And I’m Off… almost.

One week. One week until training begins, and I am so excited I can barely sleep—which is a bummer because I will be getting ZERO sleep this summer. But, I am so pumped for it. I cannot wait for the nights that quickly turn into mornings cracking hundreds of eggs for breakfast. Those mornings which fade into afternoons of working (or as some people liked to call what I was doing, talking). These which then turn into sweaty late afternoons of visiting Red Cloud Indian School, Lakota Hope, or Wounded Knee. And then, when the sun goes down, a beautiful, HOT, wonderful hour to all join together to sing and worship our Almighty Lord.

Pine Ridge, last summer, stole a huge piece of my heart, and I cannot wait to reunite with it. Every time I think about knocking on Ruby’s door and giving her a GIANT hug, my eyes fill with tears of joy. I think about all the nights spent last year giving piggyback rides to my kiddos, and I pray trekking up the giant hill at school with my backpack trained me for those upcoming summer nights. I keep reliving evenings spent in the oven (aka worship building), and I am so ready to be back in there, sweating my face off while giving talks about the wonders that God has worked in my life. I am excited to get to know the middle and high school students, and their leaders, who come out to spend a week with us on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The memories made last summer carried me through this last year at Pitt. It is without a doubt in my mind many more incredible times will be had this year. I cannot predict what this summer will be like. I know it won’t be without some hardships, frustrations, exhaustion, and doubts (along with some stink from going days without showering). But, what I do know is those times will be overshadowed by the relationships formed between staff, students, and the community, the laughs and joy shared by all, the faith that is tested but ultimately grows, and the LOVE of Christ that will be radiating from the hearts of the servants met this summer.

I’m almost there. One more week. One more week, and I meet my team. The team that will carry each other through the summer—through the good times and the bad. The team that starts off as strangers, but ultimately becomes a family. One more week, and my summer journey begins—another chapter added to the Lord and my story. So thank you, God, for making this, Pine Ridge, and the people I will meet, a part of OUR story.

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