Sharps Corner Baptist Mission
HCR 49 Box 242 Porcupine, SD 57772
Sharps Corner Baptist Church/Chanku Waste Ranch
Isolation has many levels as well as many hurdles. For poor reservation families even local cultural events are often impossible to participate in. Families with a single parent in the home are more liable to be poor and 34% of Pine Ridge children grow up in single parent homes. Shannon County (the county we work in) contains the poorest of the poor in the United States and, based upon the median per capita income of $2,600, ranks as the 2nd most impoverished county in the nation. If the sovereign land of Pine Ridge Reservation were a country unto itself, the only country in the Northern hemisphere that would be as poor would be Haiti.
Some people travel by private car. Yet, many do not have access to a car and must walk to reach their destination. Remoteness between communities and extreme weather conditions often render travel impossible. This makes game full employment an impossibility as well as involvement in typical adolescent church related activities. Therefore, we are presently trying to find used vans and busses that can be used to bring our people to church and camp activities. We have tweaked our strategy a bit from planting a small church in each small community (a strategy fraught with many obstacles) to a strategy of having a man responsible for each area and bussing them into our existing building and facilities. This is proving to be more financially responsible as our congregation cannot meet the day-to-day needs of the present church facilities let alone such a broad network of churches.
Due to past failed evangelistic efforts, our ministry is concentrating on community issues to broaden and advance the options of high-risk families and at risk youth as well as our opportunity to share the Truth. Our ministry is garnering community acclamations’ by addressing the needs of 300+ at risk youth and their families. Our present building project will become the main facility from which to operate our initiatives.
Special attention is being given to five key activities designed to coach and challenge:
- Tutoring – The program’s academic emphasis will start with assistance in homework. Students will experience the benefit of a gentle atmosphere that promotes the desire to learn and where Christian staff and volunteers can support them in scholastic assignments.
- Computers – It is our goal to begin our computer lab with today’s most recent technology (we have applied for a grant that is available for the secular aspects of our program). During their daily computer time, if the student’s homework assignments are complete they may also use the MAC computers for an assortment of educational games, which will include such programs as, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham, Mrs Flinkster’s Spelling Accelerator, Math Blaster, Dora the Explorer Lost and Found, Kaplans SAT/ACT Platinum, I Spy Mansion, Learn to Play Chess with Fritz, Oregon Trail, Kutpka Mia’s Science Adventure, Kutpka Mia’s Math Adventure, Animal Genius, Math Evolver, Spore, and others. The initiative is to connect the dots between work, education and enjoyment.
- Music Education – Another integral element to this program, is the creativity provided through the music/performing arts facet. Our staff will be dedicated to teaching culturally popular musical instruction (native flute, guitar, piano, drum, etc) to our students. This will include daily lessons with actual performances as students become more advanced. Playing a musical instrument is one of the few endeavors available, which can boast of actually improving academics. Furthermore, music provides an often-needed escape and release from life on the reservation as well as career opportunities.
- Performing Arts Classes – Throughout the program students will be encouraged to participate in Performing Arts such as drama, singing, dance and old fashioned story telling. Local talent will be sought to teach students song, dance, and instrument playing as it relates to their Native heritage. Both the Performing Arts Classes and Music Education provide opportunities to reach families with performances that present the Gospel.
- Health Education – Each day students will learn how to make nutritional snacks for all students and will take part in a rally and recreational time. This time has the ability to build camaraderie, self esteem, team building as well as run off some nervous energy before settling down to homework and studies. This time will include sports and games that encourage a spiritual community mentality.
Goal Setting, Strong Management, and Sustainability:
Goal Setting: Although there is diversity between our Church services, after school session program and our summer program, our goals are respectively the same and plan to hit upon three main goals as tools to reach out and bring them into a Christian community (historically seen as White man’s world):
- Academics – While partnering with Nation wide churches, we have great confidence in disseminating vital Christian attitudes and structure that will enable our youth to, not just learn but to learn how to learn in the future. We have the intention of teaching our youth independence from government handouts, a need highlighted by Calvin Helin, an aboriginal lawyer and the son of a Tsimshian Nation chief, who addressed this issue in his book, Dances With Dependency,. Through our Academic and Performing Arts program, students (50+ year one, 100+ year two) will have taken part in intense tutoring, computer, and performing arts classes as well as chapel times. They will all have had AT LEAST 100 hours of tutoring, 100 hours of academic instruction on computer, and 100 hours of musical instruction* as well as equal biblical training. This will be verified through the keeping of records and grades, by keeping in touch with teachers and observing student report cards. *Although musical instruction is not in itself academic, students who play a musical instrument, tend to have higher test scores and have better memory functions.
- Social/Behavior – In using the tool of music, youth will learn to improve their connectivity to others through improved social skills. Studies have shown that playing a musical instrument instills patience, makes youth less moody, and offers a release for stress and an outlet for frustration. Furthermore, playing in a musical group opens a door to an often-undiscovered world, one that uses a language that transcends cultural barriers. Furthermore, it has been proven that being part of an attentive group decrease the risk of teen pregnancy, gang involvement, drug use, teen suicide, etc. Truly, a book of Proverbs approach!
- Family Involvement –Often, throughout the program, a performance and academic awards ceremony will be held to provide interaction between the parents, students and Christian staff. Throughout the year there will also be “whole” family activities encouraging support for the students by their parents and allowing staff opportunity to bring parents into our regular church activities.
Clearly visible to our reservation, is our primary goal, is to magnify Jesus. However, since the gospel was initially brought to Native America with the connotation that “God loves you but He doesn’t like you” (implying that this people group must jettison all cultural aspects of their lives in order to be saved) we have many fences to repair and walls to tear down. After 400+ years of attempted evangelism less than 1% of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation claimed to be “born again” Christians at the time of our arrival three years ago. Our goal is to change that number.
It is no wonder why Jesus talked about money as much as He did. He knows it acts as a vehicle in this world and He knows that, quite often, this is where Satan’s forces will wage the battle. Therefore, we are so bold in Christ that we are pressing on with our plans to build an all purpose building. It will act as chapel, lunchroom, dorm space for workers, winter activities like hunting seminars for our Native men, men’s and women’s retreats, after school programs, snow camp when winter break comes, and the list goes on and on! I will make a list of the pros so all can consider the value of this building.
Why we need this building:
- It will be the only covered area we have in which to feed the children and escape inclement weather.
- It will enable us to utilize the free school lunch program (they require a covered place).
- It provides a chapel area with baptismal (we have been traveling off reservation for baptisms).
- It provides a building in which to run year round activities for everyone.
- It solves the problem of where to accommodate all the workers.
- It provides a place to run after school program during the school year.
- It provides the possibility of income from churches that wish to use it for seminars and such.
- It gives us a kitchen for meal preparation.
- It is an idea worthy of our calling.
We have over $42,000.00 toward the foundation and plumbing in the ground as the first step. We initially estimated a cost of 200,000.00, However, with modifications we’re making the new number is down to 175,000.00. These changes do make the cost a bit heaver on the front end while lessening the overall cost. Once we get all the groundwork done we can then put together the teams to build the building. We have had many churches contact us with their commitment to help supply workers. The many godly men that are already involved give me great confidence that God will bring it to fruition. We need this by summer camp, at least in a usable form.
Mike’s cell - 308-360-2876
Home - 605-455-2052
In Him – Mike and Monica Brennan