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Spirituality is alive and well
By Scott Davis, Strengthening Lifestyles Program
23 January 2008

      Spirituality is one of the most important components in the mission of the Strengthening Lifestyles Program. We are learning that spirituality is alive and well at United Tribes and we are thankful!

Jose Lopez
Jose Lopez

      This year a large number of students have discovered the freedom to pray and to conduct ceremonies at the college. Whether at the sweat lodge, the campus church, the healing room, or in private, students and staff members are taking advantage of this fundamental opportunity.

      In addition to greater numbers of students participating in spiritual activities, there is the clear presence of more meaningful relationships to the Creator or Higher Power.

      The following comments are from students who are active with their own spirituality and agreed to share their views about how spirituality works in their everyday lives.

How important is spirituality to you?

      Jose Lopez: The importance depends on the use for the spirituality. If importance is equal to the word powerful, then to me spirituality or faith is extremely POWERFUL and important.

      Rose Sadler: Spirituality is the most important thing in my life because without spirituality you don't have guidance and everybody needs guidance to be on the right path. And I could honestly say I practice more than one spirituality.

      Steve Raining Bird: It's pretty important; it brought me a long way since my father passed away. I lost a lot of it since his passing, but I found it since being here at UTTC.

Steve Raining Bird
Steve Raining Bird

What does spirituality mean to you?

      Jose Lopez: Spirituality means one who has access to the spirit realm. For me, this is not enough to define spirituality. Like anything important or powerful, the motive or reason of use of said power is more important than simply having it. One can be spiritual and deal with spirits that does not originate in God, evil spirits, lying spirits and still be seen as holy.

      Rose Sadler: To me it means there is a greater being than the human. And when you encounter spirituality within yourself you're at peace with yourself.

      Steve Raining Bird: It means you know yourself inside, spiritually, mentally and helps you get through life and makes life easier.


How has UTTC helped you in your spiritual growth?

      Jose Lopez: My growth here has given me confidence in my relationship with Jesus. I am a prime and living example of Psalms 27:1-3 (look it up).

      Rose Sadler: Allowing students to have the sweat lodge and ceremonies are a convenience that is the most important thing for me.

      Steve Raining Bird: A friend of mine that went to school before I was here told me about sweat, and about being in a good environment and being drug and alcohol free. I've been able to understand spirituality better since going to school here. I'm not Lakota, but I really respect their ways because it is open to all Tribes and are really sincere. I've also learned many songs and their ways, but not to misuse it. From the beginning it has brought my family a lot closer.

Rose Sadler
Rose Sadler

What do you hope spirituality will do for you?

      Jose Lopez: The purpose of my spirituality is that I can better introduce people to God by revelation of His Spirit having access to direct communication with Jesus Christ. Not to help people live better lives only, but to enable people to live lives worth living (while enduring hardships). Lives with not just a purpose, but to know exactly why they were created individually (God desires to tell us our purpose in life). I know why I was created and born, and because of that I am excited and expectant when I awake each morning to see what God wants me to do each day. My heart is full.

      Rose Sadler: That it will keep guiding me and my family through life.

      Steve Raining Bird: I just hope it will continue with me and my family since we are all close and it provides good role models for the younger people and shows them the good ways before they see the drugs and alcohol. Since I've been at the sweat lodge it has grown and the word has spread about how good it is. I would like to see more people but it has tripled since I started. It's good to see those who only come once in awhile and it's a good way to pray.


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