Updates from Pine Ridge

By Dave Porter, Partnership Coordinator

As of recent, the big news on the reservation is the fact that Whiteclay, NE has been shut down. Again, for those of you who may not know much about what has taken place in Whiteclay over many years (and especially the past couple months), take a quick minute to research. You will find yourself immersed in a long narrative regarding alcohol, homelessness, and drugs with the Native American people. In asking Natives what they think about the most recent change (shutting down all of the Whiteclay liquor stores), the responses have been mixed. I asked one friend of mine who had become a regular visitor in Whiteclay what he was going to do if they shut down the stores and he simply replied, “Go to Rushville, NE and get drunk there”… So for him, it was no big deal. Another guy I know has quit drinking since the stores shut down and is seeking a life of sobriety. Others are afraid it will create more crime, and challenges with bootleggers, drunk drivers, and even possibly more outside influence on the alcohol and drug transfer and consumption. Others see it as a sign God is bringing about great and miraculous change…   So what’s the truth? Maybe a little bit of each. But ultimately no one really knows how things will play out until more time has passed.

In other news, we are beginning to see more Native discipleship and leadership rise up. This means we are now seeing some individuals who are ministering in the jails on a regular basis, who only a year ago were they themselves, struggling with issues. Jesus has set them free and they are seeking to get involved in the lives of their family members and friends to see that same transformation. Another young man I know of had been an alcoholic for over 15 years (never going more than 3 days sober) and has now been sober for 5 month. He has gotten a regular job and is trying to take care of his kids.  These are huge praise reports of the love of God at work here on the reservation!

I know many of you will becoming out here this summer, and I encourage you to begin praying now for the things taking place and the things that will take place in this community, if you have not started already. I look forward to meeting each of you. Blessings in Jesus Name!