Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
-- BCP, page 231
2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37;
Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
During my time at the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota I learned so much about the native people, God, and myself. On Tuesday, June 12, the 2018 mission team met at the church at 3:00 a.m. to catch our flight from Richmond to Rapid City, South Dakota. I have to admit, that morning was rough, but when we reached Rapid City, rented a car, and started driving my mood lifted entirely. Southwestern South Dakota is a beautiful place, with rolling prairie, abundant wildlife, and multiple National Parks. On our way to the Rosebud, we drove through the Badlands, where we saw beautiful views of eroded rock forming steep slopes. The drive took about three hours until we got to the reservation.
On the reservation, we were greeted warmly by Mother Lauren, a strong, fierce, loving woman who showed us where we would be staying. The building had many dorm-like rooms, a kitchen, and two meeting areas. It was also un-air-conditioned, however it felt mostly comfortable. During the week, the mission team completed many projects for the Rosebud Reservation. We built and painted an arbor outside the Episcopal center which we also painted. We mopped out a flooded basement; we mowed grass and weed-whacked, we moved wood chips to create a mulch pile, and so much more. We had lots of help from local men who ate meals and shared their lives with us for the week. We had a good amount of free time, in which we did a number of things including chatting with each other and calling our family back home. Every evening, we worshipped in the small chapel near where we stayed.
Some other things we did included visiting the local university's cultural center -- where we learned much about the people on the Rosebud -- attending a Lakota church service presided over by Mother Lauren, shopping for local handmade goods at the Rosebud Exchange, and traveling to Chamberlain to see the magnificent statue called Dignity on the Missouri River. We were also visited by two local men, one native and one from New Jersey. The native man, Sage, showed us tribal dances and regalia used in pow-wows. Learning the dance was a highlight of the week, because we were laughing and having a wonderful time. The older man from New Jersey told us about his life and how he came to the Rosebud as a young man and never wanted to leave. He told us about some of the religious customs of the Lakota people, including sweat-lodge ceremonies, which seemed very extreme. Another thing we did was go to a pow-wow, which gave us a glimpse into native life. The singers and dancers captured our ears and eyes -- it was incredible.
The mission trip to the Rosebud Reservation showed me how much one can learn doing God's work, and the variety of ways in which to do it. On our way home, we stopped by Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore, but couldn't see a thing because of the fog. However, that was one of the best parts of the trips. I think we all found happiness on the trip, even during the hard times. This mission trip made me appreciate the little things and how blessed I am in life. I hope to go again next year.
-- Loretta Dredger