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WHAT AN AMAZING WEEK! I have been taking groups on trips for the last 10-12 years, and with the exception of possibly one and only one mission trip, our trip last week was the best we have EVER been on. It was without a doubt the hardest work we have EVER done, but what a tremendous joy! I could never express how much I personally enjoyed the trip, and how much I needed the trip. My group loved the trip also and most all of us would come back next week if it was possible. I can honestly say I saw members of my group doing things they have never done before, and giving it all they had to get the job done. I was most certainly out of my element as I sit at a desk all day talking on the phone and working on a computer. Mixing cement with a shovel, cutting rebar (sp?), pouring cement, building forms for the curb and pouring the cement for the curb, well it was all new to me, but I absolutely LOVED it. Heck, my wife was using a circular saw! I actually lost 6 lbs, but it was wonderful to be a part of what God is doing for the beautiful people at the camp through Next Step Ministries. I had the opportunity to feed Garvin lunch one day, and while it was very humbling, he is such a joy to all that get to meet him…
Now, let me get around to telling you about your interns. I stated I believe on the 2nd day we were there and many other times during the week that it was most definately a God thing that brought these people together to work as interns this summer. I cannot tell you how awesome Sydnie, Heather, Becca, Tre, Barack, Maple, and Ryhs are…these young adults are going above and beyond in every area! Maybe it's because I had people the same age as them, but there was an instant connection with all of them, and they were so encouraging to everyone, we just loved spending time with them in the evening after everything was over just talking and hanging out…
You are running a top notch ministry in The Bahamas, and what a blessing to be part of it.
—Joel, Belmont Baptist Church
This week’s mission trip in South Dakota provided each of us with life changing experiences and memories that will never be forgotten. I’ve left with the satisfaction knowing that our hard work has made an incredible impact on the lives of those from Pine Ridge. Throughout the entire week, a greater appreciation for everything I am blessed with grew, and I was introduced to a realization of just how lucky we really are. I noticed how easy it was to be myself and make many new friends. Not only were these new bonds formed, but those within our group were strengthened as well. Even though we all have many differences, I found a powerful similarity between all of us there that week – we want to follow and love God. I was very fortunate to be a part of this mission trip, and everything I’ve taken out of it will be with me for the rest of my life
For me, this week was a lot about closure. While the service aspect of this trip was overwhelmingly important, my faith journey was also greatly changed. I have wrestled and struggled with certain painful and difficult events in my life for a very, very long time. But this week, I decided to walk away from them. Not in defeat, but in finality. Though these events will always be with me, I’ve decided to stop struggling with them. They’ve been left behind, to an extent. So for giving me that opportunity to let go of things that had been slowing me down, I’d just like to give a HUGE thank you…
This trip to Pine Ridge has been a truly unforgettable experience. During the week and through serving others, I realized many things about myself, my faith and my relationship with God. Seeing how little that some people have made me realize how truly blessed I am to have the life I have. Too often I take my house, food, family, friends, and possessions for granted. This week, I realized that God has given me so much. I also realized that I have a lot of work to do. Through the praise, worship, and time I spent reflecting on my relationship with God, it hit me that he gives us so much. So much love, kindness, and compassion…having the opportunity to help change the lives of so many people on the reservation helped me give back to God just a small part of what he has given me. I also realized that even the smallest things can change lives. For so long I just sat and watched and hoped things would change. But this week, it hit me that I can be the change. I can make a change. And I couldn’t be happier with the change I made this week. I am truly thankful for this life-changing experience that completely changed my outlook of my life.