Annette's Report from South Dakota!
Each mission trip taken seems to have its own theme crafted as you go. Earlier this month my granddaughter Lillie and I took off on her first mission trip at the age of 10. Our journey began with kayaking; paddle boating, and water fountains. This was all on our travel to our destination: Pine Ridge Reservation. Because of all these water activities we decided WATER would be our theme.
Then we arrived at the Pine Ridge Reservation – no water! The inches of dust covered the streets, our clothes, and our skin. The water was gone. Pine Ridge Reservation was just north of the Nebraska border and Nebraska was green. When we finished our trip and left the reservation we traveled through more dry land until we reached the other side of the reservation – there it was beautiful, lush and green.
Water, as we know from God’s Word is a symbol of cleansing. In Proverbs it is a symbol of wisdom. In Isaiah it is a symbol of salvation. In another Isaiah verse it is a symbol of quenching our thirst and blessing our offspring. Yet in John the thirst that God quenches is a need for a Savior. The Pine Ridge Reservation is a land of people in need of Water – they need a Savior – they need to believe.
This trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation led us to a group of people who are plagued with evil spirits, alcoholism, Meth addiction, and diabetes. Although there were young faces that still had a joyful look on their hopeful faces – the adults were worn out, tired and thirsty. Yet, the problem was – their thirst was not identified to themselves. What they used to fill this thirst were wrong choices.
Wrong choices come from wrong beliefs. When you believe there is no hope – things will never change –the option to look for different answers doesn’t exist.
Until they have an inward desire to look for different answers – change one’s belief – the thirst will always plague this people group.
Lillie and I spent several days sharing the Love of Jesus with natives who came with outstretched hands. They wanted a free lunch, or to sell their wares, or because of curiosity. Yet when they left they had heard the Wordless book shared through the making of a bracelet. They heard the story of the cross as we cooked with cruciferous vegetables. They heard of God’s love as their feet were washed.
This trip was not glamorous nor was it exciting. Instead it was a chance to teach my granddaughter that a mission is not always fun and games but reaching out to people you don’t know, when they are dirty and not always friendly. It is about prayer walking even if dogs want to chase you. It is about making friends with kids your age even knowing you may get lice. It is about sleeping in a bunk house and staying inside a locked gate all day.
Yet when it is all said and done – this was a Wellness Clinic.
Our team offered foot-washing which allowed at least 10 minutes of communication per person to let people share their heart with strategic questions.
One very large tall man wanted to experience it and although he was the tough Indian on the outside he was the most ticklish on the inside. It was very humorous to see him squirm and yet try to maintain his composure.
It was about teaching cooking classes to help with diabetes even when kids and men wanted to be the chefs. It was about tasting new foods, learning new cooking styles and then seeing their faces light up when they were given a crockpot to make their own applesauce.
It was about making a bracelet with beads that shared the Gospel. It was about Lillie teaching two other girls from the neighborhood how to do the bracelets so they could continue after we left.
This trip was about teaching them how to prevent the mindset of suicide.
This trip was about the men leading a basketball camp and each day sharing a daily devotion about who God is.
This trip was about ministering to the pastor and his wife as they work hard to reach these people in such a spiritually dry land.
This trip reminded me of Jesus’ teaching – “Do you wish to be well?”
This trip was not about coming home boasting about hundreds coming to salvation. It was not about great hugs and embraces with new friends. The natives are waiting for the next group so they can again have their hands open.
This trip was hard – but yet it was good. It was hot but yet it was refreshing. God cares as much about each one of these as He does for us. He died for them as He died for us.
Thank you to everyone who carried us on this trip with your prayers, gifts for the Indians and support. You were as much involved in this trip as were we.
On the way home Lillie and I ventured into one more water opportunity of kayaking. So the theme of water started as fun and enjoyable then became lacking and thirsty and then returned back to adventures.
Our lives are that way as well. We start off watered fully in God’s Word, then sometimes we cross a dry land where it seems God is a distant thought, only to be reminded that He never left us and we can come to Him and enjoy the showers of His love by just asking.
Be well watered today so your growth brings refreshment to everyone around you. And then go kayaking!
Thank you for all your support and prayers,
Annette and Lillie Reeder