The following was written by 1982 Oneida graduate, David Robinson. I asked him to write the letter that will be sent with our Father’s Day Offering materials in the coming weeks, but it is so moving that I couldn’t quite wait until then to share it with you.
In 1986, Barkley Moore wrote an article in the Western Recorder entitled “”A Rude Disrespectful Punk.”” In this article he gives this account: “”David was one of seven children born of a prostitute, given as an infant to a babysitter who, in turn, gave him to the Robinsons. When given to the sitter, he was suffering malnutrition and was nearly blind from physical abuse.””
As I read that article on the wall of my office at Oneida, a tear came to my eye. It is not because of my struggles as a young, hurting boy, but because the article reminded me of the time when no one else wanted to help me, when no one would take a chance on a rude disrespectful punk. Oneida Baptist Institute and Barkley Moore did take a chance on me.
At age 9, I was involved in a gang and began using drugs and alcohol. As this lifestyle continued, my life spun out of control as a teenage alcoholic and drug addict. At age 13, my life turned even more dismal. Due to my choices, my family was forced out of their home due to an attack by the gang in which I had belonged, who eventually burned down our home. I left Cincinnati under darkness, in fear for my life.
I remember the day I came to Oneida, thinking this was the end of the road, but to Dr. Moore it was only the beginning. Dr. Moore saw potential for my life where I had only seen failure. Dr. Moore saw a young boy that Jesus Christ loved and died for; therefore, he would love me as Jesus did. Dr. Moore always refused to believe that our past dictates our future, that our failures somehow controlled our destiny. He believed in me because God believed in me.
Now I am so richly blessed. God has called my family and me back to Oneida to serve. This is the place where I found and began to understand the Lord through the love of Dr. Moore along with so many other fellow workers in Christ.
Please remember the ministry here in this little place called Oneida. Each day we strive to carry on the work that Jesus Christ has called us to complete and that Dr. Moore showed us how to do so well.
There are so many more “”Davids”” out there who need Oneida, who need fatherly love, who need someone to see their potential, to show the love of Jesus Christ. This is what we do each and every day in this little place called Oneida.
Larry Gritton is the president of Oneida Baptist Institute.