August 7, 2012 – Fort Yates, North Dakota

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

The theme for today was feeding His lambs, tending His sheep and feeding His sheep. The Vacation Bible School team got into full swing this afternoon as Pastor Boots pulled up to Tipi Wakan with 22 children and three youths. Following a snack lunch, the VBS team, led by Sharon Kincaid of Oakland Baptist Church, crafted crosses, sang songs, read a short story, taught a life skill and finished with a snack for the children of Canon Ball before helping the children climb back on the bus for the short trip to their homes. The highlight for the children was learning to brush their teeth properly. Imagine Judy Collins standing in front of a room of talking, giggling and squealing children with a big set of teeth and huge toothbrush. One little boy was so excited that he took the large demo toothbrush and tried to bush his own teeth with it. All agreed that the VBS experience this afternoon was as nurturing for the adults as it was for the children.

All day long, the unsung heroes of the mission team continued to labor at building the covered walkway for Pastor Boots and Jackie to get from the church to the shed, making getting around in the heavy winter snows just a little easier. All the 4 x 4’s were set yesterday, and the headers and roof trusses were completed today. Credit for this great work goes to the gentlemen of Louisa Baptist Church, led by Tucker Swanson. Likewise, Laura Lee Chandler continued to lead her organizing team in arranging the main shed and creating a pastor’s study in the back.

As of the time of this post, the mission team ladies were in full swing with the Spa Night at Tipi Wakan, a highlight for this mission trip. As a result of cultural biases, rampant alcoholism and drug abuse, and equally rampant domestic abuse, most native American women of Cannon Ball and other Native American communities are marginalized and have rarely or never experienced the care and comfort many women take for granted. Spa Night is an opportunity for the mission team ladies to tend His sheep – washing feet, pedicures, manicures and facials – and by doing so “feed” themselves the fruits of the Spirit.

Peace and good night. AM