Tuesday In Montana 2011

Our worksites on this short-term mission project vary widely. One team went into town to pick up trash and prayer walk. They met new people as they worked and the basketball court is a cleaner and safer place for children to play. Robert, 12-year old, ventured over. Our students invited him to join them for lunch. As the conversation continued, they were able to turn the discussion to faith and church. They invited him to Wednesday evening’s church service. We will be hosting an ice cream social following the service. We hope to draw many young people to the service and hope that our interactions would be a tangible expression of God’s love. We would so appreciate your prayers for this outreach.

Another group is constructing a bath house at our camp. This will open opportunities for more groups to come and serve. They pulled hundreds of nails from previously used wood. It will become the rafters for the new structure. They’ve also nearly finished framing while a few team members follow behind adding aluminum flashing to the base. The flashing protects the building from the melting snow and ice during the harsh winters.

A few other students from our group picked up a new skill: driving a tractor. They dug a trench, ran a pipe, connected a pump … now the cows and horses (and people working there!) will have continuous water flow in the field.  And, of course, we continue stripping the lodgepole pines. Our team completed 17 poles yesterday! They would have done more but were distracted by a Man-vs-Wild moment… snakes.

The wildlife…toads hop around everywhere. We found very cool “toad lizards” on last night’s hike. They actually looked like the yellow-bellied lizards in the movie“Holes”! The dogs and kittens are ever-present. Snakes are also here. But not a lot! The Black Racers are shy and dart away quickly. The Bull snakes are bigger. They look like rattlers but are non-poisonous with no rattles. A few of our young men killed a 45″ one yesterday. They skinned it, put the meat in the refrigerator, and stretched the skin on a board. We’ll have snake meat with s’mores tonight.”Yummy” (that is me trying to be excited!).

Following dinner, most of us hiked up into the hills of the plateau. The three-mile mile hike became more of a climb toward the end of our destination. When we stopped to catch our breath, I turned around to a scene that took my breath away again. A stunning landscape of rolling grasslands, tree-lined meandering rivers, vertical sandstone cliff-faces lay peacefully under a surreal blue sky. Some in our group climbed even higher for vistas beyond description. As the shadows lengthened with the setting sun, we returned to camp … blessed, refreshed, and fully content.

(July 2011)


About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
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