Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Since we will be kicking of the Two Weeks of Sacrifice in Feb. I am doing a lesson in our SS class about the issue of Clean Water so we can get an idea as to why we are doing this. If you like, you can read this entry from our class blog - it's eye-opening to say the least. You are also welcome to join our class this Sunday if you want.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Blood:Water Mission

This short video will explain more about Blood:Water Mission

Sponsor Information

If you would like to sponsor someone who is going on a trip you may make a tax deductible check out to the Winton Road First Church of God.

Please remember to write Pine Ridge Mission on the memo line.

Give the check to Amber so that the team member's account can be credited. If you are mailing a check, email Amber @ for the address.

Your sponsorship helps to pay for:

  • Travel expenses, including truck rental to haul all of the supplies and charity materials we take.
  • Food for the week that we are on the reservation, including providing lunch for the children each day.
  • Vacation Bible School supplies

Requirements For Going On The Trip

  • You must have a strong desire to share the love of Jesus in practical and tangible ways.

  • You must be 13 years of age or older

  • You must be in reasonably good health

  • You must be willing to commit to the process of preparing for the trip by attending 1 - 1 1/2 hour meetings each month.

Friday, January 26, 2007

How Things Are Coming Along

Thought I'd give a brief rundown of how things are coming along ...

January was a busy month. Here's how it went - at least as best as I can remember. My brain gets a bit frazzled and I'm sure I've overlooked something.

*Note* there are some names highlighted in this list - we have a number of people doing a LOT of HARD work on the team's behalf. If you're a team member, be sure to seek these folks out and say THANK YOU! You should have all of their email addresses.

  • January 1st was a day of Pine Ridge work - Brian and I spent at least 5 hours getting team member accounts set up and getting letters out to sponsors (for tax purposes).

  • We had our first team meeting and broke all records for meeting attendance! Only 3 were MIA and all three had good reasons (family emergency and one out of state). THANKS to everyone for being there. Those meeetings are the backbone of the trip!

  • The Pancake Breakfast went well with each person who participated making $38.38 each! Not bad. THANKS to Lisa for her work on that! Everyone give her a big hug when you see her and be sure to tell her you appreciate her working for you.

  • Connie and Dennis have put in hours of time organizing fundraisers such as the Pie Sale, Cell Phone Fundraiser, and the Variety Show at the Pancake Breakfast.

  • The Penny War began! No idea yet as to how that is going. THANKS to Denise for organizing all the counting and rolling ( a nasty job). She has also taken some heat from some folks so please give her a hug and tell her thanks.

  • The hotel was booked.

  • The Ryder truck was reserved.

  • I've talked to the missionaries there and are working out some details that may have been problematic.

  • We are working with some others to see about getting the cost of the trip down.

  • I put together a video to give our newbies an idea of what the reservation looks like. Always nice to know what to expect when you're going to a new place.

  • Some team members are doing their own fundraisers (see posts below and at sidebar) and hopefully are doing well.

  • I've been talking to our guest speaker for the Feb. meeting. He is from Africa and will be sharing about his country.

  • John is busy putting together the menu and food budget for the trip. NOT a small job at all. This would be a good time to be especially nice to John becuase what you eat the week we are there depends on it. ;)

  • Cody has made us a "well" that will be used for the Two Weeks of Sacrifice. I think he still has some more work to do on it but it's pretty much ready to go. This is what we will be collecting the money for wells in Africa for.

  • Tonya is super busy pulling together the Giving Hearts Valentine Dinner fundraiser and is desperately looking for help. This is no small task to pull off in a month's time. Be sure to tell her how much you appreciate her working for you and I bet she could use a hug too becuase I am sure she is stressed.

  • Brian is continuing to work hard on everyone's financial records. Give him a big thank you too. He is volunteering for a job that is a HUGE headache and a real time-consumer.

And that's just January! Remember to PRAY for this trip and all who are involved.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Feb. Dates to Remember

  • Sunday, Feb. 4th @ 4:00 pm in the Omega Room - Team Meeting (guest speaker and work in your teams)

  • Sunday, Feb. 4th - $100.00 payment due

  • Saturday, Feb. 10th @ 7:00 pm - Movie Night at the Buriff's featuring the film Incident at Oglala and/or A Tattoo on My Heart (attendance is optional but if you plan to come RSVP)

  • Saturday, Feb. 17th @ 5:30 (crew show up eariler to set up) - Giving Hearts Valentine Dinner (fundraiser - all who participte will benefit)

  • Sunday, Feb 18th - March 4th - Two Weeks of Sacrifice for Blood Water Mission

Charles's Fundraiser

Charles is offering the following services to earn money for his mission trip
Oil change - $10.00 plus parts and oil
Brake Jobs - $20.00 a wheel, plus parts

Tim's Fundraiser

Tim is offering the following services to earn money for his mission trip
Transerfing your videos to DVD - $17.00 per 2 hours of tape
Restoration of cracked or faded photographs - $35.00 each
Transfer records or cassette to CD - $8.00 with hiss, click and pop removal from records and cassettes - $2.00 extra
Scan and transer photos to CD or DVD - $0.40 per print
Slideshows of your photos that play on your DVD player - ask for price

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cody's Photos For Sale

Contact Cody for more info or to purchase


5x7 print - $15.00

8x10 print - $25.00

framed print - $40.00

A baptism - walking out of darkness into light

The following three are framed vertically as a group

Monday, January 22, 2007

Images of Pine Ridge Reservation

For those who are new to the trip, you may be wondering what Pine Ridge looks like. Well, it is a varied landscape containing rolling hills of grassland, unique rock formations - the badlands and near Rapid City are the black hills. Here is a video that will give you an idea of what to expect. I suggest clicking on the Youtube link on the video and watching it on the full screen.

Friday, January 19, 2007


The Pine Ridge reservation is an area that is rich in history. To learn more about Pine Ridge and it's role in our nation's history, check out these resources that can be ordered online. You can also check your local library.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a great book to read about the history of the Oglala Sioux tribe (as well as other tribes). It has a heart-wrenching account of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee.

Skins is a movie about two brothers on the Pine Ridge reservation. It was filmed at Pine Ridge and many of the Lakota people appear in it. It documents the problems of alcoholism on the rez and the problem that the town of White Clay, Nebraska poses for the reservation. It will also give you a better understanding of what life is like on the rez.

*Note* This film does contain offensive language.

A Tattoo On My Heart is a film about the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.
On February 27, 1973 traditional and AIM leaders chose another location to make a stand–the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Cold, hungry, and armed only with hunting rifles, fake guns, and one AK-47, they held out for 71 days against the US government. Over 500,000 rounds were exchanged between federal officers and Indians during the siege. Two Indians were killed, and several other wounded. Nearly 600 federal criminal charges were filed. A Tattoo on My Heart: The Warriors of Wounded Knee 1973 tells this dramatic and emotional story in the words of t hose men and women who struggled for survival inside the bunkers and ravines at Wounded Knee.
Incident at Oglala In 1975, armed FBI agents illegally entered the Pine Ridge reservation and gunfire erupted - one American Indian and two FBI agents were killed. After the largest manhunt in FBI history, three men were apprehended - only one, Leonard Pletier, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
From the beginning, Peltier's case has been dogged with conttoversy. Many people, including some of America's greatest legal minds, believe Peltier is an innocent man.

Twelve years ago, Robert Redford visited Leonard Peltier in prison. Today after years of struggel with the FBI and the prison system, he and director Michael Apted (Gorillas in teh Mist) are able to present this film.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wait and See

As a little girl I hated it when my parents would say, "wait and see". As an adult, I'm still not fond of the phrase. I suppose waiting just goes against human nature. We all want to know what's going on and what will happen NOW. I know I do. But workcamps/mission trips/whatever you choose to call them, rarely ever work that way. Come to think of it, God seldom works that way. Could there be a connection?

In any case there are a couple of details I've been trying to nail down to no avail.

One is the work projects. I would LOVE to know what kind of work projects we will be doing and what materials we will need to do them. Then maybe we could get the materials donated, or at least we could shop around for the best price. But that is not how it has been in years past and likely not going to be that way this year either. Some of you will remember that last year we were going to paint the parking lot at the American Horse school - I was in contact wtih the school and was assured that they had all the materials we would need to do it. And they did. They had paint and paint brushes and one roller. That is not what we would have preferred to use to paint a parking lot but it was actually a good reminder that it's not about us and our way of doing things. Working with other cultures and with people who live in poverty is often an eye-opening experience for those of us who live in middle-class America.

Much of the work project wait and see comes from the fact that what we do will depend on what other groups before us do, and there is just no way to predict that this far ahead of time. We'll try again a month or so out and see if we can find out what we'll be working on, but for now, it's "wait and see".

Another thing I'm working on is the outdoor concert that we plan for Phayth to do. I prefer to have it somewhere in the village rather than at the church, but the missionary tells me that we will have to wait until a month or so before we come and see what is availble then. The reason being, we can book a place now but if an Indian event comes up, they'll not let us have it. Understandable. So, that too will be a last minute thing that we'll have to wait and see on.

And finally I am working on having a guest speaker talk to our group at Wounded Knee. I thought it would be far better for us to hear about not only the 1890 massacare at Wounded Knee but also the 1970's occupation of Wounded Knee from an American Indian perspective. It matters little to me if the speaker is considered radical or controversial. There is benefit in listening and understanding a point of view of anyone else - even someone who may be a bit more militant than we would approve of. Then again, we may find that there are good reasons for their feelings and beliefs and we may find out that we agree on more than we thought we did. Even with the most radical of people we can listen and learn from. So, I've invited Russell Means to speak to our group. If you've not heard of him, he is a well-known civil rights American Indian activist. He is also an actor who has had parts in movies such as Disney's Pochontus (sp?) and in the movie "Last of the Mohicians". Mr. Means has been very invovled with the American Indian Movement and was a central figure in the 1973 occupation at Wounded Knee. I've been in contact with him and have been asked (you guessed it) to wait and see. He lives on his ranch/Total Immersion school on the reservation and I'm told that if I contact him 2 weeks before we arrive there, he will know his speaking schedule better.

So those are a few things I'm working on. As usual, it's all in God's hands and we'll just wait and see what He has for us this year.

Friday, January 12, 2007

On the Rez: Pranks

Pranks are fun. While our mission is serious, I am a firm believer in having as much fun as possilbe so have at it!

BUT remember that there are some pranks that will not be tolerated and will have consequences. Use these as a guidline for your pranks.

Do NOT harm people.

Do NOT harm property. (you will be held responsible for paying for any damages done)

No fake creepy crawly things. There are some team members who are deathly afraid of snakes/bugs, spiders and they will not find it amusing to find these in their bedding.

On The Rez: Travel Into The Village

There will be several opportunitites each day to go into the village. We do a Kool Aide Run and Pick Up and Drop Off each day. The first day we are there all of the newbies will also have an opportunity to drive into the village to see it.

At no time shoud any team member travel into the village alone. ALWAYS take at least one person with you. Minors must have an adult with them when they go into the village.

Do not walk into the village. Drive the van.

When you are in the village please keep in mind that we are uninvited guests there. Be respectful. If at any time you feel unwelcome by the residentes - leave.

On The Rez: Electronics

You are welcome to bring along your iPods, CD Players, Portable DVD players, etc. You will need them in the vans since there is a LOT of windshield time.

Once we are on the rez, please put them away and do not use them at all. Our primary mission there is to build relationships (with the Lakota people and each other) and you simply cannot do that if you're plugged in.

On The Rez: Meals

What is included in the cost:
All of your meals on the reservation are included in the cost of the trip. There are aproximately 9 meals on the road which you are responsible to pay for.

Meal Times
Be at the dining hall at the time the meal is served. No meals will be served after the scheduled time.

When the children come to lunch, they will be served first. Everyone will need to help serve them and get them settled. Some will need help opening packages or cutting things up. They come first - we eat as we can. You may eat before they arrive if you have time or after they are served.

Special Diets
If you are on a medically restricted diet, please bring your own food for the week. You may eat what we have as well but we cannot accomodate special diet needs. Out of courtesy please talk to the cook about storage of your food.

It is not necessary to bring snacks along for the road. They take up precious space in the vans and are not necessary since we stop for gas and restroom breaks every 2 hours and there is always an opportunity to purchsase snacks.

You may bring snacks in your suitcase for the week we are on the rez but please do not get them out when the children are there unless you've brought enough for all 150 children. Keeping them in sealed plastic bags is a good idea to keep critters out of your sleeping area.

On The Rez: Smoking

Smokers are welcome on our trips.

Please be courtous by NOT smoking in the vans.

Please do not smoke when the children are with us.

Please keep a container for your cigarette butts. Do not throw them on the ground.

Under no circumstances should a smoker share cigarettes with a minor.

On The Rez: Chores

While we are on the rez each person will have a turn at the various chores. Chore assignments will be in the crew booklet you will receive when we leave. Please refer to it each day to see where you are supposed to be. You are responsible to be where you need to be at any given time.

Kitchen Duty
Help prepare, serve and clean up after each meal. Take out trash.

Bathroom Duty
Clean the toliet, sink, shower stalls, and mop the floor. Take out trash.

Van Clean-Up
Sweep out the vans at the end of the day. Throw away trash, clean windshields if necessary.

Make sure all trash is picked up and garbage is taken out each day.

What NOT to Bring

Do NOT bring any of the following:

  • Any t-shirt, bag, or any other item with an "Indian" mascot on it. (example: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Fairfield Indians, etc.) This is NOT accepteable to many American Indians.

  • Fireworks (the climate is often really dry and fires can start easily. We would love to have a campfire each night but it is simply not wise or responsible to do so. Any fireworks will be taken from you.

  • A bad attitude.

Dress Code

To be respectful of the Lakota people, the missionaries, and your team members, please adhere to the following dress code:

  • No short shorts (if you bend over and we can see your butt, don't bring it)
  • No halters, tube tops, spaghetti straps or sports bras without a shirt over them
  • No bare bellies
  • No low cut pants (we don't want to see your undies even if they are really cute)
  • Wear a bra


  • Wear a shirt (we know you're gorgeous)

Shorts and tank tops are fine. It's HOT there so be comfortable but be decent out of respect for others.

Packing List for the Trip

You are allowed to bring ONE suitcase and ONE SMALL carry-on for the van.


  • Bible
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • At least one pair of jeans or long pants
  • A jacket or sweatshirt (it gets cold at night)
  • Soap
  • Deoderant
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Any medication you take
  • Sun block
  • Bug spray
  • Washcloths
  • 2 Bath Towels
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Journal (optional)
  • Camera
  • Cell Phone
  • Money for meals on the road and for spending
  • Something to do in the van (iPods, CD players, DVD players, Books, etc)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Air mattress
  • Pillow
  • 4 rolls of toilet paper (bring this to me by June 1st and I will pack it for you)
  • 2 rolls of paper towel (bring this to me by June 1st and I will pack it for you)
  • A fold-up lawn chair
  • A fan (optional)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

FYI - Some Info About Indians

While I was away for a few days I read the book "On the Rez" by Ian Frazier, a great book about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation that I recommend. His book contains many colorful stories of many different people on the Pine Ridge reservation. Here are some stats that were not really new to me but thought were of interest.

  • 30.9% of Indians have incomes below the national poverty line, more than any other race or ethnic group.

  • 90,000 or more Indians are homeless.

  • 40% of Indian households are overcrowded - compared to about 6% of the population at large.

  • Indians are about twice as likely as non-indians to be murdered.

  • Their death rate from alcoholism is about 4 times the national average.

  • The rate of fetal alcohol syndrome among their children is 33 times higher than that for whites.

  • Indian babies are 3 times as likely as white babies to die of SIDS.

  • One in 5 Indian girls and one is 8 boys attempts suicide by the end of high school.

  • Indians are twice as likely as non-indians to live in a moblie home. The reason for this has partly to do with laws against repossesion of tribal land: banks will loan money on reservations only for property which, in the event of default, can be towed away.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Job Descriptions (in other words - HELP, what do I do???)

Worship Leaders

  • Listen to the Holy Spirit to see what He leads you into.

  • Generally we do 2-3 songs each night (it's after a VERY LONG HARD day) but if God leads you to do something different follow Him.

  • Check with me about any materials you need to bring along and if possible give me the lyrics to the songs you choose so I can put them in our team booklets.

VBS Music, Little Kids, and Middlers

  • Pray

  • Choose someone from your group to be responsible for organizing your plans and for communicating with Amber

  • Work together to plan what you want to do. (Include everyone in your group)

  • Check your plans with Amber before proceeding (to make sure it fits time-wise and money-wise with what other teams are doing)

VBS Crafts
Be avaliable during the "play time" to hand out the craft projects and help the kids with them as needed.

Teen Nights

  • Pray

  • Choose someone from your group to organize your plans and communicate with Amber

  • Work together to plan what you want to do.

  • Check with Amber before proceeding with your plans to see if we have the time and money to do them

  • Some things to keep in mind:
    Teen nights often get cancelled or moved around due to things the Lakota have going on.
    Plan for 3 Teen Nights
    Monday night we go to Wounded Knee
    Tuesday night – Teen Night
    Wed. night – church (can go for ice cream after church)
    Thursday night – Concert in the village with Phayth
    Friday night - Pow Wow!

Tips & Suggestions for Teaching VBS

  • Pray hard =)

  • Remember to keep in mind that the kids may or may not want to go in the group they are supposed to go into - that's OK - just go with the flow

  • Remember that several of the kids will not want to sit still and listen so it is helpful to plan ACTIVE lessons to keep them focused.

  • Plan for around 30 min. but it can be shorter - when you feel you need to release them - do.

  • Don't get bummed out if they don't "get it" or pay attention. The most important thing you can do is show them that you love them.

  • Remember there are many different ways to teach so use whatever is available to teach - even if it's just shooting hoops.


  • LISTEN to them. They have some things to teach us as well.

2007 VBS Teams

VBS Music

VBS Crafts

VBS Little Kids
Jessica Carmado

VBS Middlers
Jessy Barnhill

VBS Teens

Adult Bible Study

Teen Nights
All Omega Youth & Youth Leaders

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Preview of a Game We'll Play

I am always looking for fun, crazy, some would say silly games (remember the toliet seat toss?). Today I was snoozing on the couch and just happened to see the Ellen show and saw this clip. So, this year we'll be playing "The Broom Game".

It's very simple.

You hold a broom. Focus on the top of it. Spin around 20 times. Do 3 Jumping Jacks. Then step over the broom. Sounds easy enough, right? It's not. It IS hilarious though. Just watch.....

Jan. 7th Team Meeting Agenda

The first team meeting is Sunday, Jan. 7th @ 4pm in the Omega Youth Room.

I've decided to post the agenda for our first team meeting. We have a LOT to cover so please be on time and plan to stay for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Some of this was addressed at the Informational Meeting back in October but since most of the team was not at that meeting we will go over it breifly again to make sure everyone is up to date.


  • Opening Prayer

  • Introduce the 2007 Team

  • Cost of Trip (revised)

  • Things NOT Included in the Cost of the Trip

  • Expectations for Team Members

  • Sleeping Arrangements on the Road and on the Rez

  • Special Note to Omega Youth

  • Fundraisers

  • General Plans for the Trip and Team Teaching Assignments (those not in attendance will get stuck with whatever is left)

  • Teen Nights

  • Work Projects

  • Sight-Seeing Options and a Vote (those not in attendance do not get to vote)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Some Stats

I've been working for the past two days on the 2007 trip so I've got Pine Ridge on my mind - a LOT. Thought these stats were interesting....

  • 2007 will be our 4th year going to the rez.

  • In that time we have taken 41 people on these trips.

  • This year is our largest group with 27 team members.

  • Of the 27, only 6 are first timers.

  • Of the remaining 21 team members, 10 have been on at least 3 trips.

I love for new people to go because the more people that have this experience, the better, but it's great that such a large number of team members go back ... and some go back regularly!

The Hotel

I've made the hotel reservations today. Does this look familiar?? We'll be staying at the Hampton Inn in Des Moines again. It is a NICE hotel and they serve breakfast!

More Pics

I uploaded some more of the team pics from previous trips. Check the Flickr link in the sidebar.

The 2007 Team

Who's going this year? It's a HUGE team! Here's the list:

Amber B.
Brian B.
Cody B.
Allison D. (soon to be B)
Tim H.
Debbie H.
Ericka B.
John L.
Matthew L.
Jean H.
Chrissie S.
Cathy J.
Charles J.
James J.
Andreina J.
Bev B.
Jeremy (Phayth)

Omega Youth
Connie W.
Dennis W.
Gary H.
Kristen M.
Logan B.
Jessica C.
Jessica B.
Josh L.
Daniel H.
Bub W.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Some Options For You to Consider

Well the deadline has come and we have a HUGE group this year. So far there are 26 signed up and I'm expecting the 27th person to bring me their paperwork and money tomorrow!

Our first team meeting is this Sunday, Jan. 7th at 4:00 pm.

We have a LOT to cover in that meeting. You will want to be there because we will be assigning teaching teams. And we'll be taking a team vote regarding the sight-seeing day. Here are a few options for the sight-seeing day that we'll be voting on....

We can:

  1. Do the usual tour and try to see Crazy Horse, Rushmore and Custer State Park.

  2. By pass Crazy Horse and spend the day at Custer State park.

If we choose to spend the day at Custer, we can do any of the following:

~ Go on a 2-hour Jeep ride where we will see buffalo and other wildlife up close

($30 per person)

~ Go on a 1-hour horseback trail ride ($26)

~ Just relax and hang out at Lake Sylvan which is one of the most beautiful

places on earth. You can rent a boat there for $5 per person.

The cost of admission to the park(s) are covered in the cost of the trip but extras such as the Jeep ride or horseback riding or boat rental will not be covered.

Be deciding what you would like to do that day!