Chandler Kirkhart, business marketing junior, and Jacob McGuire, philosophy & religious studies junior, help repair an abandonded building owned by the Ponca Indian United Methodist Church over Fall Break. (Jonathan Woon/Collegian photographer)

By Jonathan Woon
Staff reporter

Oct. 15 and 16, 19 Builders from the Worship Outreach team sacrificed their first half of fall break to meet needs of the Ponca Indian Tribe in Ponca City, OK.

Initially, the team had high expectations of helping do some flooring work at an abandoned building owned by the Ponca Indian United Methodist Church which was previously used as a hub for tribe activities. Termites attacked the triple story building and the main structures were unstable.

Martin Rude, director of worship outreach said they had no choice but to tear down the interior of the building. Rude said “Their needs were different from what we expected. Jimmy (church pastor) told me we had some flooring to do. Instead, the whole building wasn’t ready for any flooring.”

Leaders of Worship Outreach took a look at the building, planned and the whole team started work with hammers, drills and bare hands the following day.

The team did not expect such a situation and didn’t have the proper tools to do the tearing down. “We had no choice but to make do with what we have,” said Rude.

Caleb Chua, philosophy and religious studies freshmen, said, “It was quite intense. We tore down two abandoned bathrooms which had pipelines, sinks and toilet bowls.”

The team then went on to tear down walls, eradicate ceilings and remove flooring. After all the work, all that was left was an empty building with broken wood panels, smashed walls and shattered flooring.

Rude said despite the non-glorious work done, it was more of a foundational work where others can continue working on. Jimmy White, pastor of the Ponca Indian UMC said the work done by the worship outreach team was above and beyond his highest expectation.

“Many teams tried to figure out how to fix that building but none succeeded.” He was surprised that the team managed to determine what needed to be done.

“I’m grateful that they created a platform on which we can work on in the future,” said White. He said the tribe has plans to utilize that building as the Northern Oklahoma Missionary Center.

The following day the Worship Outreach shared their music talents with the Ponca tribe at a church service.

Christy Rude, early childhood education junior, said, “Even though I was exhausted, I had a great time after that in music ministry.”   

The team’s trip ended with a fellowship meal with the tribe.

Jonathan Woon is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at jonathan.woon@sckans.edu.