Saturday, July 18, 2015

On the Way Home

     We have truly had a great week. It is nice to have the mix of those with experience having been out here before and those who come with fresh eyes gaining a new knowledge.  For those of us that have been before these trips have become a wonderful reconnection with old friends. For those who who are new it is a refreshing introduction to a simpler, harder, more beautiful way of life and being. We learn so much while we are here about respect for the earth, the animals, and each other. We offer friendship and encouragement to a group of people who don't or haven't always receive/d that from the "white" people they know or have known.  We hear stories of racism against the Lakota and other Indians and it infuriates me. But, then it causes me to pause and reflect, to ask myself are there people in my own life on whom I knowingly or unknowingly inflict the same kind of pain. Are there people or people groups whom I unfairly judge before taking the time to get to know them? Are they Republicans or Democrats? Are they black, white, or other? Are they rich or poor? Are they from another Christian denomination or do they have another religious belief system entirely? Are they gay? Are they too young or too old? Too many times I know I can say I have judged someone before I have even gotten to know them and hear their story. Shame on me! I must do better. If you can think of times when you have done the same then, shame on you too. We MUST recognize all people as children of God because they are. We must recognize all people as worthy of our time and effort because they are. We must recognize all people regardless of socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, age, race, creed, or religious belief as people and not categories; as individuals not a group; and as someone who can teach us instead of the other way around. I think there is a natural respect for a teacher. If we view all people as our teachers we might actually learn something. We should talk less and listen more. We should ask questions then be quiet and listen for the answers. Who knows? God might use others to teach us a thing or two. ;) !  I didn't mean for that to be so heavy, but these blogs are a way for me to decompress and reflect on the days and the week we've had. Thanks for bearing with me!

     Yesterday was our sightseeing day. We drove from Bridger after saying, "We'll see you later" (there is no word in the Lakota language for good-bye). We drove through The Badlands and the National Buffalo Grassland. Unfortunately, we did not see any Tatanka (buffalo) this year, but we did see groundhogs and Big horn sheep. We went to Mt. Rushmore and The Crazy Horse memorial and museum.

    My prayer as we re-enter our normal routines is that we do not forget the lessons we have learned this week, that we do not forget the friends we have made and the struggles they deal with on a daily basis, and that we continue to lift them up in prayer.

   A picture may be worth a thousand words, but even our words cannot capture the beauty of these people or this land. However, they can give you of glimpse of each. Enjoy these pictures of our final day.

The team pictured with Bud and Beth Lone Eagle (left), Zora Lone Eagle (front), and Sylvester Waloke (right).

The mountain in the background with a bronze replica of what the monument will look like in the foreground. 

In the museum we found a case of pictures. Three of these pictures had Sylvester in them!

     Thank you, FBC Augusta, for supporting us financially and through prayer as we have been away this week! I ask that you continue to pray for traveling mercies today, that flights are on time and luggage is received. We look forward to returning home to our loved ones to share our many stories.


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