It was Friday, 3 pm. The voice on the phone was urgent, yet happy, “They have their marriage license. You were right; they had to get it down there in Gering. There was a lot of red tape, but they got it. They are ready for the wedding today, but we do not know how to get ahold of the pastor.”
Pansy Weasel Bear and I had talked about the wedding earlier in the week. Her brother, Orlando, and his significant other, Shanna, wanted to get married. They had been together for 14 years. Now Shanna was in the hospital in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She did not expect to live much longer and they wanted to get married while there was still an opportunity.
Pastor Maldonado was at camp meeting in Lincoln— nine hours from Scottsbluff. I was three-and-a-half hours away. It had seemed, when we discussed it earlier, that the nuptial pair probably would not be ready for the wedding until the following Monday.
When I arrived the bride was radiant in her hospital gown. The groom was equally radiant as he stood by her bed. Just as the “I dos” were finished Pansy called with a message for the bride: “Congratulations, Mrs. Two Bulls!” Shanna died nine days later.
The needs here at Payabya Mission are, at times, immediate and pressing. There are approximately 56,000 people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matt. 9:37, 38: “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” We appreciate your prayers.
—Joseph Story is the pastor at Payabya Mission on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.