We just recently got back from visiting with the mission team in Rapid City, South Dakota. We spent a few days out there to encourage the work as well as see with our own eyes the families and ministry going on there. We were in turn encouraged by the efforts being put forth and the response of the community in Rapid City.
I personally have not done mission work outside of the local community. So it was encouraging to have a first hand experience with the work to truly understand what is going on and with the Kings, whom we support and the McDaniels (the other supported mission family there), the congregation that has been established and the greater community. So now when we are talking and conversing and trying to get encouragement to these families I have better frame of reference to speak and pray from.
We learned that there is a lot of hurdles in the work in this part of the country. There are strong social challenges present that the church there is having to face. Alcohol (as in most places anymore) is a huge social hinderance as well as gambling. We noticed quickly that there were like casinos on every corner it seemed. Worldliness certainly abounds. An interesting paradigm that I did not expect was a real draw to atheism in the area. The draw doesn’t seem to be in a scientific evolutionary type of atheism per-se (though it is there as it is in most of our communities) but rather just a don’t really believe in anything kind of attitude. This certainly affects the approach and dynamic of the outreach in the community. And discussing this with Tim King they are very aware of these dynamics and are in thought, conversation and implementation of ways to reach people with these cultural backgrounds.
Why we were there I believe we experienced a loving a growing group of Christians. There conversation and communication seemed to be very open and honest which sets the stage for growth. They are using smaller groups to reach out to the membership as well as the community. They do an in house Bible Study on Wednesday night and they do a parenting small group on Thursday night. You can definitely see a desire to reach out to their community with the word of God and do so in a way where it is relevant and tangible to their lives. This was certainly encouraging.
I am prayerful for the work in South Dakota and I hope you will keep them in your prayers as well. This Sunday, October 17th we will be doing a bit more of a formal presentation from our trip to the Three Forks family. I hope you will keep these families in the work of the kingdom in this place in your hearts and minds. If you happen to be reading this and would like to learn more about the Rapid Valley church of Christ you can visit their website at www.rapidvalleycoc.org
Here are some pictures from our trip: