For the first time since March, on Aug. 8 La Vida Mission Church welcomed 25 community members to worship together. While New Mexico eased the restrictions on gatherings in June, the Navajo nation remained under a stay-at-home order on weekends to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

When restrictions were eased on Aug. 6, places of worship were allowed to resume Sabbath gatherings. The gatherings, however, had to be drive-in services. La Vida Mission staff immediately began to plan and organize the first-time-since-March event to welcome the community back to the mission. Word of the gathering began to spread around the reservation.

The staff received an early morning text message on Sabbath asking if church was still happening. When an affirmative reply was sent back, a new message was received: “We’re coming. When I told my husband that La Vida Mission is doing a drive-in church service, he jumped up and said, ‘We’re going!’”

As cars arrived for this event, their occupants were greeted by the sight of a flat-bed trailer used as a platform. With a portable sound system installed and a keyboard configured, La Vida Mission Church worshipped God amidst the surrounding nature.

“I feel blessed I can worship with my fellow church members even if it’s just in my vehicle. I’m so happy to be able to sing again and listen to a live sermon,” a community visitor said.

When an offering appeal was made, people left their vehicles one at a time and dropped their offerings in the basket on the flat-bed trailer. During the service, people waved their hands out car windows and honked their horns to show appreciation for once again being together to worship their Creator.

After the worship service, fellowship lunch boxes were given to attendees, allowing them to fellowship together even if they couldn’t sit around the same table. When hearing how the staff talked about the Aug. 8 Sabbath service, you could hear the excitement in their voices about seeing their fellow faith community believers together and worshiping as a family once again.

The La Vida Mission Church plans to hold drive-in services through the month of August.

Dorie Panganiban is outreach director for La Vida Mission.