Our Last Day: Day 5 Browning
Warmer temperatures and howling winds greeted the twelve students and their leader their last day in Browning and at De La Salle. Today, we said goodbye to the cozy place where we encountered God in prayer, story telling, and laughing together as an immersion family.
Our last morning was spent making the bunkhouse spick and span and eating as much food as we could. We discovered that cleaning before breakfast results in an earlier departure time! Maybe we should have cleaned every morning…
We walked through the doors of the De La Salle School knowing that the hours left to spend time with the students were numbered. Even though time went by much faster than any of us would have liked, we can all agree that not one minute was wasted.
Courtenay spent the last day at De La Salle in the 6th grade classroom where spirits were high and attention continued to grow. I (Katey) spent this last day filling in and doing little jobs for the school as the 8th graders had left for a fun weekend in Helena. Dan, Cory, Blake and I spent a lot of time cleaning up little areas around the school. This included finding little treasures in the gym as we made the court playable again, and expanding our color vocabulary as we sorted and cleaned up the paper collection in the office.
Before lunch, a pack of us mushed over to Medicine Bear one last time. We took part in meaningful conversations and prayer, and were given tiny glimpses into the history of the Blackfeet. To me (Courtenay) those slivers of history are so interesting. I had a desire to find out more and to gain more than just slivers, I wanted to gain branches of a culture. I wanted to learn how tall the tree has grown and where the roots are. At Medicine Bear, I saw God in the words spoken to me by the Blackfeet people. As I was saying goodbye, they shook my hand. One individual asked my name, and he said, “You are Courtenay Runs on Water.” I walked away in wonder at how he could look at me, name me, and give me an identity, and not just any identity, but a Blackfeet identity. I left wondering about the significance of my name, and the uniqueness of the people I met. My encounter sparked a fire in me to dive deeper and discover branches belonging to my own family, and to dig into the roots of who I am.
To me (Katey) the experience at Medicine Bear was just another reason (to go along with the countless other reasons I had discovered throughout the week) to fall in love with the Blackfeet people. The two women who ran the shelter were obvious images of God’s shining grace. It made me feel such joy to walk in and see just how excited they were for us to be there…even though they had no jobs for us to do. We all sat and talked and prayed with those who visited the shelter and it was such a privilege to see and learn about yet another aspect of the Blackfeet tribe.
We then reluctantly left De La Salle and Browning, with lots of hugs and see you laters…all knowing that our journey there was nowhere near complete. The seventh and eighth graders had an amazing opportunity to travel to Helena and experience a variety of different activities in the state capital. This also provided an opportunity for us to get to see them one last time, but this time in our home. I (Katey) met up with them at the Carroll College men’s basketball game. The kids had gotten the chance in the afternoon and evening to hang-out and eat dinner with the team so they all knew who their favorite players were and were ready to cheer them on! It was amazing seeing the kids outside of school in such an energized environment. I had the opportunity to show the girls my locker room and talk a little about their goals; which mostly included playing college volleyball or basketball…but I made sure I mentioned how awesome soccer is as well J. The team put on a great show, tying MSU Northern in the last seconds of the game to push into overtime where they won 89-83! After seeing the students in such a fun and excited state it was even harder to say the final good-byes…but it made it a little easier to know that it would only be a see ya later, because our stories with these amazing kids have yet to be completed. And we would like to leave you with a short prayer:
As I thank you for the gift of life, I also thank you for the gift of wonderful people I have met along this journey. Some of them inspire me, stretch me, challenge me, love me, and encourage me. All of them helped me to realize how meaningful and beautiful my life is. I love them so much. Bless them Lord with good health, security, wealth, success, peace, and joy. Grant their prayers too.
Katey and Courtenay