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As we headed home on Friday, July 22, we rejoiced in the great things God had done throughout our week of ministry on the Pine Ridge Reservation to the Lakota-Sioux people. We now reflect on what God has done and acknowledge: most of His work we have yet to fully realize the fruit. But we will continue to sow, pray, water, and believe in the Lord of the Harvest.
Holy Spirit, do Your work. Draw the heart of man, teach them in all Truth, and bring Your Word to life in their hearts.
The trip to South Dakota itself is arduous with 15 hours of road travel including food and fuel stops. But then, as there is no place to house our team closer to the Reservation, we travel 70 miles one way each day to minister in the various communities. We chronicled our daily ministry via our ministry’s Facebook page. Here is a brief recap of each day’s ministry.
Day 1: Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Our first day of ministry took place in Wounded Knee and was successful and certainly an eye-opener for much of our team. I had shared with them in our training sessions about the nature of ministry on the Rez but experiencing it banishes all doubts: ministry on the Rez is like nowhere else! With rocks being flung at puppets, dogs & bicycles zooming through the ministry site, dog fights breaking out during the preaching & puppet presentations, our team members had to remain alert and maintain their determination. We were there for souls. Despite total chaos and unruly children, five adults and several children responded when given the opportunity to accept Christ. These are the types of results from ministry in a place like the Lakota-Sioux Reservation. Much sowing of seed, faithful tending, and a seemingly small harvest, and yet the Word of God is being sown! A harvest is ALWAYS forthcoming! Thank you for continued prayers. Next stop: Manderson.
Day 2: Manderson, South Dakota
(Today’s) ministry was successful despite the detours. ‘Flexibility’ is the operative word in ministry on the Rez. While we were redirected to a different prison unit than previously promised, the team shared & ministered to the four who were able to attend with short notice. Four young men attended & four young men stepped forward to accept salvation through Christ!
Ministry in Manderson was a little more tame than our previous day in Wounded Knee. We had a great crowd and had roughly 10 adults and 10-12 children who responded to the call for salvation–freedom through Jesus Christ! We were able to reconnect with one of our first converts, Janice, and encourage her.
Day 3: Evergreen, South Dakota
We began Day 3 of ministry in the women’s unit of the local Pine Ridge jail. Our hearts immediately went out to the women there, many of whom are quite young and most have children they’ve been separated from. Their hearts were receptive to our ministry and we made some great connections with several of the inmates for future correspondence.
It was tough plowing in Evergreen, as is generally the case. The children’s ministry was very effective this year in drawing the kids and some of their parents. I preached and the sound system carried the Good News throughout the community. Many listened even from their front porches and through cracked doors. But no one moved toward a life in Christ. It’s at these moments when we must direct our faith back to Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 3: “So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (I Corinthians 3:7-8) It will be God, and God alone, who will give the increase in due season. The seed was sown. It shall bring forth harvest.
Day 4: Batesland, South Dakota
Our ministry in Batesland yesterday was successful in this community of only 100. We cooked and served hotdogs and hamburgers, cold drinks, and gave away dozens of sweaters, Bibles, and blankets. But most importantly we exemplified the love of Christ and gave them an opportunity to know the Savior of the world! The results? 10 children and two adults surrendered their hearts to following Christ! This is the beginning of new life for each one of them.
Many thanks to the many partners who joined us in prayer and financial support! Simply stated, we could not do what God has called us to do without your obedience to what He has asked YOU to do. Our Reaching the Rez ’16 team members deserve recognition, as well, as they worked very hard and pushed through unusual and uncomfortable situations to carry the Light of Truth to a very dark land. The best is yet to come! Now we seek to disciple these new believers via mail and upcoming ministry visits. All the while, we pray, Lord, send someone to plant a Spirit-filled work there to assist in making disciples and shifting the culture for the beautiful Lakota-Sioux people.
For more photos from this year’s endeavor, click here.