History of the Pinon VBS
Albert Ranger, after being saved as an adult, saw the need for his neighborhood and town to hear the message of Christ. Prior to his salvation, Albert was an alcoholic. He recognized how God changed his life and wanted to share with his family and friends. He and his wife Barbara have 12 children, many grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Thus, the “Rangers”. He started a yearly VBS/camp meeting at his home near Pinon AZ in the 1990’s. Prior to his death he requested that his family carry on the annual event. In 2000, three years after his death, his family requested Native American Youth Ministries, a local mission group, to partner with them in providing this outreach to the Pinon area.
In 2000, nine youth and three adults went to Pinon and held VBS meetings, with an average of about 35 children attending. By 2004, our team had increased to over 25 and there was over 90 attending the five day event. Evening camp meeting services were also provided, with a Navajo speaker. In 2007, our team had increased to over 30 and we expanded to the Forest Lake area, about 35 miles north of Pinon. That first year there were about 15 children attending at Forest Lake. The Forest Lake site doesn’t have running water, which increases the amount of supplies required.
In 2008, Forest Lake had grown slightly to about 25 attending, and the local Navajo people expressed interest in being more involved. In 2009 another area, Smoke Signal, expressed interest in our partnering with them to provide VBS for their area. Smoke Signal is about 35 miles southeast of Pinon. The local church members help with the classes and crafts. Now we are doing three VBS’s all functioning at the same time! There are approximately 50 people committed to be on the team at this time.
Plans: The team all camp together (all 50!), there is one bathroom-shower unit that has 3 showers and usually at least 2 functioning toilets. We plan evening services as well as the morning VBS. The VBS is for all ages, baby to adult.
Teaching: Each year the team writes the curriculum, which includes a lap book, crafts, worship songs and recreation activities that correlate with the theme. The lessons are taught using dramas, which is very appropriate, as the Navajo are a storytelling culture. The team members learn to share their faith and the importance of prayer.
Spiritual Warfare: The area around Pinion has active strongholds for satanic activity. The church there has struggled for many years. Many medicine men live in the area. Our team MUST be” prayed up” and active in their personal devotionals. The team is also required to have 12 prayer partners that agree to pray for them prior to and during the week.