ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY (WDBJ7) Just outside Lexington, the group East 4 West loaded up for their annual mission trip out west to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, where they will bring essentials to the families there. It’s a regular Christmas journey for the Clements family, who founded East 4 West, and now rally a score of volunteers from a dozen churches.
At Lexington Baptist, they had a room full of presents, full of presents. From floor to ceiling.
And you might be surprised by what rates as a present. Each of the wrapped packages contains things like a scarf and gloves, personal grooming items, even toothbrushes. And of course a treat.
“Toys for the kids," explains Virginia Clements, a founder of East 4 West. "Obviously we have toys and coloring books. But also even for the teenagers, we have a manicure kit, a football.”
Because where they’re going, there’s poverty that you might be surprised is in the US.
“I’ll never forget this little boy," says Azariah Clements. "He opened up his gift, and he got a comb – I mean, he had other stuff – but he pulled out his comb and his toothbrush, and to see his face light up, like that was the most spectacular thing, to get a comb and a toothbrush.”
“The average family, their annual income is about $5,000," says
Virginia, Azariah's Mom. "So we’re dealing with people who don’t really have anything, who are hungry.”
“Just about everyone you meet on the reservation, you know, they’re living on a meal to meal basis,” says Azariah.
East 4 West’s mission to the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, bringing a little Christmas joy, a little Gospel, and a lot of essentials to families that just can’t afford them, is something special to them too.
“That’s one thing that will just keep us going back," Virginia says. "Because they are just so delighted with whatever they get in that gift.”