Going to church can be a very interesting event. Sometimes it is just your average Lutheran church service. Our pastors are good speakers, and the sermons are good.
But every once and a while, a Sunday will roll around where I've already got something on my heart, and everything they talk about feeds right into it. Sort of like hearing a song on the radio that is about precisely what you are feeling.
Last Sunday was one of those days. I've got the Pine Ridge Reservation on the brain. Trying to think of ways to help. Thinking of different companies I could start up out there to provide jobs and change around their economic misery. I was incorrect in my statistics a few posts ago. The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge is around 90%. There are just no jobs there. Why don't they move, you ask? Perhaps because that's where they, as a people, were forced to live by our government. And a lot of them do leave the reservation to find work.
Anyway, Sunday's service was right out of "Godspell", separating the sheep from the goats. And of course, as they read the Gospel of Matthew, I was able to recite right along with it. Not because I've memorized the bible, but because I know "Godspell" so well. The pastor's sermon was about rich lifestyle vs. poor, about what we can do to make a difference. And again I felt my heart grow heavy with the thought of so many people on the reservation without jobs, money, food, heat... hope.
So The Wife and I talked about it some, and decided that for Christmas this year, we are getting each other something a little different. She is going to help me sponsor a Lakota family, and I'm going to buy her a heifer... Well a Heifer animal.
When my aunt died a little over a year ago, we decided to get our family members a share in a Heifer International cow in memory of her. She was a farm girl through and through, and quite the animal person. So it seemed fitting. The Wife and I both like the Heifer program, as the people receiving the animals have a 'pay it forward' clause, and when their animal has babies, they pass them along to another local family in need. The differences made by those animals can be huge.
Anyway, we both decided that we really don't need any more stuff. We are going through a culling process now to get rid of excess things. So we are gifting each other with gifts for others.
Today we started the process. We raided the local Goodwill store, and for around $100 we got nine good warm blankets, and four really nice kids coats. Three of them are like new Columbia winter coats. The blankets and coats are all packed up, and shipping out tomorrow to Pine Ridge. It was such a simple thing to do, didn't break the bank, and will provide at least a family our size with a little warmth.