So COVID was changing everything everywhere. My move to Pine Ridge was on the back burner. Between lockdowns, rationing of toilet paper, staying home etc. Life was different. Church services were being recorded each week.
The hardest part for me was not being in worship with others.
During this time, I worked with the South Dakota Synod to accept the call to Pine Ridge. Of course, things were different on the reservation. MInistry was at a standstill. The plans arrive on June 1st and work with Pastor K for 30 days went out the window. There were no groups at the center.
Meanwhile back in St. Louis, I wanted to have the chance to say goodbye in person. Which meant COVID regulations needed to be relaxed. Fortunately, we went back to worship in person. It was great to be together again.
The stage was set. We had an agreement in place for me to come out to Pine Ridge. The details were taken care of. I was meeting with the staff via zoom. Pastor K told the Lakota Staff. Now it was a matter of time. I had to delay my arrival on site until July 8th. But as of July 1st, 2020 I was the director of the Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center.
Part of the reason for the delay was Jackie had foot surgery and I wanted to be there for her follow-up appointment. I could not leave until July 6th.
Now the hard part. Telling my friends at Atonement. I told Pastor Mueller first and followed that up with the staff and then the people I worked closely with. It was hard. My final worship with the people of Atonement was July 5th. They had an outside gathering to say goodbye.
After taking Jackie to the Doctor and a stop at Ihop for lunch served by Nick I headed west. While I was driving the Tribe announced a 72-hour lockdown. I had no choice but to keep going. After an extra night in a hotel, I arrived at the Reservation. I had ordered a bed online and other than that I only had what I carried with me in my truck.
My time began with a two-week quarantine.
But, I know I was where God wanted me. It is amazing what can happen if you trust the leading of the Holy Spirit. God Loves you and so do I.