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

Popular Right Now

5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.


An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

Related Content

Facebook Comments