Above: CrossTimbers campers made hygiene kits that were offered to homeless during Serve Tour Tulsa.

TULSA—A hands-on missions activity for summer campers at CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp is making an impact in the lives of inner-city homeless people in Tulsa.

Members of Tulsa, Living Hope distributed the kits, as well as other items, in backpacks as a way to reach out to the homeless.

Tulsa, Living Hope church members were able to serve their community with the help of CrossTimbers campers during the recent Serve Tour Tulsa, Oct. 15-16.

Last summer, Camp director Charlie Gatton and his team at CrossTimbers created a project that would give the kids some hands-on missions experience.

“We thought, we could talk about service, or actually do service,” Gatton said. ”Take home crafts are fun, but it’s good to let the kids create something that helps others in a tangible way.”

Campers at CrossTimbers packed gallon-sized Ziploc bags, making hygiene kits with personal items, including deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and clean socks. The goal was to pass kits on to ministries that reach out to the homeless.

“Altogether, over the summer weeks of children’s camp, the children created about 4,500 hygiene kits,” Gatton reported.

Fast forward to Fall Break 2021 at the Serve Tour Tulsa, members of Tulsa, Living Hope took to the streets and distributed these helpful personal items along with other items the church collected (more hygiene items, nonperishable food, etc.) all placed in backpacks donated by Southern Baptists through Send Relief.

Living Hope, located on South Rosedale Avenue in Tulsa, is the gathering point for three ethnic congregations that share the same building. They also have a shared ministry to the area’s homeless population.

Pastor Bo Holland explained the three congregations share a regular ministry to the homeless that distributes meals and backpacks with personal items that help meet the needs of the homeless people who live near the church.

“Some of the greatest people you meet are homeless and in need. Helping our friends in need is a high priority for our ministry,” Holland said. “Our congregation started in August collecting hygiene items for our friends in need with the goal of having enough to give out on October 17th our ‘Backpack Sunday,’” Holland said.

Holland said the kits from CrossTimbers enabled the church members to become a blessing to others.

“We were struggling to get enough items until we received a call, offering us these great bags that CrossTimbers campers had put together,” Holland said. “Our members and ministry leaders were so excited! I had been telling them that if we would be faithful, God would provide.”

Serving the community, Holland said, has helped members of Living Hope become more involved with the church and experience spiritual growth.

“Our members are growing so much in their faith and their trust in God,” he said. “These hygiene packs coming at the right time was a great encouragement. Our friends in need were so grateful for the items especially since winter is coming. Having items like the hygiene packs along with other needed items put a smile on their face and hope in their lives.”

Sending children to CrossTimbers in the summer can help the homeless in the winter. This is one of the many ways Oklahoma Baptists are working together to advance the Gospel.