Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Click it for the Kids

Got a minute? Here is a quick and easy way to help us help the kids at Pine Ridge and it won't cost you a penny. Click here to go to the site and then click on the Projects page. Type in Backpacks For Pine Ridge in the "find a project" box and then vote for us!
Easy as can be and it can help us get the word out ... and that means more help for the kids.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet the Crew: Tim

About Tim:
Tim is funny. He cracks everyone up with his off-the-wall sense of humor. He is also a very talented photographer— many of the photos you see from the trips are ones Tim has taken. He is also a hard worker, is willing to do whatever is needed and oh yeah, did I mention he was funny?

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my fourth time to the REZ.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

I am not all that good at communicating with the kids at our church so it is that much more difficult with the kids on the Rez and I am not as patient as I should be.

What is the thing about the trips that has changed you and made you want to go back?

I am not good at this self analysis gig but I do see the people warming up to us more each year - maybe I can follow their example

Meet the Crew: Debbie

About Debbie:
Debbie is an amazing lady. I’ve always known that but that characteristic became very clear the year we went to the Rez and on the first day there, Debbie got a call from her doctor telling her she had cancer. Rather than spend her time feeling sorry for herself as would be normal for most of us, she took a minute to cry with her hubby Tim and call her family and then got right to work. She is always a blessing on the trips and teaches us all how to make the best of a bad situation.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my third time out.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Pray that when we are are there and difficult situations arise that I will know what to do - what to say or just to listen.

What is the thing about the trips that has changed you and made you want to go back?

I don't know if I have changed but I go back for the kids and being busy with them out there has helped me get through difficult times in my life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meet the Crew: Teresa

Teresa has been one of those crew members who have been first to seize opportunities to serve. She has quietly gone about doing what needs to be done without the need for recognition. She has a servant’s heart and has exhibited responsibility and a willingness to help others whether they are the Lakota people or her own teammates. Teresa is expecting a grandchild to be born about the time we will be on the Rez. I know she wants to be here for that so we're hoping the baby will wait till we're back home.

How many years have you been going on to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Pray for my lost family members

Why do you want to go on this trip?

I had God tugging at my heart and when He is speaking I am going my best to listen and serve Him the best way I can. I hope to be a blessing to the people of Pine Ridge because I know I will receive a blessing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meet the Crew: Whitlock

Since I have so many Brian's in my life, I have dubbed this Brian "Whitlock". What can I say about Whitlock ... he is a really gifted organizer. I've been amazed as I've watched him work on both this team and the Rezonate team. His real day job has him wheeling and dealing with some very big businesses and he is far more talented than I ever imagined. Not only that, he's a genuinely nice guy. Very kind, A Real Giver, Good Cook (thankfully since he's our cook this year). He has volunteered to cook for 150 people at a homeless shelter - not just once a week, but every day. Takes Initiative, Is fun to pick on, Has a great sense of humor. And just can't seem to take a good pic - the first pic I took he was saying something and it came out looking like he was blowing a kiss -- and in this one he has his eyes shut. Oh well, sorry Whitlock. (He may kill me for this)

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Be more obedient to God!

Why do you want to go on this trip?

I live to serve other's and I love to cook, I want to use what God has blessed me with to help other's. I see this mission trip having two missions for me personally, the first is helping and building a relationship with the Pine Ridge people, the second is to serve the Pine Ridge Mission team.

Meet the Crew: Cathy

Cathy is Compassionate, Compassionate, Compassionate, Dependable, Willing to Step out of her comfort zone and try things that scare her, Courageous. Hard worker. Always puts others ahead of herself - unless she has to pee.

How many years have you gone to the rez with us?

This will be my 5th year

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Health and that God will prepare me to handle the situations that arise while we are there.

What is it about the trips that have changed you and make you want to go back?

I appreciate the things I have more and the opportunities in the place were I live. The thing that keeps me going back is the relationships with Barry, Shelly and the people that have been build. The looks on the kids faces when they see you have come back and know you love them is priceless. You really do feel like its going home to visit family and friends. They are beautiful people.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Meet the Crew: Mark

About Mark:

The first thing people notice about Mark is his physical strength but I've come to see someone who has a heart as big if not bigger than he is. Mark is
very compassionate, Loves Deeply, Hard-working, Willing to do whatever it takes. Great with kids. Fun to pick on. Dependable.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

This will be my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

Spiritual strength and health. I’ve been in a battle with a broken wrist for 9 months.

Why do you want to go on the trip?

I feel like God wants me to go on the trip. I haven’t quite figured out why, but I have always had a big heart for those in need and love cures many things.

Meet the Crew: Josh

About Josh:
Oh man, what to say .... I love this guy. He's like one of my own. Josh is always willing to help out with anything that needs doing. He sees opportunities to help out before anyone can ask and just does it. Hard worker, Funny, Fun to pick on. Takes it very well when people freeze his underwear. Servant's heart.

How many years have you gone to the Rez with us?

I have gone to Pine Ridge every year, so what is that...5? wow!!!

What is something specific people can pray for you about?
People can pray for my energy...I will just be getting back from a 3 week long trip to Greece and we're always running in Pine Ridge.

What is it about the trip that has changed you and makes you want to go back?

Two words: THE KIDS!!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've Made A Decision

I've been behind on this blog. Partly because I'm not sure what to do with it. The purpose if for the team members to be able to keep up to date and for our church family to be able to follow all that is going on with the trips. But as I check my stat checker I see that very few people from Fairfield/Hamilton/Cincy are reading here. Instead someone from Latvia is? So, I'm confused, but welcome people from Lativa and other parts of the world! I stay confused most of the time anyway so here goes a blog post and we'll see who reads it.

I've made a decision.

Its not etched in stone yet, as most of my decisions aren't, but I'm pretty sure about this one. The decision is to not do the trip the way we are this year ever again. This year we are blocking out most of the day there to do various work projects. My reason for that was that was twofold:

  1. We really wanted to get into the village and do work for the people. This was meant to be a way to build relationships with the adults in the village as well as with the children.
  2. We often find that we get into a work project in the mornings only to have to shut it down to go do VBS with the kids.

I don't have a problem with shutting a work project down to play with kids, but I've heard that some of my crew are frustrated by that and I do try to listen to my crew and take their ideas into consideration so this year I thought we'd try doing all day work projects and then do VBS in the evening.

The problem with that is also twofold:

  1. We are unsure what work projects we are doing. We will probably not know until we arrive there. To have the whole day blocked out and not have any clue as to how to plan for it makes me a bit nervous. Not a lot because I know things always work out, but it would be much easier to plan what materials and tools to bring if we had an idea. It may mean less trips to town once we are there if we already had the supplies and it may mean less expense since things seem to be generally cheaper here.
  2. And this one is the real "problem" as I see it. There are people both on the team and not on the team who now have the idea that this year's trip is about "construction". I've heard people say that they would have gone this year if they had known it was about construction projects this year. I've also heard team members say they are much happier with this year's plans because they feel that the work projects are our biggest contribution out there.


If I had known that was the message I was sending by changing around the schedule, I would not have done it.

I know work projects make us feel like we're actually "doing" something there. It makes us feel good to have accomplished something tangible and feel like we've given them something of use. A lot of us, myself included, are way more comfortable with something like that. BUT that is not the most important way in which we contribute. It is not in any way the most important thing we do. On that, I'm absolutely convinced.

The most important thing we do there is build something far more difficult to build and far more uncomfortable for us to do - relationships. That is what God is all about - relationships. It was through relationship that He created us and it was through relationship that He communicated His love for us, and it is through relationship that we communicate His love for other people. Its how we touch people's hearts.

Yes, Pine Ridge is a place of poverty. But I think we forget that there is a kind of poverty that is far more destructive than physical poverty. There is a poverty of love that is the worse sort of suffering a human can experience and I see plenty of that on the Rez. Even Mother Teresa, the great humanitarian of our time, has said this,

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a
much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to

So I'm pretty sure we need to get back to the original plan at Pine Ridge. We're not about buildings, although those are fine too, but we have a higher purpose - people's hearts.