It was extremely hot today as we gathered for worship. It set the perfect backdrop for a sermon on Judgment Day. The sermon was based on Jesus' remarks in Luke 12:46ff where Jesus calls for judgment and suggests that he can't wait for that day to come. The message was titled, "What Did He Just Say?" You can hear the whole message by clicking on the podcast at
On Thursday afternoon we rallied the kids for our third day
of VBS. I played the pied piper because at 6:00 p.m. the children still hadn’t
come out. Shortly afterwards the girls arrived led by the littlest ones.
Because of the storm damage we decided to hold our VBS inside the Visitor
Cottage again. Our story was of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego and the fiery
furnace.Ken agreed to play the nice,
but slightly loony, King Nebechanezzar. One of the little girls played the
evil, jealous, king’s advisors. Everyone else played the crowd, guards or some
other small role. One of the boys, the tallest of them played the tall statue
that everyone was supposed to bow down and worship.It was lots of fun and the message was our
FAITH Helps us STAND STRONG.
The kids then made some candle like flaming reminders of the
lesson. They did a great job with them The game tonight was a relay race
using straws and cheerios. It was hilarious. We played indoors because of the
slight wind left over from the storm.The space was small but it worked out nicely.
and the kids seemed to like the crafts a
For snack we provided the kids with one of their favorite
treats. It is a very hot spicy crunchy food called Taki. Everyone went out with
red fingers and smiles.
Here are a few more photos from Thursday at Murrow.
Although Hank did a lot of the mowing on Wednesday afternoon
and evening, there was a big patch of lawn that still needed to be done out by
the main road. So after another hearty breakfast provided by Mabel Payne and
Meredith Eckel, the team went to work with our two rented weed wackers andone we purchased for the home.
Skip hopped on the tractor and tackled the roadside
frontage. Hank took care of the fenced in lawns behind each of the buildings.
BY noon the whole property looked pretty good.
Meanwhile Pam and Kathy kept working on the flower beds,
adding mulch and pruning shrubs where it was needed. Joanne and Mabel continued
the cleaning in the Joseph Cottage. They not only cleaned the cupboards but
they reorganized the cupboards and washed every dish, utensil, pot and pan.
They gave it a thorough cleaning top to bottom.
Karen continued running her sewing machine while new orders
for curtains piled up. What began as a simple project grew as we found more
children in the other cottages who got excited at the prospect of having new
window dressings. If we were here fro much longer Karen’s setup could have
qualified as a cottage industry!
We planted a small tree out in front of the Volunteer
Cottage and began decorating a flat stone that
would honor Marie’s niece Grace.
Marie and Jodi decorated the stone and when it was finished it was absolutely
We cleaned up and came to lunch at 1:00 p.m. and Mabel had
prepared another feast. Every morning she and Meredith got up at the crack of
dawn and prepared a hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and coffee. A
few days we got variations. One day we got Jonnycakes as a side. One time we
got ham steaks. Blueberry pancakes were planned for Friday and French toast for
At noon each day we have been having our big meal. Today it
was Goulash. We had lots of sides and extras too. Fruit was always available
and a big salad topped things off. As the week has worn on we added little treats
to snack on like cashews, Oreos and chips. We’ve also expanded from the water
which we bought in cases to some unsweetened tea, diet coke and root beer. As
we learned each other’s tastes, we tried to accommodate them to reward hem for
their hard work.
After lunch Hank noticed some dark clouds over the horizon.
My friend Carol sent me a message that a bad storm was coming through the area.
Within a half hour the wind had picked
up. Lightning and thunder was booming and he tree limbs started flying.We didn’t realize it then but we later found
out that we were in the middle of a tornado warning. One of the staff members
was working in the cottage and she came out and turned on the television to
watch the weather reports.We all
gathered in the living room and watched the reports of he turbulent weather
moving in and through the area. She advised us to move into the center of the
building if we heard the tornado siren go off.After a tree branch came down outside we did exactly that.
After the storm had passed we went outside to survey the
damage. The only damage we saw was to the flagpole. The pole snapped off and
came down. The truth is that we were relatively unscathed. The grounds were a
mess though. Plans were made to begin the cleanup. Skip, Peter, Hank and I
decided to return the weed whackers with hopes we could rent a chain saw. As we
drove up the Shawnee By-Pass we noticed a lot of damage to some of the
buildings along the road. The Hobby Lobby lost its front façade. A Shell Gas
Station lost its whole overhead awning.Several roofs were affected with missing sections. The McDonalds sign
was ripped apart. WE later learned that 10,000 people were without power.
As a few of the ladies took their walk through the Bacon
College Campus they noted that several branches had come down up there and the
road into campus was shut down. All of the apartments on campus had lost power.
In retrospect we felt very lucky to have missed the worst of the storm.
So on Thursday night and Friday morning, our group went into
clean up mode. Several of the kids came out to help rake up the leaves and pick
up the twigs. Someone said that our being there was perfect timing.
Betty Martin, the Executive Director of he Home, told us
that Dr. Jeffrey Haggary, the Executive Director of American Baptist Home
Missionary Society and member of the Board were coming next week to visit and
hear a grant proposal for the Home.In
God’s great plan we were here just at the right time to clean up the debris
from the storm.
Earlier in the week Meredith had led us in a Bible Story
about Esther that focused on the words “we were created for such a time as
this. “It was so appropriate for our being here in Oklahoma. All afternoon we
worked as if we had a divine purpose and it showed in the effort that was put
out to clean up.
I know I haven't reported on the adventures we encountered on Thursday but it has been a productive week of ministry and mission here in Muskogee, Oklahoma. You've seen the photos. We've been sprucing up the grounds and a couple of the buildings here at Murrow Indian Children's Home during the day. In the evening we are enjoying the Vacation Bible School with the youth. Special thanks to those who helped sponsor our trip with donations over $100 which includes; Memorial gifts in memory of Walter Harvey, The Mohegan Tribal Council, CBC Board of Missions, CBC Friendship Circle, Dog Watch Cafe, Chelsea Insurance, Viking Supply Co., Olender Builders LLC, Vesselin Zaprianov, Dan Ventra Jr., Marcia Erskine, M/M Rick and Ruth Chulick, M/M David and Stacie Collier, M/M Bob and Diane Chipperfield, M/M Michael and Mary Mitchell, The Law Office of Payne and Payne, Dr. Robert Hayden, The McKenzie family, Winnie Hamilton and Pat Rhodes. With great appreciation, Cal and the Oklahoma Mission Team of Central Baptist
The kids normally head off to church on Wednesday nights so we moved our schedule around to accommodate them. We also moved the bulk of our VBS program indoors to the air conditioned Visitor Cottage.
During the day most of the kids were off to day camp. We were told they usually got back around 3:00 p.m. so we set things up to run from 3:15 - 5:00 p.m. so they could get back to their cabins and get ready for church at 6:00 p.m. They arrived late so we didn't get started until almost 4:00p.m. Everything worked out anyway.
Meredith led us in the dramatic telling of the story of Esther. We wanted the kids to know that just as Mordecai and the Jews prayed for Esther, our friends help us STAND STRONG. I got to play the part of Mordecai and really ham it up. We had the kids play the other parts including the King, Esther, Haman and Vashti. Marie read the scriptures that told the story. In our little drama we discovered that there were a few hams among the kids. The most amusing moments came when Haman and Mordecai showed their dislike of each other and when the King invited Esther to come and visit him.
The kids made and decorated visors during craft time. Laura and demonstrated how to do it and they got right to work. They enjoyed putting stickers on them and showing them to all of us and each other.
We went outside to finish with a couple of games. We started with a water relay. Ken and Pam volunteered to hold the cups while the kids raced across the lawn to fill them up. They had a blast. Ken got a little more wet than Pam but he was used to it from his previous experience in his trips to Mexico.
The kids followed that up with another round of the water balloon toss. Since it was getting late we cut things short and finished up with our snacks which included cheese curls and CapriSun juice boxes.
It was a great night. We finished early and after a light supper, devotions and prayer we all got to relax a little bit before bed. It was another very productive day.
We woke up to a steamy hot and humid morning here in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The heat seemed to almost envelop you as you walked outside. That didn't stop our group though. Everyone woke up, enjoyed another of Mabel Payne's hearty breakfasts and then after a moving devotional by Karen Boeniger, got right to work.
Betty Martin, the Executive Director of the Home, stopped in and Ken got a chance to talk with her. We gained access to the tool shed and found lots of heavy equipment that we could use to do some landscaping. They had a tractor and two riding lawn mowers. Along with the tools provided by Ed and the members of the Community Baptist Church of Tulsa, we were set for the rest of the week.
I have to give a big shout out to Pastor Bob and the folks at Community Baptist Church in Tulsa ( http://www.abcbc.org/ ) Not only have they been very supportive of us by getting some tools together, they have also been praying for our work here and have invited us to stay for lunch after worship on Sunday.
While Karen continued to install new curtains in the vacant cottage, Joanne and Mabel continued to give the kitchen a thorough cleaning. Peter and Hank installed new knobs and handles on the cabinets making them much more workable.
Pam, Anita and Kathy worked on the flower beds. Ken went to work on cleaning out and rearranging the toolshed/garage that housed all the motorized equipment and heavy tools. And... most of the afternoon Hank could be seen out on the riding lawn mower cutting the vast lawn.
Jodi, Marie and Laura continued working on the mural. For me the best part of the morning was helping Skip and Ken get rid of the old toilets and all the junk that had accumulated behind the buildings. I have to confess that I was only around for the first trip and the guys did all the hard work. Ken made contact with the work crew up at the college and they gave us permission to use their dumpsters. It was a real blessing. Here are a few photos.
After learning that half the kids were away at Christian Camp this week we revised our plans for VBS and went with a less formal approach. At 5:45 p.m. I brought our newly acquired boom box (Thank you Marcia Erskine!) out to the playground and began blasting the music from the Kingdom Rock CD. I grabbed the brand new soccer ball and began dribbling it on the front lawn. Pam Harvey soon joined me and the two of us passed the ball for a few minutes until the first couple of kids arrived. They jumped right in. The little guy, all of six years old wasn't shy at all. Within the next few minutes another boy came out with a football and he started playing pass with Peter and Ken. Hank joined us and then a few of the girls came out and joined in the fun.
After we got them involved with our group I called them together and we began the Bible story. It was a lot of fun. We acted out the tale of David and Goliath. The shortest boy took the role of David and the tallest boy played Goliath. We had sheep, soldiers, King Saul, and a whole host of other characters. The point of the story was that just as God helped David Stand strong and be courageous, he does the same for us. GOD HELPS US STAND STRONG.
Joanne Faiola then showed the kids how to make a craft that used a couple of buttons, a string and a cup to make a slingshot like game where you try to get the button in the cup. They enjoyed it a lot.
We finished up with the traditional water balloon toss game and everyone had a blast... especially at the end when it turned out to be a water balloon fight.
The whole evening went very well and as we came back to the cottage to close our group time with a devotion and prayer, we came away feeling that it was a very productive day and we did exactly what God had planned for us to do.
Be blessed. I'll write more tomorrow and bring you up to date with day 3.