Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Reminder: Our Goal

Our mission: To build relationships with the Lakota people.

Some people have questioned why our main goal is not to evangelize the Lakota people. Others have questioned why we don't focus more on charity.

Building relationships doesn't seem like a very lofty goal for a "mission trip", and yet I am more and more convinced that building relationships is the most holy goal we can have.

As much as I want to see people come to Christ, and as much as I love doing acts of charity such as giving away backpacks and school supplies, blankets , baby items, and personal care items, I never want these trips to become focused on either of those goals over and above that of building relationships. Building relationships must come first.


Because we can talk about charity and "witnessing" as much as we want and some people will do it for a variety of reasons while others will make excuses to justify why they won't. But if we love people, we will not allow them to be in need. We will do what it takes to take care of them - not because someone told us to, not even because the Bible tells us to, but because we love them. If we love people, we will want them to know Jesus. Love must come first and love becomes more "real" when we know people through relationship building.

Without love (relationship), our witnessing will be shallow and maybe even offensive. Without relationship our giving will be merely another mission project and the people will know it.

When we love, all the other things will come naturally as a result of that love.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but
have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:3

“It’s a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions
project but become genuine friends and family with who we laugh, cry, dream, and
struggle” - Shane Claiborne

Love God. Love People. Nothing Else Matters.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Crazy Stuff

The Backpacks for Pine Ridge project is taking off. There's all kinds of crazy stuff in the works.

Ericka has talked to a teacher's association at Ball State about being involved and they are interested!

The band Rabid Granny linked to us and also gave me a head's up about a Wilderness Jam this fall. Apparently they pick a charity to support each year and they have not picked one yet. Rabid Granny suggested I email them and give them some information about what we're doing - I did. We'll see what happens there.

Mountain Fund is also willing to send us some used backpacks and may even handle the shipping for us!

I also talked to Barry and Shelly out at Pine Ridge today. They are doing well in spite of still broken water pipes. I called to see how much stuff they can handle since Sunday the CEO of Caring Partners will be speaking at our church and I will be meeting with him about getting perhaps a couple of skids of personal care products to take to the Reservation.

John and I will also be meeting with the Matthew 25 Ministries at some point to see what donations they can give us. We're hoping for school supplies, cleaning products, and baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.).

Barry assured me that they can handle all we can bring so now it's a matter of how much we can get and how much we can fit into the truck. Good thing we have a bigger truck this year.

And I am reminded again that it is really all about relationships. 1 Cor. tells us that we can give all we have to the poor but if we don't have love it's not worth much (my paraphrase). That is so true. I am SO excited about all the good we might be able to do there as far as providing some needed items to some of the poorest in America but I'm even more excited about the relationships we are building there. It made my day when Barry told me that about 10 different kids have asked about us specifically. Now that's cool!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News From The Rez: March/April Newsletter

From Barry and Shelly:

We hope that everyone had a blessed Easter and that the promise of spring brings renewal, not only in the earth but also in our lives. There have been so many good things that God has given to all of us and that is no different for Allen, South Dakota.

First and foremost I would like to share with everyone about our first work camp of the year from Tri-S in Indiana. We had the greatest bunch of people here in March, led by Ed Breeden!! There were 10 students, three from Singapore, one from Uzbekistan and six from around the United States, and what a blessing they were. They scraped the entire floor in the fellowship hall so that it could be recovered because it was peeling badly. A raised stage area was also built in the sanctuary for the piano, podium, and also for our kids to perform their plays. We are planning on moving to the main house so they also laid new linoleum tiles in the kitchen and painted the ceiling. many of the supplies for building were supplied by this group. But all was not work -- oh no!

They also got to do some sightseeing around the Black Hills, they saw Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Jewel Cave and some of the Badlands. We spent time with Melda Trejo and some of her family, cutting wood for them, having lunch with them and listening to some very interesting stories. Melda just had a book published, "Lakota Tradition" about her and her husband's life on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Her stories and the time spent with them was very special.

The other things that went on were with the children, and boy did we have children. Ed did the Sunday night service and it was excellent, music was supplied by two of the students that played the guitar and piano. This was the first work camp that Barry and I have hosted by ourselves and we consider most blessed to have known each and every one of these young people. They work hard, play hard and were an absolute delight - God bless you all!!!

We have other good things come our way, this past month too. We received a box of hats from our friends in Ohio - thank you Amber (more than a thanks to Amber - thanks to the generous couple at Winton Rd who purchased the hats) and 500 army blankets from Stanley and Sylvia Hollow Horn from a large shipment they received. God works in all ways for the good, He knows the needs and provides daily for each of us.

Easter was a time of thanksgiving and remembrance here and our children were a part of sharing the good news. There was a group of seven children and two adults, Roberta Yellow Boy and Gerald Plenty Arrows that went to the nursing home in Martin and took small Easter bunny cups and some puzzle books, puzzles and cards to the residents. The people there really enjoy seeing the children and it is so good for the children to share God's Love with them. Some of the ladies of the church made Easter baskets and had an egg hunt for the children, we really have a great congregation and I thank God for all of them.

Praise God for the much needed rain, everyone ,especially the ranchers and farmers are very happy about this. I reflect every spring of the greatness of God when I see the new life and winter and the promise of summer beauty. Gardening is one of my favorite things to do and so I'll have a large garden and share some of the vegetables with the congregation. The kids are all planting two hills of pumpkins this spring so that when fall comes and time for jack-o-lanterns comes they will all have their own, home grown.

We thank each and every one of you for your prayers, your monetary support and for all things sent here to help the people here in Allen. We continue to pray for you also, God be with you as you work for the Lord and His kingdom.

Barry and Shelly

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April Meeting

THANKS to all of you who were at the April team meeting! I really appreciate your committment and willingness to sacrifice your time to make this trip happen! If you weren't at the meeting be sure to ask someone what you missed. We covered some really important topics that were designed to prepare you spiritually, emotionally, and physically for the trip.

One of the new things we did was to do a team building exercise. We placed a sheet on the ground and had all the team members get on the sheet with NO part of their body outside of the sheet. Not to challenging first.

Then we folded the sheet in half and had everyone get on it again ... again, no part of their body was to be off of the sheet.

That was a little harder, but still not too bad.

Then we folded the sheet in half AGAIN and AGAIN had everyone get on the sheet.

We almost did it! Eveyone was needed. Some brought the creativity. Others the brute strength. It was hilarious to watch and very interesting to see how everyone worked together. Here are some pics. Click on them for a larger view.

Opps, not everybody got on the sheet. I think that's John!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rock On

This Saturday, April 14th is the Rock-A-Thon. It's not too late to get sponsors!

Time: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Brunch will be brought over by Lisa at 11:00 AM and John is bringing dinner around 4:00 PM

Bring your books, CD players, iPods, or whatever you need to entertain yourself. Bring your rocker too!

If you have any questions see Tammi.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I've created a new site in hopes of expanding the backpack project. I would love to see us expand this to other villages on the rez. If you have a web site or blog and would be so kind as to put the image link on it to help get the word out, that would be awesome! Just shoot me an email at and I'll send you the html code. It will look like this (Cathy you can click on it to go to the site)


April Meeting

Just a reminder that the April meeting is on Sunday, April 15th @ 4:00 PM in the Omega Room.