Smith Lake, New Mexico—U.S. Mission Trips
The Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, encompasses the land, kinship, language, religion, and self-governance right of Navajo people. It extends into Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico and covers vast areas of pristine wilderness, majestic canyons, high mountain meadows, dry deserts, flatlands, and blue skies. Also known as Diné Bikéyah or Navajoland, the nation is larger than 10 of the 50 states and is home to more than a dozen national monuments, tribal parks, and historical sites.
Smith Lake, New Mexico, the site of our southwest rural mission trip, is in McKinley County. It is approximately 45 minutes east by car from Gallup, New Mexico. Gallup is sometimes called the "Indian Capital of the World" for its location in the heart of Native American lands and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, and other tribes.
Many homes in Navajo Nation lack the modern conveniences of electricity, running water, or telephones. There are no urban centers and most roads remain unpaved. The child poverty rate was 39 percent for McKinley County in 2009, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
While the data paints a picture of poverty and desolation, the Navajo people still have their land and most enjoy a rich cultural, spiritual, and quotidian life based on small-scale farming and ranching. These human strengths, traditional ways of life, knowledge and talents testify to the quality of the people and their tenacity for survival.
Cornerstone Ministries, Inc. (CMI), located in Smith Lake, is working with pastors to improve the lives of Native Americans living on the reservation. CMI is unique in that it was formed by a Christian Native American who understands the challenges, the cultural setting. and the needs experienced by those who are living and working in "Four Corners," the area where the borders of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.
CMI has secured a 25-year lease on the Smith Lake School and is developing the Cornerstone Christian Training and Resource Center. This 24,000-square-foot building is no longer used by the school system and can be adapted to help those in need. Renovations of the building will be the focus of the summer mission trips.
To teach the spiritual discipline of servanthood and to apply the principles of Christ-centered community transformation by serving in mission work.
Smith Lake Chapter, Navajo Nation government entity, Cornerstone Ministries and local churches, ministries, community organizations, and families.
Smith Lake, New Mexico in McKinley County.
Youth groups, congregations, and families in partnership with World Vision.