There is a place and a People tucked in a special place in my heart. They are there as strongly as when I was there with them. It’s called Cannonball on Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, and the Sioux American Indians there. I first met these people when we went on a mission trip with a team from our church years ago. Not having an assigned job on this trip, I tried to be watchful to see where I was supposed to fit into the work to be done.
Our primary purpose was to help a church in Mandan, ND with renovations on their church building inside and outside, and to help the church with a ministry of their own. This church, First Baptist of Mandan, is involved in a mission in Cannonball each month. They would travel forty miles south to Tipi Wakan, the House of God, to minister to the Sioux Indians there a certain week of every month. We had timed our week of service to be when they were working there so that we could have a team help with that, while the other part of our team stayed in Mandan working on the church there.
We ministered with the pastor of Tipi Wakan, Pastor Boots, to the People there. For the children and adults who came, we helped with food, some crafts and mostly playing and talking with them. We provided hamburgers, fruit, and peanut butter crackers. We told Bible stories along with crafts that corresponded with the stories as far as the attention spans lasted. Anyone who had raised or helped with kids knows you have to work with that to some extent. We played chase, blew bubbles, and just talked to them while playing with them. We loved on them in Jesus’ name.
We only got to spend two days with them, but our hearts were stretched tight and running over with the love God poured into our hearts for them. We weren’t ready to leave when we left Tipi Wakan. Our bus climbed up the grade from the Missouri River, as Pastor Boots waved good bye to us and wiped the moisture from his eyes. We were waving back, wiping our eyes, and so choked up we couldn’t speak. Until our leader said, “We have to come back. We just have to come back here.” We all agreed with nods and sniffs.
Our hearts were forever changed on that trip. We made a lot of memories and some strong bonds with the congregation of Mandan, and the People of Cannonball. We pray for them, and love them from a distance. Just as they are tucked safely in our hearts, in exchange we left a piece of our hearts there with them. God hasn’t sent us back there so far, but our hearts were stretched to more than capacity with His love for those He sent us to minister to. We know we will be with those brothers and sisters in Heaven one day, even if we never get to see them again this side of Heaven.
Have a blessed week!
Note: I have a picture to go with this, but I am waiting for permission to post. It will be posted as soon as possible.