Mickey Diaz, ALA 2014, traveled on mission trip to South Africa during the summer of 2017.
He writes, "Prior to my two and a half week mission trip in South Africa, I had never traveled outside of Arizona or California, nor had I ever flown before. I was never fond of traveling, and in fact, I vowed years before to never fly. Therefore, when I felt God call me to serve our brothers and sisters in South Africa, I struggled with fear and doubt. This was a monumental step of faith that I could not accomplish on my own. Fortunately, God instilled courage and boldness in me that allowed me to follow His call.
I flew 44 hours by plane, drove 35 hours by car, and ventured over 10,000 miles away from home. I flew from Phoenix to London, London to Johannesburg, and then drove four hours north to the mission house in Mafikeng where I lived during my stay. We worked in a rural and impoverished village called Mareetsane which is a one-hour commute from Mafikeng. In Mareetsane, there are no toilets inside homes, nor is there running water or cars. Their only form of transportation is what they call a "transport," a donkey-led wagon. There is a small medical clinic in Mareetsane. I was shocked when I discovered the clinic does not have running water or electricity.
During the first half of the day of the first week, my team and I led a Food and Agriculture Course where we taught a group of adult villagers the concept of vertical farming, and made several projects they took home to grow on their own. I really bonded with some of the adults, and they became like family.
During my first week in the second half of the day, we taught a Vacation Bible School with the theme "I Am Special" to a group of village children. I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with my students, and teaching them about the extraordinary love God has for each and every one of them. One day as I played outside with the village children, a fourteen year-old boy whom I had not met walked up beside me, grabbed my hand, and held it for the rest of the day. It was then when I realized how desperate these children are for love and affection, as well as the struggle they face from a lack of dignity and self-worth. HIV and AIDS is a devastating issue in South Africa. In fact, many of the children I met suffer from AIDS which is indicated by jaundiced eyes. Unfortunately, these children do not have much longer than a couple more years to live.
During the second week of my trip, we focused on agriculture. I helped build eight new garden beds, and planted vegetables that will feed hungry families for years to come.
My experience was exciting, exhausting, and challenging, and I am grateful for every minute of it. I am humbled by this experience, and I will always cherish the memories I made with my new friends in South Africa. I am also thankful for the support I received from my ALA family whom I love. Most importantly, I am in awe of our amazing God who is to be given all the glory and all the honor forever."
God's blessings to Elisa Bodjanac, ALA 2012, and Kevin Huynh, ALA 2012, who were married on July 22, 2017 at Paradise Valley Lutheran Church. During high school, Kevin was baptized at Crosswalk and later confirmed at Resurrection Lutheran. They now live in Prescott, AZ.
ALA 2015, will be joining the ASU track program in spring 2018, competing in the 400m hurdles. He recently finished 11th at the NJCAA (junior college) Division 1 nationals. This is a great accomplishment and shows what dedication and hard work can do.
Martin Luther College (MLC) senior student-athlete Emily Neeb, ALA 2013, was named finalist for the 2016-17 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award. Read more.
Photo credit: MLC athletic page
The Gala was a mini all-school reunion for a group of 30 ALA alumni, from classes in the 80s, 90s, and even recent grads. Lots of laughter was overheard at the tables filled with distinguished alumni and even a few of ALA's past teachers!
CLASS OF '85 REUNION
The ALA class of 1985 and surrounding classes had a great reunion during the weekend of March 3, 2017 at the Suns game! View photos
Gail K. Pechuli, ALA 1991, shares her thoughts on the importance of San Carlos Apache College, scheduled to open in August 2017.
“I believe that the San Carlos Apache People are at a turning point. It’s time to curve the tides to our advantage. This is our beacon of hope, through the continued work of the Board of Regents, the establishment of a tribal college on Apacheland is within our grasp—San Carlos Apache College opening August 2017.” —Gail K. Pechuli
Credit: San Carlos Apache College Facebook page