Navigators spent Spring Break on a mission

Emily Dotson


Most spring break plans begin with a bathing suit and pre-tanning sessions and end with incriminating photos that you pray won’t get published. However, for one Christian Fellowship group, spring break took on a whole different meaning.

For the SDSU Navigators, praying was the beginning of each day while on a mission trip to lend a helping hand to Oglala Reservation, located in the northwest corner of Nebraska.

The Navigators of SDSU are part of the larger international nondenominational Christian ministry. For the last few years, the Navs have provided much needed help to struggling communities during spring break. Jeff Graf, leader and trainer extraordinaire, accompanied the 16 students on their mission that partnered them with the Oglala Recreation and Worship Center.

“In the mornings we had work projects and would help with general cleaning,” Graf said.

Helping those around them with whatever they needed was the main intention of the trip.

The students stayed in Oglala for the week to help paint offices, clean out a storage trailer, and fix other things around the center. The Christian group also helped reroof a shed and build a fence.

Everyone kept busy cleaning and fixing for most of the mornings, Graf said. The afternoon turned into something different altogether. The recreation center then turns into a giant pseudo-babysitter.

“Over 100 kids come in there daily,” Graf said, “so we spent our afternoons playing with the kids.”

One of the students involved, David Little, has been doing mission work since high school. He joined the Navs and spent the last three missions in Chicago helping inner-city youth.

“I really like the group, because they’ve got a good community feeling,” he said.

Little said the Navs were able to provide the people who live and work on the reservation a generous break from their day-to-day responsibilities.

“There’s a few staff members who live and work on the property and we would help them with whatever they needed,” he said.