Spiritual Practice


Christina Spaeth, 19

Last summer, I traveled with other youth from my church to Martin, South Dakota. Martin is located in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Lakota Sioux tribe. It is also one of the poorest counties in the United States. Unemployment is at 80-90%. Per capita income is $4,000. The residents of Pine Ridge are eight times more likely to have diabetes and twice as likely to have heart disease or to commit suicide. Yet, in Martin, South Dakota, where life expectancy is the lowest in the United States, I saw hope, love, joy, hospitality, and faith.

We went to the bowling alley and chatted with local residents who came there every night. We went to a nursing home and made cards for a man who claimed that every day was his birthday. We spent time with the children of the reservation. Most of them wore the same clothes day after day and had no food to eat. Many lived in homes infested with roaches. But these children loved to play and have fun. Hugs and piggyback rides made them laugh. Though most of these children came from broken homes, they knew how to show us love. Since the day I left South Dakota, the children of Pine Ridge have never been far from my heart.

Christina 2 599763_3419797585643_138062465_n

PRAY: Ask God to bless the children of Pine Ridge and to give them joy and hope.

God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world.
James 2:5b (CEV)

Photo of Christina and her new friend Summer courtesy of Christina Spaeth


—from devozine (May/June 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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