Sunday Service November 27, 2022
On November 27, 2022, a Sunday service was held at the Grand Canyon National Park in collaboration with Native American tribes. The service was led by Pastor David Gonzalez, who has served in various capacities in Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for over 20 years and has served as a bishop for eight years.
Pastor Gonzalez spoke about the power of nature and how it speaks to us spiritually when we visit places like the Grand Canyon. He said that if you never see a site like this, “you’re missing out on one of these great spiritual opportunities.”
The service was pretty traditional though some modifications were made to celebrate Native American culture, such as playing the drums, singing songs and lighting sage before communion.
As part of the service, members of the Navajo tribe then opened a dialogue with visitors at the park to ask questions and share thoughts about their culture.
The Navajo tribe is the second largest in the United States, with over 300,000 tribal members. The Navajo people are considered one of the most robust cultures of Native Americans. Members of the tribe have served as missionaries for the LDS since 1854 and have predominantly done in Central America. Many current missionaries for the LDS Church are members of this tribe.
Finally, Pastor Gonzalez resumed service by sharing his testimony about Jesus Christ and invited visitors to give their testimonies about Him and share their thoughts about what they had learned through this service.
The service had approximately 20,000 people and was attended by various people such as tourists, tour guides and members.Saint Cloud Tabernacle where this service was held, was originally built in a different location in 1892.
Immediately following the service, visitors sent messages via social media saying they felt spiritually uplifted by the experience and even changed their views on spirituality after visiting the Grand Canyon. David Gonzalez, who has served in various capacities in Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 20 years and served as a bishop for eight years, said he was grateful to be a part of this service. “I can’t say enough about what the Lord has shown me.”
This service was part of their current “Going West” project, a spirit-filled campaign to go across the Western United States, visiting mountains and sacred sites that are significant to Native Americans. The service also served as an opportunity to show support for tribal leaders in the Arizona and Utah conferences during November.
Pastor Gonzalez added, “This whole experience has been excellent. I was grateful to be at this place at this time. There wasn’t one moment when I didn’t feel a strong spirit that Jesus Christ would be with us in our endeavours here in the west.