Thursday, May 31, 2007

Backpacks For Pine Ridge News

I spent the whole day yesterday on Pine Ridge "stuff". And I have some good news to report....

I "happened" across a web site called ONE Spirit which is a organization that seeks to help the Lakota people preserve their traditional culture while providing some practical assistance. I read about John DuBray's efforts with the Buffalo Children's Society in Allen. Some of you may know who John DuBray is. We've met him and in fact, he was at church last year in Allen. I emailed the director to see if they would link to the Backpacks For Pine Ridge site, and then spoke with her on the phone. By next week there should be a link to us up on their site. We will also be keeping our eyes open for any art supplies, computeres, printers, etc. that John DuBray will need for the Buffalo Children program. There is a link to them on the Backpacks For Pine Ridge page.

I also spoke to Tim H. last night and he told me that he and Debbie are going to Conerstone this year and have some connections there and will try to see if they can put a table up with information about the Backpacks For Pine Ridge project. Cool!

Meanwhile I've been adding as many "friends" to the Backpacks For Pine Ridge MySpace as I can. If you have a MySpace and would add us as a friend, we would really appreciate it. It will help to get the word out - especially if you add us to your "top friends'.

John L. and I talked yesterday as well. We are currently working on figuring out how we can purchase 7-8 pallets of product from Matthew 25 Ministries to take to the reservation. We will be having a silent auction SOON. We are thinking of also putting some of the items on Ebay. Stay tuned for more info. about how this will work. So far we have some really cool items which include:

  • Diamond Tickets to a Red's Game (a $300 per seat value which includes all the food you can eat there)
  • A baseball glove autographed by 4 professional players
  • A ticket for a ride-a-long in a NASCAR at the KY Speedway
  • A collector's edition NASCAR book

Other items are being considered as well.

And GREAT news - Fred H. is going with us this year!!! Fred is one of the most humble men I know and he's great with kids, a hard worker, and the youth all love him! This is a "God thing" (see post below)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Love It, I Love It, I Love It ...

I do love it when I see God at work in big and small ways. Here is where I see His footprints in a few things going on with the trip ...

Team Members
It was disappointing when Gary had to drop out of the team because I just know he would LOVE it out there, and we could use his services as a driver and somebody to work. *He sings fairly well too ;) Connie and I began thinking of someone who could take his place and came up with a few names, one of whom had said they wanted to go. Turns out, that person couldn't go either. Sunday night I approached Connie with the name of a man who has been on my mind. He hadn't said he wanted to go but I know his heart is with us and it just seemed like maybe we should ask him. Apparently Connie was thinking the same thing because when I approached her, she said she had just asked him to go and that he was 99% sure he would be going! I went to talk to him about it and he related how it had blown him away when Connie asked him because just last week he had been thinking about how much he wanted to go and had thought of asking me to keep him in mind just in case there was an opening. I don't know but this sounds like a God thing to me.

I was also a bit disappointed when our friend from Africa who attend our church (I am not going to attempt to spell his name correctly) wasn't able to come and share with our group about Africa. He's a busy guy but I would encourage you to talk to him at church sometime - you'll like him. Then by chance Cody mentioned to me that Allison babysits for a lady from Liberia who had to flee with her two children when the rebels came to her village. She has an amazing story and she will be sharing it with us in the June meeting. Be sure to come and hear her - even if you're not on the Pine Ridge team, it will be a blessing to meet her and hear her story.

For the past month or so I've been thinking off and on, mostly off, about what to do with the kids during VBS regarding the Blood:Water Mission thing. I knew I wanted to take a few moments each day to talk a bit about Africa and the needs there and I knew we were going to take up an offering but I hadn't gotten it sorted out in my mind yet how exactly that would take place.

Then, last week I got an email from Blood:Water Mission telling me about some new VBS materials called "Droplets". I went to the web site and checked it out. I LOVE it! It is really just perfect for what we need. It shouldn't take more than 10 min. each day and there is a theme for each day ending with an offering on the last day. I was especially pleased when I looked at the first lesson called "We Are All The Same". It talks about the differences in skin color, culture, etc. between people but how we are "all the same". I am going to change it a bit to fit even better with Lakota culture and talk about how "we are all related". Mitakuye Oyasin, or "we are all related" is a huge part of Lakota belief.

I am back from shopping for Pine Ridge stuff. I set out to find VBS materials for the BWM thing. Basically, I needed to make a tree. I originally was going to follow the recommendations of the BWM VBS materials - BUT - it was a little difficult to find a piece of cardboard that was big enough to make a stand-up tree out of (I had an interesting conversation with a salesman at H.H. Gregg about this).

SO, I decided to get a presentation board and just draw a tree. The materials also suggeted that green construction paper be used to cut out shapes of leaves for the tree. The idea is to get the kids to think of ways that we are all the same (related) and write those down on the leaves and put on the tree. While I was out looking for green paper I happened across green, leaf-shaped sticky notes! PERFECT! I even found red and green apple-shaped sticky notes! TOO PERFECT! (the lesson also uses different colors of apples) And they were cheap!

Then I got the idea to put pictures of us, the Lakota kids, and some African kids all around the tree. This will show that we've been to the rez before and some of the kids will see their pictures up on the board and I imagine they will get a kick out of that. Thanks to Scott over at On A Mercy Ship, I have some GREAT pics of African kids around a well! He's a photojounralist who is in Africa building wells and he gave me permission to use his pics.

I couldn't have planned it this well.

Cool. Very cool.

* For those who may not know, Gary was the front man in a very popular local rock band and has an amazing voice. He plays a pretty mean harmonica too.

June Meeting & Payment

I am excited about our June meeting because we have a guest who will be sharing her story with us. Be sure NOT to miss this one! After she shares with us we have a lot of work to do. Because of that, we are moving the meeting time up a half an hour. Be in the Omega room at 4:00 PM on Sunday, June 3rd.

The last payment is also due June 3rd so if you're not already paid up please make every effort to get your payment in on time this month.

And those of you who have not brought me your toliet paper and paper towels - this is the last call. If I don't have them by this Sunday you will have to pack them in your one suitcase.

We leave in 2 months!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What Do I Know??

I know that 26 of us are going to Pine Ridge Reservation on July 27 - August 1st to play with some kids and maybe, hopefully, show them the love of Jesus by how we interact with them and each other. That's really about all I know for sure and even that may change. Don't ya love it? :)

What I don't know is .... what else is happening. And I DO love that. Gosh, if all went as planned it would be boring. Where would the fun be in that. I happen to prefer the unknown and the holy chaos - as long as it is holy chaos and not chaos brought about by irresponsibility. I believe this is of the holy nature.

Lots of cool stuff on the table. Here's what's happening at the moment. Remember, it can and probably will change.

John and I went to Matthew 25 Ministries on Monday to see if they would be able to help us out with some products to take to the church in Allen so they will have things to give to the people there who need them. Things like baby items, electric heaters, cleaning supplies, personal care items, etc.

They do have them and can probably let us have them - for $170.00 per pallet.

Problem - do we have the $ for that.

Probably. I budgeted for food not planning on a donation of food from a local company who has always given a donation before - just in case they couldn't this year. Last week, we found out that they would give the donation of food again so we should have enough $ for the pallets. BUT, a lot can change between now and July 27, so I'm not going to go spend that money until I am sure we really do have the donation. I have no reason to believe we wont have it, but ya just never know. I trust the company but I also know things happen that no one can foresee that may change things. Remember 9/11 and a little storm called Katrina? There's just a lot of things we (or they) have no control over.

Next, if we can get them, how do we get them there?

John asked the board if they would help us with renting a second Ryder truck. They agreed to, but this money would come out of the mission's budget that would otherwise be sent to the church in Allen. I am not willing to take money out of the mission budget because for all I know, they may need that money for something else more than they need "stuff".

SO, rumor has it, that there is a businessman in the church who is willing to loan us one of his business trucks to take. And it has a hitch on it so we could pull a trailer behind us if we need to. John knows someone who happens to have a trailer they may loan to us for that 10 days. He's working on that as I type.

He is also working on some fundraising ideas to help pay for as many pallets as we can get. It's a cool fundraiser that involves autographed sports memorabilia and diamond seats to Reds games. He's also working on this as I type. If it comes together this could be BIG.

SO, we may be taking FIVE vehicles with us this year - 3 vans, a 24 foot Ryder truck and another truck with a trailer behind it to the reservation this year! Or, we may not.

I'm really OK either way. Remember, this isn't about charity. Don't get me wrong, I love the charity idea - taking "stuff" that is needed to one of the poorest places in America is what I love, but there is something I love even more than that. I love the relationships we build out there and I really think that is our main mission there - to just "be" and enjoy the people. And if we can take them some of the things they need - cool.

On a sadder note, Gary H. is not going to be going with us this year. We will miss you Gary.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Toliet Paper & Paper Towel

Just a reminder to the team:

Each team member must bring 4 rolls of Toilet Paper and 2 rolls of Paper Towel on the trip.

I will be happy to pack those for you but you have to get them to me before June 3rd. I will not accept them after that date because my life gets too crazy with trip prep after that. (See the post below)

After June 3rd, if you've not brought your TP and paper towel to me to pack, they will have to fit into your ONE suitcase since extra space on the truck is EXTREMELY limited this year.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chaos Happens

John and I went to Matthew 25 Ministries today to see if they can help us with some donated items to take to the rez. Here is the story.... click here

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Here is a video Brian put together which we will play as we take up the offering at VBS. I was really excited when Scott Harrison of On A Mercy Ship granted me permission to use some of his photographs. Scott is a photo journalist and is serving on a Mercy ship in Africa. Be sure to check out his blog about his experieinces there. It's exciting to see what God is doing!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Selfish Giving?

Reminder: May meeting on Sunday, May 6 @ 4:00 PM in the Omega room.
Bring your TP and Paper Towels and your May payment.

Here is a quote from Occasio Blog that is worth our taking a look. I have felt very much the same way as I've been a part of many different mission trips and have witnessed others. This is one of the reasons I put more emphasis on building relationships with the Lakota people than on the chairty work. We want to do appropriate chairty work but that is never our main goal. As I've said so many times, it's really all about love.

Narcissistic Humanitarianism. Another frustration comes from a kind of
selfish benevolence that permeates our culture. Can making charitable
contributions be self-centered? Yes. We tend to feel good when we help others –
and that’s the new problem in a spirited age of voluntarism and philanthropy. We
are motivated by our own good feelings, not by a sense of responsibility to a
larger cause. Narcissism is defined as a preoccupation with the self and one’s
own self-importance, along with the desire for admiration. There certainly was a
lot of that happening on “Idol.” Is it possible that what we do in the name of
humanitarianism is simply a cover to congratulate ourselves and a chance to slap
one another on the back, thus alleviating our guilty conscience?

The church plays this game as well. I have seen and been a part of many mission trips that
have a stated purpose of helping the people they are going to minister to.
Churches raise $50,000 to visit an exotic country or flock across the border
into Mexico. Team members feel good when they return home because they have
served, but missionaries often report that the groups they host are loud,
arrogant, culturally insensitive and often more trouble (to the missionary or
national pastor) than they are worth. I wonder if the best thing that happens in
Mexico over spring break is that American churches stimulate the Mexicali valley
economy by buying tacos and Pepsis. Our spirit of outreach is a veil for
self-absorbed religious tourism. But we feel good about ourselves when we come