In the heat of an August Saturday, 30 missionaries from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Burns Flat ventured just about 50 miles to the city of Mangum, Oklahoma.
This was the Mission to Mangum. The church in Burns Flat had walked its own town for the past 3 years, now it was time to venture outside of the local geography. In biblical terms, the church had ministered in Jerusalem; it was now time to take the gospel to Judea. Samaria and the ends of the earth will come another day for this group, but on Saturday, 28 July 2012; these missionaries from 6 months to over 60 years in age took to the streets of Mangum with good news and an invitation to come and swim as guest of the local Cumberland Presbyterian Church that evening.
An estimated 500 households were reached either in face-to-face contact or with a door hanger where there was no answer. Anyone who did not have a Bible was offered a Gospel of John. Those contacted and those who came to the pool were also invited to worship at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Mangum the following day. Several members of the local church provided the food and rented the pool for this special evening.
The intent was not to steal sheep from other flocks, but to encourage anyone who was not active in a family of faith to find a church home and worship that Sunday.
Many contacted came to the pool, which also included an invitation to enjoy a hotdog, chips, and a cold drink. After two hours of swimming by the missionaries and those they invited, it was time for the Burns Flat crew to head north and get a few hours sleep before sharing their experiences during the next day’s worship in Burns Flat.
The missionaries for this one day excursion were: Vicgtoria Glover, Emmett Dalton, Alan Dalton, John Hathaway, Breanna Stubbs, Donnie Euper, Stormie Poe, Garrett Stegall, Laci Stegall, Aarron Knight, Jimmy Delp, Tony Dorman Jr., Tiffani Dorman, Tony Dorman, Shanna Dorman, Sam McConnell, Isaac Clark, Shaydie Villegas, Nora McCullough, Chloe Dalton, Elena Rodriquez, Aaron Clark, Tom Spence, Rick Ellis, Dana Ellis, Kendra Walker, Dylan Walker, Dakota Walker, and Dawson Walker.
Many of these missionaries had just returned from church camp a few days before and many will be a part of the Vacation Bible School that begins today. Many of these people, young and old, can now say they understand what it is to run the good race.
The Mission to Mangum was unique in another way. Unlike many mission trips that require months of planning, fundraising and sometimes stress; this trip promised to take all who came to share the gospel. That meant planning for between 5 and 25 missionaries and rejoicing when 30 came ready to travel, walk in the heat of the day, and step way out of their comfort zones and talk to strangers about the good news of Jesus Christ.
For many, this was not a step out of their comfort zone. This was just the way things should be done. Jesus said go into all of the world. They did, starting in Burns Flat and now having taken the gospel to Mangum. One day, these missionaries should expect to hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”