I'm sitting here in dried sweat and dust with a red bandanna tied over my greasy hair and feeling about as good as I ever have. It was a good week. I will be posting more specific stories in time, but today I just wanted to post and say thank you to those of you who prayed for us.
Three years ago I jumped in over my head and took a group from our church to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation for a mission trip. Our goal was to build relationships with the Oglala Lakota people and to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ in practical ways. Some questioned whether that could be done in a week's time. Truthfully, I questioned it too, but I felt like it was what God would have us do so we walked blindly into a mission effort there.
We were met with indifference which is not surprising given the history between white people and the American Indians. The second year was harder than the first. That year conflicts within the crew made the trip especially difficult and we were not seeing that we were making a difference with the Lakota people at all. I wondered if it was worth all the time and trouble and serioiusly considered not doing another trip.
But God has a funny way of working. I am always amazed at how He can use things that the world would consider foolish and do something wonderful. This year when we arrived on the rez, we were met with surprising acceptance. The children rememberd us from past years and were genuinely happy to see us. Rather than being seen as just another group coming to give them something to fight their boredome or to convert them to a religion they had no interest in, they saw us as freinds returning to spend time with them. The adults too welcomed us and seemed to understand that we were there because we cared about their children.They flagged us down as we drove through the village and invited us to their Pow Wow. They called to tell us that we could come for Indian Tacos at the senior center. They waved as we passed by and on occasion came out to talk to us. The children gave us all nick names that seemed to corispond with some aspect of our personalities. The cool indifference was gone and in it's place an invitation to be part of their community. Every day there was a sad story and a blessing. It was a good week. I have no doubt that the prayers of our friends and families at home were a huge part of that. Thanks!