Mission Grant #9 “Wind River Indian Reservation Transportation — Wind River Lutheran Mission” $40,000 fully funded

By God’s grace, and LWML faithful giving, Mission Grant #9 Wind River Indian Reservation Transportation — Wind River Lutheran Mission has been PAID IN FULL.

What dream came true with this mission grant? The dream of a new van!

With the purchase of a church building near Fort Washakie in the spring of 1978 by the LCMS Wyoming District, the mission work with the Shoshone and Arapaho Native American tribes began. A large part of this ministry is focused on outreach to the children of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Due to the distance from their homes, and with transportation options being limited, very few children are able to attend the Bible classes in Fort Washakie (an 88-mile round trip) and Crowheart (a 60-mile round trip). A 2001 Ford Econoline van with over 200,000 miles was starting to show its age, even with maintenance and repairs. 

Wind River Lutheran Mission (WRLM) works with the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes and is currently the only existing full-time mission with a pastor living on site. That pastor is Rev. Gregory Sonnenschein with his ministry partner and wife, Rachel.

The Bible classes at Fort Washakie and Crowheart are the mission’s best, and in most instances, the only, opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ with the children living on the Reservation. Even when there is little active involvement from the parents in either the children’s education or church attendance, the parents grant the WRLM staff permission to pick up their children and take them to Sunday school or VBS. There, the children learn about Jesus and become Christ-bearers, shining their light and pointing their families to the Savior. 

Jeffrey Snyder, Business Manager for the LCMS Wyoming District, shared, “The specific type of van required to make the weekly trips was difficult to obtain, given our remote location and few options nearby. Thankfully, the right type of van was found in Southern Utah. The Ford Transit 350 Medium cab is the perfect van for small children and also the taller children (who can be taller than Pastor and Rachel!), and the enhanced safety features are a great benefit.  In our world, snow tires will definitely be needed, and new stenciling with the church’s name will be added soon. We give thanks to God for this wonderful and generous gift that should give years and years of service to Pastor and Rachel Sonnenschein and the children of the Wind River Reservation!”

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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