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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