God Knows Best
GOOD GOERS/JAMES FUND TRIP
OAKS, OKLAHOMA 3/19-3/24/12
Dallas with four of our team had to go back to DFW airport after Tulsa airport temporarily closed due to torrential rains. Everyone finally made it to The Oaks late Monday afternoon. Little did we know, it would rain almost our entire week at The Oaks and it was all in God’s plan. Our James Fund/Good Goer team of 20 was in for an eventful week
Our introduction to the Oaks started on Monday evening with a meal in the dining hall and then the treat of hearing a Cherokee store teller. Choogie Kingfisher had the entire room on the edge of their seat as he told intriguing stores and played several Cherokee flutes.
The project plan for the week consisted of two main tasks. Foremost was to install tile in the Creek House of House Parent’s Dave & Julienne Sanders. The Creek House is a ranch with hallways that seem to go on forever. Our second project was to build a greenhouse (and “Gardener Training Center”) kit on top of a deck platform behind the Administration building.
Tuesday Morning started with one of those “God knows best” redirects. The greenhouse kit had yet to be delivered. The 12 person tiling team, led by mission Co-Leader John Bush, dispersed to start their work. But what to do with the greenhouse team of 8? It turns out that a State Inspector was due to arrive at the mission on Thursday to examine the entire campus. So the greenhouse team immediately converted to the inspection spruce up team. Our first point of cleaning attack was the Recreation Center. Intense sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, mopping and organizing happened as we all whistled while we worked. The tiling team broke into several groups that started in the bedrooms and kitchen. After dinner time was spent at the rejuvenated Recreation Center with the kids and the house parents playing board games, air hockey and shooting pool. There are two piano’s at the center that led to an amazing discovery. One of the mission team started playing piano with a 15 year old boy who lives at the mission. After a short time it became apparent that this boy was blessed with some musical talent and before long he was playing songs both forwards and backwards. Quite a few “Picture of the Day” at debrief that evening were about this discovery.
The rains continued to fall and we modified our plans accordingly. Wednesday was to be our museum adventure day but the ground was too wet. The tile team made good progress but many square feet were left to cover. There was still no greenhouse sighting so the rest of us fine tuned the Recreation Center, and organized the Rummage Room. Thursday was finally dry enough to take the team to the museums. Led by Joni, our Group Coordinator, we toured the Will Rogers Museum and Cherokee Heritage Center. Many of the team was moved by the engaging Trail of Tears display. Dinner was held at the church with the Oaks community. We had a blast of an evening at the Recreation Center with an Ice Cream Social for the kids and house parents. There is nothing like ice cream, whipped cream, cherries and sprinkles to boost the energy level.
The Greenhouse had been delivered on Thursday, but was more than a one day project, so the entire team was dedicated to finishing the tile in the Creek House on Friday. It turns out we needed almost every hand in this project. Some of the team was diverted to helping Arlene in the kitchen or organizing supply closets at the Administration Building. As a way to bless this home, we wrote the James 1:27 verse on an old tile and had the entire team and the Sanders family sign before it was overlaid with new tile. Some special decor was added to the kitchen. As a surprise to the Sanders, several of the team who tiled in the kitchen chipped in a bought some beautiful window treatments that they installed as a finishing touch. The kids had been talking all week about getting to go to the hockey game with us and the time had finally arrived. We piled into three passenger vans and headed to Tulsa. We got to see a spirited game between the Tulsa Oilers vs. the Texas Brahmas and the home team won 6-0.
During the week we all felt the leading of The Spirit as we bonded so quickly with each other and most importantly with the Staff, House Parents, and the Children of Oaks Indian Mission. There were many tears and hugs as we said our goodbyes. It was our privilege to serve in such an extraordinary place like The Oaks.