Today was our first day of VBS at the Wind River Mission church. Every year, we plan to welcome children to the church, and every year we don't have any idea how many children will come. One year we had 18 children on our first day and 35 on the second day. You want to make sure you have enough food and supplies to provide for the children but you don't want to buy too much and be wasteful. Working in this uncertainty can sometimes be stressful.
This year was no different. In fact, this year has been slightly more stressful because we normally travel here with a team of 16 people. This year, we only have 11 team members to handle the children that God will send to us. Although our team may be smaller than in the past, we are just as mighty. God put this specific team together to do His work here on the Mission. As we were planning for this trip, both spiritually and physically, we discussed how important is is to remember that we are going to Wind River to do God's will. We all acknowledged that we need to trust that He will provide a means and a way to get His work accomplished. Today, with a smaller team than usual, we were able to provide an awesome VBS experience for 48 children on the reservation. Many of the children we met today are new to VBS at the Mission. They have been coming to church and Sunday school thanks to the dedicated work of Pastor Sonnenschein and his family. Judah and Sara Sonnenschein (Pastor and Rachel's teenage children) were tremendous team members and provided the manpower and guidance we needed to make this a successful first day of VBS.
This is my fourth trip to Wind River and I feel blessed to be of service to this community. Every time you think you have heard the worst story of a child's life, you hear another one that is more horrific. Today, I learned that two of the girls in VBS are living with an extended family member. Their father, who was a drug addict, killed their mother in front of these two girls and their three other siblings because her mother would not steal drugs from the hospital she was working at while she was studying to be a nurse. These poor children are scattered across different family members and are mourning the loss of their mother. Our message in VBS today was that God always loves you no matter what your circumstances or what sins you have committed. I pray that this one day we spent with them will help sustain these little girls now and in the future. If just one of these children remembers that God always loves them and that gives them a ray of hope and a pathway to accepting Christ, all of our stress and fatigue will be worth it. Thanks to God for allowing us to be here for these kids, working in whatever way He sees fit!
- Anne Otto