Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Update

ROC Intern Bobby Oakley
May the Fourth be with you! This is Bobby your ROC intern (yes, ROC had an intern) here to give you an outsider’s view on the impact ROC has made in the last academic year. I will start with a little bit about myself. I am from New Orleans, Louisiana and have lived there all my life. A part of my life is Hurricane Katrina which put my family’s life and mine on hold for a few months as we were homeless. But, God works beauty into the most numbing parts of our lives in ways we can barely comprehend. More on my story later, let’s look at how your ROC students have been impacting their campus and our world.

Beginning on our recap is the fall semester. The fall semester is a time of new beginnings and new relationships. This is the perfect time for evangelism on OU’s campus. ROC holds many different outreach events during fall which include: the free cookie outreach, the Halloween party hotdog giveaway and pizza party. I wanted to point out that these evangelistic events are uniquely done by your ROC students. We traditionally think of evangelism as spreading the Gospel by word of mouth and images of people standing on street corners with a megaphone as onlookers pass by as quickly as possible to avoid them. Your students do something quite different.

What is the difference that makes your students so unique? It’s their culture. Let’s look at what they did during Halloween. On the closest Saturday near Halloween, Athens has their annual Halloween block party where revelers on campus party. ROC does not support their actions, but they do support the safety of the students. What ROC does during this period is share Christ through the giving of a hotdog. But, what they also do is to try to make sure those students make it home safely. This Halloween 1,000 hotdogs were given out freely. Your ROC students potentially helped 1,000 of their fellow students make it home safely through the use hotdogs and showed that God cared about them. The service your ROC students performed for their fellow students is what is so unique! Their evangelism was service. How common is it that when we do things out of what God wants for us that he still tries to keep us safe whether we acknowledge it or even want it? Your students showed God’s love for their fellow students through service. Is that not Christ-like?

Your students’ evangelistic service does not end there. They impact their campus and also their surrounding area. They went to Columbus, Ohio to assist Lifeline Christian Missions where they assembled packages with supplies for missionaries all over the world. Imagine that, serving the servers. Also, your students of the grad group participated in the GoodWorks walk for the homeless where they raise awareness and money for those experiencing homelessness. Your students serve at home and also around the world. During winter break your students flew to the Dominican Republic to minister the children there. These students make impacts abroad. Following their service in the Dominican, ROC travelled to New Orleans during their spring break to work with CrossRoads Missions.

This is where I come in again. I encountered ROC for the first time when they came to New Orleans in the summer of 2015. You see, I was an intern for CrossRoads Missions. That summer was one of the best in my life, and your students had such an impact on me. Many of your students were very relational, and I immediately felt like a part of their group when I was with them. I never met a group as passionate about service as my own Church. They impacted me so much that I decided I wanted to travel across the states to intern in Ohio in the dead of winter just to be with these people. I wanted to be a part of what they were doing and serve together with them. This brings us back to our spring service trip.

Part of the ROC community during
the annual Year-End Bash
This spring break with your students was just as rewarding as the summer I met them. We were able to replace an entire floor for a family whose husband was hurt at no cost to the family. We did home repair to other houses that were being used as affordable housing for people such as those with disabilities or disadvantaged parents. On another day, we were able to minister to the homeless of New Orleans by praying over them and giving them meals. Throughout our entire time serving the New Orleans community your students built relationships and showed the people we worked with God’s love for them. Your students evangelized with love and service yet again, and their mark on these people could be seen in all the thank you’s, the smiles, the hugs, and the laughter your students received. All of this was so reminiscent of when I met everyone for the first time. At the end of our trip, it was nice to know that I didn’t have to tell them goodbye, but I would be returning back with them to Ohio.

To top off my times in Ohio and with the ROC community was the Ohio Teens For Christ (OTFC) convention. This event was lead by none other than the Dodger Vaughan, campus minister of ROC. I never had a chance to be a part of an event this large before so it was very exciting. This event attracted over 500 youth and their ministers. This is an event that helps encourage youth in their walk with God and where their ministers can come to get better equipped to help their students. There were workshops for students and youth ministers that helped them with their ministries. There was also a service objective to raise money for clean drinking water in Africa. It was all very encouraging to watch what Dodger and his students do.

At the end of my internship, I like to think and ponder about how none of this would have happened if Katrina had not occurred. If not for Katrina I would not have been able to meet CrossRoads and be offered an internship by them. I would not have been able to work alongside ROC that summer and ask for an internship that would ultimately lead me to Ohio to tell you these things today. ROC’s culture of evangelizing through service is quite infectious, and it is what led me here. Thank you for reading and thank you for your investments in your ROC students. Without it I would not have been able to meet them, and they would not have been able to make the impact on me that they did. I thank God for that.

-Robert “Bobby” Oakley III