4 Lessons From My Mission Trip To Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Part 2

4 Lessons From My Mission Trip To Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Part 2


This article is a continuation of my article from a few weeks ago (Lessons From My Mission Trip To Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: Part 1). I am exploring the many lessons that I learned on my eye-opening mission trip with my youth group to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this past summer, and I found it impossible to fit everything into one article! Last time, I talked about the importance of giving thanks, having hope, and acting like a kid sometimes! Below are a few more bits of wisdom that I gained on the trip:

  1. We are meant to worship with abandon.

    Every night on the mission trip, all of the students, chaperones, and staff gathered together to worship the Lord. This was probably my favorite part of the week because there are very few things that I enjoy more than praising God. The music was absolutely fantastic, and therefore, my youth group worshipped with even more enthusiasm than usual (and we are usually pretty crazy)! We lifted our hands high during “The Stand” by Michael W. Smith, we stomped our feet and clapped our hands during a jamming version of “I Saw the Light” by David Crowder, and we do-si-doed during “Build Your Kingdom Here” by REND Collective. It was a blast! When I tried to let go of everything and simply worshipped, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and joy, as if everything was as it should be in that moment. God used my feelings to show me that we are meant to worship with abandon, and He fully convinced me of this fact one evening when we were at an organization called Lakota Hope. There, we praised alongside many of the Lakota people, and one Native American man was particularly into the music. In fact, I don’t believe I have ever seen another person worship like him before. He was bowing, running around, dancing, raising his hands, playing an air guitar, and jumping, and He didn’t seem at all worried about what others thought about him. As I watched him, I remember wishing that I could worship as he did, able to completely focus on and surrender to the Lord. Even during the best worship sessions of my life (many of which were during this mission trip), I have struggled to do this. As I grow in my relationship with Christ, I pray that I will start worshiping more like the man at Lakota Hope. I simply need to let my walls down a little more every time that I praise God so that His love may flood my soul.

  2. It is good to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.

    On my worksite for the week, we were building an addition onto a family’s trailer house. Since this was probably the largest and most involved construction project that I have ever been a part of, I had the opportunity to experiment with new tools and construction skills everyday. I learned how to put siding on a house, how to build a wall frame, how to install insulation, and even how to use a circular saw! Even though I often felt uncomfortable and made mistakes when I first tried each of these skills, I eventually improved with practice. In fact, by the end of the week, I felt quite accomplished because I was able to make a difference by performing tasks that had been unfamiliar to me just 5 days before. I learned that while it is scary to step out of my comfort zone, it can also be exciting and rewarding. This lesson was only reinforced by the theme of the entire week: Break Out of the Box. We watched videos by the spoken word artist, Propaganda, every night about what this is supposed to look like. I felt like God was clearly telling me all week that I needed to “break out of my box” more in my everyday life. I can do so by trusting fully in Him, no matter where He leads me or what I am facing.

  3. God brings certain people into your life for a reason.

    When talking about this mission trip, I find it necessary to mention one person in particular that I got to know throughout the week. His name was Kevin, and he was the worship leader and my crew leader for the trip. I truly believe that I met Kevin for a reason. He praised the Lord with limitless passion, and because of this passion, he had decided to devote his life to music ministry. When I saw the joy and peace that his decision brought him, I realized that I needed to make a similar decision in my life. God was using Kevin to call me to ministry, and His voice was so clear that for the first time, I couldn’t ignore it. I have always been hesitant of going into ministry of any kind because I don’t feel qualified, I am afraid of where God will lead me in the field, and I worry about whether I will be able to find a job that can support me and my future family. In the past, whenever God has tried to tug my heart towards ministry, I have resisted, using the reasons above as justification for my stubbornness. Now, however, I am starting to give in and listen, and as I do so, the call is becoming louder and clearer. Since the mission trip, numerous people have told me that I should go into the ministry, and I am starting to believe them. If God hadn’t brought Kevin into my life though, I don’t think that I would have taken that first step towards acceptance. I would still be in denial. Because I recognize that God used a single person (who I only knew for 5 days) to change my life, I now strive to be His hands and feet in the lives of others. I pray that He will use me to impact someone else as much as Kevin impacted me.

  4. Laughter makes difficult circumstances bearable.

    Temperatures over 100 degrees and a lack of sleep combined to cause a lot of discomfort throughout the trip. However, I often didn’t even notice the discomfort because I was having so much fun with the people around me! My youth group loves to joke around and laugh. We danced freely in the stifling worship room (we were quite good at the Macarena), sang “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas at the top of our lungs on our way to the worksite, came up with elaborate backstories for our tape measures, watched our youth leader act like a velociraptor, entertained the idea of floating around on our air mattresses if the basement just happened to flood, and teased each other endlessly (all in good fun). Whenever I am in experiencing difficult circumstances in the future, I simply need to remember the power of laughter. It can change one’s focus from the negative to the positive, and this can greatly increase the enjoyment of life.

As you can see, I learned quite a lot during the week of my mission trip! I will try to remember all of these lessons as I go throughout my everyday life because each one will bring me joy and understanding its own way. I would like to encourage everyone, whether young or old, to go on a mission trip at some point in their lives. It may take a leap of faith, but I promise that you won't regret it. Just as I did, you will learn so much about yourself, your faith, your world, and your relationships! It is an experience that will truly enrich your life!
Cover Image Credit: Calvary Church

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit


1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay


Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible


Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit


God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others


We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop


Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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