The Traveler’s Mission Team from St. Brendan’s in the Pines of rural Isanti, MN and New Life Lutheran Church of Oak Grove/St. Francis, MN, took part in their second successful outreach to the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation in Wagner and Marty, South Dakota during July. St. Brendan’s in the Pines is a missions support ministry and house church affiliated with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) and Life-Together Churches Network, located in Isanti. New Life is an Lutheran missions plant which has served the Oak Grove/St. Francis area for ten years.
The five person team consisted of Pastor Ellen and Hans Erdman from St. Brendan's, New Life’s Pastor Jeff Bergman and Patrick Collier of St. Francis and Daniel Grafton from Coon Rapids, MN. They worked with Pastor Tim and Elaine Harris, who are Wagner-based Assemblies of God missionaries to the Native American tribes in South Dakota, Native American Ministries (NAM) of Republic, Missouri, and with members of the Yankton Dakota Tribe during the week-long stay on the reservation.
The first day that the team was in Wagner, they took part in the “Day in the Park” outreach that Harris’, NAM and All-Tribes Fellowship Assembly of God has facilitated in Wagner for the past three years to benefit reservation children. In temperatures topping 100 degrees, members of the Minnesota team, and over 120 other volunteers from Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, distributed clothing, footwear, reading glasses, and daypacks filled with school supplies to area tribe members, took blood pressure readings and when needed, provided first aid to participants affected by the heat. There were also games, inflatable bouncers, face painting and horse rides for the children. St. Brendan’s and New Life! Lutheran members provided and filled over 70 student daypacks that the team brought with them as part of the outreach, part of over 1000 packs gathered by Native American Ministries.
After church services on Sunday, the team helped with clean-up of the armory where many volunteers had stayed and toured local historical sites. The Yankton Sioux Reservation sits on the north side of the Missouri River, and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail crosses tribal lands. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday team members helped Pastor Harris with various projects on the reservation, including installing air conditioners and screens in reservation housing, and installing a wide-screen television and Wii video game system at All-Tribes church. Tuesday also marked the second year for the “Two-Wheeled Explorer’s Prayer Ride Across the Rez.” Starting on the west side, at Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River near Pickstown, Hans Erdman and Jeff Bergman rode their bicycles to the eastern reservation border, at Choteau Creek, on the Lewis and Clark Trail. During their ride, they climbed a 4-mile long hill, visited the historic St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in the tribal capital of Marty, talked with other cyclists they encountered and prayed for the Yankton Sioux reservation and people. To mark the halfway point of the their almost 40-mile journey, they also stopped and recreated the image of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark found on the trail signs from St. Louis, MO, to the Pacific Ocean.
Plans are already being made for the 2011 Traveler’s Mission Trip, tentatively planned to begin on July 22nd. In 2011, the Day in the Park outreach and the prayer ride will be held at Lower Brule, on the Lower Brule Lakota Reservation, while the helps ministry will again take place on the Yankton reservation. St, Brendan’s in the Pines will also take part in a Christmas celebration and outreach on the Yankton Reservation in December.
The Traveler’s Missions Trips are open to any Christian who feels called to the Native American/First Nations mission field, and is particularly well suited for house churches, mission congregations and Christian cyclists.
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The Two-Wheeled Explorer