Fun Free Day 

Today for our free day we traveled to Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, and Sylvan Lake. In Custer Park we drove through the wild life path and saw deer, burrows, and moose just outside of the park. At Sylvan Lake the students swam in the lake, jumped off some rocks into the water, and hiked. It was a great day to end the trip with beautiful scenery and some historical education.  Just before dinner we played a round of indoor, black light mini golf.

 

 

Last Day of Work

Today we worked on a local house that had 12 kids between the ages of 1 – 18 living there. The grandparents are helping raise the kids and the grandpa is unable to care for the yard because of a heart condition. We cleaned up trash and personal belongings left outside and weed wacker and mowed the over grown yard. We also found out about half our students have never used a mower or weed wacker but they enjoyed it!

Local Missionaries 

I had someone back home ask more about Matt and Amanda and their ministry here so, here’s a little more information. They have been living and serving here full time for 4 years. Their three kids are young, 8, 5, and 2 and they live here on the Ranch. During the school year Matt is a teacher at a local school in addition to the pastor of the church and leading various programs at the Ranch. 

The kids camp they run here at the ranch (which is free) has been going for a few years and just recently after building the relationships and foundations they are seeing kids give their lives to Christ. 

During the school year they run nightly programs the teens and that ministry is growing as well. They recently had a students Ilajah (Elijah with an “i”) become nationally certified as a welder and is now able to travel anywhere in the U.S. and get a welding job. He also happens to be the son of a Chief! 

In addition to the lack of skill and education here there aren’t places that teach skills and if they do learn a trait there are no places of employment right here. Thoss young people who want to better themselves must travel away from their family, culture, and everything they know to work. It’s a real struggle. 

It’s been amazing talking with Matt and Amanda about their ministry. I’ve been able to witness the relationships Matt has built here as natives come to the church to talk to him and arrange him to help them. They often are victims of stealing around here with people breaking into the church to take things or walking into the ranch when no ones here. Recently his family traveled away for a week and someone came on their ranch and stole over $400 worth of diesel gas he uses for the buses to pick up kids and his tractor. Yet, they just continue to really show the love of Christ to everyone they meet. 

**the website is haddenjourney.org or haddenjourney.com that will redirect to the same place 🙂 

For more information or to follow them here’s their information: 
 

Wednesday Night Chapel

Ed, our team staff, shared with us last night about the importance of the word “therefore” in scripture and what it means to us. We looked at the various things God has done for us in scripture and therefore how we should live from it. We looked at mostly Ephesians, Eph 1:3-7 and 4:1-4.  


We looked at the demonstrated life of Pastor Saeed, a Christian Iranian Pastor, who is imprisoned in Iran for 8 years for practicing Christianity. We read a letter that was released to his family and church back home encouraging them of his situation and encouraging them how to live. Although he’s in terrible conditions being persecuted he knows God is using his imprisonment for his Glory and expects him to live in a way to share the love of Christ with those around him. 

Our group was challenged to live the therefore life. “God loves and forgives us therefore we should…” It was a good reminder to act towards others not under our own expectations of what’s good, just, and fair, but through the eyes of Christ, the way he is towards us. 

We are looking forward to our last half day of work this morning before experiencing some of the local culture. Our afternoon plan is to head into town, Pine Ridge, and experience a Pow-Wow. Today is the start of a traditional 4 day Pow-Wow with the biggest part of it starting this afternoon. 

Tuesday Night Chapel

One of the team staff shared with us last night about learning from Andrew the disciple. We looked at various examples of his faith and humbleness in John 1:35-40, Matthew 4:18-20, and John 6:5-13. 

We learned about how God takes the inadequate and insufficient and makes it adequate and sufficient. It was a great reminder that we don’t have to rely on our strength and wisdom because God can do way more through us than we could imagine. 

Day 3 Work

Everyone did great today finishing up our projects at the church. We painted the ramp, repaired and replaced the siding, laid down new carpet, and hung shelving.

After work we went and saw some wild Bison.

 

Sheep Mountain in Badlands 

Today after work we traveled about 15 miles down into part of the Badlands called Sheep Mountain. To say it is beautiful is beyond an understatement!!