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Erwin Presbyterian members, youth travel to New Mexico for mission trip

A trip to New Mexico allowed members of Erwin Presbyterian Church to experience a different way of life.
Arriving by air and land, the church took part in a mission trip in Mescalero to assist with different activities at Apache Indian Reservations.
“We flew into El Paso and arrived in Mescalero on June 28,” said Sarah Shults, who was involved with the trip. “We also had other members from the church drive down with the supplies … cots to sleep in, ladders and power tools to help with the trip.”
Erwin Presbyterian joined 175 individuals from other states to form 28 work crews that aided in different projects across the reservations. Shults also said members stayed in a school throughout the trip. Different wildlife welcomed the participants, including horses, coyotes and roadrunners.
Activities varied during each day in New Mexico. Mission team member Clay Hepburn helped spearhead an effort to build a handicapped ramp at one facility, but a complication with electricity made the use of power tools out of the question, Shults said. Members with Hepburn’s team did things the “old-fashioned way” using their hands and different tools to finish the project.
“Building things is a skill I lack” Shults joked. “The students with me painted the outside of a small building and it was a real enjoyable time.”
The Apache also showed their appreciation during the trip. Along with being treated to different snack items, the Apache also performed the “Dance of the Gods” ritual that honored young girls coming of age.
“It was very interesting seeing the different traditions,” Shults said.
New Mexico is 70,000 feet above sea level in elevation, Shults added. Mission trip members had the opportunity to take in the view from 11,000 feet with some students getting up as early at 5:30 a.m. to take in the landscape.