Monday June 28, 2010
It’s been a beautiful sunny day in
We started our day with a Bible study about the gifts of air and water. Pastor Margaret, one of the leaders of Prairie Star Ministries, asked us to recount how many times we used water before breakfast, then relayed the story of a trip she took to a partner ministry in South Africa, when as guests they unthinkingly used up the entire next day’s limited water supply flushing the toilet in the night. By morning, the tank that was supposed to supply their day’s washing and drinking was gone.
Here, at the moment though, there’s plenty of water, due to recent storms. Standing water in the fields is a bad thing for farmers, and it’s clear that these temporary lakes will present some losses to some of these farmers.
There are several staff here at Shalom Hill who are part of hosting our visit: Pastors Mark and Margaret, who own the property and began the retreat ministry here; Juanita and Rae, who fill a variety of functions including programming and cooking, and April, a local college student who was our guide for the day. (More about her later).
We spent the morning visiting the
Needless to say, we are learning that farming is not for the lazy. April, who is studying dairy production at SDSU in Brookings and grew up nearby here on a family dairy farm, told us that college was a hard adjustment for her, because she is so accustomed to doing chores after classes are over. At first she didn’t know what do with her time
We had lunch at the “Mini-Mart”, actually a gas station/
Our afternoon had an unexpected change in plans: we had been scheduled to tour a local soybean plant, but the only staff person available to speak to us was ill today, so we headed back to Shalom Hill earlier in the afternoon. Fortunately, it was not difficult to start our planned service project early. Our task: weeding their enormous vegetable gardens. All the rain here has meant that weeds have gotten a bit out of hand, but 12 people can do amazing things in a few hours. So now our students can identify carrot shoots, and the garden that will feed us and others this week looks a lot better!
After another delicious dinner, we were paid a visit from a local farmer who was instrumental in starting a local wind farm. He described the complex process of getting approval for, financing, building and maintaining 12 incredibly large turbines, each of which can power 350-450 homes a year. Ironically, he thinks the majority of their power probably ends up getting used at the nearby ethanol plant.
We are asking lots of questions, loving the beautiful land here, and enjoying being together. Thank you to ECLC for your support of this trip!