Love God. Love people.
What blessings and beauty that can come out of that saying. That is what our week was about.
We made the 4-5 hour drive to near Hayward, Wisconsin, to the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation. We all had never worked with the Native American population (also known as traditional), so for us all, this would be a new experience.
Unity CRC (one of the churches our youth group is made up of), supports missionary Bob Dykstra, who we went to work with. What an example Bob set for us in heart and in ministry. Talk about a humble man who serves God for HIS (God’s) glory and nothing else. We all learned much from Bob and learned all the more, how God is working in the lives of the people of Lac Courte Oreilles.
This will take a few posts to fully do this trip justice, but here is a start:
Our AMAZING youth group kids and leaders!
Throughout the week, we spent time doing various projects around The Shack, which is Bob’s ministry, while also working in the community. The basketball court was extended and here are some guys filling in the cracks
Another project was staining a deck for Sheila, who lived close to the Shack. I give credit to the kids who pained spindle after spindle!
The shed that got a fresh coat of stain
Transporting cinder blocks for a new warming house that is soon to be going up at The Shack. The Shack is a safe place for Christians to gather, as the traditional thought of the Native Americans is very strong. Having support as Christians is something I personally take for granted, living in a predominantly Christian community. As we gathered on Tuesday with the local neighbors, it was evident how much that group meant to them!
Mary Jane, the dog that one day appeared at Bob’s and since then, has never left! She LOVES chasing after balls though…as you can see!
On our last day, we joined with the Hayward Wesleyan youth group and did a VBS for the local children. What fun the kids had!
One project we did was make cornhole boards and bags!
A face of beauty. Native children are so incredibly beautiful!
Basketball is a big sport out there, which we never complained about!
The kids, our youth group kids, and the Hayward youth group!
Of course one BIG event out on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is the pow-wow. Unfortunately, we came the day after THE BIG area pow-wow, but on Wednesday we were able to see a demonstration pow-wow.
Digging out the hole for a new warming house, as Jane makes sure they are doing a good job
During the winter, the pipes froze, so the kids dug a hole so that the pipes could be insulated. It was HOT that day, so I give them credit!
There is so much more that I am excited to share with you about this trip! To get out into the middle of the country, amidst the woods, amidst a new culture, and amidst the beauty of God’s creation. To be together as a youth group, all serving for the same purpose, was such a blessing. The kids were absolutely incredible, so flexible, and oh how we love them!
I have had a few people ask how it was going on a mission trip being pregnant, and leading up to it, I wasn’t apprehensive at all. Then I realized our first full day there was supposed to be in the mid-90s. So I was given some words of wisdom to just take it easy that week. To rest. To listen to my body. These people couldn’t have been more right! I definitely felt it at times, was a tad fatigued, and new I needed to take break, but overall, I felt GREAT!
What FUN it was being pregnant on this trip! Our youth group kids have completely embraced the idea and made the idea of pregnant even MORE fun (if that was even possible). Our baby officially now has the name “Cletus” thanks to Dan! Our kids have ran with it. For example, when we were playing volleyball at night with the kids, we were evening out teams and the kids kept saying we had one more person on our team. And we kept saying no, we have 6, just like you! They reminded us that Cletus was playing too. So all week they decided that I was playing for 2, eating for 2, etc. It was such a blessing. It just made me smile from ear to ear. Conversations and laughs that I could only dream about in the past, that are now a reality. I do sometimes wonder what is going on in this little one’s life because I feel I have grown already, but I am just going to claim that I’m bloated. Our kids think I am having twins (and yes, we would be thrilled), but for now, until we find out if we have more than one, Cletus is staying safe inside. What joy. What a blessing.
Stay tuned for more pictures!