Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Leech Lake - Monday

Today was our first actual day of serving the people of Leech Lake. Due to how things work around here our days look a little different from other trips, we work with Kids first thing in the morning and do our regular morning routine at 2:30 in the afternoon for one. We also were able to have a cultural experience with a woman who married into the Ojibwe tribe (and now has a master's degree on Native American culture), so the students had a very full day of learning and processing. But, I'll let them get into that. Here are some stories straight from them, enjoy!

After working with the kids at the sports camp, Troy took our group to see the homes of the kids we would be working with all week. Quite honestly I had no real idea what to expect, but as we pulled in to what was the neighborhood, I was very much humbled. Seeing all of these rather small houses and tall grass and just very not well kept areas I began to feel very emotional for the kids themselves. I just felt angry and frustrated that these kids, and there were a lot of them, had to live in conditions such as these and have to grow up in a place where they may not know when the next meal is coming or if they will see their parents that day. To me it just seems unfair that these kids have to go through these sorts of things because after all, they are just kids. Which is why during our camp today, just playing basketball, which I am terrible at, and seeing these kids smile and laugh when I missed a shot or when this girl, Mia, just lit up when I offered to take her on a marathon race as she was on my back just makes me feel God’s presence in them and in me. Even though it is only for a short time, we can allow these kids to forget about any struggles they are going through and just let them be kids. These simple laughs and smiles really are the epitome of God’s love for me. –Zane

Spending my first day on the mission trip as a freshman has been a whirlwind. I spent my day with kids climbing on my back non-stop. I spent my day with kids telling me about their home life and how their day has been going. It has just been crazy but the one thing that stuck out most to me was the fact that there is so much we don’t realize about the Native American culture. The history that we learned today is just something I could’ve never imagined. I think there’s so many concepts about their history that has just been hidden and unspoken that needs to be more recognized all throughout our culture. Their way of life is different. The rules, expectations, and limits are different. I really liked that one of their main focuses in their everyday life is respect. Respect the land. Respect your people. Respect property, animals, people’s feelings, and so many more things. I also think that it’s amazing that the people around here appreciate silence and take it as a sign of respect and it’s something they look for which is different than our culture at home. It’s sometimes classified as awkward or sometimes disrespectful if you can’t think of something to talk about and keep a conversation going. The way that the Native people live is something I wish we had in Indy. The culture is different and something I envy. Especially res. time! ;)  -Lindsay

["Res. Time" is a loving nickname for the pace of life on an Indian Reservation. The people here are more concerned about being with people/family and spending quality time with them, but this causes many things to move at their own pace. People may be late to an event but the culture sees that as okay because everyone knows it is because they were busy with something more important, community.]

Today was the first day of my first ever mission trip, so it’s safe to say I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure how God was going to use my skills in this trip, but those worries were quickly answered when it was decided I would be a part of the ‘storytelling team’ working with kids. One of said children quickly decided I would be her new best friend for the few days I’m here, and even made me a friendship bracelet during craft time. She was really sweet, though a short attention span. But hearing about some of the situations their families were in made me appreciate mine a lot more, and really sparked a desire to give these kids some happy summer memories, if nothing else. Learning about their culture has also been very interesting, and I look forward to learning more and getting to know the kids even better in the days to come.  -Sabrina

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