The Ozark Mission Project
These past seven days have been spent cooking and washing dishes... it has been a blessing to my life. The Ozark Mission Project spent the week at Lakewood Methodist Church. Sixty teenagers and adults Ozark Mission Project spent the week doing community service projects, praying and getting closer to the Lord. It's great to be a member of a church who supports this wonderful mission.
Thursday night we took the OMP group with us down under the Broadway Bridge. We were able to feed around a hundred needy and/or homeless folks. Then our campers went down the same line and were feed the same food. A humbling experience for all.
God is Good
-- Rex Winkley
OMP 2012 Lakewood Camp Memories
- by Hank Godwin
Mrs. Clark was 9 years old and a native of Germany during WWII. She is married to an 82nd Airborne and Chinook helicopter pilot veteran of two Vietnam War tours. They live in Dark Hollow and she nurtures 50-60 yard gnomes every day. She puts a new coat of paint on them to enhance her beautiful yard every year.
OMP painted her shed, fixed two doors, and painted the trim on her house all week. The Clark family was extremely grateful, however, fixing her hole in her bedroom window was beyond our expertise. The Clark’s home is next door to a community church and outreach center. Our OMP family was the catalyst and example the church needed to help the Clark’s fix their window. That is how the witness spreads.
The Box House
Ms. Sarah just couldn’t get her house finished. Her caring sons were scraping it in their spare time. They had jobs and couldn’t dedicate enough time to push this job over the hump. The house was a two story box with narrow eves and no gutters which caused lots of water damaged to the lower boards due to splashing.
From the beginning, we communicated that OMP could not finish it because of the height. We replaced 80 feet of rotten lap siding and several family groups painted all but a narrow band around the top of the house. It looked a little strange. Ms. Sarah loved it and loved our families. Our families loved her and her twin 4 year old grandsons who, with their grandmother, scrapped and painted alongside us. It proved that sometimes “all you can do” is “more than enough”.
Ms. Walker had been caring for a quadriplegic friend for many years, not a child, not a family member, just a friend. She did not have the resources but she cared for him. Every time they visited a doctor, she had to carry him down 4 steps to the car. She could no longer do that.
It was such a simple thing to build -- a straight 30’ ramp. The relationship built with the neighbor was much more complex and lasting. The young man requested the family group all sign his basketball, a symbol of how vibrant and athletic he once was. The driver turned as she was leaving and shared a hug and a human connection with Ms. Walker. They both found tears at the same moment as they shared the love of Christ with each other. It is the common connection we all share.
If you would try to describe the outside appearance of the typical loyal North Little Rock policeman, each and every attribute could be attributed to Officer Keith Phifer. He was all business in our first meeting. After formal introductions, a stern lecture of what precautions to take was given. He gave us pause as to how well he would be received by our young adult campers. To summarize in current youth terminology, “he don’t play." However, he gave us all confidence that North Little Rock’s finest (literally) could handle anything.
Then the reports from the campers started coming in. “He prayed with us! How awesome is that!” It only took one day for Officer Keith to be an official and permanent OMPer. He drove by nearly every site on every day. His presence at neighbor night at King Solomon Baptist Church capped an amazing week. How appropriate was it that he shared his whole family with his new OMP family that night.
A group of 50 young servant hearts from the Central Texas Conference of Youth in Mission (CTCYM) happened to be staying at McCabe UMC in Dark Hollow the same week of our camp. They were working in Little Rock and Sherwood primarily. It was a natural gesture to extend an invitation to them for our neighbor night at King Solomon.
We saw the OMP glow in them and their clients (neighbors) that participated. The youth were filled with the energy that one gets from following Jesus’ example of serving others unconditionally and non-judgmentally. The transformation is instantly recognizable in the smiles and eyes of the clients, youth and adults. They had an amazing week as well as our OMP camp.
Lean on Me
“You pick the four songs and we will follow your lead.” College staff Jim Curry had earned that trust. Our worship experience had been outstanding all week long and the music was a huge part of that. “Be ready for a diverse audience and experience” was the only coaching given for our amazing night at King Solomon.
We started with “Amazing Grace” sung in the traditional manner led by Jim and Olivia. It appeals to every one of all ages. It is timeless and the absolute perfect song. We followed with a couple of praise songs familiar to even our Texas friends and finished arm and arm, swaying in time, to “Lean on Me.” The Lakewood UMC minister, Richard Lancaster, was in a shoulder to shoulder embrace with Rev. Lamont Dotson of King Solomon Baptist Church swaying to the music and immersed in the Holy Spirit.
More than any other year, our provocative theme took our camp to uncomfortable places invoking raw emotions especially during sharing. What is it about the OMP format that gives campers the courage and words to share their most intimate feelings after only a few days?
An OMP Icon
Ms. Frankie is a major source of client sheets for our Lakewood camp. Her vetting of neighbors has ensured quality experiences for hundreds of campers the last 6 years of our camp. On a visit to pick up some client sheets, we noticed that her house was peeling very badly. She refused to turn in a sheet for herself. After gentle debate, a form was completed for her.
Four family groups scraped for two days and painted for one to make her proud of her home and as always proud of the campers. During one of these days, the police arrived next door to address a very loud domestic disturbance. When the police left the neighborhood the attitude and emotional climate was still somewhat volatile. Enter Ms. Frankie.
“How yall doing over here? Is everyone OK?” chimed her gentle and respect filled voice. She knew exactly what was needed. She cares so much. Her neighbors respect her so much. She added her Christ filled heart on the very explosive situation to create the calm. The positive example played out very noticeably to many impressionable campers and volunteers.
To learn more about the Ozark Mission Project, go to their website, find them on facebook, or contact our Youth Minister Andrew Suite.