Last month I couldn't help thinking: this is what Jesus must have felt when he saw the crowds of people coming to him for his healing touch.
The line started early. In fact, because of a miscommunication, some people showed up at 3 AM and sat in their cars or lined up with blankets to ward off the early morning chill. They were here for our second annual RAM event.
RAM (www.ramusa.org) stands for “Remote Area Medical.” It’s a non-profit organization that goes to underserved parts of our country offering free medical, dental, and vision care. The Rosebud is the only reservation to which RAM goes. Over 100 volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses, and support staff from ages 86 to 11 converged on St. Francis Mission and met the crowds from early Friday morning, August 16 through Sunday morning, August 18.
The Icimani Ya Waste Recovery Center served as the registration center where people’s needs were assessed. The large open space there also served as the dental clinic with 10 portable chairs that RAM brought. The Father Jones Religious Education building was the vision center where exams were conducted and frames chosen. A large semi-trailer parked nearby was where over 200 pairs of glasses were made while people waited. Medical exams were conducted in our dental clinic with its small, private treatment rooms.
Our friends from the Unbroken Circle Project (https://unbrokencircleproject.org/) cooked and served over a thousand meals. They also oversaw the distribution of clothing, toys, and personal items which had been donated since the spring. Chris Engelmann of World Effort Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/WorldEffort) came with 200 loaves of bread and rolls as well as 30 mattresses which were donated by various hotels. One Nurse At A Time (www.onenurseatatime.org) donated back packs and school supplies.
During the event I wandered around the buildings. Seeing the crowds of people being helped is when I thought about what Jesus must have felt when he healed so many. I thought: what a privilege it is to share in the joy that the Lord has today as so many generous people come together to serve others.
The RAM event would not have been possible without the vision, initiative, and generosity of Marty Jones, our dental clinic director, and her assistant Miranda McDaniel. Other staff members, our youth group, and Sapa Un students pitched in to help as well.
Of course thanks must also go out to you. With your prayer and financial support, St. Francis Mission is able to help meet some of the unmet needs of the Rosebud Reservation.