WOW! I’m sitting here pondering what to tell you about our 9 reservation prayer journey, and I’m at a loss as to where to start! So I’ll start with the details:
• 9 different reservations-all in South Dakota.
• 8 different hotels.
• 6 team members from VOB.
• Over 25 team members, including folks from China, Japan, and Taiwan.
• Numerous Native American nations represented.
Every day, we were somewhere different. On two of the days, we were on 2 different reservations in a single day. Needless to say, we did lots of driving! Prior to the trip, we had heard about all the flooding in South Dakota, and we sure saw evidence of it all over the state (really sad, actually-the people of Nebraska are still dealing with the flooding, and the folks in this part of our country need our prayers). We heard about a tornado that landed and rotated clockwise, which is extremely rare in the northern hemisphere, just before our journey began. This tornado occurred near our last 2 stops. Towards the end of the journey, a tornado landed at our first stop in Pine Ridge, and hovered over the same area for a full 30 minutes! Signs and wonders from Heaven? You decide!
At each reservation, our leaders gifted our local hosts, to begin the evening. Then hours of prayer and worship were poured out. I’ve never seen a team work together the way this team did. Even though we were from all over the country, and didn’t know each other before we started, GOD brought everyone together in such a way that we really worked like family. Each person did their part to push forward worship and prayer on each reservation. The hosts at each place, were super blessed, refreshed, and encouraged.
The governor of South Dakota, who is a strong Christian, sent along a letter to be read at each stop on the journey, with her thanks and blessings on our efforts to bring healing prayer, salvation and unity to the “Seven Council Fires” Reservations (Seven Council Fires, is the english translation of what the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people call themselves). On our second to last stop, 2 state house representatives from South Dakota, joined our gathering, receiving protocol gifts from team members, as well as prayer and many encouraging words to continue fighting the good fight in the state house of legislation. Unbeknownst to ANY of us beforehand, the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, and her husband showed up at our last gathering on Flandreau reservation!! She stood with our leaders, thanking all of us for taking a stand for healing between the races and people of South Dakota, healing and progress for the Native American people of the state, salvation, and encouragement for the tribal leaders and people.
Wayne and I were able to personally thank Kristi and her husband, and give a gift from our work in Mexico. Governor Noem asked us to pray for a meeting that was taking place the next day. She had invited the leaders on all 9 reservations to meet with her at the capitol, to discuss state-tribal issues. Often, she told us, they choose not to come when invited. Later in the week, we found out that 7 of the 9 reservations were represented at this meeting!!! This is a HUGE step forward in progress with tribal leaders. We know this was a result of the hours of worship and prayer poured out before the Lord every day.
Each day, each reservation, every gathering, was different from the last. We never really knew what to expect! The temperature got hotter each day, and loading equipment in and out daily, required a lot of work, and dedication. Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Yankton, Sisseton, Flandreau…..churches, community centers, tribal halls, casino conference rooms, outdoor parks….we met all over the place!! Our 6 VOB team members, all crammed into a Dodge Caravan mini-van, with all of our suitcases, bags, musical instruments, water, food, etc, were quite a sight! We looked like a clown car, piling out of the vehicle every day at the hotels, and this was quite entertaining for any onlookers!! Everyone kept a great sense of humor, which was an answer to prayer. Truly, this was all a real labor of love.
My overall takeaway? That’s a hard one! I guess I have to say that I am completely, utterly, profoundly stunned, at the grace of GOD, and the way He orchestrated every part of this journey. Over and over and over again, I found myself shaking my head with overwhelming thanksgiving, that I got to be a part of this. Seeing people giving their life to the Lord; seeing people who feel otherwise forgotten, so happy and blessed, and laughing with joy; seeing brothers and sisters in the Lord working together in such oneness….I truly stand amazed at the goodness of the Lord. Wayne and I pray that you will feel GOD’s pleasure and joy at the part you played on this journey, praying, supporting, encouraging along the way. We cannot thank HIM enough, and we cannot thank you enough! GOD bless you dear friends.
PS: please continue to lift us up in prayer. We have had quite a bumpy ‘re-entry’ back into day to day life, including various forms of warfare going on around our household as well as many of those on the team. We also would ask you to water the seeds planted in South Dakota, in prayer, that new life would come in Jesus’ Name. Lastly, we ask you to pray for the relationships that were created on this journey, because we believe there is so much more to come….Love and thanks-Carol and Wayne