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  • Writer's pictureTroy Foster

What in the Corn Palace?

South Dakota was full of “well, would you look at that!?”

Our early morning visit to the falls in Sioux Falls was short, beautiful, and crisp. Then we were advised to stop at the world famous “Corn Palace”. Let me tell ya, if you find yourself near Mitchell, South Dakota, go ahead and put Corn Palace in the GPS. It was a fun little break.

The wind swept rolling hills are so beautiful in their own way. We pull into Peirre, wind our way back to the Capitol, and find a parking spot. It was brisk with the wind blowing. We bundle up and walk around the building praying a ring of fire. It took a moment by we found the Liberty Bell replica across the street from the Capitol. I get posted up, decree and commission. With the sun now working its way down we take pictures and we’re excited to see mountains soon.

Onward we pushed for Mount Rushmore. The wind was blowing so hard. We watched trucks wobble down the road. It was blowing so hard that a piece of our car flew off. Driving along and phweoof the plastic cover for one side of the windshield took flight.

We pull into Grand Rapids to stay the night. As we unpacked it isn’t out of the norm for people to ask about my staff and shofar. Usually two types of responses, “wow, that is cool” or see me coming and go the other way… When we walked into the hotel, several people we passed looked at me and gave me a nod of approval. I got a sense of acceptance as we walked to our room. As we walked through the lobby it was packed with people checking in and finding the amenities.

I took a brief survey of those around us. It was apparent there was an event being held across the parking lot that encouraged the little walking room in the lobby. I continued to get the nods of approval and I would notice that some of the people passing us had “things” in their hands or wearing them.

Come to find out there was a big tribal convention for many of the Native tribes in the area. After I put our bags up in our room, I went back down for a moment to just sit in the lobby. I felt a feeling of acceptance, when we first got there, I wanted to explore that feeling a bit, so I just sat watching. I wondered if I was feeling a connection with those there because of my heritage. After about 15 minutes I head back to our room.

The next morning early we loaded up and the lobby was once again full with activity. As we ate breakfast I had a wave of emotions roll over me. Love, gratitude, hopefulness. Holding tears back I walk to the car with my staff and I continue to receive the head nods. Not sure what the convention focus was but, I could feel what Yah wants to do within the Tribal people!

We’re all excited to see Mount Rushmore. We get our first glimpse of "the heads". Seeing pictures of them do no justice to the scale of artistry. Two images are the prominent figures. George and Abe. Again another tie to them both. (If this is your first blog to read of our journey, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and a thing in our story)

We make our way to the foot of the mountain and pray. I give a short toot on my horn and we explore the park. As we head back to the entrance, I’m stopped by a Lithuanian man. He cut through a group of people to stand in front of me to stop me. With his thick accent, he asks, “what are you?” and before I could answer, he touches my shofar and asks “what is this for?” I pause for another question and ponder what my answer is for the first question. What am I? We both stare at each other enjoying the awkward silence. He is fully in my bubble and he takes a small step closer until we’re almost touching. Now I’m pressing for the right words. I tell him, “I’m a praying man and this is my prayer stick”. He backs up and looks at me with amazement and satisfaction. He says “this is great, good, good” as he looks around at everyone he says “unique, you are unique, I’ve never met anyone like you”. He then tells us that he is with a group of 50 Lithuanians that all live in Chicago now. He was so grateful to be living in the United States. He then grabs me, hops right back in my bubble and says “we need you, we need more unique people. You stay being you” he then starts to walk off and says loudly, I need a picture. I thought he wanted to get a picture WITH me, but no. He wanted a picture OF me. I smile as he takes a few pictures trying to get the lighting right all while saying to those around us, “he’s unique, stay that way”. Then he hurries off up the stairs to explore more of the park.

I look over to Kristi and the kiddos and the kiddos ask “what did he want and why was he taking pictures of you” I told them what he said and they shrug their shoulders grabbing my hand to hurry us to the next spot.

I thought to myself, all of this is “normal” for the kiddos. Traveling the country, praying, decreeing, commissioning, and having interesting encounters are just what we do. This is life.

We do the picture thing and hike back to the car for a long drive to Bismarck, North Dakota.

On the way from Mount Rushmore we were again advised to take the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. This is a must if you are in the area. Absolutely beautiful. We saw all kinds of wildlife and we also ran upon white mountain goats. Not one group but two!

North Dakota is calling.



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