Saturday, June 8, 2013

This Little Light of Mine...

This is a continued post on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
 It is far from Chicago but not far from my heart, I feel a connection through my past and through my dear friend KC Willis.

KC has a calling on her life to dedicate herself to the forgotten people of the Lakota Sioux. 

A little over a year ago God showed KC the need on the Pine Ridge Reservation and White Clay Nebraska and she responded immediately. She has organized truck loads of needed supplies going to the Rez and back again to her home in CO.

KC and Meghan, her niece, work together at Light Shine

KC, a published collage artist featuring a Western emphasis on turn of the century women, gave her studio and workshops up to dedicate herself full time to her new calling.

Renting a building in White Clay, Nebraska, just a few yards from the Reservation, she opened a resale shop, Light Shine.

 Light Shine is a place where not only the Lakota can come in and find a warm coat but also a warm hug and someone to listen and pray with.

I got to spend an afternoon with Cassidy, we made art together...

 I was there a year ago bringing supplies to her and as I observe the changes over the past year, I see she has grown in understanding and in the hearts of the people there. 

KC has a beautiful voice and once used it in a singing career but now uses it for praise and worship at Light Shine.

Lovely missionaries from India... we had our first praise and worship service in Light Shine with them. 
Loved hearing praises in the different dialects

God is using her in a most brilliant way and the name Light Shine is exactly what it is, a light shining in a dark place. Just as we are called to be, a light shining in the world.
The need is great.

When I first came to the reservation, I was overwhelmed with so many needs. It seemed insurmountable. 
Whatever I was doing wasn't a drop in the proverbial bucket, at times I felt as though I was being shredded in a hundred different directions.
 It is a snare for those working there on a daily basis... there is always a crisis situation that needs attention and that alone will keep you from your goal, let alone all the individual needs that are required. Not only will it drain you emotionally and physically but spiritually also.  
On the second day there, one verse kept running through my mind as though it were a looped tape. 
"Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord".
Zech. 4:6

While I was walking and praying one evening with camera in hand, the sun had painted the horizon a spectacular blend of cerise over the waves of prairie grass. It was a "all is good in my world" moment as I noticed a patch of color in the far grass where the cattle were feeding, I thought how beautiful to top this scene off with a patch of wild flowers. 
It was a Kodak moment for sure and as I started snapping pictures the Lord spoke to me and prompted me to put the longer lens on the camera. He impressed upon me that the long lens was my spiritual eyes and to look through them. The beautiful wild flowers I saw with my natural eye turned into a length of ragged plastic snow fencing through "my spiritual lens". 
A snare for the poor cattle feeding. 

The Lord showed me that evening, through my camera,
 that while the thing we are busy with looks good and seems to be a beautiful work, it just may be a snare to keep you from what the Spirit of God really has for you. 
The work may be in another place and just trying to meet the needs of all you are missing what God is doing.
 Look with your spiritual eyes... 
In a place of so many needs, God is still in control and has it figured out, the only thing I had to do was listen and be where God wanted me to be and trust Him with the rest.
I was not there just to give until I ran ragged but I was there to learn and receive from, to teach and be taught. 
Just because a person has needs doesn't mean they have nothing to give. 
If you are too busy being the great white saviour, you will rob the person you are helping... of the true blessing. 
The blessing of giving. 
And honestly hasn't the First Nation had enough of that! 

I would like you to meet Emma...

I met Emma last year standing on her mud porch, 
in the middle of Manderson, one of the poorest towns in the Reservation. 

It is riddled with gang activity, poverty and crime. 
A dark oppression hovers over the town and sucks the morrow from its sustenance. It is said to be built on the old grounds where the black rituals took place. Not to far from the heart of what once was evil, stands a run down white house in need of paint.  As I stand on the porch, I am invited in but we never go inside. We have just met but we share what is in our hearts... no small talk or pretension needed here.
Emma is the grandmother of Liberty, the little girl I painted a picture of. She is a special little girl, that God' s hand is upon.

Emma found Jesus many years ago in a Pentecostal tent meeting. She left the Reservation and worked as an RN until the Lord called her back. She tells me of the needs here and the work she is doing. We talk about how God is moving again in the seventh generation of her people but she is overwhelmed. We pray...
In all humbleness I ask her to pray for me...
With eyes shining, she begins to pray in a Pentecostal rhythm I am familiar with but mixed with a Lakota accent, I smile.
In the middle of a very dark place there shines a bright light... Emma. 
Mighty woman of God.

As we draw closer to Manderson, this year I notice nothing has changed much. I am anxious to see Emma and talk again.
KC and I have stopped to look at a lonely abandoned church on the out skirts of town. It is calling to KC... has been for awhile now.
I understand why, there is something haunting about it and yet it feels right. God is working.
As we turn the corner we hear a commotion and see a horse running full gallop reigns flying through the air down main street. There are two Indian men reading a paper on the porch across the street, they look up watch the horse run by and then start reading again without a glance to each other... We loudly chime our concerns as the horse vanishes in the distance... 
it was a "Rez moment". 

Emma meets us on the porch and she remembers me. She invites us in but we never go inside, we talk again about what God is doing. Many are coming to Emma for help and want teaching but she doesn't have enough helpers... she leaves a mark on my heart. 
I know it is not by accident my meetings on this porch... 
God is working.
We head back to the ranch, thunder heads in the distance again.

Each year the Rez is flooded with missions workers. Churches compelled to bring a group of young people out to pray and do work for God. The Indians call it the tourist season and it is a good way for the residents of Pine Ridge to sell there art and wares.
 For some churches it is a way to increase their budget by saving souls for Jesus. I liken it to notches on a heavenly belt holding up their white robes... not knowing the same 30 Indians gave their souls to Jesus the week before to the Baptists... 
If you want to bring Christ to the Lakota, be a part of them, come back and do it in love and sacrifice. 
They need sound Biblical teaching, like we all do.

Not that they don't need workers...
 there are houses to be mended and painted, plumbing to be fixed and heating to be addressed, please come! 

Right now the ministries that are set up in Pine Ridge, 
such as Light Shine need skilled workers to do major repairs to the rundown buildings. 
They also need your support financially just to live there. 
If you care to give to Light Shine, they have a paypal account at   
If you do not have a paypal account and would like to give please email me at
Tax deductible of course. This would be greatly appreciated.
Gas is always an issue because they are traveling great distances each day, nothing is close by on the Rez.

I do have another post under my belt about what is happening on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, so hopefully you will join me. 
Thank you for visiting