Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Letter Writing and People Watching

Today I sat outside the local post office manning a table so people could sign up for our Hoops on the Rez camp. AYM does this basketball camp every year and it seems like a pretty big deal. I even mailed a letter at the post office. A real, handwritten, heartfelt letter with a stamp and everything. (I'm singlehandedly trying to bring the art of writing letters back. I'm a big fan. You should probably join the trend.)

Sitting there for a few hours I got to experience a lot of what life is like on the rez. By just observing the people walking by I felt that I was getting a better sense of the culture and I was grateful for the "people watching" time, although not all I witnessed was positive. At noon there are already a lot of people who are drunk roaming around and I wondered if they ever stopped drinking at all to be that out of it this early in the day. I started to think of their families, wondering how the drinking affects their kids or their relatives. We did laugh when a lady in her sixties came and asked Ethan, the other intern, if she could put him in her pocket. I told her he was my brother and she told me to watch out for all the girls that will want to date him. She was pretty insistent about putting him in her pocket but I held my ground and convinced her that he wouldn't fit. As funny as it was, it was also very sad to me. Another young guy came up who was so drunk his words made absolutely no sense. I didn't feel unsafe, but I had the sense that this place is not a safe one.

My heart continually breaks for the rez because the problem here is one of generational poverty. We can't just blame the people for the condition their society is in. We have to have a heart for them, we have to work to understand them and not just have judgement against them. One of the reasons I think I am here this summer is to raise awareness of this place and the problems that exist on the reservation. I believe that those who live on reservations are a forgotten people group in the United States and I refuse to be a part of the problem. If we all took the time to understand their pain, maybe there would be less of it.

Please keep my teens from the retreat in your prayers. Most of them are still doing really well and working hard to live their lives for Christ despite the opposition. I have almost been brought to tears by the hope and life I see in these kids. This experience is a fruitful one and I praise God daily for the chance to be here!

Love to you all!

P.S. After I wrote this I received not one, but TWO handwritten letters in the mail. What a joyous addition to my day to receive some mail! Thanks Casey and Jess!!

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