On July 27, 2014, fifteen members of Old Goshenhoppen Reformed Church set out on a journey to Broken Arrow Bible Ranch in Vanderwagon, NM. For decades, the ranch has been operating as a camp, focused on Native youth in the surrounding areas and reservations. From mid-June to early August, kids arrive, along with church groups that supplement the permanent staff, ready for a week of fun, fellowship, and faith development. Every day, campers attend chapel and rotate through activities including horseback riding, riflery, archery, floor hockey, human foosball, Frisbee golf, crafts, go karts, and BMX biking. The lodge, A-frame gymnasium, craft/snack shop, and surrounding grounds are hardly ever empty. There are approx. 120 campers per week mostly Indian – Navajo, Hopi, Zunni, etc. – who are exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our members were known as the work team and supported the operations and activities of the camp. Pastor John was the speaker of the week and led worship service twice each day. He connected and inspired the teens attending camp. His sermons touched even the toughest of kids and led to an amazing witness of Christ working in the lives of the youth at the camp as well as in the lives of our mission team. According to Terry Smith, “Pastor John’s sermons based on the theme ‘Every Miracle Begins with a Problem’ helped the teens accept Christ during the week we were at Broken Arrow. It was a great opportunity to serve God by serving others.”
In addition to the regular camp activities, several special events were held throughout the week. Mission Impossible was a scavenger hunt held at night under the beautiful New Mexican sky. Participants searched the camp for tokens while avoiding capture. Several of our mission team members joined the adventure.
Camp fire was a very special time at the end of the week. Campers, staff and the work team gathered around the fire. Individuals were encouraged to share their faith and commit their lives to Christ. The evening was a moving display of God’s presence among us. Team member Laura Miller said, “Seeing how Christ and the word of God was reaching the youth at Broken Arrow and changing their lives, was an amazing privilege to witness. Watching them praise God through song and worship was very moving. God is Alive and transforming lives at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch!”
Although the mission team worked really hard each day, we also had a lot of fun with each other. Prior to arriving at Broken Arrow, the team visited Old Town Albuquerque for an authentic Mexican lunch. We then ventured to Sandia Peak and rode the Tramway which transported us above deep canyons above breathtaking terrain for a distance of 2.7 miles. God blessed us with a rainbow over the beautiful landscape while we were at the top of the mountain.
Each day during camp, the team connected to share their Christ sightings of the day. This was a special time of devotion and witness for our group. Judy Farringer reflected, “It was a life changing experience for me. I didn’t think at 68 years old that I could be part of a mission team. It was a dream come true. I can’t wait for the next mission trip!”
At the end of the trip, our team visited the Gallup Flea Market which sells food, supplies and native American art. The team then ventured out to El Morro National Park. We hiked a 2–mile loop along the Inscription Trail and up to the top of the bluff. We were rewarded with spectacular views of the Zuni Mountains, the volcanic craters of the El Malpais area, and the El Morro valley. We climbed the 250 foot elevation gain and the uneven sandstone surface for a very memorable experience.
Pastor John sums up the trip with, “It was a great privilege to serve alongside our Old Gosh mission team for a week at Broken Arrow Bible Ranch. Each person worked so hard to serve Jesus and those at the camp. Each team member did their part and used their gifts to reach out and make the love of Christ known. I would serve with this team anywhere in the world.”