Few young people seem eager to rise before 6 on a Saturday morning and ride almost four hours to an event, especially knowing they will make the return trip the same day. But the youths from Towali UMC near Broken Bow were clearly motivated to attend Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Family Day (OIMC Day) recently on the campus of Oklahoma City University.
While the Towali church group traveled the farthest — 240 miles — to participate, D.D. Etchieson Memorial UMC brought the biggest group, with 21 participants, driving 170 miles from Tahlequah.
For more than 30 years, this annual event has welcomed children, youths, and adults of the OIMC churches for a day of games, fellowship, a shared meal, and worship.
OIMC Day begins with three-on-three basketball, free-throw contests, and children’s games in the Freede Center. After lunch, the focus shifts to the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel.
A highlight this February was a panel of students who shared their OCU experiences. They spoke with appreciation about the small class sizes and personal attention they receive from professors. They told of opportunities for service and fellowship through the Native American Student Association.
Emily Dimmitt from the Admissions Office encouraged church youths to apply for the American Indian Scholarship (AIS).
The day concluded with the 175 participants gathered in the chapel sanctuary for worship. The service featured contemporary and Native hymns and a message from OIMC Conference Superintendent David Wilson.
This event is hosted by staff from University-Church Relations, Bishop’s Scholars, AIS students, and other student volunteers. OCU coordinator Rachel Honaker said, "It was great to see families and future OCU Stars here for OIMC Day!"
Rev. Wilson expressed gratitude. "What a great group of students we have at OCU! They did a fantastic job on Saturday, as usual, and I so appreciated all they did."
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From left, student panelists are Kyle Wallace, Sydney Wahkinney, Jalisa Ross, and Maryann Guoladdle.
A child enjoys OIMC Day.