Good morning world! I apologize for not getting this up sooner and I fear that this may not be done until later this afternoon. After all was said and done yesterday all of us were so tired that even thinking about doing a post seemed too exhausting. So let me tell you about our day and how we came to be so exhausted.
Our day started off with a lovely 7:00am wake-up call; although there was no call but more of “hey it’s time to get up so I’m turning on the lights.” Not the easiest way to wake up but definitely very effective. After getting dressed we gathered in the cafeteria for breakfast. The staff laid out a long table of fruits, hard-boiled eggs, cereals, yogurts, bagels, and bread for toast. It was quite the spread. We all had our fill and proceeded to pack up the remaining food and do the dishes. That’s right the youth did their own dishes! We then gathered on the stage for our morning devotional.
Each morning the youth and adults get a 30-45 minute time of silence to work through a devotional book that was given to us when we arrived. The book is broken up by day and each day has a theme. The over-arching theme is the upside-down Kingdom of God and so one aspect of that reversal in God’s Kingdom is establishment; not in the sense of the establishment but more along the lines of where and how do we experience and establish this reversed kingdom. What does it mean for God’s Kingdom to be established here on earth? What are we doing or not doing to establish the Kingdom of God? So everyone went off their separate ways to read, think, pray, and write in their books about the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
After devotionals ended we packed up the van and headed out to the work site. This week we will be attempting to completely repaint a house. It is a huge task for just seven participants and four staff, but we are up to the challenge. The town of Heart Butte is broken up into three neighborhoods: the Log-house neighborhood, so named because the houses look like they are made of logs, the Heart Butte neighborhood, and Skunk Village. We have no idea why it is named Skunk Village but that is where our work site is for the week.
After arriving at the house we unpacked the paint, ladders, lawn mower, gloves and everything else we needed for the project. The group then began the preparations for painting. Some of the group pulled weeds around the house and picked up trash in the yard so that the work-site coordinator Brandon and I could weed-whack and mow. Others laid out tarps to scrape the loose paint chips off of the house.
We were there for only two hours and even though it was not very long we did A LOT of work in that time. The youth were amazing and so willing to help. Not once did we hear a groan or grumble. Not once did we have to redirect their attention. They set their eyes on the task and worked hard. I am so proud and amazed at our youth and their commitment to this project.
By 11:30 we had packed up the cars and van and were back at the school for lunch. We had made our bag lunches right after breakfast. We quickly ate because the school hosts free breakfasts and lunches throughout the summer, so we needed to eat and be ready to help. I went out in the van and began to round up the kids of the three neighborhoods. They had lunch at the school and then were off to the “brown building,” which is the community building in the center of town. It is really only used for YouthWorks programming in the summer. From there we help facilitate two programs: 1) Kid’s Club – which is for kids in the community up to age 10 or so and 2) Sports Camp – which is for the older kids. Our group splits up to help each program from 1:00 to 3:00. Our youth were amazing in helping out with the kids. Since we are a small group they are used to having a lot of youth to help so it was a handful but our youth were awesome. By 3:00 we were ready to drop off the kids and head back to the school for showers and dinner.
After dinner we had some free time before our evening activity. Yesterday’s evening activity was Cultural Night. For Cultural Night one of the cornerstones of this community, Jolene Vance, came and talked with us about Blackfeet culture and traditions. After about thirty minutes of sharing her story of life and faith other family members showed up to begin a surprise. They set up a drum circle and four of the young children came dressed in their traditional regalia to show us some of their traditional dances. It was so awesome that they shared with us their customs and traditions. They got us up to join in on the dancing. I would have pictures but it was suggested that we don’t take photos of them. We played a few games and then they left us for our evening worship and Compline. It was 10:30 when we all crashed for the night. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s (today’s) adventures.