Here we go! Right now, as I write this first entry from my home in Richmond, members of our mission team are already on the ground in Bismarck, in the air or the airport en route, or traveling overland by car. We are converging first on the City of Bismarck, North Dakota, with an aim to rally, shop and prepare for our descent into the Standing Rock Reservation on Sunday afternoon. There are 26 of us in total from seven churches across Virginia. We bring many gifts, skills, and interests with us for the coming week, but we share common accord to love, respect, worship and pray with, heal, learn from, teach and serve the people of Standing Rock and the communities surrounding our host church, Tipi Wakan. I have been asked to chronicle the trip by way of this blog, but the authors and stories I hope will be those of the team and those we serve.

I have big shoes to fill in writing this story, having read our Pastor Mike Clingenpeel’s most articulate rendering of his experiences in 2010. My prose will not have the same experienced edge, but I hope to share a clear and compelling vision of God’s Kingdom at work in the week ahead. Come join us, won’t you? — Peace, Andy McAllister