Rosebud Mission in South Dakota
For the past 12 years or so, groups of parishioners from Christ Church Bethany and St. John's in North Haven have made the 1900 mile trek each summer to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While there we have provided the Lakota Sioux children in Norris, South Dakota with Vacation Bible school for children from age 3 to 16.
The geography is particularly challenging. It is a climate that suffers 100 plus degree temperatures in the summer and in the winter temperatures can reach 40 below zero. To add to the challenge it is particularly windy in the winter. The Lakota people struggle with high unemployment, crime, suicide, and alcoholism. Unfortunately there isn't much in the way of industry or commerce. Frequently we see grandmothers raising their grandchildren due to the challenges the parents are facing.
By returning each year, we have made a connection that has become meaningful to the community. Last year we were told by a number of parents how much the children look forward to our visit. Most children have returned every year bringing a friend or two and our vacation bible school has grown from a dozen children in the first year to as many as forty five or fifty.
Those who have gone to the reservation attest that they get so much more than they give. Any love and respect extended is returned tenfold.