Pastor Dave's Blog

The Rev. Dave Buerstetta started serving as one of the pastors at Woodridge United Methodist Church in 1995 and is currently our Koinonia Pastor. Learn more here.

You can follow Dave on Twitter @davebuer or read his personal blog here.

Beauty and Pain in Pine Ridge

Posted by Dave Buerstetta on OA8er @ 8:44 AM

If you chose to be in worship this past Sunday, you already know you had a group of tremendous teenagers representing you in mission on the Pine Ridge Reservation last week. If you missed our presentation, do yourself a favor: find one or two of our students and ask them about their experiences. I promise you will be glad you did.

In the meantime, here is an edited version of a glimpse into two of our evening activities (originally posted on our private trip blog). 


Monday night we drove to a ranch off the reservation where the husband and wife who live there created a 38 foot cross out of scrap metal found on their ranch. Which, I admit, I thought sounded rather, well, dumb. 

But I was wrong. 

Turns out the cross is on a hill with a gorgeous view. And the cross has a rough beauty that really surprised me. Here's all of us at its foot:


The couple also has a small shop on their ranch to sell other art they created from scrap metal.

Being there was more moving than I ever could have imagined. I've rarely been more glad to be wrong.  


Tuesday night we had the privilege of meeting Jerome High Horse. He came to the school where we are staying to speak about his experiences growing up on Pine Ridge, leaving it for education and a career as a civil engineer, and returning here in his retirement to directly help his people. Who are also our people. 

He reminds me quite a bit of Robert White Mountain, our friend from Standing Rock. Jerome, like Robert, is a kind, gentle soul, who is also a fierce advocate for his people. He is a great storyteller. And he tells the truth, which means sharing some of the people's pain. After his talk, our group said they were moved and impressed.  



I gave Jerome my contact info and I already have an email from him. I sense, again similar to Robert, we may have begun a new friendship. I certainly hope so.


Finally, I want to say this in as many places and spaces as possible: Our mission trips would literally be impossible without the incredible dedication of our volunteer adult leaders. They give up vacation days, family time, and comfort because they love God and love our students so much. I'm eternally grateful to all of them. THANK YOU Kathy Falout, Heather Kostov, Glenn Nelson, and Kevin Read!! You are awesome!

Church, they serve on your behalf, so please extend your heartfelt thanks whenever you see them next.


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