The Christian Reformed Church has a long history of missions in Rehoboth, New Mexico. Next week, Sea to Sea cyclists will be riding the following route: Phoenix, AZ > Payson, AZ > Heber, AZ > St. Johns, AZ > Zuni, NM > Rehoboth, NM > Shiprock, NM. Having visited Zuni and Rehoboth a few years ago, I wish I was along for the ride! Today I'm sharing an excerpt adapted from the Sea to Sea devotional booklet Reflectors (Day 13), which provides a glimpse into this mission field.
Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world." Growing up in a rural area of the Netherlands means you spend a lot of time on a bicycle. As a young boy I had to ride my bicycle everywhere, even in the dark. Fortunately, our bicycles were equipped with a small generator whose flywheel rolled along the front tire to produce light on the road ahead. Using the generator meant you had to pedal harder.
The Sea to Sea cyclists will ride through communities like Shiprock that have a lot of spiritual darkness. Only about five percent of the population of Shiprock is Christian. Christians in Shiprock must be willing to "pedal harder" to make their light shine on the road ahead. They are scrutinized by many non-believers to see if they really walk in the light (John 8:12) and let their light shine in the darkness. Will they be there to help family members who live in poverty? (40 percent of Shiprock's population lives in poverty.) Are they willing to help someone who got drunk and caused a mess, but is sorry? Will they lend a helping hand to a person stranded in Shiprock at night? There are no motels or other places of refuge except the church.
Is the life of a Navajo Christian easy? No! Is it worth it? Yes! Though there is persecution, when a Christian continues to shine the light so others may see it, sooner or later an opportunity exists to share the faith.
As you are biking many miles, it may be easier to "take the generator off the tine" once in awhile and coast along. Remember that the eyes of many will see you as you ride through their community. When the going gets a bit tough, continue to let your light shine so they "may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Remember: Light up the road that lies ahead.