In 1980, Tom Vail took what would be a life-changing vacation – a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Two years later, he left his corporate job managing the data center for a Fortune 500 Company to become a rafting guide.
For the next 15 years, Tom led trips through the Grand Canyon and taught that natural (evolutionary) processes over millions of years were responsible for forming the exquisite and varied rock layers found in the Grand Canyon.
One day in July 1994, a lady went on a Grand Canyon rafting trip, and Tom was one of her guides. Little did he know that she would be the one doing the guiding.
On that second night of the trip, she started her ministry on his lost soul, planting seeds which would flourish into a “new birth.” After the trip, she sent Tom a Bible that traveled to the Himalayas in Pakistan. It was there, through reading God’s Word, that Tom accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. The following year that lady became Mrs. Paula Vail.
A year later, while living in North Carolina, another seed was planted which germinated into Canyon Ministries, with its first trip through the canyon in 1997. Since that time, Canyon Ministries has had the privilege of sharing the canyon with thousands of people. Tom also wrote two books on the canyon from a Biblical perspective. But time ages the body, so in 2013, Jon Albert was brought on as Canyon Ministries’ Executive Director. Jon and his family (wife Kathleen, and three children Miranda, Monty, and Melody) moved from Minnesota to Parks, AZ to take the helm of the ministry. Jon was the Sr. Pastor of a church in Kimble, MN and operated an outdoor ministry called Glory View.
Under Jon’s direction, while we still provide river trips, the ministry has expanded to include Biblically-based rim tours of the canyon. Tours are operated in a 14-passenger bus and are available six days a week with half and full-day tours as well as sunset tours several times a week.
All this as a result of one woman’s faithfulness in sharing the Gospel with a lost river guide.