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The group with the family sitting in front.

Our team with the recipient family who
will soon occupy the house.

“Now we’re cooking with gas”, beamed Mike Kramer’s voice as team members took the forms out from around the freshly hardened concrete sidewalk. He had been operating a Bobcat skid loader to spread dirt and gravel to flatten the landscape and lay the groundwork for a driveway. A couple other men were beginning to dig a 200 foot long, 2 foot deep trench to bury electrical cabling. Others were priming the siding of the four bedroom house that we were helping to build. Five Servants of the Word affiliates and two lifelong committed brothers were on this mission trip with the primary objective of contributing to the construction of this Habitat for Humanity home (dacotahtipis.org) being built for a Native American family on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation at Fort Thompson, South Dakota. And what a mission trip it was!

Two men pull wire along a trench outside the house.

Pulling the main service wire to the house.

Tasks ranged from installing sump pump crocks to wiring and insulating the house. Activities ranged from a tour of a hydroelectric power plant on the Big Bend dam to fishing on Lake Sharpe on the Missouri River. Meals ranged from rib-eye steaks (while visiting the parents of one of the brothers) to traditionally prepared fried bread tacos. Long drives, robust laughs, and raw, manly service characterized this mission trip. Overall, it was a time of innumerable memories, solid brotherly fellowship, selfless physical labor, and strong evangelistic focus.

Three affiliates work on a sidewalk form.

Doing form work for the front sidewalk.

Aside from the physical work at Habitat for Humanity, a clear highlight was connecting with the missionaries at Diamond Willow Ministries (d-w-m.org) who selflessly reach out to the distressed and largely isolated Native American community on the Crow Creek Reservation. We were given numerous opportunities to exchange our stories with both the older and the younger generations in an effort to contribute to Diamond Willow’s outreach efforts. We were clearly struck by the humility, joy, and sacrificial generosity with which the missionaries there serve, as they leave behind careers, family, and comfortable living situations to pursue God’s will and bring people into the body of Christ. Thanks be to God for this awe-inspiring opportunity to see and witness God’s greatness, goodness, and love.

“God gave us a unique opportunity to plug in with both Habitat for Humanity and Diamond Willow Ministries, and we’re grateful that we were able to contribute even in small ways to the good work that these two organizations are doing.”

–Greg Codouni

This article is from our 2012 Fall Servants of the Word Newsletter [1.0MB PDF].

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Joseph points to some youth with the microphone in his hand.Don Schwager