Colin Powell once said, “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
Oneida is a place that the Lord uses to solve problems in the lives of young people. All of our staff are leaders in some capacity. As our students bring their problems to our staff, we do our best to help them solve those problems. As our staff brings our administration problems to help solve, we do our best to find solutions. The day we stop doing this is the day Oneida has lost its way.
In these articles and in our writings and publications that go out to our many friends and supporters, we often tell you about the positive things that are taking place at Oneida. Of course, there are also many challenges and problems we encounter along the way. If it were not for problems and challenges in the lives of young people, there would not be a need for a place like OBI.
The problems and challenges our young people have faced are often what lead them to our campus. Once our students begin their time here, those problems and challenges do not automatically disappear. As many of our students enroll, I often think of the ways in which they will push the limits and boundaries we set and how they will challenge our faculty and staff. Some of our young people come and settle right in and are off and running quickly in their Oneida experience. Others take longer to adapt and acclimate. Many are homesick and struggle with our structure, having a job, going to study hall, living with roommates, etc., but when we see those same young people come to know Christ and/or begin to make positive changes in their lives, it is all worth our efforts.
One of our young ladies, “Sally,” recently shared her story with me on one of our lengthy choir trip bus rides. Before coming to Oneida, she had bounced around with different guardians and homes, and had regularly missed a lot of school. In our conversation, I told her that when she first came I was not sure she would make it, but that I was certainly glad that she has made it. While “Sally” has certainly not completely arrived, she has made great strides. We are so glad that we have been able to play a small part in her life and future, changing her for the better.
As we continue to minister to young people like “Sally,” we covet your prayers and continued support. Perhaps one day you will be able to greet “Sally” and many Oneida kids in heaven because of our cooperative efforts.
Larry Gritton is the president of Oneida Baptist Institute.