White Earth Trip – Perspectives From Our Rice Lake Partners

This July, 28 youth and adults headed north for a 1 week mission trip at White Earth Indian Reservation. The mission team served in several ways with the people of Rice Lake. One team built a raised platform and beautiful communion rail for the Episcopal church while the other team led a camp and activities at the Boys & Girls club doing crafts, games, and stories along with serving lunch for about 50 kids every day. (See the photo gallery below.)

Below we share a letter from the Rice Lake leaders, who have served as our partners for four years, sharing their perspectives and thanks for the team’s work.

Dear Saints of St. Stephens,

When I was a kid…the most fun thing we did early in the summer was a week of what we called “day camp”!  It made our summers for sure!  I still see the faces of the saints who helped to put it on, though I suspect most are now running a camp in heaven. 

My point?  I can tell you that I see the same expressions in the faces of the mission group from St. Stephen’s and the same sheer delight in the faces of our Rice Lake kids!
Our Church family from Edina truly continues to make a deep and lasting impression of love and fun and caring in our hearts.

“The Summer Fun Days” is always anticipated anxiously by our Rez kids and it seems a perfect example the gospel … to me… it is like seeing Jesus in shorts and t-shirt… running around a gym shooting hoops with our kids or sitting with them in a quiet moment and communicating care and  connectedness  even without words.  The visit of the chair of the local council with extra treats and t shirts for us to give away is additional evidence of your impact.

Then the Christ as Carpenter always emerges in the ministry of the dedicated work crew, who this year brought a communion rail to St. Philip’s.  It is simply incredible to see.

I took one of our Elders to see it yesterday for the first time.  On my arm, he stood near the rail for a long moment saying nothing, then reaching to squeeze my hand he said softly, “Oh Jackie…to receive the meal of Jesus at the rail made by the carpenter’s crew is a holy thing.  “The Carpenter’s Crew…I like that”, I said.   “Tell them will you?”… “Yes, I promise I will”.  The Elder said no more to me on the way back to his small house, but the blessing was clear and loud.

So, this note of thanks is from your Family in Rice Lake, and St. Philip’s.  You have family here…you have touched our community, and please know the Rice Lake Community stands with arms open in gratitude and enduring relationship.

Chi Miigwetch, Jackie Bernacchi+, Al Fox Sr. Warden

We look forward to the 5 anniversary year in 2018!!

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