The months of September and October typically bring the opportunity for me to travel our great state from nearly end-to-end sharing about God’s work at Oneida. I am grateful for the privilege of sharing in the annual meetings of many of our state’s associations. It is always a joy to meet new folks and to also say thank you to old friends who have known and loved Oneida for many years.
One of our trips this year took our assistant to the president and me to Leitchfield and Grayson County. There were so many Oneida friends and connections in this small association of churches, and it was a tremendous blessing to connect with so many fine folks. The following evening I was scheduled to speak at the Russell County annual meeting, so we had planned to stay on the road until that meeting was complete. We had not booked any hotel room, and during the dessert fellowship after the Grayson County meeting, a gentleman approached us and asked if we needed a place to stay. We were glad to accept his offer, and after a good night’s rest, headed back out on the road. We had a couple of appointments to see folks, but were open to anything the Lord had for us that day.
While visiting a church, we discovered that some former, long-time Oneida staff members lived just around the corner from the church. We eventually found John and Hannah Sanderson, who served at Oneida for twenty years. We were unannounced in our visit, but they graciously visited with us for an hour or so. It was a blessing to hear about their time at Oneida, but also what God has done in their lives and ministry since leaving OBI.
Our next stop was to another former Oneida laborer. We visited with Mr. Oliver Hawkins, Sr. in Springfield. This wonderful man of God, along with his wife, Joy, served faithfully in the Oneida ministry for twenty-five years. Mr. Hawkins taught my father in school. My father taught Oliver, Jr. in school, and then he taught me in school. Like the Sandersons, his words were an encouragement for us to continue serving at Oneida just as he had.
We eventually made our way to Russell County for an excellent meeting of some Kentucky Baptists who know, love, and support the Lord’s work at OBI. We returned home around 11:00 p.m. It was a long couple of days, but it was also a good reminder of the many saints God has raised up over the many years to ensure that the work of Oneida reaches young people from all over the world. Some folks labor right here in the Oneida trenches, and others come alongside those efforts to assist them from afar. May the Lord bless the many folks who have given of themselves for God’s work at Oneida.
Larry Gritton is the president of Oneida Baptist Institute.