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BARTLESVILLE—When Cindy Phillips, a member of Bartlesville, First, received a check from her Sunday School class that enabled her to purchase the special wheelchair her doctor prescribed, she was overcome with gratitude.

“This just goes to show how Sunday School is where people share life together, knowing each other’s needs,” said Phillips.

As a teenage girl, Phillips was injured in a water skiing accident.

“It is a wonder I survived and did not drown,” she said in a testimony. “The way I was pulled out of the water, though, left me with this severe injury.”

Doctors initially believed she would never walk again. Through surgery and a miraculous recovery, Cindy did walk again. She and her husband, David, went on to have two children, Sean and Kyle, who are now adults.

Throughout the years, Cindy has had numerous surgeries related to her back and spine, and her condition worsened in recent years to the point of needing a wheelchair.

David, who serves with Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, recently shared with a fellow DR volunteer about Cindy’s deteriorating condition and the need for surgery to her neck and spine—particularly her need for a special wheelchair that would support her declining condition.

“David and Cindy Phillips joined us several years ago, coming from a small Baptist church outside the city,” said Bull Cullins, who is a Sunday School teacher and leader in the department.

“Both David and Cindy joined the 50s Department Sunday School class and became actively involved.  David was invited to attend a mission trip to Nicaragua because of his experience as a welder.  Cindy, though, on crutches because of the accident, continued to attend and participate in our Sunday School class while David was gone,” he said.

“The surgery would have to occur in a hospital in Denver. As David’s concern of how they would meet the imminent medical bills and the cost of the special made wheelchair were shared, one of the Disaster Relief team members shared with our Sunday School classes of their need.  It was decided that we as a department (consisting of three classes) would like to see what we could do to help with those expenses and particularly focus on helping get the new wheelchair.”

The cost of the specialized wheelchair was about $6,000.

“That became our goal and we would collect privately in gifts over a three-Sunday period, trusting that God would provide,” Cullins said. “After the first week, we almost raised our goal. By the second week, we had collected more than $9,000. By the end of our third week, the classes had donated a total of $11,605! God had answered our prayers and more!

“Not only would they be able to purchase the specialized wheel chair, but they also would have money to apply to their medical expenses and extended stay in Denver.”

The combined classes held a special Sunday School time and surprised the Phillipses with the gift. On Sunday, June 30, Cindy debuted her chair in class for the first time. She and David thanked the class members and gave a testimony about God’s faithfulness to them.

“We are grateful beyond words for the love of our church family,” said David.

The lesson for that morning was out of the book of Job, the signature biblical character who knew suffering.

“There are hard moments every week, but from my time in the Word and encouragement from friends in the class, I get through,” said Cindy.

Members of the 50s Department at Bartlesville, First enjoy a special bond that many in Oklahoma Baptist churches do.

“Through Sunday School, we learn from the Bible and meet the challenges of life,” said Cullins.

The Phillips family is just one example among many of people whose lives have been touched through Sunday School ministry.

“God is faithful,” said Cindy with a smile.

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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