Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday-- Home, Sweet Home

     Thank you, Joy, for the wake up call. Front desk didn't answer last night for me to set one up with and I did not hear my alarm. I quickly got dressed. We loaded the van and headed to the Airport. It was a close call getting to the gate this morning. We were the last ones on the plane in Rapid City. Hopefully, that is the last hiccup of the trip.
     We had smooth travels the rest of the way home. There were no problems with either flights or bags. It was a sweet reunion with my girls. The team got back on the People Mover, which was waiting on us. We had a great trip. I hope you will seek out one of us that was on the trip to hear more stories than what I have written here.

     Just a reminder, pictures are forthcoming.

Friday--Sightseeing...Badlands, Rushmore, Crazy Horse, tatonka, and prairie dogs.

Today made for a long day of driving, but it was a good, fun day. We started early by breaking down our beds, repacking our suitcases, and cleaning up around the church. We arranged with Byron earlier in the week to ride horses this morning. When we got back from the pow-wow last night I noticed a horse trailer within the compound so I figured they must have brought some extra horses. I was glad of this because I know that some of the horses at the church were still in process of being broken. Ziggy, Josh, and Eric came by this morning to help with the riders. I got on Brownie and rode around the compound. Unfortunately, I was not "one with the horse"  and we went pretty much where he wanted to go. I decided not to go on the trail ride. Everyone got on a horse except for Kevin and Chip. Kevin was excited about the possibility until it was time to get on. However, he did pet the horse, which Betsy said was an accomplishment. Joy, Chiles, and Jacob road with Josh and Eric up to the top of the ridge and around behind Judy and Dean's ranch. They seemed to have a good time. (I'm not sure how I didn't get a picture of Chiles on a horse.  He did ride to be sure)

Mickie made  sandwiches for us to take on the road so when the riders came back we finalized packing the van and said our goodbyes. Toni and Byron gave each of us a certificate of appreciation. They also presented our church with a beautiful quilt as a gift and ”thank you” for coming out.

(L-R) Chiles, Jacob, Josh, Kevin, Mickie, Josh' daughter, Josh's wife, Betsy, Ziggy, Eric, Joy, Toni, Chip, Byron, Andy

our beautiful quilt (will be on display at church soon)

On our scenic tour to get to get to Mt. Rushmore we drove through the Badlands. They are an awe-inspiring site. Some call this the land they God forgot, but I thought it was beautiful in its uniqueness. Like many of our photos this week pictures and words do not do justice to what we have seen. We continued our journey through the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, and yes we did see a herd of Buffalo well off the road. We enjoyed the sights at Mt. Rushmore and the unfinished Crazy Horse monument. There was more to see in the museum at Crazy Horse than the monument itself. When completed the entire sculpture of Mt. Rushmore would be able to fit inside the headdress of Crazy Horse. We found another great restaurant, this time courtesy of Urban Spoon. We are in for a short night early flight out in the morning.

The just gotta see it

Buffalo on the roam

Mt. Rushmore

team at Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse monument.

We finally got Kevin on a horse!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday--The Final Push

     We were all geared up for the last day of work for the trip. I was to finish painting the church. We were to paint the bell tower and the rest of the basketball court. Chip was going to work on Byron's uncle's house (Ed Widow). The ladies were straightening the Fellowship Hall and preparing for our departure tomorrow. We were woken up early by a storm this morning. The rain water was still on the court so we couldn't so that project. I ran out of paint so I couldn't finish the church our do the bell tower. Chip was able to strengthen the bell tower mounts before breakfast. After breakfast he and Jacob went to Ed Widow's. They returned before lunch with a list of items to be purchased and completed (too much for the part of the day they had left). We will leave a note for the 2nd Baptist group from Liberty, MO that is coming next week of the tasks to be completed. Mickie cleaned up the trash that was left our after the cook-out. Betsy, Joy, and Mickie decided to organize the closets and clean the floors in the fellowship hall.
     In the afternoon I took Mickie, Kevin, and Betsy to Faith since they had not been. We got another gallon of paint at the hardware sore which should be enough for the last gable and bell tower. We also went to the grocery store for necessities before we leave tomorrow. If my definition for success on this trip was based solely on projects completed I would be disappointed. But, when I more correctly figure in the cook-out, the relationship and connection made with members of the community (young and old alike), the exposure to the ministry of the Gettysburg church, and the excitement of our team about coming back then there is no other way to describe this trip BUT successful! Thank you, team, for your hard work, compatibility, flexibility, and your selves. It has truly been a great week. I look forward to the partnership that FBC Augusta can form here. I eagerly await discovery of how our unique gifts can be used in the communities of Bridger, Takini, Red Scaffold, Cherry Creek, and even Faith. Thank you church for sending us and trusting us with your mission.
Andy and his hot dog helper

crowd at the cook-out

This is Beth (gray shirt) from yesterday's blog

shopping the beads

pow-wow at Takini

1st dance

jingle dancer

little fancy dancer

couples' competition (Joy and Chip)

Byron and Toni

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday--Preparing the cook-out

Today was a good day all day. After we began the day with devotion and prayer we split out to begin our tasks for the day. I started painting the other two sides of the church. Chiles was working on the grill that we would use for the cook-out tonight. He did a great job! We had a superb grill and so will the next groups.
Chiles' grill

Kevin and the chicken
Jacob began painting the lines on the basketball court. Chip and Joy went to Faith for a mid-week grocery and hardware run. Betsy and Mickie went into the community to invite then to our cook-out. Kevin talked to the chickens and hung out around the church.
    I left just the gable work front and back to so Thursday. In the afternoon Jake and Chip put up the mounts for the bell tower. When it was time to install the bell it became a full team effort. You can see from the pictures that this involved 7 people, 3 ladders, 2 2x4s,and 1 very heavy bell. We all were very glad to get the bell up. Chip and Jake finished mounting the bell. While they were doing that I hustled over to start the fire on the grill.
And the bell is up!
     I had several little helpers around the grill. They helped me turn the hot dogs and get them into the buns. The ladies were busy in the kitchen preparing the rest of the meal. Joy made a great banana pudding and some awesome chocolate cakes. We had several people stop I throughout the afternoon to visit and have coffee. Before we ate we had everyone come outside for a blessing of the meal and the bell led by pastor Byron. The bell had not been rung in over a year. It was apparently knocked down by vandals last summer. I don't think anyone was happier than Byron and Toni. The cook-out was a success. We had about 30 Lakota stop in at different times. I don't know if the kids say down more than 5 minutes. Byron came or to the fire after dinner and played his flute. Before he did he told three story of the lovers flute. I have enjoyed making connections with the people around the table and through stories.
   One of the ladies at my table tonight was Beth. She is some part Lakota. I think she may be a teacher in Pine Ridge. She was telling me about one of her friends, Leland, who is one of the last storytellers. With this guys help and through some NASA research they have determined that the Lakota are the oldest people group on the planet. They have also discovered a ”j” dialect of their language. She told a great story of an old Lakota gentleman being taken down to South America to meet with a medicine man. They took with them four interpreters to translate for these two. One from Lakota to French, French to English, English to Spanish, and Spanish to the language of the medicine man. As it turns out the medicine man and the Lakota man could understand one another in their own languages because they were so similar. After dinner and the fire put Toni brought out some bead work done by members of the Dakota association. Several of us bought some necklaces, bracelets, medicine bags, or dream catchers. It has been a true joy to be in this part of the country and to connect with these people.
     As a group we stayed up later than any night previous. We were all winding down around 11P. We have to get ready for the final push tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday--Paint the church, break the paint

     Around the breakfast table this morning we had our devotion and shared our highlights from Monday. I read a short devotion then the story of Mary and Martha. Both of which reminded us that we are not here to be fixers, but to enjoy the most important thing, which is relationships. We know that we have work to do, but I encouraged the team to be sure to take time to talk with those who come by.
     With that being said we all headed out to begin painting the church. Chiles and Jake worked on the front of the church. Betsy, Mickie, and Joy started on the side. Kevin even helped with the painting near the ground. Chip was holding the ladder for me while I primed the top part of the front wall. We continued to move around the church clockwise until lunch.
     We ate tacos fore lunch and worked on different projects around the church. We will finish painting tomorrow. Chip and I worked on the gate some more. I am satisfied now with the result. Chip, Jacob, and Chiles worked on the bell tower for a little while as well.
     Toni and Byron came by along with Eric. We all went or to the corral to watch Eric and Josh work with the horses. The brown horse had never had a saddle put on before today and the paint had thrown someone a couple months ago and not been ridden since. She was still a little would, but Josh handled her very well.
     Byron told us yesterday about how they view the corral a sacred space where the spirit of the human connects with the spirit of the horse. We saw that played out today as they were working with the horses. As Josh got on each horse Eric reminded him to relax. He took a deep breath and got into ”go” mode. As they went around the circle Josh's breath was even in sync with the horses.
     Betsy, Kevin, and I fed and watered the chickens. Chiles found 14 eggs I the henhouse perhaps because Kevin Talks-With-Chickens has been talking to them the last couple of days. We hear that helps the chickens lay.
     Tonight, we went to the Takini school for the festival put on by a missionary group from Gettysburg, PA. We got to meet and talk to several members of the group. They are doing construction in several communities coordinated through Doug Dupree as well as the festival and financial classes. They have also coordinated a Pow-Wow for Thursday night. I gave my information to Penny, their trip organizer. Hopefully, we can connect in the next few weeks to talk more about the area. Last night it was a rainbow tonight it was God's fireworks to close out our evening.
Last night's double rainbow

Monday sunset 

Josh preparing to saddle the horse

Kevin touching the colt

Kevin-talks-with-chickens doing his thing

Andy rehanging the chicken water

Takini School Festival put by Gettysburg, PA group

giveaways and furniture store

Joy and Toni selling snow cones

dinner and bingo

after dinner entertainment, water baloon toss

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday- shopping, VBS, work projects

Jake Chiles and Chip working on the bell tower
     My day started out on a comical note this morning. As we were sitting down for breakfast Chip apologized to the group for in his words ”being a diva” yesterday. We all got a good laugh. Thanks, Chip, we needed a good chuckle.
     After breakfast Joy and I reassessed the shopping needs and headed to Faith, SD (our closest town with hardware store and grocery store--45min. away). We went to the hardware store first and bought supplies for several projects. We created a contraption to raise the entrance gate and a new wheel. We bought paint,a ladder, and miscellaneous supplies to repair the bell tower. After the hardware store we went to the grocery store to buy food for the week. This was no short trip and we came back with the van full.
     Meanwhile back at the church, the rest of the crew was busy working on several projects. Mickie and Betsy were pulling weeds around the basketball court. Chip, Chiles, and Jacob were making two basketball goals into one. Each of the goals had a different issue, but pieced together they made a functional goal. Kevin has already declared that he wants his job to be painting. I believe we will make that happen tomorrow.
     When we returned to the church we had lunch together. Jake, Chiles, and I went to work on the gate. It is certainly better than it was now that we fixed the hinge and installed a new wheel. I need one more piece and it will be done. Now, Chip is working on the bell tower with Jake and Chiles. There are two girls from the community in the fellowship hall doing the tray craft we brought for VBS today. No kids came today for VBS. We will be prepared tomorrow in case they do.

     After dinner tonight I had the pleasure of walking with my new buddy, Kevin, as we were searching for one of the horses that had gotten out. We started walking to the graveyard that is behind the church. It is a deceptively long walk. It it's probably a 1/2 mile down the road although it looks like it is just right there. as we were walking to the graveyard, which was the lady place I had seen the horse I noticed a figure walking through the field also toward the graveyard. As soon as I saw the figure I saw three horse standing by the fence. The man, who I later realized was Eric, the next neighbor down the street, walked right up to the horse and slipped a harness around it's neck and brought it around.
     We were all treated to a full double rainbow tonight and some of the longest shadows I have ever seen. In georgia or shadows would hit a tree before they got that long.
     We met pastor Byron Buffalo tonight along with his wife, Toni, and their soon. He let us know of a memorial service of sorts for a volunteer from pennsylvania. Each year they honor his memory when the group from Gettysburg comes over. (Joy and I had seen the monument earlier and wondered what it was.) He started coming to this area when one of Byron's other churches had burned down several years ago. Now, each year when his group comes they have a time of remembrance for him. We were invited, but got too caught up in our dinner and the beautiful rainbow to go. We hear there will be a small festival tomorrow at the Takini school, which is about 12 miles up the road toward Faith. I think we will try to go there tomorrow evening.

Kevin with two community girls doing VBS crafts

Jake assessing the situation from a higher vantage point

Presentation of gifts from Augusta to Pastor Byron Buffalo and his wife, Toni

Andy's grilled chicken on a tiny grill.