First night 

We made it into South Dakota about 8:00pm our time. The group did great through our two plane rides and about a 5.5 hour drive. The various landscaping is quite breathtaking, and I’ll be looking for some pictures from our students as we drove. We are staying at a Ranch that is used for kids camp during the day (kind of like a VBS for the local children) and a place for groups to stay and serve, that is within Badlands National Park. Because it was dusk as we drove in last night, we weren’t able to see the Badlands as much but look forward to capturing it more today. Some of the students were admiring the stars last night as they said, “we never see these many in Boca.”

We also kicked off the week with our first chapel that included a game that our own Dani Boden was a finalist in. There are 3 other groups here –  from Tampa, Iowa, and I believe Minosota with about 50 of us total. After worship, Brooke, one of the staff,  spoke about the theme “demonstrated life” and how important it is for us to walk the walk not just talk the talk in our faith. She spoke about being saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-10) but that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-18.) We looked at the life of Mother Teresa and how she lived her faith out serving others. The group was challenged to keep in mind this isn’t designed as a “feel good” trip but one to serve the Lord by serving the least of these (Matthew 25:31-46.) There will be times we are tired and worn out but Brooke challenged us to keep going to serve those who are in need and that God will give us the strength and endurance we need.

Our sleeping arrangements are tight as all the group members from the 4 groups are in shoe-box style rooms (1 girls room, 1 guys room) with bunk beds. Our bathroom and showers are just next door and our chapel and dining hall are in the same building as our rooms (actually the same room; we convert back and forth to dual purpose the space.)

We’ll be having breakfast soon (8:00am our time) and then heading off to our worksites with our leader Ed (keep him in your prayers as well!).  I’m extremely proud of our students already traveling with no complaints and making the most of a long day yesterday (it was basically a 22 hour day for us!). I look forward to sharing more pictures and updates as we go. 🙂