EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an expanded article based on the 2020 Cooperative Program Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information, please visit www.oklahomabaptists.org/cp.

Phillip Ford married his best friend Kamie in August 2015. That same month he started attending Southwestern Seminary, started a Baptist Collegiate Ministries organization at the University Center of Southern Oklahoma (UCSO) in Ardmore, and started working at Enon Association.

Today the couple has a young daughter, Elliot, named in honor of mid-century missionaries Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. Kamie was reading Through Gates of Splendor, the Elliots’ story, when she was pregnant. Ford is to graduate in May with an M.Div. degree, and the UCSO BCM is growing.

USCO is a commuter school, with students rushing onto campus for classes and then off again to jobs or other activities.

“The very first thing I did was ask a friend if his church could do a lunch for the students,” Ford said. “I talked with the president of the university, asked him what day was high traffic on campus – Tuesdays – and where could we have a lunch for students.

“We started serving lunches and meeting people, and it snowballed from there,” the BCM director continued.

Up to 80 attend weekly Noonday lunches provided by area churches. About 10 participate in weekly Bible studies. Four are being discipled “to be leaders in their churches or any other ministries they’re involved in,” Ford said.

“I’m trying to train the students in friendship evangelism and organizing them to serve locally, such as the local food bank,” Ford said. Several students participated in a trip last summer to help at Mission Arlington, in Texas.

Ford and his wife relax by reading books to each other,

“Right now we’re reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin and next, Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Chronicles of Narnia,” Ford said. “We’re trying to read through the classics to grow our perspective.”

Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at www.oklahomabaptists.org/CP