It’s the end of my first full day in Montana, although we have no internet here at the church yet – so I don’t know how many of these I’ll be able to type up before I can actually post these. So I hope you’ve scrolled down to read this if it’s been a while!
Today I met Pastor Calvin and his wife Sheri, who are our lodging hosts in Heart Butte, Montana. I feel a real sense of belonging with them in they have lived everywhere I have lived so far! Before Pastor Calvin came to this mission church and the Blackfeet reservation, he lived in Hobbs, New Mexico for four years. Before that, Elk Grove Village, Illinois. They have real Hatch Green Chile in their fridge at home, and a sense of humor so I’ll be just fine.
They took us to the church this afternoon and showed us around a bit. We got to hear about the 7 wolves, 1 Bear and her cub, and 1-2 cougars who have made their home near the church here. I immediately wished I had taken the time to get a firearm license before coming out here but I was assured (not that it is reassuring) that most of the surrounding community have guns and would alert us if they see the wildlife roaming about.
The church is pretty much what you’d expect from a church in a small community. It isn’t a Ritz Carlton, but it has running water, a kitchen, laundry, and even a fire pit where I hope to make s’mores every Friday with the teams.
Around Browning and the rest of the reservation there are many stray dogs – I hope to come home with no less than six of them (sorry Alex lol). But other than that the only thing that can be said about first impressions are 1. It’s so quiet. I may be as overwhelmed as a child just getting a cochlear implant when I get return to Chicago and the city life. 2. It is stunning. It’s greener than I expected and the mountains are close on the horizon, so still and looming, and still topped with snow. 3. It’s lonely. Drew is still here, but in the quiet and the dark, I’m very acutely aware that I am alone here, without my support systems and without a way to contact them as of yet. I am sure I will always be surrounded by new volunteers and Pastor Calvin and his wife and a ton of other people I am destined to meet, but right now I’m lonely. And that’s the worst kind of alone. But don’t worry, friends. It will get better. I’ll make it better.
Tomorrow we have a ton of meetings and more and more errands to run to get this place ready for our first team. I’m hoping we’ll set up the internet soon, as it will make my job a whole lot easier (with all the reports and things I need to do) and also just to have some way to stream music and movies to keep away the silence.
So again I say goodnight, and send your love into the universe, I’m sure to feel it every time I start to think I’m alone.