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The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

Man on a mission

Teacher prepares for trip to Native American Academy
photo by Morgan Harmon

In Sun Valley, Arizona, there is a small school. From having to live on a 5-acre plot of land to now having 32 buildings across 72 acres of land, the Native American Christian Academy serves to educate and disciple the local Navajo Indian students for Christ.

But the school remains far from perfect.

Math teacher Jack Williams and other volunteers hope to go over to Arizona this fall break to help things move more smoothly

“One of my passions is to serve in a physical way,” Williams said. “I love to help people fix things (and) repair things, especially those who are trying to serve the kingdom as well.”

The Grace Pointe Church of the Nazarene is a church that belongs to a district made up of 71 individual churches.

The district participates in mission trips around the country, and sometimes even around the world, to help people in need with different aspects of life such as education and healthcare.
When the district plans a mission trip, information is given out to the local work-and-witness liaisons at all of the individual churches. Then volunteers gather up and plan accordingly.

“We’ll say ‘Hey, Jack and Holly are planning a trip to Arizona, and they’re interested in anybody that would like to go,” Williams said.

Math teacher Jack Williams works on an electrical box at the Native American Christian Academy last October. He plans to go back this fall break for a mission trip.
photo contributed by Williams.


Although the school serves just 35 students and has a a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, the school remains vastly underserved. With little

to no resources, the volunteers from the Nazarene churches aim to help in any way possible.

Even though Williams became a Christian when he was 10 years old, his faith really expanded during his formative years in high school.

“Lots of summer camps, lots of mentoring from my youth pastor, lots of scripture reading, lots of praying,” Williams said. “I would say that my faith was solidified and really formed during my high school years.”

He’s been going to the Grace Pointe Church of the Nazarene since 2010 after he and his wife realized how much they loved the community and thought they could help serve God through the church. Williams likes to help out with things such as construction or mentoring at the church.

Recently, he has grown a love for helping on mission trips.

Williams and 25 others will go to the school over fall break for the second year in a row. The goal of this year’s mission trip is to aid and educate the Navajo Indian children by helping with repairs and construction, being supportive and mentoring the students.

The hope is that the volunteers will build a fence and repair the decks and entryways. They also want to make the dormitories more handicap accessible.

One of the people who follows Williams on his trips is Pastor Angel Diaz. He also volunteered last year alongside Williams and hopes to do it again over the upcoming two-week break from school.

Ever since Diaz met Williams at church, he has seen Williams become more involved.

“He enjoys helping people, whatever the situation may be,” Diaz said. “That may be locally with whatever needs that they have or going away with a program.”

Back in college, Williams met his wife Holly Williams through the same group of friends. Now, the two spend their time getting closer to each other in church.

Holly and Williams are co-work-and-witness leaders for their district church of the Nazarene and work alongside other Nazarene churches in the area.

“I’ve seen him trust God more in stronger ways,” Holly said, “and it’s helped him lead our family.”

During summer break next year, Williams will lead his first mission trip. The group of volunteers is going to Central America, landing in Panama. The goal of this mission trip is to build a church in the local community. The volunteers will also offer a vacation bible school for the kids and even show a film about Jesus if time permits.

After mission trips are over, volunteers will still stay in contact with the children. According to Diaz, staying in contact with the children and even the adults they meet on mission trips helps make their lives a little better.

And although The Native American Christian Academy is a school that hosts children from first grade to 12th grade, it acts like a college. Students will actively live on campus, eat three meals a day and be supervised by dorm parents and instructors.

“If I could take you all and make you experience school like that for four weeks, I would have everybody do it,” Williams said. “I think you would really appreciate how good you have things.”

After it’s all over, the same process will be repeated. The Nazarene district will choose another place to go to, whether it’s out of state or even out of the country. Wherever the district decides to go in the future, Williams will likely be there.

“They’re just givers, and that’s satisfying,” Diaz said. “That tells you that they’re not just looking out for themselves, but they want others to also have a better life and so forth.”


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About the Contributor
Thang Khai
Thang Khai, Features Reporter
Hello everybody. My name is Thang Khai, and I’m going to be a Feature writer for The Journal this year. I am a sophomore here at SHS, and I’m on the Cross country team and the Track and field team. Most of the time, I hate running. But there are special occasions where it’s decently fun. I like to get involved, so you might see me volunteering at concessions or playing music for the Perry Township Art Show. I’ve played the violin for around four years now, and I believe the best kind of music is classical music. And I think people will hate me for this, but I’m a Boston Celtics fan. I don’t think it’s a big deal, but being in Indiana and telling people that I’m a Celtics fan might not be the best idea. My family is pretty huge. I have five siblings (including myself) and my parents. All of that aside, I’m pretty excited to be in The Journal and I can’t wait to start writing!

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