Hands and Hearts Across Cultures
Percilla UMC members are receiving tremendous blessing by ministering to a small church in Oklahoma.
Never underestimate the power of a T-shirt. That's a lesson that Percilla United Methodist Church (PUMC) is learning firsthand.
Carolyn Huntsman, Certified Lay Minister in the East District, assigned as pastor to PUMC, says before she met the Rev. Dr. David Wilson, Superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC), her church had never been involved in any mission outreach. After hearing Dr. Wilson speak, Carolyn felt led to suggest to her congregation that they send a love offering to the OIMC each month. “Being a very small church, the offerings were never a lot, but at least we started doing something," shares Carolyn. That was a baby step in the right direction.
When an opportunity to purchase printed church T-shirts became available, the Percilla congregation remembered the great boost in morale that they all experienced the first time they were able to afford printed tees. With that in mind, they voted to provide 20 shirts to a small Indian congregation.
Working with Dr. Wilson and OIMC, they decided to send “I love my church” T-shirts to Weleetka Indian Fellowship Church in Weleetka, Oklahoma -- a "new start" church in the Muscogee-Creek Nation area. Weleetka UMC had closed and the District Superintendent had offered the beautiful sanctuary to OIMC to start a new Indian fellowship in that location.
“Dr. Wilson says that the church teaches tribal hymns, fitness classes and Sunday school for their youth,” adds Carolyn. Upon arrival of the shirts, Pastor Dave Dunson sent a photo of his congregation wearing the shirts, along with a Thank You letter to the Percilla congregation. “He says the youth are planning a trip to the Oklahoma State Fair and they can't wait to show off their new shirts!" Another bonus, the Oklahoma congregation is inviting Percilla to visit them – something Carolyn hopes to make a reality in early 2017.
Sue Wright, member of Percilla says that she and the other members are excited about their continued work with OIMC. "We thought we couldn't afford to support a mission outreach, but somehow God stretches our funds!"
Dr. Wilson says, " The Percilla Church has had a relationship with OIMC for the past three years. It began through a connection with the pastor, Carolyn Huntsman who had a deep interest in Native Americans and OIMC.” Carolyn is proud of her members for supporting a ministry in Clinton, Oklahoma for Native American children and a ministry for native girls in the foster care system, sending birthday gifts each month to the girls in the home, and supporting OIMC through Parish Partners as well.
Adds Dr. Wilson, “We have been amazed at the outreach and support of Percilla and appreciate everything. It is a reminder that it doesn't matter how small a church is, they can do meaningful things, regardless of size." Carolyn adds, “Percilla is proud to be helping others outside of our church through ministry with our brothers and sisters in the OIMC!”