For fifteen years, WCPC has been sending a short term mission team to Native American Outreach Ministry, Inc., (NAOMI) in Joseph City, Arizona during the month of June. A non-denominational Christian Ministry, NAOMI ministers to Native American children who have been abused and/or neglected. Under the leadership of Peter Young and Bob Shusta, people who join the NAOMI House team can expect warm weather, challenging work and lots of joy spending time with children. Besides construction and painting tasks, NAOMI team members will help with daily childcare and household chores – including cooking for the team, the children and the staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of the mission?
- Tell me about NAOMI House.
- Why is NAOMI House chosen as the mission destination?
- What are the qualifications to serve and do I have to be skilled in construction?
- What are the weather and environment like at NAOMI House?
- What about the accommodations on this mission trip?
- How much does this trip cost?
- How do I get there?
- What about preparations for the trip?
Q: What is the purpose of the mission?
A: The primary work that the NAOMI team does centers around construction projects or “honey-do” lists of repairs and painting. A large component to the trip is spending time with the children playing games, loving on them, and providing them with a sense of well-being and stability. The team also provides the staff of four to five people with a break by handling some of the daily chores, such as cooking and cleaning.
Q: Tell me about NAOMI House.
A: NAOMI house exists primarily to share the healing love of Jesus Christ with hurting children who desperately need his healing touch. NAOMI was established as a non-profit home for abused and neglected Native American children in 1983 by Linda Thompson on the Navajo Nation Reservation at Dilkon, Arizona. She moved into its present location in January of 1995. NAOMI house is maintained like a home; it not only looks like it, it feels like one too. Creating a sense of family for the children is the main focus. The daily challenge centers around meeting the diverse and complicated needs of abused children, some sexually, and helping them as best as possible to heal and come to terms with their abuse. The newly completed Ministry Center houses a private school designed to meet the unique needs of the children. A forensic interview room provides a non-threatening place where victims can be comfortably and privately interviewed by professionals. The goal is to help end child molestation, one child at a time, by removing wounded children from the vicious cycle that led to their abuse.
Q: Why is NAOMI House chosen as the mission destination?
A: The NAOMI Short Term Mission is geared toward families; children are encouraged to come along, ages 2 to 85! This type of mission trip is a first step for many people. Because NAOMI is located within the USA, no passports are needed. People can either drive or fly there. It’s a relatively inexpensive mission trip for a family – under $1000 for the entire familyincluding transportation and lodging.
Q: What are the qualifications to serve and do I have to be skilled in construction?
A: There are no particular skills required to participate on this trip. While this trip is primarily construction-oriented, team members without construction skills going in usually gain some knowledge and skills by the time they leave. There is always something to do for everyone. Those who are skilled in construction will find plenty to do, but just as important are cooks, cleaners, and people willing to spend joyful time with the children. What is required is a willingness to serve and, of course, an open heart.
Q: What are the weather and environment like at NAOMI House?
A: NAOMI is on the eastern edge of the Pacific Time Zone located at an altitude of about 5000 ft. The site terrain is high desert. The nearby Navajo Indian Reservation is on Mountain Time. Sunrise is at approximately 4:45 a.m. The climate during the day is similar to Walnut Creek, though it is generally warmer at night. Days average between 85-95oF and nights 65-75oF. There is always the possibility of rain in the summer. Team members should expect a moderate to high level of physical activity.
The NAOMI property is bordered on one side by train tracks that are used about 80 times a day, and on the opposite side of the property is Highway 40, which is always busy with cars and trucks. The result is very loud noise at times. Access to both of these areas is fenced off with barbed wire, and no team members are allowed to cross the fences without specific approval from the NAOMI staff – we want to set a good example for the children.
Q: What about the accommodations on this mission trip?
A: Sleeping accommodations for most team members will be in bunkhouses that have – surprise, surprise – bunk beds. There is a separate bunkhouse for men, another for women. There are also a limited number of separate rooms for families. Everyone is guaranteed a mattress! Bathrooms for men and women are located in the Ministry Center. Each has two sinks, one toilet and one shower. There is also another bathroom in the Ministry Center with a toilet and sink.
The food is great. Midge Shusta’s delicious meals are legendary (her cookbook with NAOMI recipes continues to be sold as a ministry fundraiser). Some of the team members will be helping to prepare the food. No one ever goes away hungry. The water is safe to drink but doesn’t taste very good. For that reason filtered water is provided for the entire stay. We eat lunch and dinner with the staff and children. We are on our own for breakfast, but food is provided.
Q: How much does this trip cost?
A: It costs $250 for a family to go, plus $15 for each t-shirt. A single person can expect to pay $125 plus the t-shirt. This doesn’t include the cost of transportation to NAOMI House or meals along the way, or any other expenditures from the local store in Joseph City.
Q: How do I get there?
A: There are two options: drive or fly. Driving is what most families decide to do. It ends up being a 13-hour trip; most people break this up into a 2 day trip with a possible stop along the way at the Grand Canyon. People who fly, go into either Phoenix or Albuquerque, and then rent a car. This normally takes around 9 hours from the time that you leave your home to when you arrive at NAOMI. It’s much less expensive driving than flying.
Q: What about preparations for the trip?
A: All team members participate in a series of training meetings before we leave. This includes an orientation for new members. The first meeting is held sometime in March. That’s also the time when we discuss basic fundraising for the trip as well as plans for the April Chili Cook-off, the major fundraiser. By May 1, each team member needs to provide a personal check to WCPC for $125, or $250 per family. This money is used for the purchase of food for the team and the NAOMI staff and children while we are at NAOMI; some of the money goes to buy building supplies. However, no one is ever turned away because they can’t come up with the funding.