Kristi Laster, a veterinary technician from North Carolina, was given the opportunity to serve on her sixth short-term mission trip with CVM to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Kristi and her team spent a week on the reservation in South Dakota where they partnered with the Wounded Knee Church of God.
Kristi was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Q: What did you learn about missions during your time of short-term service?
Kristi: I learned what I think I have known for awhile now-that God wants me in that place to do His work. The Lakota need Jesus. We have such an opportunity at Pine Ridge-to share the love of Jesus with others. Pastor Stanley at Wounded Knee has a very difficult job when it comes to sharing Jesus with his fellow community members. The cultural traditions of the people make it harder for them to follow Christ completely. It’s an uphill battle for the local ministers. But, with that said…I feel that hearts are opening. God is doing great things on that Reservation.
Q: What was encouraging and/or surprising to you about short-term missions service?
Kristi: I’ve done short term missions since I was in high school. Helping build church foundations(Builders for Christ), teaching Vacation Bible School in South Africa for a couple Summers (with Southen Baptist Assoc), and now completing my 11th CVM trip. The most surprising thing for me is that I feel that God is leading me to do more. Being part of CVM has changed my entire life, and I’m surprised that the path I thought I had planned out for myself is nothing like God has planned. I feel led to do so much more-to share the Father’s love. It is honestly an exhilarating feeling.
Q: What was particularly challenging to you during this time of service?
Kristi: Sometimes I feel inadequate. It’s so easy to look at others and wish that you had the talents and gifts that they have. I have to remind myself sometimes that God made us all different-each with special gifts. No matter what our talent is, we must use it to God’s glory. When others see insignificance…and even when we see it in ourselves, God doesn’t. He sees past the surface.
Q: What did you learn about the particular challenges facing the local community in which you served?
Kristi: Hopelessness is rampant. When a community has staggering numbers of children commiting suicide, the devil is certainly at work. Alcoholism is prevalent, unemployment rates are high, and folks live in uninhabitable homes. I can understand why they feel hopeless. But they don’t know Jesus. They don’t know that they aren’t alone. We have to share Christ’s unconditional love with folks there.
Q: How was the local community impacted as a result of CVM’s service in this area?
Kristi: This year more than any, I felt like the local community has become more trusting of us. They see many people returning year after year. I think that means a lot to them. I’ve been told that many groups come once and never return. I feel like the community recognizes that we are committed. They see it’s not just about taking care of their animals, but we are there because we care about the people. I feel more than ever that we have made a connection to the Lakota. Hearts are opening there. God is totally at work!!
Q: How was your faith impacted as a result of your short-term missions service?
Kristi: Wow, not sure I have words for this question. How has my faith not been impacted? My faith in Jesus has changed my life. I can’t imagine my life without CVM, and the relationships made since I did my first short term mission trip. I never dreamed God would take me down the path He has. I never dreamed I would want to lead a short term mission trip, but I do. If someone had told me that, I would have thought they were crazy. But my faith has only grown, and I am now listening more when God is speaking. He is telling me that I need to do more. To get out of my comfort zone. And while it’s a bit scary I think, I’m excited for what He has in store!
Q: What next steps of faith is God calling you to as a result of this trip? How can CVM support, encourage, and equip you for these next steps?
Kristi: Honestly, I feel called to lead a short term mission trip. God has laid the Lakota on my heart. And my dream for awhile now has to been to lead a Spring trip to Pine Ridge. While that’s a bit scary to me, I feel led to do that. I think and pray about it every day. So, that is my next step-that’s what I feel God is telling me to do.
A special thank you to Kristi Laster for allowing us to share in a little piece of her journey to the Pine Ridge reservation! May the Lord continue to use this experience to touch the lives of others.
Not able to participate in a short-term trip but have a heart for what God is doing through them? Support CVM’s short-term missions by giving to our short-term missions program!