Him. Song after song was describing this desire: for Jesus to return. “The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come.'” It was the heartfelt, lovesick desire to have full and perfect fellowship with Jesus when He comes back for His Bride, the church. Now, I’m not saying I had a vision or anything – but He put a picture in my heart of what it could be like when Christ really does return, that first moment when it happens. And I began to weep, just flat out weep… right in the middle of the car in front of my friends and everything! Not just at the idea I saw in my head, but because in my heart I was saying “yes” to Him. Yes. Come, I’m desperate for You to come! Prior to this trip, if anyone brought up the subject of Christ’s return, I would nod and agree with everything they would say. I would recognize the truth of the Scriptures, but in my heart I rejected it. In my heart, I didn’t want Christ to come back because I didn’t want to be forced out of a life that I was very comfortable in. But Jesus set me free from that! My heart completely changed in that moment. After experiencing everything we had encountered in Bita Hochee, God awakened me to what is the reality waiting ahead of us and what is only a shadow here and now.

My Expectations for Our Next Trip: I am so beyond excited to be coming back to the Rez! What my heart is most stirred up for is fellowship and discipleship – to truly become of one mind, desire, and attitude as we go after God together. I’m asking Jesus to reveal Himself to us all as the only One worth seeking and adoring, and I believe He will do this through the course of worship and prayer, so I’m excited to be on the worship team again. And of course, that He would further the work He began in me on our 2011 trip. God is going to do some amazing things!