Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today was a good day. After a really difficult and challenging day yesterday some of us had a very long night. The girls trailer came under attack ... some of our more devious guys (Josh, Bub, Mark, and Jeff) crashed through the window of the girls trailer with super soakers and trashed the girls. This morning I (Amber) went to breakfast in war paint to let it be known that we were indeed on the warpath.

After breakfast several of us gathered at the cross to pray for the situation we experienced yesterday with the children. Yesterday was a challenging day to say the least. I'm pretty sure that it will go down as our worst day here to date. In the end we sat the kids down and laid down some firm boundaries and then took them home a good 2 hours earlier than planned.

Today was entirely different. The kids who had given us grief yesterday were very well behaved today. We have lots of cool stories to tell but maybe one of the most rewarding was when I was walking across the playground and saw Ericka crying. I asked her what was wrong and she responded like any good female would - that she was just so happy. One of the little boys in her class had just asked her to pray with him and tell him more about Jesus and about how much Jesus loved him. Fred had done a lesson about the overflowing love of Jesus using Mentos and Diet Coke as an object lesson and the little boy wanted to know more.

There is really just too much to tell. We are all exhausted and suffering from the extreme heat. Please keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Trip: Day 1

Wonder of wonders, we have Internet service in Pine ridge - thanks to Mark! I'm not sure how often time will permit for blogging, but I did want to let everyone at home know how the trip is going so far.

We arrived Sunday afternoon and since no one was home when we arrived, the first-timers went on a tour through the village. By the time we were back, so was Barry and Shelly. We unloaded the truck and settled in. That evening Dennis preached and Daniel sang in the church service. After the service we had a time of fellowship with the people here. We were touched to see that so many of the children showed up to see us. It was almost like we got in another day with them because so many were here.

Monday was the first full day and as always proved to be an eye-opening experience for the first-timers. I think Mark has broken a few records - he is the first person to cry during a Kool Aid run and the first to carry 4 -5 kids on his back at a time. Teresa is also having a fantastic time. From all reports, Jeff is proving to be an effective teacher for the teenagers and is providing us all with a lot of good entertainment. What a ham!

Monday evening we went to Wounded Knee and were honored to have one of the men from the village, his wife and daughter go along with us. Lionel was an amazing source of information about Lakota culture. Each of us were invited to take an offering of tobacco inside the memorial where the mass grave is and pay our respects to the dead there. I think we all felt very honored to be invited to do that.

A couple of prayer requests ... We were not on the road for 6 hours on Saturday when Whitlock got word that his father had suffered a heart attack and was in ICU. Monday evening Jeff received a message that his uncle, who is also his godfather, passed away. News like this is never easy and is only made more difficult by being so far from home. Both of these guys are amazing and are carrying with their duties here but I am sure that they're hearts are a heavy and they would really appreciate your prayers.

We love you all and want to express our appreciation for your support!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Watermelon, Watermelon, Watermelon

Well after 6 months of planning and getting the team prepared, its almost time to hit the road. I've been swamped with last minute details the past few days. One rather big last minute detail was watermelons. That's right, watermelons. I am just back from purchasing 24 of 'em. You should see the looks you get at Walmart when you buy that many watermelons.

Next Friday is party day at the mission. We will have around 150 kids, give or take a few, we will feed them lunch, have potato sack races, play tug-of-war, cornhole, play with a giant parachute, shoot hoops, and have a watermelon eating contest (any excuse to tie them up for a few minutes). We'll also get all the kids sno-cones from a Lakota lady on the Rez who sells them in remembrance of the American Indian Code Talkers with the proceeds going to the following Native organizations: The Olowan Dale Adam Scholarship Fund, The Lakota Song and Dance Club, The Future American Indians of Business. Its kind of a cool thing to treat the kids to sno-cones on a hot summer day and support the local business/educational imitative. And after all of that ..... we'll top it off with a water fight! Gotta hose 'em down somehow. That evening I think we're all going to relax and enjoy the beautiful American Indian dancers at the Pine Ridge PowWow.

A few of my prized purchases riding in the back of my Jeep.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Load up and Leave!

We load the truck at 7pm Friday, July 25th @ Amber's house.

Bring the following:

  • Your big suitcase
  • Air Matress
  • Sleeping bag
  • Fan (optional - don't really need this but you're welcome to bring one along)
  • Tools
  • Folding lawn chair

Be at the church NO LATER than 6am Saturday, July 26th. We will have doughnuts and coffee. If you want something else bring it.

Bring with you:

  • Your one SMALL bag for the van
  • A great attitude

Anyone who would like to show up and see us off - we do not expect that at such an early hour on a Saturday, but would be happy to see you there.

Thanks Lisa for makin' the coffee and cleaning up after we're gone!

Meet the Crew: Kristen

Kristen is a WELCOME and last minute addition to our crew. We are all thrilled to have Kris join us. She is getting to be a "pro" on these trips and the kids there love her. I've got the pics to prove it. :) Kristen is a hard worker and very self-less in her giving. She is always ready to go whatever is needed. She is always up for a giggle-fest in the late hours of the evening as well. Don't let her sweet smile and shy personality mislead you - she's devious when it comes to pranks.

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

This will be my fourth yr.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

That I do what I need to do while I'm out there the other people and not doing things just for me

What about the trips has changed you and/or makes you want to go back?

I have been able to come out of my shell a little more
dealing with the kids and stuff.. and the kids are what you mostly wanna go back for

**Note* In case there is some confusion about last minute additions to the crew when I make a big deal about deadlines, here is the explanation. Although there are firm deadlines for signing up for the trips to Pine Ridge, occasionally we have a crew member that has to drop out for various reasons. When that happens a spot becomes available - I normally reserve those last minute spots for folks who are familiar with the trips due to the need to be as spiritually, emotionally, physically, and culturally prepared as possible.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Meet the Crew: Charles

About Charles:

Saint Charles, Always does the right thing, Honest, Hard-working, Never Complains, LOVES those kids, Trustworthy, Dependable. And he’s a great mechanic.

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

This will be my 3rd year

What is something specific people can pray for you about?


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

It makes me appreciate what I’ve got more and makes me wish I could do more for the people and Barry and Shelly

*No pic of Charles was available HOWEVER, the kids on the Rez always call him "Papa Smurf" so ...

Meet the Crew: Chrissie

*Sorry - no picture of Chrissie availalbe. Even after all the years she has gone I do not have a good close-up pic of her. I have several that were taken from a distance but no close-ups. :/ That will change this year Chrissie!!

About Chrissie
Chrissie is a pleasure to have along on the trips. She quietly goes about doing what she’s there to do without complaining and gives her best at all times. Her love for the kids there is evident to anyone who has traveled to the Rez with her.

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

This will be my 4th trip.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

I have sciatic nerve problems so it can make traveling in the van for long periods of time hard on me.

For those of you who have gone before - what is the thing about it that has changed you and made you want to go back?

My priorities have changed…things that may have seemed important before don’t always seem so important now.
The major thing that keeps me wanting to go back each year is the kids. When you aren’t there you think of them, I miss them and wonder what they are doing and how they are. Are they cold or hungry…are they happy or sad. It truly is a week where you put all your needs and wants aside and put all the focus on them. For one week you know the kids had fun and felt loved and by the end of the week you realize you did too. When it’s time to say goodbye, the cycle starts over and my heart aches to return again.
*Sorry - no picture of Jeff available

About Jeff
Jeff is willing to do whatever it takes, Good Attitude, Team player, Hard-working, Funny, Dependable, Adventurous, Fun

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?

I need prayer so God will soften my heart with some personal situations I am going through. Seems I have gotten Bitter in my "older" years with certain situations. Almost to the point of hatred!

Why do you want to go on this trip?

I need to meet more people, I feel I have something to give, just don't really understand what it is I have. I have seen the pictures and heard Chrissie talk about all the people there and it seems like it would be beneficial for me and them. I know God has something spectacular in store for me! Just wish he would show me what it is..............

Meet the Crew: Darlene

*Sorry - no picture of Darlene available.

About Darlene
Loyal, Hardworking, willing to do whatever is needed, thinks of others before herself, very committed to the team. Makes a good strawberry pie!

How many times have you been to the Rez with us?

This is my first year.

What is something specific people can pray for me about?

Strength to do what I feel the Lord has called me to do

Why do you want to go on the trip?

Because I love to help people and I think it will be a good experience.

Meet the Crew: Dennis

About Dennis:Honorable, Man of intgrity. Hard-working, Trustworthy, Funny, Funny, Funny. Never Complains - or at least in all the time of traveling with him to the Rez I've never heard him complain. Great teacher. Great musician. Does his best at all times.

This will be the 3rd trip to the Rez for Dennis.

He did not get his responses turned in but has many issues that need prayer and I’m pretty sure he keeps going back because he has a heart for people and believes strongly in missions. Now if we could just get him to pay attention. ;)

Meet the Crew: Bev

About Bev
Bev is one of those people who strives to do her best at whatever task she is at. She is a hard worker who always seeks to give Jesus her best.

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

I have been four times.

What is something specific people can pray for you about?

That I will be prepared and sensitive to the Holy Spirit each day that I am there and will follow His leading.

What is it about the trips that has changed you and makes you want to go back?
I love the Native people and to see them living in the conditions that they are today breaks my heart.
*Bev did not give me her answers in writing. There was much more to what she said but I do not want to misrepresent her by misinterpreting her words. I'm sure she will gladly share with you if you ask her. My memory is just not good enough to remember what she said word for word.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Meet the Crew: Daniel

Daniel is a young man with a heart for God. He is a talented musician and has a desire to be used by God. He also talks in his sleep. You can learn a lot of you listen to him when he’s sleeping.

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

This is going to be my third year going to the reservation.

What is something specific that people can pray for you about?

Pray that I have a servants heart, and not care about my needs, but the needs of others.

What about the trips have changed you and made you want to go back?

The trips for me are really life changing. It ,makes you realize how good we have it here in America. And the kids and the people are why I keep going back. Praying that one day they all will come to the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Meet the Crew: Jean

Jean has been a part of our crew since the first trip and has been a blessing to have along. She truly has a servant’s heart and is willing to do whatever needs doing with little or no regard for her own personal wishes. Her self-less efforts on the trips have helped her to build some special relationships with some of the kids.

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


What is something specific people can pray for you about?

That I am able to go, and that my husband gets rid of his cancer, or at least begins to feel better.

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

I have learned that it's not about me. And I want to go back because I feel like I have family there, and I miss them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Meet the Crew: Fred

What can I say about Fred. Fred is awesome. Fred is amazing. Fred is LOVED by everybody on the team. And in spite of all of that, Fred is humble. One of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet and a hard worker who always puts Jesus first and has a true servant’s heart.

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

This will be my 2nd year.

What is something specific people can be praying for you about?

That I would be obedient to God, to be tender to the Holy Spirit, step up when I should, step back when I need to and the wisdom to know the difference.

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

I think about the children at Pine Ridge all the time, especially when I see the children at church or my grandchildren and I've grown closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ that I traveled to Pine Ridge with.
What makes me want to go back?
If I can encourage or help one person to know Christ and change their life, that would be awesome.