Blessings from Oklahoma

By Fank Ho

"Do you want to join us as we go a missions trip to Oklahoma City to serve for Habitat for Humanity?" I was surprised by the question from team leaders Craig Kakihara and Tommy Yamada as I distinctly remember thinking to myself at their team's lunch presentation a year ago, "I'm never going on that trip," thinking about my limited (i.e. zero) experience in construction. Although my first thought was no, I had just met with Pastor Cory and asked him about being more missions-minded in my career. He advised me to wait for several years to allow my young children to mature although he offered to pray for me for an immediate opportunity to serve. As such, I believe the invitation from Craig and Tommy was orchestrated by God, given that the offer came just four days after Pastor Cory prayed for me. After the Lord gave me the heart to go through prayer, I signed up.

The team was composed of 14 Evergreeners while a couple from Mississippi, Paul and Denise Waters, took a one-week "vacation" to join us in Oklahoma to serve alongside us, reuniting with team members after past shared stints for Habitat. Being my first missions trip, I had vague ideas about what we would experience and prayed specifically for God to show me something, perhaps a vision or a word, or some way in which He wanted me to serve Him.

The team stayed at Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman; one of the primary ministries of their church is to house relief teams such as ours to help rebuild homes that are struck annually by the frequent tornadoes. We were shown great hospitality by their church members, such as Pastor Matt and his family and church members Donna, George ,and Pam, who cooked us hot breakfast and dinners for the majority of our stay. Their serving hearts showed me how our Lord is a big God, affecting people all over the globe from different backgrounds and cultures in the same way, moving their hearts to serve out of love for Him.

Another blessing from the Lord was experiencing team unity and a shared joy. Spending a week together in close quarters, I was able to observe and know the faith of the team members and their desire to serve Him and bless others. Being a part of it certainly strengthened my walk and love for Jesus.

It was also evident that as a team, we could reflect the "fragrance of Christ" to others, particularly a widow Margie, whose house was one of our projects for two days. God orchestrated a meeting between team member and "newbie" (thanks Peter) Virginia Cho and her, allowing Him to speak to her personally through Virginia, given their shared experience of losing their husbands. The two days also allowed other team members to get to know her and support her in her time of need, perhaps helping her take steps to renewing her relationship with the Lord.

One last answered prayer was how the Lord showed me how to serve Him. At a new build site, team members and I marveled at the construction skills of one of the Habitat supervisors Jose Herrera. As he worked effortlessly and efficiently in building the house's roof above, I would fetch specified wood beams placed on the ground below. Although my role in that particular project was very basic, of all my tasks for the week, I actually felt the most joy in this one as I was excited to see how quickly and accurately Jose could build the roof. I believe God was telling me that when I obey Him in the small simple steps in the earth below, I will feel complete joy in being a part of His perfect 'construction' that He creates from above.