We had a great time working together and traveling together to Pawhuska, OK. Pictured above are: (L to R) Pastor Christopher, Katelyn Dickey, Garrett Walters, Alexandra Osborn, Nathan Davis, Presley Barker, Lilyanna McClain, and Cheryl Dickey.
The Work Camp Team had a great trip to Pawhuska, OK, one of the capitals of the Osage Nation, to work with the Youthworks team. We had action-filled, spiritually-packed days with sufficient free time for our students to connect with students from Nebraska, Texas (two churches) and Iowa.
Our team was broken into two different work crews – the Tarantulas and the Coyotes. The Tarantulas – Katelyn Dickey, Alex Osborn, Garrett Walters and Cheryl Dickey – teamed up with students from Iowa and Nebraska to work with kids all week. They worked in the Kids Club, using the facilities of the First Presbyterian Church. They would play games with the children, sing with them, read stories to them, do arts and crafts with them, etc. This crew also got to see some of Pawhuska history up close each morning since the Kids Club did not start until 10 AM.
The Coyotes – Presley Barker, Nathan Davis, Liliana McClain and Pastor Christopher – had work projects the whole week. We worked with a group from Texas. Since there were 11 of us, we burned through our work faster than expected. The first day, we accomplished a painting job for Pawhuska Hospital in the first hour and fifteen minutes. Our speed with quality caught them off guard. Then our team went to a nursing home to provide companionship for the residents. That was an interesting time for the students as they got to hear the stories of some of the 80 and 90-year-olds. The next morning, the work crew was split in two. Nathan worked at Christ’s Cupboard Food Pantry and Presley and Lily pulled weeds to rescue the Episcopal Church’s butterfly garden. Then the crew united to prepare food for the Soup Kitchen’s free lunch and socialize with those who came to eat. On Wednesday, the crew had its least favorite assignment – scarping glue and carpet backing off the concrete floor of the high school band room. After 6 hours of scraping, sometimes only with a screwdriver blade, we had cleaned off about 500 square feet of the huge room. On the last day, we cleaned classroom furniture and restored most of the classrooms for Pawhuska Elementary School.
The Coyotes met Mike Lynn, one of the descendants of the original Osage Indians who first settled Pawhuska. Mike is a chain saw artist who is commissioned to make sculptures in dead trees. Here the Coyote work crew is posing with Mike alongside a carving he did from a 100-year-old pecan tree that was threatening to crush a local garage. It is a sculpture of a 10-year-old boy who, with the help of his hound, has treed a good-sized raccoon.
However, the highlight of the week was the spiritual experiences the students had. This was kicked off each day with Devo Time – a time to work through a devotional book chock filled with Bible study and thoughtful interaction around the theme – the Upside-Down Kingdom. In the Upside-Down Kingdom, the sinless King accepts His people’s punishment, through Jesus’ death we receive everlasting life, and God’s imperfect kingdom grows in and through imperfect people.
Highlight of each day was Club — a time of great praise in music and good teaching from Keilah and testimonies from the entire YouthWorks staff. (Robert and Shawn backed up Keilah in the music each night.)
The spiritual impact was added to when each day ended with Club and Church Group. Club was the large group meeting where the Youthworks leaders would share testimonies, lead in worship and teach from the Bible. The unique environment of a darkened unfinished basement packed with about 80 teens focused on God and His Word touched the lives of our students. On Thursday night a special time of footwashing and prayer opened the hearts of many of our students. Then in Church Group – the nightly time to recap what God was doing in and through us – the sharing got real and the group got “tight,” as the students shared.
For more on the trip, check out the link to the video of the trip, and to hear the testimonies and see the slides in the Power Point.