Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jenny Rodiguez in Concert

Jenny Rodriguez
in concert
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010
Winton Rd. First Church of God
6200 Winton Rd.
Fairfield, OH
An offering will be taken to raise funds for the work project at the Pass Creek Church of God on the Pine Ridge Reservation

SUPER Sub Sale!

Coming SOON!
The Pine Ridge Mission Team will be taking orders for Sub Sandwiches.
You may order:
A Regular Sub for $7
Ham, Turkey, Salami, Provolone Cheese

A Super Sub for $8
Ham, Turkey, Salami, Provolone Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion
See any team member to order.
You may pick up your sub on
Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010
Winton Rd. First Church of God
6200 Winton Rd.
Fairfield, OH
Between Noon and 1pm

Friday, December 18, 2009

Upcoming Dates!!

Sunday, Dec 27th - after the morning service we will need to get the table of card/candles/etc. down. Cathy Jackson has asked to have the stuff to sell at her Pine Ridge yard sale next Spring but we will need a few people to help get the tables down and load the stuff. It would also be nice if we could go to Cathy's to help her unload it too. Any volunteers?

Sunday, Jan. 10th - We will start taking orders for Superbowl Subs. We'll need people to sit at the table and take people's orders and money. They have to pay up front so we can have some cash to buy the ingredients.

Thursday, Jan. 14th @ 7pm @ church - our first team meeting. All registration materials and payment due.

Sunday, Jan. 24th @ 6pm @ church - Jenny will be doing a concert and we'll be taking up an offering for the work project. So far we made around $400 (I think) on the table of card/candles. We need to raise $4500.00 so we've got about $4000 to go. The team will be acting as ushers to take up the offering. If you have a team t-shirt from a previous year you can wear it.

Saturday, Feb. 6th - 12 noon @ church - Team members need to be there and plan to stay until we have all of the subs made up and stored. Everyone who works will benefit. If you don't work, you don't receive any of the fundraiser money.

Sunday, Feb. 7th @ 12 noon - SUB Pickup for Superbowl. We'll need team members to help deliver subs (at church) to those who ordered them.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmastime is Here

This week we will be shipping the gifts that our church bought for the family on the Rez that wouldn't have otherwise had any gifts this Christmas. It worked out great - each of the 7 children ended up with 6 gifts each - except for the only girl has eight gifts. Mom got a few gifts as well and each child will have a stocking stuffed with small toys and candy (socks instead of candy for the baby). We'll also be sending along cookies and fudge and hot cocoa mix for the whole family to enjoy.

Thanks to each of you who gave. As you sit around your Christmas tree this Christmas, take a moment to remember that somewhere on the Reservation are some very happy little kids who will always remember that some church somewhere showered them with love one Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Amphitheater

We hope that next year's work project will be to begin building an amphitheater on the mission grounds. This has been a dream on Barry and Shelly's wish list for a while and Fred really has it on his heart to see it begin next summer. I don't have a good picture of it, but hopefully you were at church yesterday and saw the pics - they are still on display in the narthex. There is a huge "hole" that has eroded into the ground next to the church. It has been there for years and is not only an eyesore but it is also a safety hazard when the kids come to VBS.

BUT ...

it like a lot of things we consider a problem, it has some great possibilities....

One end of the "hole" sits pretty much even with the ground making it a perfect shape for an amphitheater. If we can excavate some of the remaining dirt and rock, pour a cement floor and lay in some rail road ties for seating this "problem" can become a huge asset. It would serve so many purposes .... it could be a GREAT place to have all of the kids gather for music or lessons for VBS. As it stands the sanctuary is really not large enough to hold all of the kids when they are there. It could also be used by the community of Allen for any number of events, thus giving the church there another way to reach out to the community. We hope to build it in such a way that it will last a long time and other things might even be able to be added on to it in the future (think roof, maybe even a new sanctuary someday).

Fred tells me it will take about $4500 to get it started this year. This year we will not be able to get the seating in but we hope to get the excavating done and pour the cement flooring. I think the plan is also to run some electrical line so that electricity will be available out there too.

We are excited about the possibilities for this! I'm adding a thermometer to show how we are doing with the fundraising for the project. Check back here to the blog from time to time to read updates and follow what's going on!

fundraising ideas

*Thanks to all who bought the card shop goodies yesterday. We made our first $130 from it. The items will still be available as long as they last.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Got Paper?

Starting SOON - maybe even this Sunday, we will be having Wrapping Paper, Candles, Stuffed Animals ... and other items available for a donation to our work project at Pine Ridge next year.

All items have been donated by friends of Tim and Debbie who own a card shop. All items are brand new. We will have a table in the hallway set up to display the items and a Pine Ridge team member at the table to receive your donation.

All money raised will go toward building the amphitheater on the mission grounds.

(for those not familiar - there is a big hole in the ground next to the church building that has become a safety hazard to the children and if it continues to erode may eventually damage the church building. We have plans to transform it into an amphitheater in order to do away with the safety hazard and also create a place that will safely hold all 150+ children who attend VBS each summer.) This is a much needed project that will probably take 2 years to complete. This year we need to raise $4,500 for the project. )

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Christmas time is almost here and we have an opportunity to be a blessing to some kids on the Rez who need it badly ...and to be blessed ourselves in the process. Isn't that really the joy of Christmas ... giving.

Shelly called and asked if we would help out a family this Christmas by buying gifts for the children. I said, 'Of course!! We'd love to!" And I could hear her grin over the phone when she said, "I have a special family picked out for your church ... wanna know who?" Its Hammer's family!

Hammer and his brother Damian were two of the kids who were sleeping in the car earlier this year. They have since been moved into a small two bedroom house with the rest of their brothers and sisters. These are also the kids who were hungry this summer ... really hungry. I would imagine that there will be no gifts for them this Christmas unless we make that happen. So ... are you up for it? What could be more fun than shopping for kids who really need and appreciate it? I know its what will make my Christmas special.

So here's the list. Please let me know which child you will buy for because I want to make sure each of the kids get something. Hammer will be the most popular because he's just adorable, but there are 6 other kids who need gifts too. Email me at to let me know which child you are taking care of for Christmas.

Mato - 6 months old

Cecil - 2 years old

Edsel (boy) - 4 years old

Hammer - 6 years old

Boo Boo (girl) - 8 years old

Damian - 9 years old

Dewy - 11 years old

I do not have their sizes but I think kids are kids whether they are "poor" or not and would really want TOYS. Sometimes the "fun" can be just as important or maybe more so than the clothes and such. Its the fun that helps you deal with the rough things in life.

Please bring your WRAPPED gifts WITH the CHILD's NAME on it, along with some money to cover shipping costs to the church no later than Dec. 6th and I will ship them all together.

Non-perisable Christmas goodies are also welcome. These kids don't get enough to eat.

Monday, November 09, 2009

News From the Rez

A few years ago when we were in Allen we met Emily, who was an AU student working as an intern for the summer. Emily has since graduated and is back on the Rez until next Spring/Summer. The good news is, she is blogging from the Rez and you can read it here. Please pay special attention to this post and read about the Woplia she attended. It'll bless and humble you to be sure!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

'Tis the Season: Get Your Orders Now!

The Holiday Candy/Cookie Sale is ON!
Order Cathy's Famous Buckeyes early to make sure she can fill your order. (She gets really busy making buckeyes this time of year). See Cathy to order. They go for $20/3 Dozen.

Amber Buriff is also selling Homemade Gingersnaps in a gift bag for $8/Dozen


Peanut Butter Fudge for $10/ a pound See Amber to order.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shelly Is Coming!

Who: Shelly - missionary at the Pass Creek Church of God in village of Allen on the Pine Ridge Reservation

What: Shelly will be speaking about life on the Pine Ridge Reservation

When: Wednesday, Oct. 7th @ 7pm

Where: Winton Rd. First Church of God, 6200 Winton Rd. Fairfield, OH

This is a real treat so BE THERE!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Ultimate Betrayal by Rachel K

The following is written by Rachel, one of our team members who went to the Rez with us this past summer.

Remember learning about native americans or' indians' in school? We learned how the English 'discovered' America and how they had to defend themselves against savage natives? We were taught that the Forefathers of this great nation acted in the best interest of its 'people'. Only at Thanksgiving did we learn how the native americans befriended the settlers and played a huge part in their survival.

We were not taught the entire truth. We were only taught what the government wanted us to learn. The very same government that controls our schools took away the pride, culture, beliefs, and freedoms of the native americans and placed them on reservations. That very same government deceived the natives for their own benefit, with no regard for life of women or children. That very same government wanted to annhilate the natives; the very same natives that believed we could share the land and live peacefully together. Now many will say this was to better America. But I ask, better for whom?

Have you ever wondered what life on a reservation is like for the indians? Have you ever given thought to giving up life the way you know it and being forced to conform or die to another's ways? You would lose all freedoms and sense of who you are and where you come from. What comes to mind when you think of indians? I've heard the phrase 'drunken indian' many times. Have you ever wondered why?

If you've had your entire life stripped from you and you have no hope to offer your children and future generations, what else is there? The indians were forced to live on the reservations, conform to 'civilized society', and survive on small rations; forced to succumb to the very same government who placed them there. They were compelled to give up their religions, customs, history, and ultimately their livelihood.

Now, you might be wondering why I speak of these things or why I even care. It is because I have seen this firsthand. This past July I went to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, with a church. We had VBS for the children of Allen, SD, distributed backpacks with supplies to three villages, and constructed a room addition for an elderly woman who's kitchen was outdoors. This was a life-altering trip. There weren't many ways to prepare for what I would experience. I did read (and suggest to you) "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown. Now this is unlike any story you would ever hear in a classroom. This is the true story of deceit, larceny, murder, and even genocide. HBO even made a movie based on this book, however, I suggest both.

I can honestly say that I didn't really remember much about Wounded Knee from school. Most average Americans probably do not. The book tells of the downfall of the native americans beginning with the 'discovery' by the English to the massacre that took place at Wounded Knee Creek. It was December 1890, after the death of Chief Sitting Bull, that the 7th calvary was ordered to disarm the tribe of Chief BigFoot. A shot rang out as a deaf tribesman struggled in confusion to give up his rifle. This set off a chain reaction of mayhem and fighting between the two sides. By the time it ended, nearly 300 men, women, and Lakota children were killed. Due to a blizzard, it would be several days before any remains would be buried. A mass grave was dug for the slain victims of the massacre. I was able to stand and look upon this mass grave and knowing the tragedy that took place underneath my feet, I mourned. I mourned for the Lakota people killed there in Wounded Knee. I mourned for the Lakota people who are still living there today under the oppression of this life. I mourned for all native tribes that had their dignity and lives stripped from them.

After spending a week on the reservation with the Lakota people, I had even more respect for them than I could even fathom. Consider all that has been taken from them and the majority of them were very accepting of us. The elderly woman that we built the kitchen for was the most compassionate woman I've ever met. She spoke of the past and said that many in her village do hold a grudge to the white man. She said "what's done is done. You can't change it, just accept it and do the best you can with it." WOW! I would never have thought that an indian might be so accepting. Her entire family was so gracious to our crew.

The children there were, of course, the icing on the cake of my mission trip. We had about 150 kids attend VBS and we wore our hearts on our sleeves. I had my heart broken many times while I was there. Many of the kids were distant at first, especially the older ones. But that is not true for all of them. There were several kids that had never met me before that came up to me and put their arm around me- they just wanted a hug. Due to the circumstances at home, many children there don't receive the affection from their family. There were very young children being cared for by 'older siblings'; maybe 5-6 years old. We did what we could to make each child feel loved and safe at that very moment.

To really understand the devastation there, you need to know some facts. The life expectancy for men is 48 years and for women is 52. In the Western Hemisphere, only Haiti has a lower life expectancy. That is surreal- most people wouldn't believe that's possible here in America. High rates of alcoholism, heart disease, cancer, suicide, and diabetes are afflicting these people. 97% live below the Federal Poverty Level. In fact, Allen, SD has been deemed the poorest county in the United States. With no industry and no natural resources, the unemployment rate is at 80%; even higher in the winter when travel is difficult. The estimated average of people living in each family home is 17. I'm not speaking of large homes, this is a 2-3 room house. Many homes lack basic water, sewage, and electricity. I saw many gutted mobile homes and shacks that were boarded up and not fit for habitation; however, these were homes to many people. I was awestruck! We just received word that a few young children there are currently living in a car! How will they survive the harsh winter weather?

Now I know poverty is just about everywhere. I can't help but feel a sense of responsibility as a 'white man' to care for these people. Would they be suffering in these conditions if history had not compelled them into this lifestyle? I do not know the answer to that and I'm not sure what we can do to help now. Many of the Lakota people do not want to be a charity case. They want what little they have to be theirs. I do believe that prayer and awareness is key. Please educate yourself and those around you so that together we can make a change.

Thanks for your time,

VISIT : or log onto and search for images of Pine Ridge Reservation

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Making a Difference

We finally made it home late this evening. God blessed this trip in so many ways and gave us traveling grace, we never had any bad traffic or any problems it was as though he opened the red sea and we crossed right over that's how good traffic was. I had never been to Pine Ridge so it was all new to me, as we traveled I seen some beautiful homes and land but then I seen not so beautiful land and homes in bad condition and, then as you talk with different ones you find out there are trailers with children living in them with no electric or water and 6 and 7 year old's sleeping in cars because there's not enough room in their trailers. That would explain why there was so many hungry children this year when our team went in July. Pray for the people of Allen they don't have homeless shelters, like we do here and winter is coming. What our church, family and friends did gathering coats, shoes and socks will be a great help to the people of Allen. Thank you again for all the help we could not have taken so much out there without your help.

To the Pine Ridge Team year after year you make sacrifices to go on this trip only to work very hard from daylight til way past dark when you get there. You are making a difference there and God has blessed your efforts and I was proud to see everything you all have accomplished out there with the structures you have built and people you have touched they love you all so much. May God Bless you for all the sacrifices you make.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Who's The Boss

We are just about half way home and resting tonight after driving several hours today. Fred is still trying to convince me he's the leader (boss) since every time he's been there he's had a leader with the team. So I have to remind him we're no longer on the Rez and that's as far as he could boss or he likes to call it being the leader.
Fred and I have been so blessed on this trip, and we have seen how much of a blessing it was to the missionaries and the Lakota people, they had been searching for those items already, at yard sales, because winter comes so early there. The kids wanted to give us something in return, so they made us cards during Sunday School (I'm going to frame these) I thought you would like to see them (pictured below).
I see why the Pine Ridge Team comes every year, those children do steal your heart and the relationship you all have built with them. I see their love for you is true, just as your love for them is, as you can see in our cards below. I'm glad Fred followed his heart and did what he felt God had led him to do. We could see that when we arrived. What A blessing

By Michael

By Madison (missionaries Granddaughter

By Brianna (she added our car, trailer and all the cars at church, all the boxes nicely stacked at church and the play ground)

By Everett ( he wanted us to have a picture of an Eagle)

We will cherish these pictures forever. I know this was long but I believe it was well worth it.


This is our third day, I wasn't able to get on the computer. All I can say is WOW it is unbelievable on the reservation there is sooooooo much work in running the mission and so little time to do everything that needs to be done. We arrived and unloaded all the boxes (pictured below) they were amazed at what all of us accomplished in four short weeks, We wanted to do anything we could to help them but Berry wanted Fred to show me a few things before dark and he knew we were leaving the next day so Fred took me to Wounded Knee I was scared cause he took me a different way then they usually go it was on a gravel road way in the boonies (it took two gravel roads for him to find the right one) it was very sad place to see. He also took me to Allen we seen some of the kids playing. When we came back we were able to help Berry prepare the church, fellowship room and bathrooms for service next day (Shelly was down with her back) then we were ready to rest. On Sunday morning I got to meet a few people with their children, they love our mission team so much I have pictures they drew for us I will post some tomorrow, That says a lot about our mission team (you all do a great job of showing Jesus to them) and you have accomplished a lot there. We drove an drove and drove today so I need rest. I'm so glad God allowed us to come its been such a blessing. I added last pictures of horses running I thought it looked beautiful.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Our First Day

Today has been a great day, we are so excited to get to Pine Ridge and the city of Allen. We left at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning and arrived here in Sioux City, South Dakota about 7:00 p.m. Friday evening. Here is a picture of the trailer loaned to us, isn't God wonderful? It holds 40 huge boxes packed full. Our total was: 207 pairs of shoes, 95 packs of socks (which =581 pair), 62 coats, 63 hats, gloves and scarfs, 2 king size comforters, 4 blankets and some misc items. A huge thank you to our church, family and friends and thank you to Shandon Congregational Church for the coats, shoes, socks, hats and scarves they donated. Below are a few pics Fred was packing the trailer so fast I didn't get a picture of all the boxes, when we unload I'll get one.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Smile: Now How Awesome is This??

Just got a call from a lady in my church. She went to the dentist this morning and asked them to donate toothpaste and toothbrushes for Pine Ridge! Amazing. I didn't ask her to do that, didn't expect it, and didn't even know she was going to. Wow. I love it when people get on board and do whatever they find to do to help out. Its amazing to see what can happen when that happens. I wonder if she knows that the need for that is SO great on the Rez? Here are some stats about oral health care at Pine Ridge.
  • Less than 50% of population has access to water fluoridation

  • Lowest oral hygiene scores with lowest frequency of daily tooth brushing & flossing (this may be because with an income of $3500, toothpaste may take a backseat to food and other basic needs)

  • 56% of adult population have total tooth loss

  • Children: 60% have active, untreated tooth decay – less than 50% have seen a dentist

  • Ages 35 – 44: 50% have moderate to severe periodontal disease

  • World highest incidence of ECC (Early Childhood Caries) ~ 80%

Thanks Laura!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Honor for Dedication

On the Pine Ridge Reservation the highest honor is to have a star quilt placed upon your shoulders. So Cathy Jackson and the 2009 Pine Ridge Team wanted to honor Amber for the many hours she puts in for Back Packs for Pine Ridge and Rezonate. Cathy Jackson made a star quilt and this morning at church the 2009 Pine Ridge Team placed it on Amber's shoulder's as well as Brian's, she not only gather's a team to go on a mission trip with her, but the family works as a team as well. Amber thank you for the many, many hours and all your dedication to these mission projects, you are a light in this world of darkness, you will never know the lives that have been touched here at home and at Pine Ridge.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fred and Judy

Just a quick post to welcome Fred and Judy as co-authors to the blog! They leave in a few short weeks to deliver coats, hats, socks and shoes to the children on the Reservation! Now they'll be able to post and upload pics to share with those of you who read here! Looking forward to it! Thanks Fred and Judy for your service to God and to the kids at Pine Ridge!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shoes, Socks, Coats, & Hats

Trips do something to you. You come home and find that you can't quite forget the things you've seen and heard and experienced. And because of that, sometimes you've just gotta find a way to make things different for new friends.

That happened this year. Fred saw that many of the children on the Rez didn't have shoes that were in very good shape. Many of them wore shoes that were too big or too small, and Fred just had to do something about it. So after we got home he and Judy began to plan to collect shoes, socks, coats and hats for the kids. They will be leaving the first week of Sept. to deliver them.

So, now Fred and Judy are discovering that the kids out there not only take over your heart, they have a way of taking over your house as well. Below are some pics of Fred and Judy's house and how its been invaded by shoes, socks, coats, and hats. Click on the pic to get a larger view.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Heat is On

Here's a short video of us delivering some of the heaters that our friends 8 Lives Spent raised the money for. We delivered heaters to the villages of Calico, Wounded Knee and Allen. BIG THANKS to the guys from 8 Lives Spent for all their work! Some people will be warm this winter thanks to them.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


The dates for the 2010 trip are scheduled for July 10-19. We will again load the truck on Friday evening, July 9th. If you are interested in going, please attend an interest meeting that will be at the church on Sunday, August 16 @ 4pm.

In the meantime, please, please, please support the efforts of Fred and Judy Howell who will be collecting new or almost new children's winter coats, hats, gloves, blankets, and shoes (Velcro closures please) and taking them to the Rez the first week of September. Our team and our congregation fully support what they feel led to do.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Some News

Sunday evening, Aug. 2nd our team will be sharing about our trip. This will be the only chance to see the video as I can't upload it to be viewed online.

I also have some dates for the 2010 trip. We will leave Saturday, July 10 and return Monday, July 19, 2010.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random Pics

The infamous playground. That's a daunting sight when you're walking into that.

As if cooking for 150 every day isn't enough, Whitlock swung a hammer too

Introducing the teens to "Hillbilly Golf"

Jeff and Charles did a great job with the teens

Even giving piggyback rides at the work site

Some really rare "down time"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Little Adventure Never Hurt Anybody

This isn't anything fancy - just raw footage of the truck ride to and from Melda's. Its fun to listen to the people in the vans. :) BTW, thanks for your prayers as we tried to get the 26' truck up the hill last Thursday evening. We had awoken to a crash of thunder and a downpour of rain and wondered how we would ever get it up the hill with mud, but it proved to be no problem ... just a little adventure.


Originally uploaded by ABuriff

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Interview with Dawn Frank: President of the Calico Community, Pine Ridge Reservation


Originally uploaded by ABuriff
A sunflower at Wounded Knee. There are normally whole fields of sunflowers in SD

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee
Originally uploaded by ABuriff
The cross above the Wounded Knee memorial. I think that is an old American flag tied around the cross. Amazing considering the US Army massacred over 200 unarmed Lakota at this site.

Wounded Knee Memorial

Wounded Knee Memorial
Originally uploaded by ABuriff
The stone at the site of the mass grave of the massacre at Wounded Knee


Pine Ridge 09 214
Originally uploaded by ABuriff


Pine Ridge 09 351
Originally uploaded by ABuriff


Pine Ridge 2009
Originally uploaded by ABuriff


Originally uploaded by ABuriff
Hammer was really hungry this year. He ate 3 burgers (2 on the playground), 2 pudding cups, chips, carrots, and who knows what else - all in one sitting!


Originally uploaded by ABuriff