Friday, September 27, 2013

Native American Day

In recognition of Native American Day, I want to introduce you to Project Hope, Mission Outreach to the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  Brenda Cox, Executive Director of Dayspring Discipleship Institute started this outreach earlier this year.  After watching Diane Sawyer’s October 2011 “20/20” segment “A Hidden America: Children of the Plains”, Brenda knew her heart would one day answer the call and take her ministry to Pine Ridge “to minister there in ways that matter”.   

Back in April 2013, Brenda called her first meeting to share what she discovered during her recent trip to Pine Ridge.  
  1. The reservation located in the southwest corner of South Dakota is one of 565 federally recognized Indian Nations in America.
  2. In the 9,000 square miles, there is only one Shell service station, three to four convenience type stores, and one grocery store for the reservation.  
  3. The poverty level can be compared to third world counties.
  4. Shannon County where Pine Ridge is located is considered the 2nd poorest county in the United States.
  5. Unemployment rates are as high as 80%.
  6. Population is around 42,000 people and most are identified as Oglala Lakota Sioux.
  7. There is a housing crisis with as many as three families living in 1,000 square foot single family homes and trailers.
  8. Their teen suicide, infant mortality and diabetes occurrences are four to five times the national average.  Pastor Brennan of Sharps Corner Baptist Church told Brenda there had been 53 teen suicides in the summer of 2011. 
  9. Average life expectancy for men is 47 and for women it is 52.  
  10. Median annual income is $2,900-$5,000.

As I write this, I went into the “20/20” segment and watched some of the video.  A precious little five year old girl named Tashina Iron Horse has so pulled at my heart strings.  In the segment, it was said that the kindergartener “has a huge personality… is chatty and vivacious”.  Though tiny, she is said to be a “very talented Pow-Wow dancer”.  She told Diane Sawyer “that she wanted ‘Justin Bieber to be her boyfriend’ and if she could, she’d ‘ask President Obama for fresh water….bubble gum….and a backpack’ ”.

In John 6:2-13, the 5 loaves and 2 fish given to Christ were blessed and broken by Him and fed to thousands of the hungry that awaited on the Galilean hillside.  Project Hope is bringing Christ what is in their basket to be “dispensed to the multitudes on the prairie swells of South Dakota”.  For more information and a list of potential areas of involvement and needs at Pine Ridge, you can find this information at:
Dayspring Discipleship Institute
505 East Boydstun, Suite 2
Rockwall, Texas 75087
On the Home page, click on Newsletter/The Journey for information and beginning with the April 2013 newsletter there are monthly updates on Pine Ridge mission trips as well as their areas of need.  You will also see pictures taken from the Canning Workshop and Volley Ball Camp for the Pine Ridge School that volunteers of the Hope Project led while at Pine Ridge earlier this year. 

Before the closing of The Crafter’s Co-op we were proud to have had Brenda Cox and Dayspring Discipleship Institute ministry represented in the shop.  Her beautiful framed and unframed graphics, calendars, and note cards as well as her awesome book Song of Christ: Reflections on a Sacred Journey are available on her website.  May Brenda’s ministry continue to bless those along the path of her sacred journey.

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