VOB News June 2022 “South Dakota Nations”

I woke up on Monday morning, completely exhausted, having slept over 12 hours.  It was quite clear to me that morning, that the Lord had given me the grace and the strength to get through the prior week, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with me.  Having endured about a month of a pancreatic deficiency, and with all the planning and details involved in a 3 week mission trip, my simple prayer for South Dakota, was, “when I am weak Lord, You are strong”…and “My grace is sufficient for you”….I’d add my name to that one for sure….My grace is sufficient for you, Carol….

We had driven for 3 days straight, to get to Lower Brule reservation, where the 1st leg of the trip would occur.  24 hrs of worship, in a tent outside of Lower Brule high school, with a view of the Missouri river was pretty cool.  I wasn’t sure how I would have the energy to do even a 2 hour set.  And yet, the Lord WAS there and He WAS faithful!  I was amazed at how He came and moved throughout the entire event, and how He gave our small team the unity and strength to move under His guidance.  Two young Lakota men gave their lives to the Lord, a couple others were baptized in the Missouri River and other supernatural things occurred.  It was beautiful!!  

The next step of the trip, was Sioux Falls, at a gathering of seasoned intercessors, called Zion Ignite.  The night before the gathering, I happened to stumble upon a photo on the internet of poppies in a field in Moravia, a part of what is now the Czech Republic.  It was an out of the blue moment, when I happened upon this photo on a search for news that I was doing.  The next day, my friend Betsy told me she thought I should share about my Moravian heritage in the meeting.  I knew for sure this was a GOD-ordained moment.  I still had no idea how I would have the strength to go thru the evening.  But wow, did the Holy Spirit show up!!!  He guided our little team as we led worship, gave me direction on what to speak and how to correlate it to the group gathered, and gave each one of our team, very specific insight and encouragement to continue to press on.  Wayne, David and I were able to pray for each person who was there, and we believe the Lord refreshed, restored and renewed each person in some way.  We fell into bed that night, wiped out, but joyous.  Next stop:  a week of quiet time with the Lord, and then on to Pine Ridge for another week of outreach and worship.  

Oral, South Dakota:    Much needed week of rest, physically at least.  Both of us spent a good bit of time working online. The insanely glorious smell of fresh cut hay, and prairie grass filled our senses, each day on our evening walks.  It’s easy to see how the buffalo thrived out here on the prairie!  Onto Pine Ridge and our next abode in Nebraska!

Pine Ridge, South Dakota: Pine Ridge runs along the bottom of SD, so we stayed in the small town of Hay Springs Nebraska (population 615 salut!😃), about 30 min outside the rez, since the rez hotel was booked up. People had come from all over to support this week long worship and outreach. Every day, kids were gathered for both skate boarding and basketball competitions. We met a 2x gold olympic medalist, Ruthie Bolton, for USA women’s basketball, who helped coach the kids along with WNBA chaplain, Fleceia Comeaux. We also met a young man, Kyle, who wants to see kids on the reservations really take up skateboarding as a big outlet. Many of the elders are really encouraging him to lead this youth movement on the Rez. They actually have their own skatepark, which is amazing. VOB hopes to support this group, with potential future donations of BMX bikes and/or boards and hopefully protective gear for riding/skating. As always, as part of cultural protocol, several elders were acknowledged and gifted. Our friend Norma (tribe elder), George Dreamer (Norma’s grandson also a member of the tribal council), Kyle and Ruthie (see photos below)

Each day consisted of several hours of worship, primarily in the afternoons, while groups of intercessors and others went to different parts of Pine Ridge to pray and share the Gospel.  They covered ALOT of territory in 3 days!  We led worship and prayer on the Pow Wow grounds, under a large tent.  We had truly, Holy Spirit-led times and had very targeted Scriptures released, and read over the land.  When the intercessors returned, they came back with good reports! What an honor to be a part of all of this in the way the Lord has directed us!  In the evenings, speakers and more worship, but our favorite thing was the BAPTISMS!!  By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, 56 people received baptism!!!  What a joy to see men, women and children, go under the water, dying with Jesus, and emerging from the water, a new creation.  How exciting!  Even better, there are several established local Native believers, who will be following up with those who were baptized.  Baptisms in a water trough, in South Dakota, on beautiful Pine Ridge reservation, under a beautiful blue sky, with a huge crowd cheering…I gotta say, that’s a pretty cool thing to witness.  

On Thursday evening, a friend texted me, inviting us to come to a church on the Rosebud reservation, to lead worship at a Friday night service.  Our little group felt we should stay on Pine Ridge, but when we heard the next morning, that the evening service on PR had been cancelled, we knew this was a GOD ordained set up! We traveled the 2 hours over to the Chief Cornerstone Church in Parmalee, where we led worship for a faithful little group of believers.  They have been praying for salvations for the people of Rosebud, for over 3 decades!  We were so glad to be able to encourage these dear ones, and we received so many thanks, for coming to encourage and refresh them.  Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham, will be coming to speak on the rez, in about 2 weeks. Please pray for this church, if you think about it….its tough going, on the reservation, being a faithful Christian.  Each place really needs our prayer. 

As we wound up our time in Nebraska/South Dakota, we got to go pray on the land that PineRidge Hope is dedicating to the building of a house of prayer and worship.  It is a perfect piece of land right on one of the entrance roads to the reservation. There is a prison near by down a dirt road behind the house of prayer site. We were told that often inmates who had just been released are seen walking down that road toward town. The locals refer to it as the “walk of shame”. How exciting that there will soon be a beacon of light to turn that walk into a chance at mercy and new beginnings. The goal: 24 hour worship and prayer, housing for teams coming to serve Pine Ridge, serving the needy with food, diapers and other needs, a vegetable garden, and general place of ministry. Voice of the Bride is super excited to get behind this project, and it amazes us how the Lord is moving this right along.  

We are thankful.  Even though, as I stated earlier, my health has been rough these 3 weeks, and it’s been challenging, we are just so grateful to the Lord, for making a way for us to be a part. We also are thankful to all those who gave and prayed into this journey.  As you already know, our hearts are deeply committed to serving the First Nations people of our country, and we are so blessed that GOD opens these doors.  We see infinite possibilities.  GOD be praised!!

VOB News October 2020 “Rosebud Report”

Being on the Rosebud reservation, with my First Nations friends, was a breath of fresh air, after these long months.  And even more so, it was awesome that Wayne and I were able to travel and minister together.  Watching Wayne voluntarily serve the leaders of the gathering, in the way he does, was so cool. Even more fun, was seeing Wayne’s delight, as he played the djembe and hand drum with me, for the 1st time in years!    It added so much to worship, and was such a blessing to both of us. 

The Lord often speaks to me through His creation, and fortunately, we had a chance to take a side trip on our way back to Rapid City, South Dakota, through the Badlands National Park.  We saw buffalo, prairie dogs, and pronghorn sheep, in this very unique area. At one point, we stopped on the side of the road, to watch a group of buffalo.  All of a sudden, this big guy ambled across the road, shocking us by stopping right in the middle, right in front of us!  He stood there, just sort of ‘surveying his kingdom’, looking this way and that, not at all in a hurry. It was as if he was letting us know,  “Hey, I live here, this is my land, and I’m definitely in charge, people!  I’ll move when I am ready.” No problem big fella, cause LOOK at you!!!  (and he was not at all intimidated by our little compact rental car) Finally, he decided to leisurely continue on his way. 

The group of smaller buffalo, skittered behind him, trusting his judgement.  And one even larger guy came along, keeping the young ones on track, and in their place.  What a picture! What a massive experience!

Going into this event, I really prayed, because I felt so rusty at leading worship, since the covid shutdown.  I asked the Lord to please lead me, as I partnered with my friend and fellow intercessor, Betsy, to lead the Mountain Movers gathering in worship.  He most definitely did! And HE received the praise due His Name! I should’ve known, really. Just like the smaller buffalo that followed the big guy, all I had to do was go along behind Him, and let Him lead the way, my trust and confidence knowing that this was HIS land, HIS people, and HIS thing.  Whatever deposit was left, I know HE will use it to further His Kingdom.   Our confidence is in the Lord, and in Him alone. The moral of the story is, whatever you do, as you serve the Lord in life, have your peace in Him, the Lord of the Universe.  He is definitely the MOST large and the MOST in charge.  All we have to do is follow.

We arrived home Monday night, quite late, after a 7 1/2 hr layover in Salt Lake City.  Long story….could’ve made an earlier stand-by flight, but in praying, we just felt the Holy Spirit say ‘stay’.  We weren’t sure why.  But we seemed to have a divine connection with our waiter, at the airport restaurant.  When we got back home, our late night Lyft driver was from Iran.  We were able to talk a bit about what we do in worship and in compassion and about the Lord. They both seemed to take it in.  It was fun for Wayne and I, I think, to go back to our roots a  little, and be in ‘street evangelism’ mode.  That’s how we came to fall in love many years ago, so doing this trip together was special in that way.  

One last story from our sojourn in the Badlands.  Along the way, we picked a spot to stop, trudged up to the top of a hill overlooking the valley, and went into worship and prayer over the land and the people.  As we were worshiping, we heard a sound across the valley, coming from a distant hill.  We recognized a Native American song/chant and saw a young man at a great distance, dancing and praying.  Wayne felt impressed to drive over where he was, to speak with him.  He was a young man looking for his way.  He wanted to tell us that a sweat lodge would show ‘us’ our way.  But we know who the TRUE Way is, right??!! Before we drove over to see him, as we watched him finishing up his song and dance, I lifted my voice, again, and began to sing and proclaim over the land, and into the atmosphere, that JESUS IS LORD!! I know those words are ringing out over the Dakota badlands, and thru the heavens. And His Word does not come back void.   Ever!!!

On the Mexico front things are going fairly well. We have been getting incredible truck loads of food. Although there was a glitch with Mexican agriculture customs last week, and our colleague got refused entry. But the Lord made way for Wayne to get in just an hour later.