About Dakota Sonshine
In 2000 Don and Teena Lykins went on a week long mission trip to the Lake Traverse Reservation in Northeast South Dakota. While there they helped run vacation Bible school at a small church in Enemy Swim village near Waubay, SD. It was there that Don first experienced a call on his life. Once they returned to their home in Rock Hill, SC where they lived with their 6 children, attended church in Charlotte, NC and where Don worked as an aircraft mechanic at US Airways, they continued to feel drawn to the children of Enemy Swim. In the fall they returned with another couple and handed out over 50 new coats, hats, gloves and pairs of shoes to the children living there.
Over the next year Don continued to experience God’s call and prayed that his wife Teena would also hear that call. He also prayed that God would make it clear by showing him what to do about his employment. They returned in the summer of 2001 with 4 of their children to determine if the entire family was called since this move would affect them all. By the fall of 2001 it was clear that everyone had the same burden on their heart. As Don prayed for God to make a way, 9/11 happened and US Airways offered a voluntary furlough. This was the point of no return and the decision was made with Teena’s consent to leave his job. They were now unemployed and became full time missionaries.
Over the next few years they built their support base, attended the Center for Intercultural Training in Rutherfordton, NC and sold their home in SC. They moved their entire family and belongings to Sisseton, SD where they had purchased a 40x60 unfinished building which would become their home and the headquarters for Dakota Sonshine. The vision had been given and God had shown them that they were to build a summer youth camp for the children living on the Lake Traverse Reservation.
In 2004 the ministry was officially established although the name had been given since the year 2000, in the very beginning. The unfinished building was completed, the camp began to spring up in the middle of an alfalfa field and soon children were attending camp.
In 2010 the first camp was run with just a handful of children, most were the children of close friends. In 2011 60 children attended camp; 6 confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In 2012 142 children attended camp; 43 were saved through Christ. During the summer of 2013, 150 children attended day camp and overnight camp with 20 children confessing Christ for the first time and 30 re-dedications. Six campers were baptized as well which was the first time campers have been baptized on Dakota Sonshine property.
Dakota Sonshine exists to love kids who feel unlovable, to give hope to kids who feel no hope, to share Jesus with those who do not know Him and to welcome them into the family of Christ for all eternity. While circumstances will rarely be changed, hearts can be changed in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Dakota Sonshine; reaching Native Americans through relationship evangelism.
Jesus waste mi daka.
Jesus loves you.