Our first day with two words and Jake Bleacher and Gianni Vito were responsible for the day's blog reflection.
We made it to day 3! Day 3 started with the final late morning of the trip. Waking up around 8am, the group ate some handmade pancakes by Chris Link and Mr. Clark, while others prepared the cinnamon toast, bacon, and even prepped the table. After a hearty breakfast, we met with Brother Dale who gave us the list of items that we needed to accomplish throughout the day. We were split into four main groups. One group stayed back and worked on some construction at the bunkhouse. Another group, joined the LaSallian Volunteers to kindle some branches and burn them. The third group went with Brother Jim to De La Salle Blackfeet School. Finally, the last group went with Brother Dale to the school to help complete some tasks there. After working hard for a few hours, it was time to relax and complete the drum that we had made the previous day. We got the chance to paint these drums however we wanted and listen to Mr. Darrell (drum maker) speak about himself and the Blackfeet tribe. While on the drive to and from Mr. Darrell’s house we got to see some of the most incredible mountains and views ever. They helped us to see how immense this world really is and how breath taking it can be. After completing our drums, we then went back to doing service. The one group went to the bunkhouse to burn the remaining wood and the other group shoveled snow back at the school and helped clean the school’s cars. Later on, we all returned to the bunkhouse where we prepared for dinner and got a chance to relax. We then enjoyed a spaghetti meal with a local guest who answered several of casual questions about the tribal culture and her own life. It was a good opportunity to hear first-hand from somebody our age. It made it easier to connect with Martha on a more personal level because of the friendly and open environment of the dinner. Without a breath, we turned to night prayer after dinner. The night prayer gave us an opportunity to reflect on the final products of our drums. Many people were unaware of what their drum represented until they reflected upon it but they soon understood the below the surface meaning of their creation. During our reflection we learned more about the words prayer and spirit. Often we believe that the two are not connected but we soon learned that in order to have spirit you must complete the second half and that is in prayer. We are so grateful to have experienced a warm (below 40) beautiful day doing some service and learning more about the men we are becoming.
Reflection – Prayer – Jake Bleacher ‘20
For me so far, this trip has been a difficult experience for me to get used to. There are multiple challenges I have faced that have angered me in this experience. From attempting to ration food to help with community living to trying to determine when is an appropriate time to joke around, I have had difficulty in balance. When trying to reflect on my time so far, I think of my passage that I was told to read prior to the trip. This bible verse stressed that the value of your fruits are crucial and how you are defined by the fruits on your tree is ultimately important to God. After reading this passage again during night prayer, I thought about the potential fruits that will hang from my tree throughout the next couple of days as we begin to teach at the school. I am excited to start working with the kids, but along with the excitement comes nervousness of how they will see me and if they will connect with me as much as I am hoping for. Even though this bible passage connected with me, I still had trouble connecting the passage to prayer. This was until Mr. Collins revealed the perspective I was looking for all along. He brought up the fact that the actions of the fruits are only half of the process, and without prayer nothing forms. I viewed it as the actions of the fruits planting the seeds, and the prayers/connections to God blossoming that seed. I look forward to the remainder of the week and the adventures that still lay ahead.
-Jake Bleacher ‘20
Reflection – Spirit – Gianni Vito ‘20
What does Spirit mean to me? Honestly when I first started this trip I was not exactly sure why I was given this word or what it actually meant. The word spirit has so many different meanings. For some, it means to have excitement or to be enlightened. For others, it means to be present or to always be there. Often spirit is paired with having a lot of energy. Over the last few days, I have learned that spirit is more than all of those words. Spirit is what God has given me. After tonight’s reflection, a song came to mind, it goes something like this, “…there’s fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, and I can’t control…”. This song made me think of the word spirit because my spirit is like what God has given me. It’s like a fire and different things ignite this flame. These things often are uncontrollable, but rather our spirit just gravitates towards it. Tonight during our reflection, we were asked to think about what drives our flame or our spirit. For me personally, what came to mind for me was the relationships in my life. I have always had a strong emotional pull towards meaningful and real relationships. Some of these relationships include my parents, my friends, and myself. When I think back on all these relationships, I get a sense of joy and cheerfulness and this is because they are the fire that makes me, me. On the other hand, we were also challenged to think about what is stopping us from being able to have our spirit. I had to think about this one for a while, but after thinking I discovered that it is when others don’t like me for who I am. I tend to lose this fire that prevents me from being me. During our reflection we listened to some music which helped us to think about our spirit. One line that really struck out to me was, “we are on the hills and valleys.” This line made me think about the different times when I have been able to have a strong spirit, the hills and other times when it’s the valleys. On a different note, after taking sometime to journal and think about our past few days, what came to mind was the spirit that the Blackfeet tribe has. From Mass yesterday to our drum making today we felt an incredible sense of hospitality and kindness. Something that I noticed during mass yesterday was that during the sign of peace, everyone took time to share peace with each other. Another type of spirit seen was today, when both the drum making teacher (Mr. Darrell) and Martha (the local tribe member) were sharing the amount of pride and honor they have as being part of this people here in Browning. We were able to reflect as a group with our drums and we saw that each person has different reasons why they have spirit. What we really learned is that we shouldn’t be afraid to have spirit, and share that spirit with other people. Overall, after an incredible day like today, it is important to reflect on your moments, the moments that you will add to the scrapbook of life, and ask yourself where you had spirit and where you lacked it. I am really grateful of Mr. Clark and Mr. Collins for allowing us to have such an emotionally moving evening prayer and great day as well. We were also very thankful for Brother Dale, Martha, and Brother Jim for helping us have a successful day.
--Gianni Vito ‘20