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Building Relationships in South Dakota!

     This summer, Isabela Gomez ’20, went on a Reservation Mission Trip with Next Step Ministries to Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Pine Ridge reservation is the largest Native American reservations in the United States. The goal of Next Step Ministries is to assist the community and families that face difficult daily challenges such as, alcoholism, drugs, and unemployment, abuse, and suicide.

     Here, Isabela and the rest of her team worked on building a house for the Pastor's family and a Native Christian in the reservation. One of her work site leaders, Ishmel, gave Isabela and her team certain tasks such as building a roof and laying down flooring for the new home. After their work days, Isabela participated in a time of worship. They listened to worship songs in the evening and took part in activities, and some nights they would listen to a speaker. Isabela stated, “On the second to last night we listened to a Native and she talked about how the reservation was facing difficult challenges such as teen suicide and how it was impacting them as a community.”

     Isabela expressed, “Even though it feels like you did little to help, everything makes a big difference in their life.” Her and the rest of the ministry team developed strong relationships with the Native people and showed their support throughout their stay at the reservation. Overall, Isabela shared, “This experience was new to me and I learned so much from this mission trip.”