August 5, 2012 Fort Yates, North Dakota – O God, give us this day our daily bread.

I admit it. I take for granted the full use of my arms, legs and lungs, and I often forget to thank God for their use and the places they take me. Several times a week, it is my normal practice to run long distances for my physical and mental health. Back in Richmond, we are blessed with many parks, neighborhoods and trails suited well for this. I do the same whenever I travel, and I cherish the discovery of a new city, town, beach or park with each step I take. This morning was no less a pleasure as I breathed in the vista of the Missouri River along Bismarck’s, aptly named, River Road at the break of day. Thank you God for giving me my daily bread.

Our leader, Laura Lee Chandler, assembled the team in a basement ballroom of our Bismarck hotel this morning, complete with the remnants of stale cake and clutter from the event held there the night before. After returning thanks to God for the day and all of its opportunities, we organized our shoppers for our whirlwind tour around Bismarck’s various retail establishments. While returning team members attended to the shopping, a contingent of first time members was able to make its way to the state capital grounds and tour the historical museum. By 4 P.M. with our shopping complete, we headed across the Missouri River and south toward Cannon Ball and Tipi Wakan.

We arrived at Tipi Wakan in the early evening and unpacked our groceries and supplies. Several team members gathered in their respective groups to discuss the various initiatives for the week, while others assessed the space and what needed to be to host a vacation Bible school or organized the supplies and groceries in the kitchen. Still others assessed the outdoor area and refined their plans for the construction projects on tap for the week. You can imagine the din of so many voices excited and enthusiastic about the task ahead of them.

Several of us found our way out the back door of Tipi Wakan to confront yet another spectacular view of the Missouri River. We shared experiences, told stories, related what we had seen and heard over the course of the day, and we spoke about the wants and needs of the Standing Rock Sioux. Many gifts … many needs … many differences between us … and in many ways the same.

We closed the long day with the arduous task of sorting out our luggage from the various vehicles and checking in at a very popular and busy hotel. Pastor Boots and Jackie Marsh joined us for dinner, more stories, laughter and a final good night before we departed for our respective rooms.

Father, we thank you this night for our daily bread – the gifts of time, money and talent; of ability and interest; for compassion, heart and endurance; and for fellowship with friends, new and old, as we begin our work in earnest tomorrow for your Glory and in your service for the Sioux people of Standing Rock. Amen