Friday, August 10, 2012

Standing Rock Reservation

On Monday, July 30th, 2 days after my scheduled arrival time, I finally made it to McLaughlin, SD on the Standing Rock Reservation.  I arrived just after lunch, and spent the afternoon getting my bearings.  It was a little weird, getting there after everyone else, having never been there before, and with a group that I'd only met twice before.  But, they were an amazing group, and I was quickly greeted with lots of hugs, smiles, and "SO glad you made it!"  I was fairly discombobulated between being exhausted and feeling out of place.  The kids seemed unsure of who I was in relation to the group, or what I was doing there, so the afternoon passed in a blur.  It was neat getting to take an afternoon to step back and watch the group dynamics, though, before jumping in. Everyone had a job, and they did an amazing job of it.  We had 2 younger guys on our team, Brandon and Clifton, who were great at working with the kids and teenagers, especially Brandon's basketball playing skills with the older boys.  You never saw Clifton without a kid hanging off of him.  The younger girls on our team worked with the other kids, and it was neat to watch them laughing, smiling, playing, and doing crafts with the children.  Lylean had a lot of fun playing with the preschoolers, helping them dress up, play with puppets, etc.  The women running the kitchen were quite the group.  They prepared sandwiches, snacks, and dinner for 100-150 people every day, and that's a lot of food and a lot of work, and they kept the kitchen running smoothly and efficiently.  And then, there were the women working with the ladies on the reservation.  They sewed every day, working on different projects.  The first day, they did table runners, the second: pillow cases, and Wednesday, they made simple (but very functional) purses.  They did a great job keeping things going, and helping all the ladies.  The colors and fabrics were amazing, and all the women from the reservation were thrilled with how their projects turned out.  Many of the women came back every day to make different things.  And then, there was Sara and Carol.  Sara and her husband Charlie had their hands in so many things this week.  I don't know what the team would have done without them.  Sara planned and prepared crafts for the kids, and made sure we had all the equipment to help so many children do the projects.  Charlie helped some of the kids make birdhouse gourds, and was just a general all around, do everything helper.  Carol was all over the place with the kids, and she planned songs for all the daily devotionals we did with the children (some on very last minute's notice), as well as taught a group of the children how to play handbells.  I am absolutely amazed by all that was accomplished by this team.  And behind it all was Lillian Ann and her husband, Curtis, along with Mickey, the pastor.

Well, that's a good introduction to our group and what we did overall.  More later on specific moments....

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