Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ferkins publishes The Light in My Darkness

Burns Flat has one of the world’s longest runways (OK, everybody knows that),  has produced famous musicians, sent men to spread God’s word in Africa, Mexico, Central America, and Honduras, and If you throw in the suburb of Dill City, then add India to the list of countries to whom we have sent missionaries.

That’s not bad for an almost drove through it and didn’t notice town in western Oklahoma.
But there is more.  Now Burns Flat is home to a poet--a published poet no less.

Mandy Ferkins has joined the ranks of published authors with her own collections of poems titled The Light in My Darkness.  It is available for sale online now.  Mandy will hold a book signing soon, probably in June 2015.

Order you copy now if you can’t wait until June.                  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Storm Shelter raffle in Tornado Alley to benefit Family Care Center

Raffle tickets are available now for a precast 6’ X 8’ storm shelter installed in western Oklahoma.  Delivery and installation is free within a 100 mile radius of Elk City, Oklahoma.

Why a raffle?

The raffle raises funds for the Western Oklahoma Family Care Center.  The center services people in need in Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties.  Services include help with bills, food, clothing, and even medical and dental care for those who cannot afford insurance.

In addition to the tangible services that most people come in search of, are those intangible services such as mentoring and counseling and helping people step out of poverty into a self-sustaining status and eventually into being a contributor to our community.  The WOFCC wants to do more than just help with immediate needs.  The center was to be a helping hand in leading people from poverty to abundance so those who are helped may one day help others.

That takes a constant stream of income as there are many in need of help and the number is growing.  That brings us to the raffle.  Tickets are $20 each and the drawing will be held as soon as the last ticket is sold.  To purchase tickets in Elk City, just call the WOFCC at (580) 225-5500.  To purchase tickets in Burns Flat, contact the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at (580) 562-4706.

Tickets are going fast so purchase yours soon and know that win or lose you have helped your neighbors.

Want to know what sort of difference you contribution makes?  Read this…

Want to know how we beat poverty for good?  Read this…

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What's all the hubbub about a Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday?

What’s all the excitement about the Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday?  It’s just a spaghetti dinner, right?

It is and it isn’t.  It is spaghetti as we know the meal here in western Oklahoma, but it is the last big fundraiser before Tom Spence and Rick Ellis head to Africa to teach pastors and church leaders in western Kenya and Uganda.

The mission is within $2000 of its goal with just under a month left.  Many Bibles have been ordered and will travel in checked luggage.  Many more have been purchased and will be delivered to the pastor hosts this month from within Kenya.  Anything raised over the goal will go to help 2 orphanage schools.

Lightweight teaching supplies are being sorted to maximize space and weight restrictions for checked luggage.  Eye glasses and other hard to get items are being squeezed into luggage trunks and weighed and weighed again.

What is the excitement about?

Once again, people who you know are taking the word of God to the ends of the earth.  They are the same people who take it across the street or into Walmart or proclaim from a pulpit or under a shade tree close to home.

But they are asking you to be a part of this missionary effort by coming to the spaghetti dinner or making a donation to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Africa Mission).

On Sunday, 3 May 2015 immediately following the benediction, Tom and Rick will get into a truck and drive to the airport, arriving in Kenya some 24 hours later.

Both men ask that whether or not you can support this mission financially, that you keep it in your prayers.  Current estimates are that between the two conferences that they will lead, they will have the chance to influence over 800 pastors and church leaders who in turn will return to their communities better equipped to equip their own saints.

What’s all the excitement about the Spaghetti Dinner?  Now you know.

Spaghetti Dinner
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Will Rogers Elementary
Noon - 2 pm
Suggested Donation
Adults - $7
Under 12 - $5
Too young for school - Eat free with parents

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A genuine thank you to the Elk City Walmart

Sometimes I get upset at the lines in Walmart.  Sometimes I complain that the prices don’t ring up right at the register.  But sometimes, I just have to give a shout out to some genuine generosity on the part of our local Walmart.

Such was the subject of a letter I posted today to the manager and employees of the Elk City Walmart.

Dear Elk City Walmart Supercenter,

Thank you for your recent donations to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.

You recently helped us to feed our Wednesday night crowd with several cooked pizzas.  This was a blessing in that the several volunteers that typically cook our Wednesday night meal received a much needed break, and let’s face it, clean up after pizza is just outright easy.  Thank you.

There’s a little more to this story that I want to share with you.  You did not just donate to a church.  You helped a community.  Most of our Wednesday night attendance is children.  Sadly, if it were not for the school lunch that many received, they would go hungry most every day.  Many of the children we feed on Wednesday night before our classes and services are children that are actually hungry. 

That may seem hard to believe, but we feed kids that don’t get much love or food in their homes.
Some of the parents of these children do not even know that they are at the church and many of these parents don’t care.  That could just be a sad statement, except when they come to the church on Wednesday evenings, they run to the front door.  They know they will be fed, and loved, and at least for a couple hours, brought up in the way they should go.

You see that you did more than donate pizzas; you helped us connect with children that are disconnected from the love they should know all the time.

The story doesn’t end here.

Recently, you donated some bicycles to the Burns Flat churches.  Pastor Dwight Shephard picked up some and distributed 2 girls’ bicycles to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Their arrival was perfect timing as the church recently adopted the community Easter Egg Hunt.  One of the bicycles was put up for a special sort of drawing.  Adults and children were not allowed to enter their own names in the drawing, but were asked to think of a child who could really use a bike but could not afford it.

You might be thinking, “He should have specified a ‘girls’ bike.”  That was the original intent; however, prompted by the generosity of your donation, a church member donated a boy’s bike just in time for the egg hunt.

We were blessed to draw both for both and boy and girl’s bicycle.  Want more?

The reaction of both adults and youth when the names were read was one of divine providence.  I knew neither child, but it seemed that many did and these were perfect selections.

The bicycle that you donated was presented to a young lady who will not be named in this article.  She lives in Burns Flat and received quite the surprise on Easter Afternoon.  The Cumberland Presbyterian Church added several boxes of food and 2 gift cards so that the entire family was blessed.

Want just a little more?

The bicycles that you donated were picked up by the pastor of the local Assembly of God Church, given away by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and delivered by three members of the First Baptist Church of Burns Flat.  How’s that for connecting with a community.

We thank you for your donation.  I hope that you realize it’s more than pizzas and bicycles by the time we put your gifts to use.  

Blessings to you and your employees,                                                                   

Tom Spence


Monday, April 6, 2015

Egg Hunt hits target

Burns Flat, Saturday, 4 April 10 a.m.

The sun was shining and the breeze was light, quite the blessing of great weather for hunting plastic Easter Eggs.  Much planning had taken place under the chairmanship of Heather Spence as she coordinated supplies, helpers, and people just to walk around and tell others that God loves them.

By 10:00 a.m. this past Saturday morning, leaders were walking groups of children out to their respective starting points for the Community Easter Egg Hunt that originated in the late 1980’s with the United Methodist Church in Burns Flat, was quickly transferred to the Chamber of Commerce, and last year was adopted as a mission of the Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The children that arrived were not much interested in the history of the event but the two acres of colored eggs got their attention right away.  Following a prayer by Tom Spence and a briefing by Heather Spence, guides took their groups to their assigned areas and hunting began shortly after 10:00 a.m.

Some hunted fast and some took their time but with almost 2000 eggs scattered across the acreage, every child found plenty of eggs.  That translated into plenty of candy, tickets to pick gifts or candy from the “Bunny Basket,” hamburgers, pizzas, and soft drinks courtesy of Rudy’s and Gret’s, as well as some dollar coins, colorful erasers, and GOD LOVES YOU – LOVE ONE ANOTHER wristbands.

There were of course prize baskets and hollow chocolate bunnies and all of the stuff that has become associated with modern day Easter Egg Hunts; but there were also erasers shaped like a cross, Golden Books of Prayers for Children, God Loves You books, children and adult Bibles, and a gospel of John for every person that walked on the property, and many other prizes that said, “Easter is about so much more than the Easter Bunny can do for you.”

There were a few stickers in the field, fewer now as some participants took some home with them, but children and adults found the occasional thorn to be worth the trip.

There are many people and businesses and groups to thank for making today’s event a success.  The Cumberland Presbyterian Church committed last April to adopting this event so the question of “Will there be anyone to sponsor this?” was answered a year ago and the church primed the well with a healthy contribution.

MODA, Great Plains National Bank, and Washita State Bank were early contributors.  Rudy’s and Gret’s contributed just before the event, and at the very last minute, Walmart of Elk City donated some bicycles to the community, one of which was put up for a special type of drawing.

Neither children nor adults could enter themselves or their own children.  All were asked to think of another child who could use a bike but could not afford it.  Entries were for another child to be blessed by the blessing that the church had received from Walmart.  Initially, there was only a girl’s bike available, but at the last minute; Tony Dorman of Burns Flat donated a boy’s bike.

Winners were drawn at 10:45 a.m. and will be announced upon delivery to the children.

While the real meaning of Easter lies in the love of God that was so great that he sacrificed his own Son to take away our sin; the Community Easter Egg Hunt sure was an example of the abundant life that we can know by believing that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead.

That’s good news on top of a wonderful event.  The church encouraged all to worship God Sunday morning in one of our community churches.


How many people came to the event?
Over 200 Gospels of John were given away and some families only took one copy for the entire family.  Best guess is about 250 people counting parents and helpers.
Will the church sponsor this even next year?
The plan has been to adopt this event, so the answer is most likely YES!  Should another group desire to take on this event, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church would certainly be willing to discuss passing the torch, but only if that group has a passion for such endeavors.
Will there be stickers next year?
Between spraying and mowing the church is working to eliminate as many as possible, but this is Oklahoma and those pesky burrs put up a good fight.
Do I have to be a member to come to worship at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church?
Absolutely NOT!!!!  You are most welcome to worship at the CPC.  You will also find that the other churches in Burns Flat will welcome all who seek God and his kingdom.
What is the church’s position on the Easter Bunny?
Let’s start with the hollow chocolate ones first.  Our position is that we eat those “ears first.”  Enjoy the festivities of this part of this special day, but know with certainty that you were bought at a price.  That price was the blood of Jesus.  He lived and died as a man.  He had to struggle with dying a terrible death nailed to a cross.  He endured as much pain and anguish as you or I would.  But now he is at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us.  That means that he knows what it is to live as a flesh and blood person.  He has literally felt our pain and so much more.  He died out of love for us.
So eat the bunnies and the Peeps and all the chocolate eggs that you want, but know in your heart that this special day is about a love that goes beyond what we can imagine.

God is love and we know God in the person of Jesus.