Cheyenne River Youth Project
Eagle Butte, South Dakota
After a night of very stormy weather (huge hail stones and a torrential rainfall) we woke to a beautiful azure sky, a brisk breeze out of the southwest and cool temperatures. Breakfast was wonderful and got us ready for a morning full of work.
Our group divided into three teams. One went to the center’s warehouse to organize clothing and personal items for its family services center. These things will be given to help families in severe need. Another group spent time in the gym organizing shoes for the shoe project, and the third did some deep cleaning (and I mean DEEP CLEANING) in the commercial-grade kitchen. This work is very important due to the fact that the Project is unable to afford any custodial care. It is all done by volunteers or their small staff. All three groups worked very hard to finish their tasks. It was teamwork at its best.
We wanted to spend time in the organic garden but the big rainfall from the last two days has left it a muddy but beautiful mess. Rain has been a scarce commodity here lately so its arrival has been a real blessing.
The late afternoon was filled with games, activities and more with the children and youth of the center. The Lakota are very much a relationship-based culture. By spending time playing, interacting, visiting and merely being present we are beginning to build bridges with each other. We won’t be able to point to a structure at the end of our time here, but we will be able to point to something even better: changed lives. Our lives have been changed by learning about the Lakota and the hardships they have endured for 400 years. We hope their lives will be affected as they see our willingness to partner with and learn from our new friends.
The theme for our week is “j(us)tice.” Yes, there are parentheses in that word. It shows that we, us, are involved in justice. We are challenging ourselves this week to see the world through the eyes of God. We are looking at our own lives and asking, “How can we become part of a movement toward j(us)tice for all of God’s children around the world?” A big question, to be sure, but one that invites us to dive deeply into God’s Spirit as we seek new ways of living.
Every day for our group begins with “solo time.” This is a chance to read a little scripture, respond to reflective questions and consider God’s work in our lives. Family groups meet after that. These small gatherings look at the same scriptures from solo time and allow us to learn from each other. After dinner we meet in family groups again to reflect on the day’s events and where we see the Spirit at work. An evening program concludes our day with community building, singing, a keynote from Brandon or me and a time of quiet prayer.
Please keep us in YOUR prayers as we continue to serve with our new friends and partners in ministry.
Grace and peace to you,
Click here to see photos from the CYF Mission Trip