Wow. I laugh when I see my last post was 6.21.09. I guess I've been busy....

That last post was three days before one of my friends left for basic training. We've not been friends for a real long time, but I truly valued the 4 months of friendship we had before she left. I learned more about myself and God during that time then I have in awhile. I love when God places people like that in your life and allows it to be so evident.

July 5-11 Was spent in Rosebud, SD with 13 soon to be 9th grade students and 5 other adults. The students were AMAZING! And I truly mean that. They planned out skits and a message every night for kids club, were enthusiastic about serving wherever needed, allowed kids to crawl all over them begging to be played with despite their exhaustion, had a friendly cooking competition, and just enjoyed each others company. I had been wrestling with knowing whether or not God was using me in the lives of others. It was sweet to be on this trip and see God provide a very clear message to me that He is using me.

Thursday the 9th I was working at the community center doing landscaping with 4 men from the reservation. I grew up on the farm so I was really looking forward to hauling dirt and planting some trees ;) Two of these men were Darrell and Terry. Terry is around my age and made it very evident he wasn't a huge fan of the white people. 
I asked them different questions about their lives only to find out that Terry was the only one willing to carry a conversation. Darrell just watched, the other two men worked together on their own thing. Terry finally said "Why are you here?" To which I replied with "To help the people here." Of course his response was "What people? and What do YOU get out of it?" I looked at him smiled and said "The pure joy of helping." and walked off knowing this was going to be a challenging day since he was being stubborn and I wasn't walking down from my bold stance either. 
I could tell they didn't much respect women. Mostly by the way they kept ordering me around, which I tolerated for awhile. Then finally after a couple hours I said, "You know, where I come from, we say PLEASE AND THANK YOU," and went about the task that was asked of me. Later I heard them saying please and thank you (very much to my surprise) and I smiled and said, "Terry, it works pretty good doesn't it?"
I learned a lot talking to Terry that day; about life on the reservation, the poverty level, some of his life story, and the religious aspect of their culture. 
The next day I showed up, which was our last day on the reservation, very much looking forward to talking with Terry again. To my surprise Terry and Darrell didn't show up. Talk about a lesson in tomorrow isn't a promise. Later a woman came outside and said there was a phone call for a Jessie.....I'm thinking "WHAT???" Yes. Darrell called the community center knowing I was working there again. He made mention that I was the only person He remembered the name of. That he was tired of being caught in the lifestyle he was in, but didn't know how to get out and wanted help. The desperation was so evident and it brought me to tears. I asked to pray for him and prayed that God would give him the strength in Him to leave the lifestyle and the people to support him.
At first, I was mad at God for allowing this to happen on the last day we were there! (I know, I know.... it's just the reality of my heart) Then after talking to another leader about it she said, "Jessie it's not about our timing, how sweet that God used you even on the last day!" Then the moment of......... oh yeah I was praying to be shown this just before I came. God didn't have to have him call me or make it known to me that he had been listening the whole day prior. I could choose to be disappointed that I couldn't be there to help this guy get the help he wanted.... or I could choose to see it as a blessing that God allowed me to see Him using me.

Sadly, I don't have pictures of either of these men... But a bunch of the kids there!

The whole crew after doing a free car wash for the community.

Working on a sweet art project to hang in the Community Center.

Before We hung it The top Says "Red, yellow, black, and white.... We are precious in His Sight" We painted all the scrap pieces those colors, and then I had the students come up with things that show that. Hand prints, some bible verses, etc are what they came up with! So cool :)
PJ. If you've ever been to rosebud before, you probably know this kid. I have such a heart for him. May God continue to pour out His love on Him through His church. 
Felician. All I can say is God is going to use him for a great Kingdom work. One of the brightest kids I've ever met and so eager to learn more while ensuring what he has heard is truth. 

My friend Andrea and I have really been exploring the art of Canning and freezing food. I can remember many summer days growing up helping with freezer corn at my grandparents house. We both love the idea of growing produce to provide for the summer months as well as during the Winter. And it will save us money as well as be healthier than canned food from the store! So far we've done somewhere around 50 quarts of green beans (canned and pickled), 48 bags of freezer corn, and 16- 8 oz. jars of freezer jam. GOOD EATS!

Our first project- green beans. Her husband even joined in the efforts and pickled some green beans... I was skeptical at first, but the really are good!

project 2 - Freezing Corn. And yes each of those containers is filled with corn either in queue, cooking, or cooling.

Starting the process of packaging and beginning to freeze the bags.

Andrea and I after our crazy weekend of feezing corn until 3 a.m. Sunday morning and then making freezer jam Sunday after church!

We're soo cool :)

This is a long post. But I think that's the highlights for the most part of my summer.

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