Monday, July 13, 2009

Sioux Falls Seminary in a different kind of mission on the Rosebud Reservation

Gleaned from a couple of prayer-request emails. Really worth considering - our approach to the Reservations is too often tainted with thoughts like "Generous and sacrificial us, poor needy them" or "Me Christian, you pagan, me fix you."

I admire this different approach and its sense of the truly spiritual mission that Christ is calling forth:

It's that time of year to pray again for the Sioux Falls Seminary immersion trip to the Rosebud Reservation in Mission, SD. For those of you who are new to the event, Sioux Falls Seminary made a ten-year commitment three years ago to come to the Rosebud and build relationships that would bring healing, hope and peace between the people of the Rosebud and we as representatives of the Christian community. Our intention has been to do "missions" differently in that we come, not to paint houses and do VBS for kids unless that's what they want us to do, but we come to learn and repair what has been damaged as well as restore what has been lost in relationships between the Rosebud and members of the Christian community. We come for them, we with heads hung until asked to raise them, we come with hands held out and down until they turn them up and fill them, we come for them. We are quiet, thoughtful, respectful, attentive. We even take the abuse of being cursed at in the name of those who came before and were not respectful of the Lakota people, their hopes, their dreams, their rights. This is the commitment we've made to them is that we come for them. We do what they ask only when they ask it. We participate only when invited. And we come with open minds and hearts to receive whatever God shows us through them about them and about us. This is how we have come and will continue to come in years to come in the hopes that relationships can be built that can bring healing, hope, and peace for us all... May all their meetings be chances to learn and grow in understanding, us from the Lakota, and perhaps the Lakota from us, that we can heal the past, encourage the present, and strengthen the future.

NPA comment: We forget that the great missionary apostle Paul practiced extreme cultural sensitivity wherever he went. He put his own preferences on hold, listened to the ways of his hosts, and did not expect every person to accept his message - it was enough to represent the Gospel and let God make the converts.

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. I Corinthians 9:19-23


Alice C. Linsley said...

Father, I've been praying on and off for about 18 months about the youth suicide situation on the reservations. Do you have any news about this?

Debra Newcomb said...

I will find out what I can about this situation and get back to you. I'm honored that you shared my explanation of the Seminary's humble intentions to build relationships on the Reservation. This, we believe, is the best way to share the love of God in Christ, just as the Apostle Paul explained.