By JAMIE PIPHER
Calvary Baptist Church
Parishioners with Arcadia’s Calvary Baptist Church recently made a sixth mission trip to the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Making the nearly 1,900-mile journey were 16 adults and children, ages nine to 75. The reservation is home to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate nation. Its boundaries extend into North Dakota.
The Arcadia group included a mother/daughter team, a grandmother and granddaughter, one couple and a family of four. For 11 of the adventurers, this was a repeat experience.
The Florida team’s activity schedule was similar to previous years—community events, meals, nursing home visitation, powwow vendors, home visitation and church services. A local homeless shelter visit and conducting a Vacation Bible School series were added this year.
Knowing that the group would soon be returning to Florida, it was important to leave behind something that could change lives. While visiting the shelter and individuals in their homes, for example, over 300 bibles were given to those opening their homes and hearts to us.
But the real gift came in a very different way in the form of an unexpected blessing. On the last day of community events, we arrived in the remote town of Veblen, South Dakota, with a population of just over 500. The event was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., hot dogs on the grill. We arrived around 5:30 to unload and set up. Then it was time to light the grill.
Who has the hot dogs became the key question. It was soon obvious they had been left behind. Being innovative and slow to be discouraged, Pastor Scott and Denise Harn went to secure hot dogs. But they soon learned the only place open was the local bar. What to do? You ask the bartender if he or she has any hot dogs, of course. Well, the bar did not serve hot dogs, but the bartender saw a need to be met. She called the local grocery store. They had closed at 6 p.m. and it was then 6:15. She then called the owners at home and told them of the situation. The owners without any hesitation said, “We will meet you at the store. We have hot dogs.”
Thanks to the kindness of these local folks, we had grilled hot dogs for everyone.
We know that mission work is about building relationships and opening hearts. On this trip we had the honor of receiving as well as giving, thanks to people who did not question our intent, did not laugh at our blunder, but instead took the time to offer a lending hand. As a mission group we focus our hearts on the love and hope that only Jesus Christ can provide to the individuals we meet on our journey.
However, we encourage everyone to be aware of the issues impacting the lives of this Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate nation. Some resources include: www.earthskyweb.com/sota.html, and Facebook/SWC Extension Program.
And if you ever find yourself in the lovely town of Veblen, be sure to stop at Cantina’s Bar and Grill and Grobes Grocery & Hardware store. Let them know how much they were appreciated by a group from Arcadia.