Thought for the Week
For two weeks in June I got to spend time with a mission team from Arizona on their visit to Scotland.
Sixteen people from Deserthills Presbyterian, in Phoenix, and five from Leupp Presbyterian, in the Navajo Reservation got to spend time with different churches and organisations in Cambuslang, Kilmarnock and Prestwick.
Deserthills and Leupp are two very different areas and two very different churches. Deserthills is situated in Scottsdale, a substantially affluent area of Phoenix, whereas Leupp is situated in a reservation where traditional Americans, or Indians, live.
Deserthills went to Leupp on a mission a few years ago, with plans to ‘change’ and ‘ help’ the congregation at Leupp by telling them how to do things or building things for them. However, very quickly they realised this wasn’t the best thing to do.
Jim, the pastor at Deserthills, tells a story of the first time he visited Leupp.Knowing the history that white Americans force deported the Navajo from their home, he did not how the first meeting was going to go.
The pastor’s wife welcomed him by teaching a Navajo phrase “Ayóo anííníshní”, which means ‘I love you’. Jim says that was the turning point for him.Deserthills worked out the best thing to do was simply be together, talk together and share together. When the two churches travelled together to Scotland it was clear they enjoyed being together.
That is exactly what happened when the group visited us here.We just got to know each other, and through that we began to love, respect and care.
Isn’t that really how we should be changing or helping each other?
Our friends from Leupp put it brilliantly: “We are brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t matter where we come from or what we’ve done before now.”
Keiran Wardrope Cambuslang Parish Church