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Outreach in the heart of a polygamist community

10/04/16

We were excited to help and serve in a cult community that so desperately needs to know God’s love

Did you know that there is a massive community and entire city of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints living in a polygamist cult on the border of Arizona and Utah?

This is a town that wants to remain hidden from the outside world; a town and culture where women are being abused, young girls are being sexually assaulted, public education is NOT allowed and young men are forcefully driven from their homes (simply because they are young men).

Colorado City was put on the map by a man named Warren Jeffs. A self proclaimed “prophet” that had multiple wives and made headlines in 2006 when he was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list and is currently spending life in prison (plus 20 years) for rape, incest, sexual conduct with minors and arranging and performing illegal marriages with minors.

Although Jeffs sits behind bars, he still controls the town and his legacy and vision lives on in Colorado City (Arizona) and neighboring Hillsdale (Utah). These polygamist towns are frought with many issues and are considered to be highly secretive and volatile communities. Television shows and movies have all taken interest in exposing this unbelievable world. Ever heard of the TV show “Sister Wives”, “Big Love”, “The Lost Boys documentary” or the current A&E show “Escaping Polygamy”? All of these shows are based on the events of the FLDS lifestyle and culture.

Young boys are forced out of their homes so they are not in competition with the much older adult leaders for courting the young girls. These young men are kicked out, ostracized from their families with nowhere to go, no money and no family. Women are slowly trying to escape their abusive husbands and young girls are trying to break free.

Escaping this life is not only frowned upon and dangerous, but these people are looking for any help they can find and grasping at anything that gives them a way out and a future.

We had the opportunity and privilege to help and visit a small christian organization that is making a big impact in this community. Grace Reigns has purchased a large home and made camp in the midst of all of the turmoil in Colorado City. They are helping to house, clothe, feed, encourage, protect, befriend and pray for these deflected, scared and lost people.

We went with our new friends from First Baptist Church of Page, AZ into the throngs of the polygamist town with the “God Squad” (which is said to be like the FLDS mob), where they no doubt tracked our every move.

We were able to feed over 100 people and provided over 65 back to school necessities for the kids and their mothers. These necessities included backpacks, note books, binders, folder, scissors and drawing utensils.

Learning about the organization’s desire to build a sports park for the kids in the community, we also brought soccer balls, volleyballs, four square ball, (with pumps),bubbles, chalk, outdoor bowling and basketball set as well as a nice rubbermaid storage container to keep it all in.

We spent hours playing games with the kids and doing arts and crafts with the moms and kids. We made bracelets, necklaces and keychains while the other half of the outreach crew BBQ’d lunch for everyone. Our cup runneth over watching these families laugh and hearing the squeals of joy from the kids. Some were very friendly and loved to sit and talk while others were more reserved and shy.

The Grace Reigns community center also has a thrift store and food pantry that a group of us helped organize during our time there too.

All in all, it was a blessed day with so many giving hearts. The tides are changing in this town and more and more people are turning away from Warren Jeffs control and the FLDS way of life. In our short day trip, we know we probably didn’t even make a dent here but we do hope that we were able to be a light and a friendly face in the midst of an uncertain time in this community.

We are reminded of a verse out of Matthew chapter 9, that seems to apply perfectly to Colorado City: “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”.

Our little traveling family family has been touched by this town in turmoil and we look forward to doing more. Feel free to contact us for more information and how you can help!

 

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Welcome to Colorado City, AZ- Where visitors are not welcome and residents are down right aggressive towards outsiders

 

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Some of our amazing outreach crew from First Baptist Church of Page

 

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Working hard in the thrift store?

 

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She’s actually not shopping…she’s working, organizing, hanging up and tagging clothes in the Grace Reigns Thrift Store

 

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Grace Reigns Thrift Store works solely through donations to provide clothes and other household necessities to former FLDS residents in the area

 

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Who needs fancy toys? This little guy was having a great time just playing in the mud!

 

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Our “little one” is so good with other littler ones :)

 

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Arts and crafts was a huge success- How can anyone not like beads? Especially when they make cool animal keychains!

 

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So proud of his new keychain, he has to show it off!

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New matching backpacks and school supplies- these guys are stylin’

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Bracelets and beads, oh my!

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Miss Dawn brought out all the fancy beads…have you ever seen so many options?

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The community center and thrift store sit on a beautiful piece of land and within a gorgeous log cabin

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Getting set up with the back to school goodies to give away

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This little sweetie, loved showing me his cool boots!

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These kids are good…. and having a great time too!

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Little one and Miss Dawn helping with the arts and crafts

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A cup full of brightly colored beads is all this precious girl wanted

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In the heart of the FLDS community we brought in 24 volunteers and lots of supplies and goodies for a fantastic day (despite the weather)

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Many thanks to our friends at First Baptist Church of Page for allowing us the opportunity to join you and be blessed by this day!


 

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