I’m still trying to process what happened in the last week of my life, I thought I had my plans figured out, but it turns out that I was wrong. So here is what happened… My friend takes trips to Pine Ridge, South Dakota several times a year, and I felt like I was supposed to go with Him, however work has been busy and i knew that I could not take an entire week off of work, so I drove a separate vehicle with a guy who also could only take part of the week off. We left at about five in the morning and were off to a great start, until around three in the afternoon when I got a message that my Boss who was going to cover for me while I was out of town had been admitted to the hospital. I still don’t know how I ended up with the amount of responsibility which I carry at work, but anyhow I needed to get back to work for Monday now that He was not able to cover for me.
On Thursday last week before leaving for the trip, I had seen a guy who served the church where I grew up and we exchanged phone numbers since it had been a while since I had seen him, and he told me that he was currently between jobs and looking for work. I told him I was busy but not sure if our company was hiring or not. I went on the trip not knowing what would happen, I had just talked to my boss Friday night after work and everything seemed fine, but I continued the trip, due to the route that Jake takes it is just over a 1,000 miles to the Rez. I was introduced to this place several years ago and now it is almost like a second home, the pastors and leaders know me and have invited me in and welcome my stay with open arms. While I was up at the Rez this trip I was mostly just a support to the team and to Jake, I drove, and prayed with the team, helped prepare meals in the kitchen, and helped to repaint the kitchen as well. I also advised one of the leaders on how to help seal the eve of her trailer home to help keep out the wind. I worshiped the Lord with a friend on the piano, and spoke words of encouragement into team members who I knew. To be honest I did not feel as if I did anything that could not have been accomplished by another member of the team.
But for the 36 Hours that I was there, it was as if I was home, a place of familiarity, of family, Godly community, spiritual growth, and reflection. It was more about me deciding that even 36 hours with the people that I love and care for is better than nothing, that 1,000 miles is so short a distance to be able to travel in order to share the Love of Christ with a child. To drive an elderly man back home after church because the roads are too muddy for his old car. To simply be near pastors and missionaries who live in the harsh environment of pain and suffering and cold, to simply say, I remember you and care about your wellbeing.
My heart will forever be touched through short term missions trips, because they bring my heart back into alignment with what is truly valuable, caring for orphans and widows in their distress, and sharing the message of Jesus with those who have not heard His name.