On Thursday, July 10, we went on a field trip. It is funny how many parallels there are between missions and grade school. 🙂 This was very special time though. John was taking us into the mountains to view Navajo petroglyphs created between the 16th and 18th centuries. It was fascinating to see this ancient cultures history carved in stone.

Some of the stories they told were pretty detailed, as John explained them. The image to the left tells of a time of plenty, followed by a time of scarcity. People arrived on horses, wielding weapons, and forced the people to travel. The travel was long and difficult, spanning at least five days or more. It was surreal listening to John interpret some of the symbols and bring to life the story they contained. Another story told of 5 people who tried to cross the great river, the Rio Grand, and none of them survived. Another told of a group of people, 7 women and 7 men, in which one of the women was lost after moving from one place to another. Not all of the petroglyphs in the valley are understood, and it is assumed there are many more than are yet to be found.

This day was very special for me. The fact that we were even on this land was unique, because Non-Native American peoples are not welcome where we were without invitation. It was a highly unique moment of touching, breathing in, and experiencing this native culture I’ve known so little about.

One heartbreaking thing to find here was the all the desecration of the petroglyphs. Since the last time John had been back, he said there were many more new carvings in the rock. People are actually drawing over these records for fun, trying to duplicate the images, and just ruining them! I am astounded by the careless and callous nature of people. It is acts like this that make me weep for us as an entire human race, and remind me of how self centered we are as a whole. How astonishing and sickening is it that the most enlightened, self-conscious, “blessed” creatures on this earth have lived thousands of years with each other, and we still haven’t learned to care for each other? ;( This world needs more beacons of light, to show how to respect one another.

As much as the early part of the day touched me, it ended all the more beautiful. Upon returning to the school from our hike, we made a last minute decision to worship outside on top of the nearby mesa. One of our group had been here many times, and knew you could drive up to the top. We gathered all our things quickly, hit the vehicles and set out, because the sun was setting quickly. Although that was the scariest drive I’ve ever made (up the side of a mountain with 3-4 feet between your tires and the side of a clif) it was worth it. We read a scripture passage that read Jesus went up the mountain and prayed. From up on the mesa, it was apparent why Jesus would chose such a place.

The beauty from up there was beyond words.

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