It wasn’t quite an extended trip to make it down to Stillwater, OK to serve Vintage Faith-Stillwater, Candlewood’s sister church in the Great Commission Plains region. In fact, for the majority of the Young Professionals (YPs) making the trip on April 17, a little less than 48 hours would be the time spent in Oklahoma. Still, it was a trip that was worth it. It was worth the six hours on a bumpy van from Lincoln or a row of cars from Omaha driving south through the Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma plains. The trip was worth arriving at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning only to wake up five hours later to be ready for breakfast and a full day in Stillwater.
And if anyone was exhausted, no one yawned uncontrollably or fell asleep during breakfast. Instead, there were many smiles and excitement over coffee at the home of Rick and Neva Whitney where the 26 Young Professionals from Omaha and Lincoln met. There, they met members of the Stillwater church, went through many pots of coffee, and conversed about the day ahead.
After words of encouragement from Rick, prayer, and going through a sheet of scheduled events for the weekend, the YPs set out to spread the word about the Stillwater church and share about the salvation that God offers to all.
They went to a downtown arts festival, the Oklahoma State spring game, a softball game, a baseball game, the campus library, the campus’ union, and really anywhere they could share the message of how Jesus died on the cross for all sinners.
They invited people to church on Sunday and a barbecue by the dorms later that evening. They experienced, twice in a matter of hours, a typical Oklahoma spring day where the clouds covered the sun and brought rain, a torrential downpour for a bit, and then watched the sky clear and saw the sun shine bright. Some saw cowboys, real cowboys. And some, realizing that they stuck out like a sore thumb on a very Oklahoma State orange kind of day, decided to go to the campus store and buy t-shirts to represent the Pokes.
And represent they did on that Saturday into the evening hours, representing the church, enjoying a barbecue by the dorms, talking to students, and playing sand volleyball as thunderstorms rolled by on the horizon.
As the evenin’ ended, the exhaustion set in and the sunburns became a bright red, but all of the YPs went to bed content and glad that they had made the journey, even if it was a short mission trip.