DAVIS – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin paid a visit to the largest known Christian youth encampment on Wed., July 16. Fallin’s visit to the Falls Creek Conference Center is the first of an active governor since Brad Henry’s in 2006, and she is the third governor, along with Frank Keating, to visit in recent years.
Anthony L. Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), gave Fallin a tour of the Falls Creek camp grounds that afternoon. The Governor observed many campers participate in the different recreational activities Falls Creek provides.
Jordan said one of the “most moving moments” on the tour was at the Fallen Trooper Memorial outside the front of the R.A. Young Tabernacle. Fallin told him she had gone to several of the funerals of the Oklahoma State Troopers honored at the memorial, and to see this memorial at Falls Creek “was a very special time.”
“Governor Fallin and I have been friends for almost 30 years, and I am so honored that she would come here,” Jordan said. “This is the third governor to come to Falls Creek, and in each case they have been so gracious just to spend time here, and their response has been overwhelming. They see the difference we are making in the lives of teenagers. Governor Fallin spoke eloquently many times as I took her on the tour. She is a lady of faith, so knowing that we are building in the lives of young people on a spiritual level, is very rewarding and encouraging for her.”
Throughout her visit, Fallin stopped to take pictures with campers and others who were at Falls Creek. She wanted to give more time to these moments, saying “People are the center of what we do,” and did not hesitate when someone asked to take a picture with her.
“It’s been an amazing afternoon being here at Falls Creek and seeing the lives that are being changed with our young Oklahomans,” said Fallin. “Just to see the impact that Falls Creek has and has had since 1917 on the state of Oklahoma, changing hearts, changing lives for the better. Truly I am grateful for the investment that has been made for almost a hundred years now by the churches and organizations to build a place where our children can come hear about the Word of God and become better citizens.”
Jordan introduced the Governor to the camp participants in the Tabernacle before the evening service began. He also made a special presentation to her of a plaque that will be placed on one of the Tabernacle seats, as part of the Save-A-Seat program.
“It’s called ‘Save-A-Seat’,” Jordan said during his presentation to Fallin, “because many have sponsored seats where many young people will sit in the Tabernacle and have the opportunity to come to know Christ. Today I have the privilege of presenting Governor Fallin a seat where a plaque will go on one of those seats with her name on it, as a special recognition of her.”
Fallin said she was “very humbled and honored by the seat given in my honor. To think that I will have a seat out there that some child will be sitting in some day, learning about the Word of God, is very special to me.”
The Governor addressed the camp body after Jordan’s presentation and spoke highly of the work done by churches and ministries that are a part of the BGCO. She specifically pointed out the work of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, especially during the May tornadoes last year, and the donation of $500,000 the BGCO made toward the building of storm shelters for two schools in Moore affected by the tornadoes.
“That’s called a true servant’s heart,” Fallin said to camp participants, “and this is what Falls Creek is about, teaching service to others, teaching God’s love, teaching service above ourselves.”
Jordan said he had the opportunity to pray with Fallin before she left Falls Creek that evening.