Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

Today, I’m going to switch gears a little (or a lot).

My heart hurts for the Lakota at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

If you’ve never seen this 20/20 episode that aired last year, I highly recommend it.

The piece by 20/20 is fairly well done.  But they leave you with the feeling that things are looking up for these kids.  We know the aunt of Robert Looks Twice’s and can tell you that his mom is back to drinking heavily.  The picture you get from 20/20 is not the reality.

Not only that, but you don’t hear what the main problem is on Reservation.  I don’t entirely blame the producers, because they have a target audience to cater to.  Still there is a blaring problem that is not mentioned once during the show.

First let me tell you that we live less than an hour from this Reservation and have been friends with and loving on a Lakota family for about 2 years. We’ve ministered to them and seen their ups and downs throughout this time.

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We have received calls from them telling us that their 13 year old niece killed herself, then another niece, then a nephew.  Multiple attempts at suicide.  Tears over getting drunk again and admission to addiction to prescription pain medications. Demon oppression & possession (yes it is true I don’t care who you are or your lack of “experience” with it). Our own frustrations with the times they struggled or finding out that money we gave them for gas was really for pot. We’ve prayed and cried with this family.

But the problem that 20/20 can’t share is that the sexual abuse is very normal and begins at a young age for so many of the Lakota on the Reservation. Many grow up, and in turn, do the same thing. This is just how it is. It is heart-wrenching to know what goes on.

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This evil is what we have come to believe it is one of the biggest contributors to the sucicide and alcohol problems on Pine Ridge. There is no hope of ever escaping the abuse.  Add to that, the shame and embarrassment that comes along as baggage.

To the Lakota, if you leave the Reservation and make something of yourself, you are betraying your people. You are an apple, red on the outside but all white inside. “You are no better than anyone else so stop trying to be.”

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Three families have set aside Saturday to go and do church with them. They invite their family and extended family. Several souls have committed their lives to Jesus but there are obvious ups and downs as these babes in Christ learn who they really are.  They are 100% Lakota, no doubt about it, but the alcohol, drugs, & abuse have ruined their culture.   Christ redeems them and their culture from what is destroying them.

We’d covet your prayers as we love on this family.

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Blessings,

Julie-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Combined Debt Pay-Off

This is Mark, the hubby.  I thought I would contribute a bit to the blog since we are a family and all.

 

We are doing something radical with our debt.  Actually 3 families are.  We are combining our debt and paying each others off.

My purpose in telling you this is to hopefully encourage you to do the same or something similar.

First let me introduce you to the families and the debt….

  • Mark & Julie ($9,500)
  • Gordon & Sarah ($11,000)
  • Jamie & Alicia ($40,000)

The debt above does not include mortgages…it is basically comprised of car and student loans.

The 3 families above want to be debt free (who doesn’t??), so we decided to do something radical.  We are paying off each others debts.  Our debt is combined (just on paper) and we’re paying it off.  Together.  The debt between the 3 families totals about $60,000.

Credit for this idea goes to Gordon.  Actually, I think Gordon stole the idea from the book of Acts 2:44-45 (from the Bible).

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

How Our Combined Debt Pay Off Works

  • Each family contributes $800/month to paying towards the debt.
  • One family receives the $2,400 monthly until their debt is paid off.
  • The next family receives the $2,400 monthly until debt-free.
  • And the last family receives the $2,400 until we are completely debt-free.

Pretty simple really.  I just wanted to be clear.

We started collectively paying this debt off June, of this year.  The order the debt was paid off is in the order of the families listed above.

So ours was the first to go.  Gordon had $4,000 in savings that he contributed right away.  Jamie’s family and ours paid some extra money too and it was gone in 2 months.

Next we went to Gordon & Sarah’s.  At the time of this post, we are trackin’ to be done before the end of October.  *UPDATE* We wrote about finishing Gordon and Sarah’s debt, here.

Lastly, we will get rid of Jamie and Alicia’s.

So you might be saying, “Wow Jamie and Alicia are making out on this deal and the other families are getting hosed!

Not so fast!!!

We All Benefit From This

For starters, Jamie and Alicia are working hard doing side work (he is in construction/remodeling) and are contributing quite a chunk of extra cash.

Next, we are all getting our debt paid off sooner by doing this together.  How?  We are more disciplined to make the financial sacrifice because we’re in this together and accountable.  (without this, we’d likely be making the minimum payments)

Lastly, we get to be blessed by helping friends that we love.  Acts 20:35

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Is it hard to give $800 a month to someone else?

YES.

But not because we don’t trust each other.  It is hard because we have to make sacrifices to afford to pay that amount of money (which we will go into at a later date to offer our take on budgeting)

We have known these 2 families for just over 2 years.  We are close friends though and love Jesus!  We love each other enough to sacrifice for one another.

What we are doing is pretty out of the ordinary.

But we are ordinary people.  We like to live comfortably, eat at nice restaurants, and buy stuff.  If we can do something like this….imagine what extra-ordinary people could do!

If all goes as planned, we’ll all be debt free by next summer.

There you have it folks, but since I hate writing, I’m outta here.

Grace and Peace.