After four days of work on the campus of the Oneida Baptist Institute, the 22-member ClearView mission team accomplished the following:
- Built a patio of more than 2,000 square feet at the Anderson House where outdoor student events will be held.
- Pasted coupons worth several thousand dollars in educational services to be redeemed for the school
- Reviewed more than 400 books donated to the school library by a nearby university, verified they were on AR reading lists and catalogued them.
- Made varied items for sale at the gift shop.
- Built rabbit hutch for a new farm initiative for students.
- Unloaded and sorted hundreds of donated clothing items for the Friendship House, a thrift shop for students, faculty and staff, and the community.
- Assisted the IT staff member on campus with computers.
OBI Students Share Their Journeys With ClearView Mission Team
Two high school seniors, Everett Kirkman and Maria Stamatis, shared their journeys to the Oneida Baptist Institute in eastern Kentucky with the 22-member ClearView mission team on Sept. 3.
Everett, who was home-schooled through his sophomore year in high school, came to Oneida for his junior year. At home, he acknowledged he was making good grades in the subjects he liked but was far less successful in subjects he didn’t enjoy, including math.
“Oneida is different, but I like it,” he said. “I like a structured environment.”
A member of the National Honor Society, he said he is serving as a resident assistant in the boys’ dorm and president of the Future Farmers of America chapter on campus. He is quite active in sports including cross-country, swimming and baseball. He also has a role in the school’s fall play.
“I like to keep very busy,” he said.
Everett plans to attend college and has narrowed his choices to three: University of Kentucky, University of Denver and Bryan College in Tennessee. He is interested in writing or being a firefighter.
As an RA, Everett said he enjoys mentoring guys in the dorm, including some who do not have a relationship with Christ. “This is a test of faith,” he said. “It’s been challenging, but I’m glad for the opportunity.”
Because of his busy schedule, Everett recognizes a need to sometimes “slow down and listen to what God has to say to me.”
Maria Stamatis was born in Guatemala, adopted by a Georgetown, Kentucky family when she was six. She became a student at OBI when she entered seventh grade.
“I was down for a few weeks when I first got to OBI,” she said, “but I finally got used to it.”
She works on the OBI farm to gain experience with animals and plans to attend the University of Kentucky and become a veterinarian.
“Before I came here, I never went to church,” Maria said. “I didn’t know who Jesus was at all.” As she learned more, she said she prayed to receive Christ and was baptized at OBI.
In addition to school, Maria said she enjoys “spending time with my friends. When I’m down my friends are there for me.”
Twenty-two ClearView missionaries traveled to Oneida Baptist Institute in eastern Kentucky to build a concrete porch, work on the school-owned farm, assist in the thrift store, clip coupons, and volunteer in the school library.
Oneida is a Christian boarding school established in 1899 to provide education to children in communities without schools. Also, leaders successfully brought students from two feuding families together and ended a decades-long feud that had resulted in many tragic deaths. Today it draws students from more than 20 countries, many states, and surrounding counties. Last year, the son of the president of Ethiopia graduated from Oneida.
Larry Gritton, president of Oneida, told the ClearView team the fall semester began with 316 students and others will be added throughout the year.
“Everything we do here is for the students,” he said. About two-thirds of the school’s funding comes from donors. “We couldn’t carry on this ministry without volunteers,” he added.
Oneida is unapologetically a Christian school, Gritton said. “Students don’t have to be Christian to go here, but when they come here we will share Christ with them,” So far this fall, eight students have prayed to receive Christ.
Al Parks is coordinating the fourth annual mission to Oneida. Several in the group have volunteered all four years and three are participating for the first time. The school is owned and operated by the Kentucky Baptist Convention.