Still Developing: Making preparations

Recent tornado events in Moore and Sand Springs remind us of the importance of always being prepared for storms in Oklahoma. Although we had been told by news and weather sources that there was a risk of storms on March 25, tornados unexpectedly popped up and caught many people by surprise. Such disasters are a part of living in the heart of Tornado Alley. Most of my life has been spent in either Tulsa or the Oklahoma City metro, either end of Tornado Alley, so I have experienced my fair share of tornados.

I’ve lost count of the number of storms we’ve seen over the years. We all remember the large destructive storms and where we were at those moments. If you mention the years of 1999 or 2013, you are sure to hear people recount how those storms affected them personally or their loved ones—stories of harrowing escapes and gratitude when all they lost was property that could be replaced.

One thing we all know from living in Oklahoma and watching weather reports is the importance of being ready for the coming storms. Storm preparedness is having a plan to account for the inevitable storms that sweep over the plains of Oklahoma and knowing what to do to escape the ferocity of the storms’ fury. Oklahoma Baptists are well equipped with trained disaster relief members ready to respond to the storms of Oklahoma or across the world.

Oklahoma Baptists have prepared for storms in Oklahoma, and the storms of life. Near Davis, there stands the premier Baptist conference center, Falls Creek. Each summer, more than 50,000 people attend eight weeks of youth encampments to hear the gospel message and to grow in their walk with the Lord. Falls Creek is not just a summer camp; it is a year-round conference center, and hosts more than 80,000 people annually.

Almost 100 years ago in 1917, Oklahoma Baptists J.B. Rounds and W.D. Moorer saw the need to provide a place for the young people of Oklahoma. Their vision was for a place where young people could learn about Baptist distinctives, missionary service and to understand who they were in Jesus Christ. From the very first meeting and the tent city where the first attendees stayed, to the advanced technology of modern buildings, Falls Creek has met the needs of each generation.

The Centennial Campaign includes the Jordan Welcome Center, the Thompson Family Lodge and the Mathena Family Event Center. The Mathena Family Event Center is a monolithic dome that will double as a fire shelter and F5 FEMA-rated storm shelter, capable of accommodating any week’s attendees in an emergency. Through the Centennial Campaign, you can help new generations prepare for the storms of life both physically and spiritually. In these new facilities, many young people will come to know Jesus as Savior and learn how to walk with the Lord as they attend the encampments at Falls Creek. During whatever storms may come, your gift to the Centennial Campaign will ensure that the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma will be equipped for all the needs of those who attend Falls Creek.

Contact me about your gift for the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign at 405/516-4868, mharkey@bgco.org, toll free, 800/690-6933.

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