Spring 2016 ::  Anna Sherod, Kingdom Workers Field Manager: Apache

Imagine your roof is caving in, your plumbing hasn’t worked in two years, your windows are being held together with duct tape, and the governmental programs that are responsible for your housing have been slow to respond because most of your neighbors are in a similar situation. 

Kingdom Worker’s Builder For Christ volunteers are repairing these broken homes which are part of a community waitlist on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona. This project offers some relief and a productive outlet for volunteerism in a community where hope is a precious commodity.

Ten visiting volunteers from across the US have worked alongside a rotation of dozens of local Apache volunteers to do the tough work of demolishing homes to the frame and building them back up.

Local volunteers have come from the Whiteriver Lutheran Church, Apache Behavior Health Services, and the local Celebrate Recovery group.

At the end of a work day, the visiting volunteers say “Thank you” to the local volunteers and the local volunteers thank them back! Local volunteers cherish the opportunity to spend productive time away from negative influences or substances. They appreciate sharpening their home repair skills and for the sense of purpose that this project has brought to them and their community. A coordinator for the Apache Behavioral Health group, which routinely participates in community service projects told me “Thank you for the opportunity to get involved. Last week, the group was setting up for wakes all week long and they were getting so depressed.” Home demolition is cheap stress relief!

One of the homes that Kingdom Workers volunteers renovated belonged to a woman named Minnie. Similar to other houses in the community, Minnie’s house is multigenerational. Her children and grandchildren live with her because housing is so limited on the reservation. Minnie’s house is painted bright blue, and overlooks a stunning view of the forested valleys and mountains in the East Fork area. Next to her home sits the dilapidated structure where her son used to live until he died due to alcoholism at age 40. In this beautiful place in eastern Arizona, stories like hers are too common.

Keith, one of the local Apache volunteers from Whiteriver Church, invited his brother and a friend to volunteer with him. Keith’s friend has been using this opportunity to stay focused and apply for jobs in the area. He was blessed with a gig last week! This was an accomplishment to celebrate because the reservation has about an 80% unemployment rate.

The fellowship, friendships, and love on this project are tangible and serve as a magnet to bring people to God’s great love. Thank you to all the wonderful skilled volunteers, generous donors, and faithful prayer warriors for supporting this work. Your donations in 2016 to the Kingdom Workers program on the Apache mission will look to expand this work and extend it to include more job training resources for local volunteers. 

Field Manager: Anna Sherod

Reflections on the Sunday School training program [Sunday School]

Read more on the ministry of Kingdom Workers with the Apache people [ #LongRead ]

Read how KW engages the Apache people in actively identifying important issues in their church [HERE]  

Meet an Apache EMT who is working hard to spread the Gospel [Meet Manda] 

The Lutheran Apache Mission Band is becoming an influence on the Res [LAMB]