Feb/March 2024 Loving Native America Newsletter

January 2024 Trip Recap

On 1/23, a team brought a load to Rocky Ridge Boarding School and the Senior Center at the Hard Rock Chapter. One of the Vineyard’s community groups, I-61, hosted a service day a couple days before where a group gathered to put together 60 Bobcat cheer kits filled with snacks and beverages, to be handed out with gas gift cards to families attending the games. We also made use of strong backs to help load up the church van for the trip (that helped to save us a lot of time!). Thanks to our community’s generous donations, we were able to give the Rocky Ridge athletic department 16 gas gift cards (exceeding our goal of 12) to hand out to families. 

Our first stop on the trip was the school, where along with the cheer kits and gift cards, we also dropped off laundry supplies and toiletries for the dorm. Jay, the president of Hard Rock, met us there and showed us around the dorms, where we saw the sleeping quarters. About 5 students shared a large room, with their individual bed/sleeping areas divided by half walls. Jay shared that a need would be items that would make the rooms feel more like home, such as rugs, lamps, and art work (see below for pictures of the dorms). Jay thanked us for the cheer kits and shared that they would be able to use them that day, during the basketball team’s away game. 

Next, we went to the senior center, where we were met by Vernon, the senior center supervisor. There, we dropped off cleaning supplies from Ace, fruit from the food pantry, storage containers, and non-perishable food items. Vernon showed us the newly renovated kitchen, and shared that they would be having a code inspection the next week, and hopefully open the dining room up for eating by the beginning of February. The seniors had been temporarily using the chapter house next door for their meals. 

Before heading back to the valley, we made a stop at Hopi Grounds Coffee, a small stand-alone building we drive past every trip to the Hard Rock Chapter, where we ordered coffee and chatted with Gary, the owner who was also what was seemingly the only employee of the coffee shop. He told us how he opened his coffee shop in 2021 as there were no other coffee shops nearby. We enjoyed his coffee as we made the 286-mile rainy and snowy trek back to Vineyard Gilbert.

Thank You Video From Jay Begay


We plan to do 4 more trips during this calendar year, with the next one scheduled for the beginning of May. For that trip, we would like to focus on getting items for both the dorms and the Senior Center. Below is a list of needed items. Check out our sign up genius to sign up to donate items, and to keep track of still needed items!

Dorm items:
Large reusable tote boxes
Legos (for around ages 11-13)
Board games (for Elementary and Middle School ages)
Shoes racks 
Floor lamps

Senior Center:
Paper products
Canned fruit and vegetables
Cleaning supplies
Dish soap
Plastic utensils 

You can drop off donations in the church lobby during the week or during Sunday morning services, and make monetary donations at: vineyardgilbert.com/nativeamerica. Feel free to use our sign up genius link above to sign up for what you want to donate, and to see items that are still needed.

Media highlights

The Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) is a yearly tournament that involves 144 boys and girls high school teams representing over 150 tribes. This year, Grand Canyon University will be the host of the 20th annual tournament from July 22 to July 27. Athletes flying in from all around the United States, Canada, and as far as New Zealand, will be able to explore Phoenix and participate in other events such as a career fair. Games are opened to the public with the championship games to be televised. To learn more, visit https://nativenewsonline.net/arts-entertainment/native-american-basketball-invitational-to-be-held-at-grand-canyon-university-in-july
Then, on the first day of the week following the Day of Resting, as the sun began to rise, Strong Tears (Mary) of the village of Creator High Lodge (Magdala) and Brooding Tears (Mary) went to see the burial cave.

Suddenly the earth began to shake, and a spirit-messenger from the spirit-world above came down from the sky, walked to the burial cave, rolled the stone away - and sat down on it! He was shining as bright as a flash of lightning, and his regalia was pure white like freshly fallen snow.

The soldiers staggered back, trembling with fear, and fell to the ground like dead men.
“Do not fear!” the spirit-messenger said to the women. “The one you are looking for is not here. Creator Sets Free (Jesus) who was killed on the cross, has come back to life again - just as he said. Look! Here is where they laid him. Now hurry and go tell his followers that he has risen from the dead. Tell them he is going ahead of them to Circle of Nations (Galilee) and they will see him there. Now remember what I have told you!”

Matthew 28:1-7
First Nations Version
For more information on past conversation nights and blog posts, or to make a monetary donation toward our partnerships in the Navajo Nation or the White Mountain Apache Reservation, check out our page: https://vineyardgilbert.com/nativeamerica.