All posts in “Moore, OK”

Provision

You’ve heard it before. Whether it be in a Next Step video series, through our website, or even in a casual conversation with one of our staff. Next Step is a place where short term missions collide with long term community development. Can I let you in on a little secret? While short term missions can easily be seen as youth groups travel across the country to serve in various cities, long term community development can at times feel like one giant puzzle with a couple of missing pieces. BUT, when you find those pieces, completing that puzzle is so worth it.  Continue Reading…

This Is Our Story

Pregnancy has been such a ride these last several months. As my husband and I are now entering our last trimester, there has been a lot of last minute preparations and reflecting that has taken place in the Swank household. One of the questions we keep asking ourselves is how having a baby will effect us during the busy summer months of ministry. From the beginning, we have always desired to be a family on mission wherever the Lord might lead us. We are blown away that we get to begin that journey together where it all began, Oklahoma. Continue Reading…

Long-Term Community Development Made Simple

As a Partnership Coordinator, it is one thing for me to tell youth groups or even members of the community why I love working with our partner organizations in Oklahoma City, but it is a totally different thing when they get excited about those organizations for themselves.  Continue Reading…

Humble Servant

Over the last five summers in Oklahoma, each group of interns has been blessed to encounter several members of the community that have taken it upon themselves to encourage and support the staff to the best of their ability. This summer was no different. Continue Reading…

The Beauty of Partnership : Restore OKC

This summer Oklahoma has the incredible opportunity to kick of a brand new partnership in the NE OKC area. This past spring we were able to connect with a couple who has put together a dynamite staff, who collectively are making a Kingdom-sized impact in an area that is challenged with poverty, educational struggles, and joblessness. They call themselves, Restore OKC. Continue Reading…

What Time Is It?! (almost)

Summer is just a few short days away which means our summer staff is gearing up for Training Week, and will be heading out to several of our communities! Continue Reading…

Everyone, Meet Kelsey!

In 2014, Next Step first set foot in Moore, Oklahoma. It had been one year after the tornado and our summer staff had hit the ground running meeting the community, learning about our partnerships, and getting to know our host church, Southpark Baptist. We were introduced to several members of the church. This blog is about one of the families that became just that, family.  Continue Reading…

The Silent Struggle

I recently googled the question, “What does it mean to be Christlike?”, curious to see what good ole Google had to say on the subject. I came across a link that defined Christlikeness in two ways.

Christlike:
1.  like Christ; showing the spirit of Christ
2. resembling or showing the spirit of Jesus

Mind blowing stuff, I know.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

I think I was in the 5th or 6th grade when my dad was my basketball coach through our church’s league. Anyone familiar with Upward Basketball? Two words…good times. Part of the Upward Basketball program is that while the game is important, it is not the most important. At the end of each practice our team would have a devotional and be challenged to memorize pieces of Scripture for the following practice. If we were able to recite the verse we got a star to add to our uniform for game days.

I can vividly remember sitting on the gym floor when our verse for the week was James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger…”. As an awkward 5th or 6th grade kid, that verse didn’t mean a whole lot to me, but some how it always seemed to pop up in our house over the next several years. Continue Reading…

I Will Worship

“Awake my soul to sing with your breath in me
I will worship
And you taught my feet to dance upon disappointment
And I, I will worship”
Heroes by Amanda Cook- Continue Reading…

Choose Kindness

Going into this holiday season, my husband and I are experiencing a variety of firsts. This past week, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. While many have unique holiday traditions, we took to making our own this year. Continue Reading…

Home Sweet Home

Home. A four letter word that looks vastly different depending on who you ask. According to Pinterest, home is: where your heart is, where the wifi works, where your mom is, where the fridge is full, and where makeup is optional. Continue Reading…

Another Summer in the Books

With another summer in the books, it is always good to reflect and see if goals were achieved and our mission was successful. This summer was a little different for me as I stepped into the role of Partnership Coordinator, which gave me a new perspective on how each summer really goes from more of an outside standpoint. It’s a huge part of my job to make sure that the effect Next Step has on this community is positive and in line with our mission to collide short term mission trips with long term community development. One of the ways I do that is by talking to the partnerships and homeowners we work with.

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Partnership Embraced

With a summer of trips in progress, it is easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of worksites. The construction is going great and awesome progress is being made, but above all else I continue to see partnerships flourish. For me the partnerships we have, is where my heart beats deep. I have grown so dear to these now friends of mine and the ministries they are a part of. For each group that comes, I want nothing more than for them to experience the same feeling of genuine care and hospitality I experienced when I came 4 years ago. Experiencing something that deep changes you. It’s my hope that this experience ignites a passion and desire to reciprocate the feeling from all groups visiting Oklahoma this summer. Continue Reading…

Our Home at Southpark

With the summer now here I wanted to highlight a very important partnership we have with our church home in Oklahoma. Continue Reading…

Serve More

Our final partnership highlight is Serve More. This partnership has existed since the start of Next Step being in Oklahoma. Serve More began as a small group of friends and churches that wanted to respond after the May tornado in 2013. Using the hashtag #servemoore they quickly acquired a following and volunteers started showing up daily to help in the response efforts. Continue Reading…

The Spero Project

Spero = Latin word for, “to hope”

As we get closer to the summer, we wanted to highlight another organization Next Step partners with: the Spero Project. Continue Reading…

Cross & Crown Mission

As spring comes around it can only mean summer will be here before we know it. So in order to prepare for the summer I thought it would be good to share about the organizations we partner with here in Oklahoma each month. They each bring amazing help to the residents of Moore and Oklahoma City, but all do it in a unique way. Continue Reading…

Our Prudential Father

Todays word of the day is “prudent”. The Webster’s definition is, “to show care and thought for the future”. While this term is usually found in business, it brought new meaning to my quiet time this morning as I read through Proverbs. Continue Reading…

Responsibility is Community Wide

As the new year kicks off I am reminded of all the ways I would like to see improvement in my life and in the others around me. How can I continue to grow and see awesome change in the people I interact with? I believe responsibility can play a huge role in this. Continue Reading…

The Advantage of Collaboration

The more people you meet, the more people you know. As simple as it may sound these words served as a great reminder for me this month. Knowing people is key to landing your first job or simply just knowing more information. As of recently, whenever I meet someone new it is either because of something I am doing for work or somebody who I just met at church (it is pretty awesome to see how often the two coincide). Whether it is just a short introduction or a long meeting of two people’s stories I am pleased to gain so much new knowledge about that person I didn’t know before.

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#LoveYourNeighbor – A New Journey for Serve Moore

Love thy neighbor as thy self. It’s a phrase we hear all the time growing up as children; children still learning what it means to respect and care for needs that are not our own. As we get older we seek to still pursue the truth that everyone deserves a love and respect that we expect in return. But what does this look like in reality? Continue Reading…

Healing Hands of Restoration

For many, May 20, 2013 was a horrifying day here in Moore, Oklahoma. An F5 tornado ripped through tornado alley leaving structures in shambles and residents to pick up the pieces. Many home owners came back to homes in disrepair and in need of complete renovation. As Next Step arrived the following summer, we quickly met homeowners that slipped through the crack of receiving aid and relief for their homes. That’s when we met Judy.

Judy had been living in California during the time of the storm but moved back to Oklahoma to find her childhood home in pieces. She had no job and no means to renovate an entire home by herself. Next Step saw this as a perfect opportunity to lend a hand. We started with the roof then moved down to the walls, did work outside and inside, and finished with a fence and a shed. Projects that provided work for hundreds of students and leaders over the course of three years, provided so much more than we can ever know for Judy. She would repeat her gratitude again and again for every person who laid a hand on her home. However that’s not where the story ends.

Judy has a loving, hospitable character that makes anyone she meets a part of her family. She calls the Next Step staff her crazy kids for going out of our way to help her, but we would be crazy if we didn’t help such an amazing women. At the end of every week Judy had the kids leave a handprint behind as way to remember them. Whether it was in concrete on her new sidewalk, or in paint around the top of kitchen cabinets, Judy will be able to see all the hands that helped in her recovery. Judy has shown me that through trials and destruction there is always restoration. Restoration can come in many ways and can serve as an awesome reminder as did the handprints in Judy’s home.

This led me to think of all the times when life gets destructive. When we get frightened or scared, are we realizing the restoration that is happening? Probably not, but it’s awesome to rest in the fact that the Lord is restoring us to become new. How different would our lives look if we had constant reminders of the restoration that was taking place in our lives? The words of 2 Corinthians 13:11 says this “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” With all the distractions of this life it’s easy to lose sight of what God is restoring us to be, but with one another we can strive for full restoration and remind one another of the power of Gods healing hands.

New Beginnings in Oklahoma

Four years ago at this time, I was just another college student rushing to my next class when I glimpsed a flyer that had the words “construction” and “missions” written in the title. I stopped immediately and found a ministry that would take me to places I never thought I would ever go. Continue Reading…

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