After several months of planning for a mission trip to Native American territory in Kayenta, Arizona, a group of missionaries from Tyler’s Pollard United Methodist Church learned the trip wasn’t going to happen.
Housing arrangements had fallen through just weeks before the trip was scheduled to take place.
However, Ben Bagley, associate pastor at the church, was able to find another opportunity for the group at a food bank and kitchen in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Though the trip wasn’t what they’d originally planned - and at least one of the missionaries already volunteers at a local food bank - the group of eight pressed on.
“It was kind of a fluke that we fell into but it turned out to be a wonderful thing …” Bagley said. “Whether it changed and ended up being in a whole different (place), that didn’t matter.”
During the weeklong trip in mid September, the group volunteered at the Flagstaff Family Food Center where they helped prepare food boxes that would be distributed to community members in need.
They also worked in the kitchen, and took on roles washing dishes, busing tables and serving dinner to those who came to the center.
Bagley said the group worked hard, performing tasks such as preparing 60 pounds of steak that would be served for dinner.
“We had a lot of people with calluses between their fingers from knives,” Bagley said. “It was really good to see a lot of people chip in.”
He said it was good to see the missionaries get to interact a little with the people they served. He added that he believes the experience may have helped the missionaries learn more about people who are less fortunate.
“They learned about not judging ... people who are not as well off as we are,” Bagley said.
Gilbert Cook, a Pollard United Methodist Church member and one of the mission trip participants, said he has been on many mission trips and that he was glad to help out by serving food during this one.
“The people were very friendly. They were very thankful,” Cook said. “We really enjoyed being there and doing that for them.”
Bagley said although the group of missionaries was at the center for only a short period, he hopes they made a positive change in the lives of those they served.
“I hope that the people we served were able to get smiling faces along with good food,” Bagley said. “We never know what will happen but God is leading them and God is still there.