It started 18 years ago.... and our story continues.
In mid-1997 Bruce received 'a call' from God. It got his attention. And it was the beginning of an incredible physical, spiritual and learning experience.
The call was this: "I (God) want to use you, along with others, to help restore dignity to My people. You will do this through the creation of jobs." It was shortly afterwards that 'My people' were the people of the Lakota Nation and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
We had no training, no personal agendas, little knowledge of Lakota history and total ignorance of Lakota language and culture. What we did have were open hearts. “I am willing,” we said.
We resigned secure jobs, left family and church behind and moved 1800 miles from Daytona Beach to begin serving, discovering and growing - in faith and in wisdom.
From 1998 through the 2001 school year Bruce served as Principal at Pine Ridge Christian Academy with Marsha taking on a class of middle-high school students. Our children, Gen (5 1/2 years) and Brent (4) were the only non-native kids at the school.
We then went with the same ministry, Wesleyan Native American Ministries, in Rapid City, SD. Bruce was assistant to the native director and Marsha directed a youth evangelism program on the reservation, commuting weekly to smaller communities where she established close relationships with many.
After a year in Rapid City we felt the Lord leading us back to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. When we drove through Whiteclay, NE the first time back He spoke to us both. To Bruce: "Put My Light here," and to Marsha: "Stop focusing on what you see around you and begin to praise Me for the transformation I will do here." We re-enlisted, gladly, and thus began a new adventure in a place and among a specific people group - street people - in Whiteclay. We called our fledgling ministry the A.B.O.U.T. group (A Binding Of Us Together).
On faith and with help of a few others who believed that God was in all this, we lease/purchased a 7,000 square foot building - in disrepair - and created a street ministry/thrift store operation we named "555whiteclay". We were in that facility over the next decade until God called us down the road.... only about 500 feet.... to a 5 1/2acre property. Initially, we leased the land which had two small log structures and a wood shed.
We moved our ministry from the 555 building to this new site, named it Green Tipi Gardens and began, again with a few folks, to pursue a slightly new and distinct outreach. Now we were ministering to not only the street people of Whiteclay (we refer to them as "Risen Warriors") but also to local artists/crafters and their families. In 2013 we renamed the site Lakota Hope Center where we operate from to this day. 555whiteclay was sold to another ministry serving the Lakota Nation, Serving Church, Inc. 2016 begins Serving Church's outreach and programming.
We purchased the property and currently our facilities include: The Arbor (praise/worship structure), Hope Lodge (meeting/group accommodations), a fruit grove, a computer lab/office, a baptismal, kitchen and smaller features with a spiritual theme. We also live at the site in a re-furbished log cabin. (check other website links to see programs, events and outreaches)
Please pray with us as we build solid foundations based on God’s truths. We remain respectfully yours, His servants,
Bruce and Marsha BonFleur