For nearly 20 years, Bellevue has taken a team to Gallup, New Mexico, with one goal in mind—to reach the Navajo Nation with the love of Christ. This year’s team set out to continue that mission, and what they saw happen on this trip was nothing short of the power of the Lord.
Team leader Donnie Johnson saw prayers answered and God at work all throughout their time in New Mexico.
“He answered the prayers for every aspect of the trip: travel safety, unity of mind and purpose for the team, encouragement and spiritual growth for the church at Rock Springs, and salvation for the lost,” Donnie said.
Rock Springs Baptist Church, five miles north of Gallup, is led by Pastor Lorne Denetclaw and his wife, Mallory, along with co-pastor Ben Talley and his wife, Deborah. It’s a place that reaches and continues to love the Navajo community. Our Bellevue team came alongside Rock Springs to help in their efforts. Together, they built a new roof, went on prayer drives, and led VBS.
Old friends were reunited, and new friends were made throughout the week. Deborah Talley said seeing these connections grow was something truly special.
“Most of the team had been out here before,” she said. “It is so beautiful to see their love for the people they have met before, and our people get so excited when they know their Tennessee friends are coming.”
First-timer Jeff Hensley witnessed how quickly these bonds could be formed through building a roof for a church member in need. Jeff and team members Matthew Bentley and Joshua Hawkins joined the Navajo construction team. While facing rain and winds, this group banded together to get the roof on.
“By the end of the week, our team felt like we had gained new friends with these wonderful brothers in Christ,” Jeff said.
Those not on the construction team had an equally important task: prayer drives. The team took to the dusty and bumpy roads of New Mexico to have intentional conversations and show the Navajo community the love of Christ.
“It was not all rainbows and butterflies, but God saw us through each interaction and conversation, and we could see where God has been moving through our communities over the last year,” Deborah said.
God’s work was also visible during VBS, which required a big team effort. This year, there were twice as many children as last year, but our team jumped in wherever they were needed to make it work. Jacquelyn Willis has made the trip to Gallup twice now, and this year, she was the VBS coordinator.
“Each time, I am overwhelmed by the appreciation of the sweet children to see us love on them, and they really need it,” she said.
Through our team’s outpouring of love and sharing of the Gospel, nine children prayed to receive Christ as their Savior, and five of them followed in believer’s baptism the next day. One 6-year-old boy couldn’t contain his excitement after accepting Jesus. He jumped up and down, shouting, “I want to get baptized! I want to get baptized!”
One first-time visitor came to the evening worship service after seeing an announcement on social media. He surrendered his life to Christ that night.
Lost souls were found, and the team served in unity. The Lord worked in every detail and answered every prayer.
“He did it all, and to Him belongs all the glory and praise!” Donnie said.