As many of you who follow my blog are probably aware, we currently have a mission team in South Dakota, ministering to the Oglala-Sioux and Oglala-Lakota Indians. I thought that today I would let one of my “boots-on-the-ground” missionaries share a little bit about the work that is going on at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
“We arrived at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Tuesday afternoon after a day of taking in some of the sites in this region (Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse monument, etc.). When we arrived on the reservation (“the rez”), it didn’t take long to be in awe of its sheervastness. When we passed the sign announcing that we were on the rez, we drove for nearly another forty-five minutes before we reached the Pine Ridge Baptist Church, our base of operations for this mission. The church sits at an intersection with almost nothing but open plains stretched out in every direction. The land is a reflection of its inhabitants: Beautiful, yet empty; neglected, yet full of untapped potential. These people are the descendants of a heritage of broken promises, shattered dreams, and empty assurances.
Words escape me when I attempt to describe our first day of ministering to the children here. Forty-seven children showed up for the first day of fun and ministry, and the thing that stood out to everyone on the mission team was the yearning for love, and just a gentle touch from another person. One team member described how she was sitting with one of the young girls who was not feeling well, and was patting her on the arm. When she stopped, the young girl begged her to continue. It was obvious she was desperate for a touch of kindness from another person.
As we continue ministry this week, please pray for strength for the team, and open hearts, eager for the love of Jesus in those who come to the church. We are somewhat limited in our ability to post since wireless and internet access are somewhat limited on the rez. Thank you so much for the prayers thus far. Keep them coming… the need is great.