Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Poorest Place in America

I've been dreaming and I've also been crunching some numbers (those who know me will cringe at that). It's my goal to provide backpacks and school supplies to as many children on the Reservation as we possibly can. Ideally, I would love to provide backpacks to each child on the Reservation. It would take at least $65,000.00 each year to do that. That's not a lot of money but when you have nothing at all, it's a mind boggling figure. To think of raising that even one time seems out of reach, but we do have a big God and last time I checked, He was not short of cash. So, I believe this is doable.

As I've researched what it would take to pull this off, my heart has been broken all over again. Reading the statistics about Pine Ridge will do that to you. If I didn't know the Lakota people, their sense of humor and their incredible ability to survive, I would be tempted to despair.

I've often said that the Pine Ridge Reservation is the "poorest place in America". Here is what Wikipedia says about it, and particularly about Allen, the village we go to.

Allen, SD is considered to be the Poorest place in America About 95.9% of families and 96.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 97.1% of those under age 18 and 100.0% of those age 65 or over. Only Haiti has a lower life expectancy anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.

Like I said, it's heartbreaking.

Monday, September 24, 2007

November & December Fundraisers

Good news! John J at church has agreed to donate Flag and Military memorabilia display cases to both the Haiti and Pine Ridge teams. John has generously agreed to donate as many as we need!

These display cases look like the one pictured and are made of solid oak with a glass front. They can be used to display the Flag, Military, Police or Firefighter memorabilia.

Here is how it will work...

These cases will be available for anyone making a donation of at least $100.00.

Team members can include this in their sponsor letters to take orders for them from family/friends/coworkers. Money from any cases you sell will go into your account to pay for your trip costs.

Any donations of $100 or more outside of sponsor money will go toward the purchase of product from Matthew 25 Ministries in Blue Ash. We hope to be able to take another truck load of product to the mission next summer but we will need to raise at least $2500.00 to do this.

John also makes wooden toaster tongs that he is making available for $2.00 each to the Mission teams.

John will need to know ASAP if you have any orders for these cases.

We will kick off the fundraiser at church on Veterans Day but you can put this info. in your sponsor letters now.

If you have any questions you can email Amber

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Logo

Gary has been an online friend of mine for several years. He's a very talented graphic artist with a heart for God. Last week he surprised me and sent me a design that we can use as the logo/link to the Backpacks for Pine Ridge page. How cool is that? To have a professional graphic artist volunteer to do a logo for us!
If you're part of our team, stop over at Gary's blog and say thanks!

Another God Thing

It continually amazes me how God leads in these trips. It seems sometimes we have little to go on other than a desire and a hunch but we move ahead only to see that God was behind it all the whole time.

That is really how these trips came to be and each year there are several instances where that kind of thing happens.

I just spoke to Shelly a few minutes ago. I called to check on the electric problems they are having and to see how everyone is doing. I also wanted to talk to her about the possibility of taking backpacks and school supplies to a 3rd village.

Our supporters have been very generous this year. We had originally hoped to expand the backpack project to include the village of Allen and Wounded Knee, but it is only September and we already have enough backpacks and school supplies to expand to include a 3rd village! I needed to find a contact in a 3rd village where we can distribute them. I wasn't sure where we would take them or how it would work but I knew there were plenty of children on the Rez that needed them and that we would figure out a way to get them to them. I had been thinking of taking them to Kyle but I wasn't sure. I don't know anyone in Kyle and was not sure how many kids were there and I wasn't sure if maybe there was another village that would need them more. So I called Shelly and told her we had enough backpacks for Allen and Wounded Knee and that we still have 100 more that could go to another village. She immediately suggested - you guessed it - Kyle.

So many times that's the way things go. It has been my philosophy to just collect all we can and we'll figure out where to put it and how to get it there. I have no idea what will happen but we move on. I rarely have clear "leading" from God on a matter but I don't want to limit what God may be trying to do so we just move on and then figure out the specifics as we need to. And every single time it is crystal clear that He is really in control and has been leading all the time. Some may say that we're getting ahead of God. Maybe so, but I assure you we've not had that happen yet.

Besides, I think I'd rather be out there doing something, even if it's making mistakes, than to sit around wondering what we're supposed to do and end up doing nothing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Prayer Request - Electricity

Please keep the village of Allen (and possibly others) in your prayers. We have word that the electric company has cut off electricity to many of the homes there. Shelly seems to think they will have it back on again before cold weather hits but this creates a time of intense frustration on the Reservation. It is during times of frustration when things can get out of hand. Drinking and gang activity tend to increase with the frustration. Along with the frustration there is boredom because there is no TV. Boredom and frustration are not a good mix. Please pray for all affected and for the missionaries there who are trying to minister.