We are all recovering from the trip to Pine Ridge Reservation. It was a fantastic trip! I think we're all a bit sore and miss the Rez a bit. Coming home is always good, but it is a bitter-sweet experience because we have left part of our heart on the Reservation. The crew will be sharing some of their experiences in the evening service this Sunday but here are a few of my personal highlights.
- Precious singing a cute little song while riding on Fred's shoulders.
- Hammer trying to stuff a baby frog into my mouth while riding piggyback.
- Having to send the kids home early broke my heart. It was tough to do but needed doing.
- Hearing Ericka tell about Roman who asked her to pray with him - she has a story about that which you really should hear.
- Being charged by a pit bull who was thankfully on a chain while waiting to talk to one of the kid's parents.
- Delivering backpacks to 2 other villages with Mark and Kristen. We had a blast and took a wrong turn on purpose to see some more of the Rez. I have found a new use for a straw bale but learned that its not a good idea to pee outside on a windy day.
- Having the kids ask about backpacks all week and then seeing them get them on Friday. Friday evening several of the kids came back to the church to hang out and every one of them had their backpack with them.
- Watching our first-timers jump in with both feet and fall in love with the kids. I think Teresa had the most fun and I'm sure Mark cried the most. Who knew Jeff was so devious and FUNNY. We will all remember "Flake", Darlene's stupid dog, and Whitlock just blew us all away with his culinary skills. What other mission trip can you go on and eat pizza and homemade brownies?? I do "owe" him for that last prank though ....
- Leaving the Rez. It was harder this year than normal. Bree held on tight and sobbed for the longest time. I wasn't sure I could tear away and leave her there, but there was not much choice. Driving out of the Rez Mark and I had an argument about who would be driving. I had claimed the right to drive because I knew I would be crying and would need the distraction of driving to force me to stop. Mark also needed the distraction. We argued. I said I was driving. He said he was driving. I said, "I'm the leader". He replied, "I'm bigger". In the end, I drove. Driving out of the Reservation along the Allen road everyone in the van was completely quite. All were crying. The only sound was the sound of sniffles. Then Mark put on the song Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin and Don't Stop Dancing by Creed. We drove along in worshipful silence listening to the music, being grateful to God for our time there and letting the tears fall freely. It was maybe the most memorable time for me personally.
- I must thank my crew. They were better than I could have hoped for. In past years I have felt like the most hated person on earth because I've had to be the bad guy. This year was completely different. I never had to be the bad guy because the crew was just pretty much perfect. I felt very much wanted and liked - not that that is important because it isn't and I would (and have) done this when I felt very unliked, but it makes it so much more enjoyable for me to be among friends. The pic below is just for them .... they'll be happy now. :)
Below is the "Unofficial Sideshow" for this year's trip. It is not the one that will be shown on Sunday. This one is just for me and anyone else who "gets it".
It was a really bad hair day.