You could hear the excitement in their voices. The youth group had been discussing the upcoming youth retreat and the stories from others that had gone in the past were told with passion. The trip is a highlight for the teens and the opportunity to travel to another community and meet other Native youth is exciting. But the cost of the trip is always a challenge to overcome, especially in homes that are faced with fixed incomes and little means of earning extra.
Dottie Kasten has been a part of Native ministry since the 1960s. She and her teammate Carol Straley have been involved with a group of ladies that enjoy sharing time together as they work on different handcrafts. Some of the ladies have also seen the quilts that Dottie works on and have asked to learn how to quilt as well.
After hearing about the youth trip, the ladies began to talk about how they could help. “What can we do to make sure our kids are able to attend?” Different ideas were talked about; they could have a soup and bannock (fry bread) lunch at church and take donations. Some of the ladies also mentioned that they were willing to sell some of their handmade bead work and jewelery. It is this value of working together and contributing as a group that is such a strength of Native communities.
The group has also been an example to others of the difference that the Native Fellowship has made in their lives – lives that are fragile and often faced with debilitating addictions. It has also become a place that is comfortable for non-Christians to come to – a circle where they are accepted and can ask questions. Two ladies have been baptized as a result of being in this circle.
Dottie is always quick to invite the ladies over and opens her home anytime. After one of the ladies was a part of the beading group and had completed a quilting project with Dottie, she commented that, “This is the first time I have completed something!” Later Dottie was contacted by this lady as she had returned to a rehabilitation program. One of the things she had with her was the quilt that she had completed. She was proud to be able to show others what she had accomplished and also tell about her friends at the fellowship.