Pine Ridge Reservation, Porcupine, SD July 2010
In the past, when I go to the reservation, I teach some classes and give away some Books of Mormon. Several months ago, during a class, I talked about having a personal experience with Jesus and the need to study, especially the Book of Mormon.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call and a young mother had been studying the Book of Mormon with her mother and others and learned about Jesus blessing the children. She has a five month old son and was anxious to learn more about this and asked about having her son blessed. A celebration ceremony was to be planned for this blessing as well as a belated Father’s Day celebration. I was finally able to make the plans for my wife Jeanette and I to travel there in July. We arrived on Saturday to see a large tepee being erected. They had already put up some poles where tree branches were placed on top to provide shade. Jeanette visited with the ladies and helped care for some small children as more and more family and friends gathered for an evening feast. Then a holy man arrived to lead an all night prayer service, to begin at 10 PM and continue all through the night. Everyone prayed individually for family members named and for their special needs, whether it be for employment, physical healing, spiritual healing, marital problems, bad tempers, etc. Jeanette and I did not stay for the all night service due to our own health concerns and the fact we would be driving through the night on Sunday for our return home.
On Sunday morning I gave away two more Books of Mormon and a Bible as we discussed many topics, some in one on one conversations and some in small group discussions.
In the afternoon we were welcomed into the tepee, where I spoke about the purpose of having our children blessed. Jeanette shared her testimony, as a mother, about the joy and comfort we had experienced at having our children blessed and the assurance a mother has, knowing that God will help her care for and teach her children. The women here are usually silent, but on this occasion they openly showed their excitement at Jeanette’s testimony.
There were about 60 people present when I blessed the little one. Then after teaching for more than an hour, Jeanette and I were given a gift and we shared in another feast.
We were excited to learn that one of the women in the group was a former Mormon and she wants to learn more. She asked to be notified the next time ministers from the church come to Pine Ridge.
Before leaving, we shared some donated food, bedding and books that were distributed.