I've been asked a few times, "Why do you go to Pine Ridge?", or "Why did you start this mission when we are already supporting mission work in the Philippines and doing trips to Haiti every year?'
Those questions are ringing in my mind as I write this because we are once again getting ready to kick of Two Weeks of Sacrifice for Blood:Water Mission as a way of helping to build wells and provide clean, safe water to those in Africa. Yeah, I know - yet another "mission" project.
I can already imagine the unasked questions ..... "why do another mission project? Don't we do enough already?" Or I can imagine the unspoken complaints, "You nickle and dime us to death already ... give us a break ... now is not the time to start a new mission project".
This will be an attempt to answer those questions, if for no one else, for myself because I too struggle with these very questions and complaints.
I suppose the short version of why I started the trips to Pine Ridge was simply because God has a heart for the poor and Pine Ridge is one of the poorest places in America. Second only to the topic of salvation, God seems to have more to say in scripture about caring for the poor than any other topic. And I suppose if we're going to be followers of Christ, it would probably be a good idea to follow His heart.
We do that in our church by supporting a mission in the Philippines and by taking mission teams to Haiti each year. We have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, built churches, and sponsored children. I've been to Romania and Haiti myself and highly recommend that people go and see for themselves. It will change you.
And that is really why we started taking trips to Pine Ridge. I firmly believe that mission trips change the people who go on them. It breaks your heart. It makes it a little bit harder to be self-absorbed. It makes the world a smaller place because you realize that other people from other cultures worship the same God we do - that we are all truly brothers and sisters. And you build relationships. Relationships that can change lives.
But there seemed to be a problem. It seemed to be that only a handfull of people went on these mission trips because they were (1) too long - not everyone can get off work for 2 weeks at a time, and (2) too physically demanding - both trips overseas were very difficult trips and many people simply cannot handle it.
There seemed to be a number of people who really wanted to go but simply couldn't and most likely never would be able to.
Going to an Indian Reservation in the U.S. provided another alternative. People could go there and have a mission experience with the assurance that medical care was reasonable close (or maybe not), the trips were shorter, and the cost was less. In a nutshell it made hand's-on missions more accessable to more people.
And the more people who experience a mission trip, the better it is for our church. People are changed and so the church is changed. Mission trips challenge you to grow. Your faith is strengthened as you see God provide every single need in often dramatic ways. And it breaks your heart becuase you find yourself falling in love with people. And once you fall in love, you can't think of youself as much because love compels you to act on behalf of the other. And isn't that what it's all about?
- My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.