Breakfast at the house, devotions at the main ministry building.
Russell did a great job of leading morning devotions - bringing our Christian faith and the tribal spirituality into focus in a way that helps us see the beautiful similarities. He taught us about aspects of the culture, Lakota words, and some tribal history that helps us to learn why things are the way they are. I found myself wanting to sit and listen to Russell all day! He was interesting. Enthusiastic. Funny. And he LOVES the people on the reservation and wants so badly to help us to love them, too. He does a wonderful job.
After devotions we were off to our jobs! Beth J. and I headed to the clothes closet to start unpacking boxes - sorting what could be used and what should be thrown away. We organized, hung up, folded, and made the clothes look nice for today's customers. It's amazing how many clothes are donated! (And how many are not able to be used... Just a note for future donators - no corduroys or turtlenecks for the reservation. They just get thrown out.)
(We made it through all of those boxes and MANY more throughout the day!)
Carol worked in the "Warm Welcome" the area of the thrift store that serves breakfast and lunch. She got to help prepare and serve meals (hard work!) and chat with the people as they came through... She was even known to entertain some little kids in the meantime!
(Carol made that pretty quilted sign for the Warm Welcome area. Isn't it fun?)
Beth R. started out in the warehouse unpacking food items and stocking the shelves - but was quickly snatched up to work the front desk! She loved the responsibility and the joy of talking to people and seeing their smiles as they left with what they needed.
I chose Handgames. I was ready for some fun and excited to hang out with the youth group kids from our house. Our whole group decided to take part in this activity. Midas, our teacher, is one of the people on the Rosebud Handgames team that won the national competition this year - so we were being taught by the best! It's really a guessing game. You hide things in your hands while the other team guesses which hand has the right object. The fun is - you're allowed to distract and tease and have fun with the other team... Amy decided to distract and tempt the men (when we were playing men against women) by offering them our chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. To much laughter - it worked! The boys couldn't help themselves, lost focus, and - lost the game! We had so much fun laughing as we learned about this ancient game - Midas was a great teacher!
(These are the sticks you are trying to earn - all handmade!)
(These are the "bones" you hide in your hands - the "guesser" is looking for the plain one."
(Amy's "hiding the bones" while Midas teaches us the way to play.)
(The first round, Beth R. and I were on a team with some men-folk from the other group. We won!)
After the program was over and everyone went their own ways, we spent some time talking with some of the adults staying in our house... and then got around to our devotions - again outside on such a nice night! We shared our highs and lows of the day, read scripture, talked about what "service" really means and discussed what it means to truly "see" the needs of those around us. To wrap up we prayed - offering thanks and lifting situations that we witnessed throughout the day that needed a little extra prayer... A great way to end the day.
Life is good on the reservation. Hard work, lots of smiles and laughs, learning lots, and loving this experience!
"The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
"You and I were created for a purpose, and that purpose is to serve. His Word says that if we want to be happy and fulfilled, we'll never get there just by receiving. We also have to give...
"...Love has to be the motivating factor."
--John Ed Mathison, "Treasures of a Transformed Life"
(Photos courtesy of Carol E. and Megan A.)