Hey Everyone, since becoming director of Lakota Hope all of my updates have focused on the ministry and I haven’t shared much about my life. I’ll share a little here about my life here. I already wrote a bunch about work at Lakota Hope in another post published today, so this one will not touch too much on my work life; Instead I’ll tell you about school, my spiritual life, and finding community.
This semester was the roughest yet. But I did well. I’m working on a bachelor’s degree in social work with an emphasis in chemical dependency. Balancing work with school has been really hard. I often let my work get in the way of school. This semester I learned more than I had any other semester. In Social Work Methods I we learned how to create action plans with clients and we learned how to help them find their strengths and use those strengths in achieving positive life change. I took classes in Native American substance abuse and in Social Welfare. Despite the difficulties this semester I managed to get a 4.0 this semester.
I have five more semesters until I graduate next semester I will take Social Work Methods II, Intro to Statistics for Social Science, and Foundations of Individual Counseling.
I’ve been looking at Jesus in a new light, as the homeless rabbi, the refugee baby, the indigenous man born under the thumb of a colonizing power, the unjustly accused death row inmate, the man of sorrow well acquainted with grief who still enters daily into our pain. Remembering how he stepped into our suffering makes me love him even more and encourages me to do the same.
I’ve found two excellent role models this year: Shane Claiborne and St. Francis of Assisi. Shane Claiborne models Jesus in the modern era. He shows what love looks when it permeates every aspect of our lives. He showed how the children of God don’t need to do great things but how to do small things with great love. He also demonstrates to me how we can take Jesus’ words seriously, but still love our wayward church & spiritual community.
St Francis has inspired me to take up poetry. His former life as a romantic lyric poet (troubadour) shows in his romantic love for God, nature, and humanity. St. Francis also modeled Jesus’ way of loving our neighbors as ourselves in a radical way.
This year I switched churches to a new congregation called Oglala Houses of Worship that meets in Whiteclay. It’s been a refreshing community with less spiritual hierarchy and lot’s of genuine love for each other. I’ve been able to do some hosting lately, so my fellowship with my church goes beyond Sunday mornings.
I still do get lonely for like-minded young people. Almost all of my local Christian friends are more than 20 years older than me, and sometimes I want some people with my sense of humor and friends who are still figuring life out like I am. Be praying for me to find more Jesus loving peers.
I found someone who is willing to let me lease his land in Pine Ridge on a very long term lease. Pray that that goes through. I am super excited to be in the community. I think a lot of good can be achieved by just being a good neighbor. I want to host Bible studies and have people over for dinner and maybe throw a block party every once and a while. I’ll learn more about the situation on Monday
One of my goals for 2019 is to use poetry broaden my worship vocabulary and deepen my love for God and his creation. Another goal is to spend more time with my spiritual community.
I’m anticipating another difficult semester and some extra challenges in expanding Lakota Hope’s work. Keep me in your prayers feel free to stay in contact with me. My personal email is email@example.com and my address is Box 55, Whiteclay, NE 69365.
Happy New Year! ~ Abram Neumann