As we prepare our hearts, our finances, and our minds for our mission trip to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, I asked Shira Hedgepeth, who introduced us to Pine Ridge, to share a few thoughts. When asked about Pine Ridge, Shira wrote:
There are events in your life that you will remember as life changing. Often these events are weddings, graduations, births, or celebrations. However, visiting Pine Ridge, SD and meeting the people was one event that I will always remember.
My husband’s grandfather was from Pine Ridge. As we learned more about him we wanted our children to learn and understand the culture our family had lost with his passing. Thus, we went on a mission trip to work on the reservation. We blindly believed that we would go and help the people. However, what we learned was that the help needed was far beyond our single visit and that even though the people of the reservation faced challenges, I could not even imagine, they impacted my family’s life more than we could impact theirs.
Upon entering South Dakota, I told my children that they may be looked at differently because they had dark hair and skin, so be prepared. I never imagined the power of my words. While on the reservation, our family was accepted and treated as residents. One day my son and I were walking down the highway and several cars stopped to give us a ride. Even though the residents had little to give, it was offered and we were treated as family. Things that I believed were true problems in my life seemed trite. When we left the reservation the world turned. We went to a dinner and a movie and realized a fraction of the challenges the people of the reservation faced. No one wanted to wait on us in the restaurant and when we went to the movie they would not wait on my husband until everyone in line had been served. It was difficult to understand.
As we returned home, the world looked different and every member of my family longed for the next trip. Pine Ridge is a place that many do not believe exists in the United States. It is like going to a third world country where hunger and severe living conditions are common place. However, the spirit of the people cannot be forgotten.
Shira also shared some pictures. When the group from Project:Re3 travels to Pine Ridge, we will be working on homes like the ones below. Sadly, these homes are typical of the homes there. Imagine spending 11 degree nights in these homes.
Despite the soaring unemployment rate, the poor healthcare that is provided, and the lack of accessibility to many conveniences, the people are beautiful. When I see the faces of the children and the beautiful people, I know that they deserve so much more.
If you want to help, there are many ways to assist. As you know, we are hosting a golf tournament to raise money for our mission trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation. If you are interested in helping, you can read about the tournament here. We are in desperate need of door prizes and items to fill goody bags. You can also be a hole sponsor or play in the tournament. Another way to help would be to consider sponsoring one of the 37 people that will be traveling to Pine Ridge to work this summer.
Feel free to message me if you have questions. Please be in prayer for our group as we prepare to travel and do the home repairs that are needed. Pray that we will be a blessing to each person that we meet and that through us, the people of Pine Ridge will experience the amazing love of Christ.