Thursday, June 28, 2007

Backpacks 2008!

I've begun shopping for backpacks and school supplies for the 2008 trip!

Today Brian and I found 24 backpacks for $6 each! We bought 3 boxes of them, 24 in total. Cody's old room is now officially the Backpack Room.

Be praying we get some good donations really soon.

In July school supplies are much cheaper so we need to be buying them this next month for the 2008 trip.

We only have $200.00 in our fund after buying these backpacks so we really need some donations soon. It normally takes anywhere from $1500 - $2000 to provide backpacks and school supplies to the village of Allen and we are hoping to be able to expand this project to include the village of Wounded Knee as well.

Here's a pic of the backpacks we got today!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What We're Taking

Or I should say what we plan to take in addition to the usual stuff.

  • 150 Backpacks with school supplies (all the money was donated for this)

  • A 17 cu. ft. upright freezer (all the money was donated for this)

  • 8 Pallets of "product" (baby items, personal care items, etc.) (all the money was donated for this)

  • 12 - 15 Electric Heaters (I've lost count)

  • VBS materials (safari hats, animal print bandannas, animal print sunglasses, safari crafts)

  • A new target toss game (pictured)


John, Josh and I went shopping today. We bought most of the non-perishable food for the trip, then bought a freezer. After packing up the food, here are some pics of what my dining room looks like now.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Coffee is Here

The coffee arrived today and will be for sale starting this Sunday! Money raised will go toward purchasing backpacks and school supplies for the children at Pine Ridge Reservation

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Comments Disabled

Not many of our team comment here and that is fine but wanted to alert you that I've disabled comments entirely on this blog. Some person who is obviously ignorant of what we do there has been posting that the Pass Creek church is getting rich off of us. Anyone who is in any way knowledgeable of that church, the reservation, or our group that travels there knows how utterly ridiculous that is. But ignorant people who want to stir trouble abound. This visitor is from Wall Drug, SD and spent a total of 6 min. 14 seconds on our site and felt they knew enough to make these accusations. I will not permit this blog to be used in that manner.

If anyone in our church family or any team member has questions and wants to see our bookkeeping - you only need to ask. In fact, I encourage you to do so - you'll appreciate what we do even more. We remain fully accountable to any supporter of this endeavor.

My apologies to any team members or church family member who would have liked to have been able to use this blog to communicate via comments. It's sad that when you try to do a good thing someone has to give you grief for no good reason but that's the world we live in.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Coming Soon

Soon you will be able to purchase Equal Exchange, Fairly Traded Coffee and Chocolate Bars at church and support our efforts at Pine Ridge at the same time. Here's the deal...

  • You can buy the coffee and 48% of the money from your purchase will go toward purchasing backpacks and school supplies for the children on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

It's a situation where everyone wins and we have an opportunity to make a difference in many ways.
  1. First, we will be making money to purchase school supplies and making a difference in the lives of children on the reservation.

  2. We will also be helping the farmers who in developing countries by purchasing Fair Trade coffee.

  3. And, we will be raising awareness about Fair Trade products.

That's 3 different ways we can make a difference!

Will it cost more? Yes. About $10.00 per pound of regular coffee and about $3.50 per bar of chocolate, but your money will be doing so much good on so many levels and the products are so much better

About Fair Trade

Fair Trade ensures that the farmers who grow the coffee in Third World countries are paid a fair wage for their crops, that they do not have to work in hazardous conditions, and that no child labor is used.

Some things you may not know ... The farmers who grow the coffee we drink are often paid less than it cost them to grow their crop, keeping them in a cycle of poverty.

With chocolate, the story is far worse. "While chocolate is sweet for us, it can be heartbreaking for the hundreds of thousands of child laborers that pick the cocoa that goes into some of our favorite treats. In 2001, the U.S. State Department, the International Labor Organization and others reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, source of 43% of the worlds cocoa. Subsequent research by the
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture revealed some 284,000 children between the ages of 9 and 12 working in hazardous conditions on West African cocoa farms. Of these children, it was reported that some 12,000 child cocoa workers that had participated in the study were likely to have arrived in their
situation as a result of child trafficking". - From The Global Exchange

In the very near future we will have a way of having our favorite treats and putting our money to better use.

Be looking for more information coming soon.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rethinking Evangelism

We've been talking in our meetings about evangelism and how our approach must differ from the classic 4 spiritual laws approach. RWK over at Today at the Mission says it far better than I could. If you're on the Pine Ridge team, please read this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Something To Keep In Mind

I"m not sure how the knowledge escaped me all these years - maybe I should read more travel books, namely the Custer State Park guide. Apparently Custer State Park is mountain lion territory. They give the following tips for what to do if you encounter one of these kitties.

  • When hiking, walk with others. A walking stick can be used for defense.

  • If you come upon one, shout, wave and hold your jacket open. Try to look as large and threatening as possible.

  • Maintain eye contact with the cat at all times.

  • DO NOT crouch down.

  • DO NOT run.

  • DO NOT approach the cat (who would do that??)

  • Throw sticks or stones that you can easily reach without crouching or taking your eyes off the cat.

  • If the lion attacks, fight back

Good luck!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Very Cool Indeed

Lifted Magazine gave us a plug! They are a friend on the Backpacks for Pine Ridge MySpace and heard about ut that way. They have begun showcasing a ministry each Monday and we are the first! How cool is that!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

News From The Rez

I just talked to Shelly. They are really looking forward to our coming out this summer. She says the kids especially are excited and having a hard time waiting for us to get there. It's good to know that they know us and still look forward to seeing us. ;)

She left some prayer requests for us:

  • Mike - a 30 year-old man in the church who is having heart problems.
  • The kids and all the workcamps this year - that everything that is done will benefit the Lakota people. Barry and Shelly really have a heart for the people there and it shows. Last winter they gave away their own blankets out of their house to the people who were looking for a way to stay warm.

Please keep these in your prayers. And remember to pray for our group too - that we will be sensitive to the needs there in everything we do. It's easy to get big ideas that sound good to us but we want to be sure that we are acting in their best interest and not our own good feelings.

It will be time to leave before we know it!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just Some Updates

Things are rolling right along. Here are some updates on our projects.

John is gathering more items for the auction. You'll be hearing about that at church very soon. We are also looking into putting some things on Ebay. This fundraiser will help us to pay for the pallets of products we will be taking to the rez.

We are getting more backpack/school supply money. (thanks Chrissie for your help with this) I am also working on this by building our Backpacks for Pine Ridge MySpace. Check it out. God is so weird. That page has so many different kinds of friends - we've got Bikers, Indians, Rockers, Graffiti Artists. I don't know if this will help bring in any support but hey, it's worth a try. MySpace is pretty powerful so we may as well use it for good.

I've also got an idea that may help raise money for the backpack project. It's too early to say anything about it but I'm hoping to be able to let you all know about it soon. It will be a BIG deal and pretty exciting. And it will be in Fairfield - out in the community, not at our church.

Here is a graph that shows where we're at with the backpack money. Click on it to read it better.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June Meeting Update - For Those Who Were Not There

Dianna came to share her story with us. She is from Liberia and has an amazing story of God's provision. I asked her to come for two reasons, 1) her story is worth hearing, and 2) it's a way for us to hear about Africa firsthand. Sometimes Africa can seem like a long way away and that it has very little to do with us. It's easy to ignore things that do not affect us or anyone we know. By hearing Dianna's story and meeting her, we now know someone who has been affected by the conditions in Africa and the next time we hear a news report about the wars there, we will feel more connected. Or at least that's my hope.

Which brings me to one of the topics for this month's meeting.

It's all about RELATIONSHIP.

As much as I would love to see people know Jesus and as much as I love charity, I do NOT want us to go out there to evangelize or even to only do acts of charity. Those are all well and good but I firmly believe that relationship is the key. Once we build relationships with people, they become more than just a mission project - they become our friends, and we are not likely to allow friends to deal with the harsh conditions of poverty without acting. Neither will be be reluctant to share our best friend, Jesus with them. Either of these, charity or evangelism, without relationship is meaningless.

That is why I keep saying that in spite of whatever else we do at Pine Ridge, the playground is where ministry happens. Being with the children, loving on them, playing games, giving piggy back rides, and pushing them on the swings is what our trip is really all about. They will not likely remember what we teach in the VBS classes but they will remember that someone loved them.

We also talked about preparing emotionally and physically for the trip.

We will be living communally for 9 days. During that time we will face some challenges, including:

  • Having very little rest
  • It will be HOT - over 100 degrees
  • There is absolutely NO privacy there - you can't even go to the bathroom to find a moment alone because there will be people in the bathroom too.
  • The food, although far better than most mission trips (thank you John), will still not be what we would eat at home every day.

So, how to we prepare emotionally to deal with these challenges?

Being at your best spiritually and physically will help. Here are a few tips:

  • Stay prayed up. You may not have the time for a lot of prayer out there - pray now.
  • Rest. Especially the week before we go - get as much rest as possible
  • When we stop at the hotel in Des Moines, sleep. It's a nice hotel with comfortable beds - take advantage of the last chance for a decent night's sleep.
  • Take care of yourself out there. Take breaks to avoid becoming overheated. Don't feel guilty about taking a 15 - 20 min. break. It's better to do that than to overdo it and need to go to the clinic and miss half a day.
  • Drink plenty of water out there. Carry a water bottle and keep it filled and drink it. It is easy to become dehydrated out there.
  • Remember - IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. Don't expect things to go your way.

You will also be encountering a different culture. We will not only be in the Great Sioux Nation and among Native American culture, but we will also be in a culture of poverty. You will see things that will rub you the wrong way. You will see things you may not agree with. Remember, it is not our place to judge them for the choices they make. Here is a quote I like:

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing
exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the
well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. ~ Herman Melville

Child Abuse. See Amber for information about how to deal with any child abuse we encounter.

I also need to mention meetings. We are getting sloppy in our attendance at meetings. Last month we had to cancel the meeting because too many team members were not able to make it. This month we had the same situation although we did not cancel it. This is disappointing to say the least. I cannot stress enough how important it is for EVERYONE to be at the meetings. A number of people ask on occasion if we are doing anything important at the meeting. OF COURSE WE ARE. If we weren't, we wouldn't have a meeting. Here's the deal - we have 27 people going to a different culture for 9 days and we need to pull together to accomplish some things and we basically have 7 hours to prepare. We meet on average once a month for an average time of an hour. Every meeting is essential. If you've never gone with us - you really need to be there or you will simply not be prepared and that's bad news for you and for the team and for our mission there. If you have been before and think you know what it's all about - you've not been with the current team before and even if you know "the drill", you still need to be part of the new team.

One thing I am doing is to go back and re-do the chore schedule to reward those who have been at every meeting. They will not have bathroom duty - at all. Which means that those who miss meetings will have more bathroom duty.

As for the July meeting - you have to be there. It's the last meeting before we leave and you will be getting last minute instructions.

Memories of 2006

Click on the pic for a larger view

What a crew!

The things we do for these kids

But just look - they're so worth it

Even when there's mass chaos

Tug of war

We worked hard


We laughed hard too

And we cried hard sometimes

Accidents happen

And we thought this price was bad

You just never know what will happen on these trips

Our missionaries! Barry & Shelly

Saturday, June 02, 2007

News from the Rez - May Newsletter

School is out and summer is here!! We hope that all of you are getting your summer off to a great start. Around here it is garden time and that is what we have started on. We have been blessed so far this spring with abundant rain, that has been desperately needed. Even the Badlands are green and we are praying for more rain because we have had drought conditions here for about eight years.

We want to stay in contact with everyone and give you an idea of what is going on here this summer. By the way, I do so appreciate the newsletters that come to us, it gives me a chance to see what other churches are doing and pray for all of you. Here is a list of work camps that will be here this summer:

June 15-June 21 - Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
They have already sent funding to purchase paneling for our second work camp trailer that had flooring replaced two years ago but needs new ceilings (we have the materials), paneling, carpet, and linoleum. We'll make some more bunk beds and have much more room for our work camps, one of our camps will have 21 and another 27!

July 23 - July 29 - Elk Hart, Kansas

I am not certain the details of what this group will be working on at this time but we will have several projects in the village among the people. We have four families that we are going to try to put concrete patios next to their houses and fencing. I spoke to the housing officials in Pine Ridge and they thought this was a very good thing. We are anxious to meet all of you!

July 29 - August 4 - Fairfield, OH (us)

This is our second year working with this group and we are excited you will be here. This group always has a kool-aid run in the mornings, meeting all the children and inviting them to lunch (for all who want to come in the village) and then Bible School for the children. Each year they come they bring backpacks loaded with school supplies for the kids. This group has made lasting relationships with so many of the people here. The kids are really looking forward to seeing you.

August 6 - 10 - Monroe City, Indiana

We would like to continue community work and get some fencing around more of the property. We will not run out of projects and look forward to meeting everyone in this group. Most of the groups like working with the children and many of them have a VBS for them.

We are eagerly waiting for a student that will be arriving from Tri-S the beginning of June who will be doing her internship here. Her name is Emily, she has been to this area before and we are thrilled to have her until the middle of August. Just today I also found out that Jael, from the work camp this past March may also be coming out , if possible, with Emily for a week. It will be great to see her again. I felt a real connection to her and all the children with her.

Also we want to thank those special people in California that have met so many of our needs at the Pass Creek Church of God. Your support came at a time when God reached out to us through you, and as usual His timing was perfect - thank you. To each and every person that prays for us and supports us financially, this mission and the Lakota people here on the Pine Ridge Reservation - we thank you so very much.

The summer months are a very busy time and a time the people here look forward to seeing all their old friends from previous years. For us also it is a time of meeting new friends and reuniting with old ones. It can be lonely out here sometimes and we really count on these workcamps and all the summer meetings to help hold us over during the winter months.

Several other events that are coming up this summer are as follows:
  • May 26th - we will be taking a trip to Rapid City to take the children to Old McDonalds Farm, a petting zoo, and then to Storybook Island for a picnic.

  • June 9th - trip to Evans Plunge for swimming and picnic

  • July 19 - 22nd - AIC at Wounded Knee

  • August 12th - Baptism at the Niabrara River

  • August 17-19th South Dakota State Camp Meeting in Brookings

  • September 12 - 16th - Dors and Dells Wilson at Wounded Knee
  • September 21 - 22 Prayer Conference in Riverton, Wyoming

Now for picture time:

A sweat lodge

Pete Showing a Headress to the Work Camp

March 2007 - Parade in Allen village

Many of the people here have horses and ride together as families

God bless all of you, talk to you in June,

Barry & Shelly