Hope is a very precious thing. With it, all things are possible. Without hope, darkness is given freedom to steal, kill, and destroy. The amazing thing about hope is that even a small amount can have a huge impact. Like a small candle on a dark night, one person’s hope can spread and provide light to all those around them.

The power of hope is on full display in Whiteriver, AZ.

Located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Whiteriver is home to about 4,000 Apache Indians. Statistics coming from Indian reservations across the nation are appalling, and Fort Apache is no exception. Roughly 50% of Whiteriver residents live below the poverty line. Drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and suicide rates are critically high. Whiteriver is a grim snapshot of life on the Fort Apache Reservation.

In the midst of this poverty and hardship is the Hope Center and Veldon Clendon. The first thing you will notice about Veldon is his laugh. Veldon’s laugh is all encompassing. It is impossible to meet Veldon and remain unchanged by the overflowing joy he exudes. Veldon is an Apache Indian who is fighting for his people. He runs the Hope Center along with his wife Deborah. The Hope Center is a spiritual center for many in the Whiteriver community. Through outreach initiatives such as clothing distribution and counseling services, the Hope Center invests in the lives of Whiteriver’s poorest residents.

Veldon’s hope for his people burns with an intensity that cannot be stopped. Change is painfully slow. Where many would have given up and moved on, Veldon continues to carry the torch of hope through the streets of Whiteriver. Through an Adopt-A-Block program Veldon is making gradual progress. His consistency creates avenues to share the love of Jesus to more and more families.

Mission Discovery proudly partners with Veldon and the Hope Center. Mission trips to Whiteriver allow youth and adults to participate in the Adopt-A-Block program through construction projects, park renovation, and yard work. Our short-term mission teams interact with the community through vacation bible school.

Veldon’s story proves that hope is a powerful gift that God gives to His people. Will you join us on a mission trip to Arizona?