Twenty high school juniors and seniors who make up the 2021 IMPACT Junior Board planned and rehearsed the exciting treasure hunt event for weeks before February 21. The treasure? Finding out where the IMPACT mission teams would go to serve this summer.
Other high school teens registered and arrived to be handed their first clue. The rest of the clues were hidden around the Village of Kenilworth and it took participants about 30 minutes to find all the clues—which were letters the Junior Board needed to unscramble!
On February 21, everyone found out. TULSA!
Tulsa? Honestly, my mind’s eye drew a blank when our long-time mission partner, Praying Pelican Missions, proposed Tulsa as a mission site for our teams in 2021. Route 66? Oklahoma oil country? That is not a place I would have naturally considered as a mission destination.
But I found out two things about Tulsa, that told me this was God’s plan for where Kenilworth Union’s IMPACT teams should serve. 1) Pastor Kujanga Jackson, our partner’s connection in Tulsa, has been praying for mission teams to come back. There was a time decades ago, when teams visited and ministered there, and he has long envisioned them returning. 2) This pastor is also helping lead the city’s 100 year anniversary commemoration of the Tulsa Race Riots—the riots that destroyed Black Wall Street in 1921. He is committed to the church’s remembering and moving forward with reconciliation across races, classes, and all that divides us.
In terms of answering this pastor’s prayer, our IMPACT teams are not just any teams. They are large, energetic, passionate teams. If God needs Tulsa to re-emerge as a site for mission teams, ours will bring the energy needed to kick that off.
As for the Tulsa Race Riots. They are something many of us are not very knowledgeable about or maybe, especially until recently, have not even heard of. But our black brothers and sisters know they were the worst race riots our country has ever seen—shocking evidence of the crushing burden of racism under which so many have suffered. God calls us to understand this burden so we can help carry it. God led our church to launch the Racial Justice Committee and is showing us a way forward in this work. Tulsa will be part of it.
Back to February 21. God was with us at this reveal, which was livestreamed on our @kucyouth Instagram account for those who could not be part of the excitement in front of church. Pastor Kujanga joined our Junior Board co-chair, senior William Trukenbrod, for last part of the livestream to welcome us and share his enthusiasm for this summer’s mission with us.
Of course God will show us the work to be done in Tulsa. I am visiting our mission site March 13–14 and look forward to telling our youth, parents, and anyone who is interested more details about this year’s IMPACT mission trip program and projects at the IMPACT program Orientation and Trip Information Meeting, online on Sunday, March 21.
In the meantime high schoolers and college leaders are welcome to find out more and to register for IMPACT 2021 Tulsa. Registrations close March 31.