Recap of Oaks Indian Mission Trip: August 29 – September 3, 2011
Our team at Oaks this week was not only on a mission to complete a large painting project, but also to enter the lives of the staff and kids who live there; to be an encouragement to them. What a privilege to share Christ’s love – a love that is unconditional and can be trusted.
Kid time – Afternoons and evenings were spent hugging and loving on kids. We enjoyed meals together, played games, worked on craft projects and even participated in an awesome ‘Back to School’ celebration. All of the staff and children were in attendance along with Oaks board members, local government officials, local police officers and friends from the community.
One Good Goer was moved by the testimony of a young man who had previously lived at the Oaks Indian Mission…
“During the ‘Back to School’ celebration, a 20 year old student got up and gave a powerful testimony of the work God has done in his life both while living at Oaks and as he has since gone on to college. He referred to the part of the ceremony where each child was presented with a quilt made especially for them; showing that they were cared about and loved. Sedrig challenged and pleaded with them to remember their strong Cherokee heritage and claim the promise of love that each of the quilts represented. He told them not to give up and to work hard to achieve their goals and dreams. He also shared his deep appreciation to the Oaks staff for the time and training they invested into his life. Most of all he told the kids to remember to live for God who loves them more than anyone they know – the one who will never let them down and will keep His promises.”
Adventure – One morning, we visited the Cherokee Heritage Center and village. It was awesome to experience a bit of the Cherokee history and culture. A mom and her son from our team are part Cherokee, so they were able to ask great questions and expand on things that further enriched our experience.
Following lunch, we took a raft trip up the Illinois River. We realized early on that if we were to make it to our destination, lots of ‘teamwork’ was in order! Mom and son got out and pushed every time we had less water than land. At the end some swimming and cold drinks were in order.Work Project – The team project was to complete the process of painting 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and some hallways in the teen girl’s dorm. We moved furniture, took posters off the walls and cleaned and vacuumed areas that had not seen sunlight for months! What an opportunity to provide clean, freshly painted living space for the girls.
Once the girls were home from school, we got out the rollers and brushes and encouraged them to help us in the hallways. We got lots of painting done, but more importantly had opportunity to interact and get to know them better.Most of the team left very early, but 2 of us drove into Tahlequah to see the parade and view exhibits at the Cherokee National Festival. We ran into one of the girls from Oaks and she was excited to see us and said, “thank you so much for painting our rooms!” It was a good reminder of how things we take for granted, are very out of the ordinary and special to them.
The week is over, the continuing work in progress, and lives changed by the relationships built. May this experience challenge us to continue serving orphans wherever we are … until We Plan It, We Lead It and You Live It again!