Well, I'm not really "new" - I met Bruce and Marsha in Whiteclay on a short-term mission trip in 2011, and interned with them in the summer of 2014 and moved to the reservation to work with Lakota Hope in May, 2015. With Bruce and Marsha retiring this month, I'll be stepping up to lead Lakota Hope as interim executive director. Lakota Hope will be maintaining our goal of "bringing hope, healing and wholeness to all through a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ." At the same time, new leadership brings a new vision on how to achieve that goal. I'll talk more about that vision in a future post. For now, let me tell you about myself.
I come from a family nine. Out of seven siblings I fall right into the middle in the birth-order. I'm a pastor's kid and my siblings and I were all home-schooled right up to college. I was born in Minnesota then my family moved to Texas then when I was ten we moved back to Minnesota. Before I moved to the reservation I worked as an engineer's assistant at a Plywood factory in St.Paul, MN.
God initially called me out to the reservation to work with people on the street in Whiteclay. My time in street ministry was a really blessed time. I would sit out on main street with my friends who came there to drink and I would listen to their stories, jokes with them, pray with them, and sometimes provide for physical needs for first aid, or food, or sometimes I would try to help get them into rehab. I did street ministry until April 30, 2017 when the four liquor stores closed and my friends dispersed to their homes or the streets in Pine Ridge.
In the fall of 2016, I started going to the Oglala Lakota College and pursuing a bachelor's degree in Social Work with an emphasis in chemical dependency. I'm still working on my degree. At the end of this semester I should have 76 out of 120 credits completed. Once I graduate, I plan on working in the field of drug and alcohol treatment on the reservation. If a residential treatment facility hasn't been started by the time I graduate, I would like to spearhead the effort to start it.
I want my life to embody the radical generosity and faith in the sermon on the mount. And I want to be a part of a church that lives out the Acts 2:42-47 church where we fellowship daily, and meet each others needs.
I love the Oglala Lakota Nation: The friendly, generous, and humorous culture; the music; the stories; the beautiful land; the fervent church; and Big Bat's burritos. I hope God allows me to live here for a very long time.
I want to tell you more about my life philosophies or my vision for Lakota Hope, but finals are coming up, so I better get back to homework. Thanks for reading!