“A Colorful Flyer”
The colorful flyer read “Oakwood Live,” and even though it was primarily a recruitment flyer, the convoy of twenty-one students plus chaperones occupying the two spacious Oakwood University mini buses decorated with the University’s insignia lived up to the hype as they recently descended upon Berean for the Sabbath worship service.
It was New Orleans’ native Ronald Pollard, pastor director of Missions and Campus Ministry at Oakwood University, who not only coordinated the visit but also was the 11:30 worship speaker as well. The coed group of freshmen through senior students was colorfully clad in their goldenrod tees emblazed with blue wording reading “OAKWOOD UNIVERSITY 4 HIM- HIS HANDS IN MISSION” and ‘MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ONE LIFE AT A TIME on the front and back respectively. In his introduction, Davis shared Pollard’s extensive work in Kenya. “Because of his commitment, over 450 students from Oakwood and even from some other universities where our youth attend have made mission trips to Kenya.” We would later learn that it was a vision Pollard had in California that prompted him to include public university Adventist youth as well as those from Oakwood on his mission trips; a decision he has never regretted. After introducing the rest of his staff, Pollard directed the males in the audience to stand as he announced “I declare that the devil cannot have you; you are male by birth, but men by choice, priests of your homes, made for more than foolishness, brought into this world to do amazing things. It doesn’t matter about your past, you are God’s men.” He then called Davis forward and presented him with a black tee with the message “MALE BY BIRTH and MAN BY CHOICE” imprinted on its front. Later Davis would receive one of the mission’s goldenrod tees. Prior to his sermon, Pollard took time to recognize Hurricane Katrina transplants and now Berean members Audrey Cloud and Jacqueline Esco whom he called up front. “I am so grateful to these ladies who 40 years ago there at Ephesus Church in New Orleans took time to pray for me along with other youth. I am convinced that God answered their prayers and to them I say ‘Thank you and I love you.’ ” Pollard’s message “There’s No Person too Hard to Save” directed us to several principles including “God puts Himself into a position for us to be saved; but we have to know in our hearts that God can save all. Many times because we can’t solve a problem, we feel God can’t solve it either. Sometimes God saves the person and the problem at the same time.” It was very comforting to hear of the times when God takes our mess and makes a miracle of it. “The mess, mistake and miracle can live in the same household,” Pollard emphasized. In his appeal, he passionately stressed how each needs his/her own walk with Christ, not something borrowed from somebody else.
Following lunch prepared by Berean’s resident chef, Elder Robert Landry, we returned to the church for the afternoon session which provided more insight into Pollard and Oakwood’s mission program. The more relaxed atmosphere with Pollard speaking from the floor and the students sitting among us contributed to the presentation and discussion period. Pollard’s question to the students “What I appreciate about my church” and “What does it take to reach your generation?” produced answers such as ‘Involvement in church on committees, in departments, etc.’ and ‘Honesty and transparency in our making mistakes.’ His asking “What can adults do to help youth?” prompted ‘Transport youth to functions,’ and mentor youth.’ Pollard continued with information on the June 2016 three-week mission trip to Kenya where the students would be regarded as servants evangelizing, engaging in medical work (shadowing medical staff), teaching, building, painting, cleaning and performing other community services. As well, with the exception of one or two of us, because we would not be on the mission trip, we were encouraged to select a student(s) to partnership with – providing still another opportunity to get to know the mission-oriented group. As the inevitable part of the day came to a close, we formed a circle, held hands and sang the familiar parting song “Side by Side We Stand.” Davis prayed the parting prayer and the ‘still in their goldenrod signature tees’ group proceeded to their respective mini buses where we bade them farewell while saluting their spirit of missions.
By: Evelyn M. Edwards
September 14, 2021
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