In the Lakota language, the word “Hunka” means adopted. This project exists as the Pass Creek church partners with individuals and other churches to adopt the needs present in the community.
In the Lakota way of life, there are not words for love; it’s only shown through action. The Hunka project is therefore part of what it means to be the loving family of God.
The annual goal for this project is $25,000. Hunka projects vary in scope. The average cost of a Hunka project is $3,500. Each year, an average of 6-7 Hunka projects are completed.
Project # 43.44341
“…We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We have to engage and meet people where they are.”
Missionary to Oglala Lakota Sioux
Partnering to Make a Difference
Partnering to Make a Difference
The leadership of the Hunka project will continually partner closely with the local Native authorities for building codes, necessary permits, identification of needs, and collaboration of resources when possible.
Additionally, part of the long-term goal of this project is that members of the Pass Creek church tithe to this partnership and participate in local jobs.
At Global Strategy, it is our mission to walk alongside the local church in ways that are locally led and sustained. The Hunka project advances this mission by empowering the local church to recognize and address real needs in their community. Members of the Pass Creek church are discipled through participation in this good work, which fosters a new understanding and practice of compassion in their local context. Additionally, part of the long-term goal of this project is to achieve sustainability as the local church becomes more involved in this work through tithing to these projects and participating in local jobs.
Global Strategy Missionaries Tim and Kim Wardell work with a community of Lakota people on a Native American Reservation called Pine Ridge Reservation in Allen, South Dakota. Throughout their time serving this community, Tim and Kim have learned that this a community of people who have lived through the trauma of being ostracized, demonized, and abused. What this community has needed the most is the presence of someone who is willing to love through action. In the Lakota language there is no accurate word for love, and they believe love is shown through action. Their word for adoption is Hunka, and the Hunka project is a hands and feet ministry. Here are a few captured Hunka stories from the Wardell’s time serving this community over the past several years:
In 2019, more than 17 people lived in a small, split-level home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. With most of the home’s residents being children, the physical needs of this home became painfully present. The residents were the Brownbull and the Brokenrope family. The front door of the home was tied with a rope to keep it closed. Most of the drywall in the home had holes and was infested with mold. Tim Wardell brought in a team of people to help repair these issues. Overall, they put up over twenty pieces of drywall, an outside door with a storm door, and three interior doors. Tim shares that one day while they worked, a car pulled up to the house. When the church pulled together to help the families in this home meet their physical needs, they drew the attention of Norman Standing Soldier, the director of Indian Housing, who had come to ask what they were doing. When Tim shared with him about the Hunka Project, and when he witnessed how the church had showed up to serve these families, he was elated, and offered to share with people across the Lakota Reservation about this project.
Another story from the Hunka Project involved a man named John Badwound, who has since passed away. When Tim and Kim Wardell first started their ministry in South Dakota, one of the first things Tim did was meet with the elders, entering relationship with them from a posture of learning and submission through servanthood. Tim was introduced to the elders as the new pastor of the church on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Due to some negative experiences with evangelicalism and missionaries in the past, the natives, including one John Badwound, felt resentment towards the idea of Tim and Kim, white missionaries, entering their community. But after months of Tim approaching him with a posture of learning, John was open to building a pastoral relationship with Tim. He began asking Tim relational questions about his family and where he came from. Slowly, their conversations became more fruitful.
When the first team from a church came in June of 2019, Tim felt prompted to help John Badwound fix some issues in his home. John shared with Tim that he couldn’t find help from his community with issues in his home. Wind was coming into the home due to bad skirting, a new ceiling was needed, and storm doors were needed. Tim checked with the leader of the team who planned to come to help with the church campus, and they agreed to shift their focus to helping John with the needs of his home. When Tim let John know that the team planned to fix the issues in his home, John was unsure whether he could trust him. Within just a couple days, the service team addressed the needs in the home and rebuilt the back porch. After the project was finished, Badwound called Tim and asked if the team could back to his home. When they arrived, recycled Folger’s Coffee cans lined the yard, each one filled with soil and a planted seedling from a tree in his yard. Badwound explained that his grandfather, who was a Native Chief, had planted this tree. In two days, John Badwound went from feeling hurt and suspicious of the motives of Christians to sharing a portion of his history with them. He presented these gifts, with tears in his eyes, and prayed a blessing over the team. This act of love through service, broke down the barriers in John Badwound’s heart, and he became a dear friend.
Over the past several years, many churches partnered with the Wardell’s in carrying out Hunka Projects while on service trips to the Pine Ridge Reservation. One church, Connection Point from Sydney, Ohio, connected with Theresa Whirlwind Horse. The Wardell’s consider Theresa their Hunka, meaning adopted, mother, and the Connection Point church call her grandma Theresa. Over time, several issues developed in her home: Her kitchen floors were damaged, making it difficult for her to access with her wheelchair, the oven was dysfunctional, the counters and cabinets were rotting. A team from Connection Point partnered with the Wardells and Theresa to develop a new kitchen that would allow her easy and safe access. They gutted her kitchen, giving her a new stove, oven, microwave, sink, and painted the walls. The same church came back later and put in new floors throughout the rest of the home.
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Ways to make a difference
- Check – make checks payable to “Church of God Ministries” and specify “Hunka Project – 43.44341” in the memo line.
- Online – Visit this link
For more information, contact Andrew Gale at 800.848.2464 or email@example.com.