Twelve volunteers recently took a 16-foot trailer loaded with supplies across the country to make needed repairs and additions to buildings on Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The reservation serves the Arapaho and Shosone Indians.
The volunteers were with Native American Missions, a nonprofit, volunteer missions organization founded by Centertown United Methodist Church. Harold Seals is missions coordinator.
“We have a hard time ministering to Native Americans because they look at what our forefathers did to their forefathers,” said Seals. “Instead, we help them improve their buildings so they can minister to each other.”
First stop for the mission workers was Set Free Ministries, a substance abuse center in Riverton, Wyo. Seals built 12 chests of drawers in his wood shop which were distributed to the men and women at the center.
Second stop was Wind River Church of Nazarene in Arapahoe, Wyo. The volunteers painted the church being used that had been converted from a house.
Third stop was to Big Wind Revival Center in Kinnear, Wyo. The mission volunteers added restrooms to the building and painted the entire exterior. The preacher told volunteers older people would come to church, need to use the restroom, go home to use the restroom, and wouldn’t come back. The tribal committee told the preacher they would put in a septic tank if they could get bathrooms built. The preacher and his wife were very appreciative of their new bathrooms.
Centertown United Methodist Church does not budget any money toward mission work. Fundraisers generate money used for the trips. The church has an annual meal the weekend of July 4, silent auctions and yard sales to raise money for the project.
“One hundred percent of all funds raised go to purchasing materials and supplies for construction projects,” said Seals. “We also provide school supplies as we become aware of the need. Travel and lodging expenses are projected in the planning stage of each trip and the cost is divided equally among all participants.”
Centertown United Methodist preacher Mike Womack said, “Lots of people want to be involved but can’t. We appreciate donations and financial support, but one of the greatest things they can do for us is pray for us.”
Seals added, “We relish your faithful prayer support as we minister to the Native American community.”
For anyone who would like to join a Native American mission trip, there is still time to participate this summer. Volunteers will be leaving Aug. 25 for a mission trip to a Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Arizona. They will return Sept. 2, the Sunday before Labor Day.
Volunteers will be staying at and making repairs to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch. Some follow-up work will also be completed at Hunter's Point Community Church.
Seals said they can take a large group. Volunteers will be staying at a place that can easily house 40 people.
Mission volunteers will be performing stucco repair, as well as installing linoleum, metal roofing, electrical, decks, insulation, paneling and steps.
“Anyone who will present themselves as a Christian and act like a Christian can go with us. Last year’s mission trip had a Methodist preacher, a Baptist preacher and a Presbyterian preacher,” said Seals.
The mission trip will cost approximately $350 per person which will pay for room and board, three meals per day while on the reservation, and a portion of the fuel used. Extra money will be needed to pay for meals while traveling to and from the reservation.
Volunteers making the trip to Wyoming were Julio Alegria, Donnie Caldwell, Anthony Cantrell, Penny Cantrell, Terri Cooke, Gail Flanders, Charles Foust, James Lopez, Phyllis Nash, Harold Seals, Jo Ann Seals and David Stanley.
Information about Native American Missions can be learned at www.nativeamericanmissions.org. For more information on the upcoming trip or to donate money or supplies, please contact Harold Seals at 808-0379 or Mike Womack at 931-265-5878.