By Lainee Pegelow
Thanks to the generous giving of Zona campers last summer, a team of Arizona Southern Baptists made a special delivery to the Grand Canyon village of Supai late last year.
Each summer, the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention hosts Zona, the state youth camp. During the week, the teenagers and leaders are challenged to give sacrificially toward a missions need identified by the Zona team and AZSBC leadership.
For the summer of 2017, the elementary school in the Supai village at the bottom of the western Grand Canyon was selected to receive the Zona missions offering. During the week of camp, Zona students learned about the school and the Supai students.
Following the night the offering was received, everyone waited in anticipation to hear the total. With great excitement, it was announced from the stage that $10,000 had been given. This was the largest Zona offering to date.
In October 2017, a team of four — David Johnson, AZSBC executive director; Tommy Thomas, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst; Tiffany Ford, longtime Zona staff veteran and member of Happy Valley Baptist Church, Glendale; and Lainee Pegelow of Christian Challenge AZ — traveled to Supai to meet with the school’s principal and school board members and deliver the funds. This trip was also a means to discover how Arizona Southern Baptists could engage this isolated people group with the gospel.
While in the village, the team visited with members of the tribe and saw firsthand the needs.
“During this short trip, God revealed to us both the hopelessness of the community as well as the great hope He could bring them,” Ford said. “Seeing the brokenness and spiritual darkness in the Supai people, our eyes and hearts were opened to their needs.”
As a result of her time in Supai, Ford returned to her church and helped plan a trip for 2018. She and two others plan to helicopter into the Grand Canyon and hand-deliver to the teachers appreciation cards made by church members of all ages. They also plan to play games with the children and engage other members of the community, with the hope of building relationships and sharing the gospel.