Stillwater News Press

July 30, 2010

First Christian mission camp helps community

By Chelcey Adami
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — More than a hundred kids from First Christian Church youth groups worked on improving the Stillwater community this week through various service projects.

The mission camp, themed “There’s no place like home,” brought together 125 kids grades nine through 12 and 35 adults to work on projects and do spiritual activities this week, according to event organizers. They came from Stillwater, Perry, Tonkawa, El Reno, Duncan, Claremore, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Enid, Chandler, Cushing, Fairview, Ponca City, Nowata, Bartlesville, Sand Springs, Broken Arrow, Tulsa and Cleburne, Texas. Forty-five of the kids were from Stillwater.

Lysa Engle, 13, came from Cushing with her father to participate. She helped with parks maintenance by picking up trash and helped weed a residence’s yard among other activities this week.

It was fun just seeing the joy it brought people,” she said.

Engle said doing service projects such as these brings her closer to God.

“It always feels like it brings me one step closer to him,” Engle said.

The kids began their days with a breakfast and devotion in the morning and then worked between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day with social activities afterwards.

Engle’s father, Ish Engle, said the days packed with work and fun fostered a sense of community.

“We worship hard and play hard,” he said.

The kids worked on projects in Stillwater at the Rise School, the Payne County Youth Shelter, the Stillwater Habitat for Humanity building, the Life Center, the Stillwater Parks and Recreation Department and built a playhouse for a CASA fundraiser, among others. Adult sponsor M’Lynn Pape said the week was an, “outpouring of God’s love for the community of Stillwater.”

One of the projects included purchasing school supplies and clothing for families in the Christmas in July program. Christmas in July Director Kimber Taylor said 104 children from 47 different families benefited from the program this year.

First Christian Church Youth Director Sondra Ladd said she was  impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the kids.

Meghan Morton, 16, of Chandler said the week was  intense.

“It shows what you can go through and how much they (community residents) appreciate you for something really small,” she said.

“I think more than anything it helps the kids identify that there’s so much need in the world, and it doesn’t take a lot to give,” Taylor said. “... This camp has just been phenomenal, and it’s a testament to this city that they did this much work.”