Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
About a month ago, a group of 22 high school students and five adults from Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Merrill left for Pine Ridge Reservation in Wanblee, South Dakota to embark on a mission trip. Little did we know then that the trip MVP (most valuable person) would be our bus driver, Mike Wahoske, from Wendorf Bus Service.
Due to a communication mishap, five days before the trip we almost didn’t have a bus driver. At this point, some mild panic set in. However, given that mission trips are about seeking God first, we prayed. Mike was the answer to the prayer. He could have said he was sorry and had something else booked for the time and this would have been accurate! Behind the scenes, I am not sure what happened, but Mike was ready to go on departure day with a great attitude and big smile on his face.
Once we were safely in Wanblee, Mike could have stayed in hotel accommodations with air conditioning and creature comforts that we are all accustomed to enjoying. He chose, willingly, to stay in an “air conditioned” smelly room of teenage boys on a cot. That wasn’t the worst part of the housing. Showers were at a scheduled time mid-day and with cold water. Food was not bad at all, but beverages were never cold. Let me just say that air temperature water on a hot day is not as satisfying as ice cold water!
While staying in Wanblee with the group, Mike volunteered his time beyond what we had requested to help with the kids on the reservation. He made a lot of new friends. He is pictured with his number one new friend and side-kick. There were a lot of kids and Mike remembered all of their names. He saw the light in their eyes despite the disheveled, dirty clothes, lack of shoes, rampant runny noses and a variety of other physical issues. The theme of the trip was “we love because God first loved us” and Mike exemplified this all week.
Thank you, Mike, for going out of your way to make this such a memorable experience!