Imagine a community made up of these statistics:
- 40,000 people live in this community.
- The average yearly income for a household in this community is $6,286.
- The average number of people living in a single small home is 17 and 33% of those homes lack basic water and sewage systems.
- 80% of the people are unemployed.
- 80% are also suffering from alcoholism.
- 70% of students drop out before finishing high school.
- 58% of grandparents are doing the job of raising their grandchildren.
- The suicide rate among teens is 4 times the national average.
- The infant mortality rate is 300% higher than the national average.
These numbers describe Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to 40,000 members of the Lakota Sioux tribe. Pine Ridge is the 2nd largest reservation and 3rd poorest county in the United States. It is a place where hope is as great a need as new homes and running water.
From July 30th – Aug. 5th, Higher Ground will be heading to Pine Ridge to bring hope In the wee hours of the morning on July 30th, 20 students and adults will load up the vans and begin their summer mission trip – to bring hope through building and repairing homes and showing the love Jesus to the people of Pine Ridge.
Please pray for our students and leaders this week as they prepare and next week as they are in South Dakota:
- Praise God for His goodness – for the youth who want to go, for the financial assistance we have raised to help fund the trip, and for the 6 adults who have a passion for youth and mission work.
- For God to be preparing the hearts of the people we will meet and serve. That they will be open to the Gospel message and ready to build relationships with us.
- That God will prepare the hearts of the youth and adults preparing to go. That we will dedicate time to His Word and prayer so we can overflow the love of Jesus in South Dakota.
- For safety in travel and during our time spent on our trips. That God would give us discernment to make wise choices.
- That each participant would grow in their love of the Lord, prepared to return home to do God’s will in our communities.
- For our NextStep project leaders. That their work preparing for us will be according to God’s will and without conflict or difficulty.
- For the parents of the students who are attending the trip. That they have peace and little fear about this trip as they help their children pack and prepare.
We would like to invite you to join the youth and myself on August 13th for Coffee with the Youth between services. We will be sharing our stories and pictures from the trip and celebrating the ways that we saw God at work – and the ways we were privileged to participate in God’s Work. Thank you for consistently believing in our young people and helping us to be part of these life-changing trips each summer.
Check out this video filmed the last time we were in South Dakota:
Voices of South Dakota from Next Step Ministries on Vimeo.